Episode #5 of CE4K saw the team discuss Disney's throwing of their hat into the streaming arena with Disney+. During the discussion, the question is posed "Is app TV the future of television?" Thinking about it, the answer we imagine is a definitive 'yes', and while there are no doubt benefits to that, there are potentially a few downsides.
The positives though - no more waiting seven days for the next episode is clearly a good thing. The idea of being able to binge complete a complete series in one, albeit epic, session is absolute bliss. But the pacing of those catch-up conversations with friends and colleagues as you each discuss and dissect episodes one-by-one become non-existent. Now those conversations can become incredibly frustrating as you have to wait for others to catch up to where you are so you can finally have the unfiltered and unhindered conversation discussing the complete work. That latter point though is steeped in the type of nostalgia we've come to celebrate on this site.
Another perhaps daunting prospect of the app TV era is the sheer volume of services available. This was often described as "the golden era of television" when in actuality it's more like the "triple platinum era". Each TV app seems to lay claim to a new clutch of A-list, multi-million dollar production shows - who can genuinely, not only afford to subscribe to each of them, but make the time to watch this amount? (While the last question, regarding the time, was rhetorical, the fact that these services can also be streamed through laptops, tablets and mobiles certainly ensures we have all the time in the world.)
While these streaming services offer the ultimate it terms of comfort, convenience and limitless choice, there's something about about those proverbial water cooler moments as the experience of these shows was something to be shared collectively as opposed to becoming more solitary experiences.
Episode #5 of the Close Encounters of the 4th Kind podcast sees Tee-J, Imran and Dan discuss Disney's increasing dominance with the film and entertainment sectors - is it a problem for anyone? Does it impact negatively on cinema and the independent filmmaker? And how will the launch of Disney's new streaming site fit into an increasingly crowded market - is app TV the future?
As exemplified by Episode #4 of CE4K (please check the episode out below), Dan, Tee-J and Imran are committed to the acceptance of pro-wrestling as a part of geek culture - it's got everything that comic book fans, gamers and action movie fans love: heroes vs villains, good vs evil, incomparable action, passion, incredible characters, detailed and long-term storytelling... And to prove the point, we've plucked three names from the WWE that are perhaps familiar to everyone (fan or not) and have presented their actual character bios in a geek-relatable way...
Episode #4 of the Close Encounters of the 4th Kind podcast sees Tee-J, Imran and Dan discuss the very simple and straightforward question of "Why isn't pro-wrestling an accepted part of geek culture?" It certainly fits the bill as its roots rest in good vs evil, heroes vs villains, epic storylines, glorious showdowns... but what is really holding it back for universal acceptance and acclaim?
In Episode #3 of the CE4K podcast, we discuss those incidents in the movies we all watched as children that, in most cases, we thought nothing of but now with 2019 goggles firmly attached, we marvel not only in our ignorance, but also in how things have changed.
We didn't go too deep into this particular aspect of the conversation but we did discuss the concept of sex in US movies from the 80s to early-00s, and the seemingly incredible ease in achieving it. That whole notion of sex as the continual goal for our heroic and horny teenagers genuinely served as the backbone for countless movies still regarded as classics.
While the American Pie franchise is held dearly to many as a classic coming-of-age story, and undoubtedly boasts some incredibly hilarious moments, it's one of the biggest offenders in our case here: American Pie (1999) sets the goal for four teenagers striving to lose their virginity on prom night which surprisingly/unsurprisingly, they all manage to do with varying levels of success; American Pie 2 (2001) inexplicably ends with Stifler engaging in a threesome and of course, across all movies, there are the continual trists between Paul Finch and "Stifler's Mom". Unfortunately, it's impossible to separate the notion of "boys just want to have fun" with these insurmountable expectations and a mortifying devaluing of women who just kinda went along with things mindlessly. And why wouldn't they - these weren't *their* stories.
Empire published a list of what they dubbed the best 80 movies from the 80s boasting classics including Ghostbusters, Die Hard, Beverly Hills Cop and The Man With Two Brains. Other than starring roles for Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally and Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, the top 40 featured next to no women in a top-billing role.
Although it's certainly not indicative of whether a film poorly represents women or not, the Bechdel Test has always proved to be a fascinating jumping off point when assessing the role of women on screen. The test gauging whether two *named* women can be on screen having a discussion about something other than a man. Looking at this list of 80s movies and thinking back to 2017's release of Wonder Woman and the rapturous reception the film received, and the validation attached to its success, counteracting any outdated industry reservations about a woman's ability to carry a mainstream movie or franchise.
Unfortunately, these are observations within films 20, 30, 40 years ago that can be stretched to other areas where diversity has fallen short, like race, but is it unusual that we watched these movies and thought nothing of it at the time - didn't ask these questions and just accepted the perspectives and view points passed on to us?
Emanating from London, UK, and hosted by Dan Collacott, Tee-J Sutherland and Imran Mirza, our 4ever in Electric Dreams website and accompanying podcasts are designed to help us celebrate the things we loved growing up and the things that continue to excite and inspire us today.