In the 21st century, television is an important part of everyday life. People seem to be constantly met with advertisements about the next best series to watch.
With so many out there, it’s hard to narrow down the masses of influential television. For the purpose of this story, though, the focus will be on Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, True Blood and Breaking Bad.
and the 50-year legacy.
Doctor Who began in 1963 as a simple British science fiction television series about a time lord, fondly called The Doctor.
The Doctor travels through space and time in a spaceship that looks like, what the British call, a police box. It’s known as the TARDIS.
The series became increasingly popular in the United States during the mid-2000s and has been growing stronger ever since.
“The character is helped because he can be played by a limitless number of actors.” According to Dr. Piers Britton of the University of Redlands in California, “The longevity of the character is assured because it thrives on the basis of character, even as popular culture changes. That idea of change—being able to reinvent itself—is central to Doctor Who.”
For a character that is truly timeless, Doctor Who creators got it right in being persistent and clever with both their writing and character progression.
The Walking Dead
and society’s obsession with the undead
Humans have long been obsessed with themselves. The fears that the earth will be overrun with aliens or total destruction by a natural disaster can be seen all over science fiction, but what if the real fear (and the true reason behind the obsession) is ourselves?
Zombies are humankind at the absolute worst. End of the world or post-apocalyptic scenarios all seem docile when thinking of mothers, fathers and children feasting on one another in a desolate wasteland that barely resembles Earth.
While it can be said that the thought itself is morbid, zombies increase with popularity, leaving The Walking Dead a perfect opportunity to jump on the zombie-wagon. With solid acting, well-written scripts and constant attempts to leave the viewer in suspense, zombies and The Walking Dead are here to stay.
and the era of vampires
Vampires have made multiple debuts lately in movies and television, and with sparkling ones to the classic burn-in-the-sun ones, variety isn’t lacking. While Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight is geared toward the teenage demographic, True Blood is all adult.
True Blood’s main hook is its sexually charged episodes with scantily clad vampires, werewolves, fairies and more. With all of the supernatural creatures introduced, the show leaves several openings to add new characters frequently, keeping it exciting for the viewer. It also helps that the majority of the cast is fortunate in the “looks” department.
Starting in the summer, True Blood will be in its seventh and final season, a great run for a show about vampires.
and its emotional roller coaster
Breaking Bad is about a high school chemistry teacher that discovers he is terminally ill with lung cancer. To make sure his family is taken care of financially, he gets together with a former student named Jesse Pinkman to manufacture meth in a recreational vehicle.
A drug-dealing teacher and a troubled student usually don’t come to mind for great leads in a popular television show, but for Breaking Bad, it seems to work.
As tragic as the show is, many would suggest that watching something depressing and tragic makes people feel a lot better about any situation life might put one in. It leaves society saying, “My life isn’t that bad!”
According to Mary Beth Oliver, a professor of media studies at Pennsylvania State University, there are many healthy rewards of watching depressing, stressful or even horrific television. It puts people in touch with their humanity and can leave people feeling fulfilled and satisfied.
Maybe there’s a benefit in watching Breaking Bad, which is probably the main reason it remains so popular.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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