Hits on the Big and Small Screens

Sarah Liu, Writer

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TV SHOWS

 

Reboots: Hollywood has capitalized on nostalgia this past year, with reboots and revivals ranging from Netflix’s “Queer Eye” to NBC’s “Will and Grace” and ABC’s “The Conners.” 

Networks’ efforts have been met with a mostly positive audience reaction, with the emotional makeover reality show, “Queer Eye,” becoming a cultural phenomenon on social media and receiving praise for the show’s inclusivity of people from across the political spectrum, earning an Emmy this year for Outstanding Structured Reality Program. 

Meanwhile, shows like “Will and Grace” have miraculously renewed original viewer’s interests in the plot, meriting critic’s approval, and five Emmy nominations. 

However, ABC’s decision to reboot the 90s’ show “Roseanne” was debated widely, as the show’s main player, Roseanne Barr, was under fire for her outspoken conservative political convictions. The show’s start was strong with 18.2 million viewers, but after a racist tweet aimed at Obama cabinet member Valerie Jarrett, ABC pulled the series off air. Soon after, ABC restarted the show without Barr, entitled “The Conners,” which has been met with lacking ratings.

Politically Charged TV: In the era of divisive political culture, television has not been afraid to touch on hot-button topics, making it the new normal for most shows. 

Late night shows such as “The Late Show,” hosted by Stephen Colbert, and “The Daily Show,” hosted by Trevor Noah, have not shied away from slamming the Trump administration on various policies and speaking up on social issues, winning over viewers that seek out comedic and political voices. 

In addition, sketch show “Saturday Night Live” has continued to be a part of the national conversation in its 44th season, skewering current politics and making light of current events. 

Returning TV Seasons: NBC’s “The Good Place” returned in 2018 for its third season after gaining popularity for its comedic take on moral philosophy. The first two seasons took place in the afterlife, but in the third season, the characters find their way back to Earth. 

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” streaming on Hulu, was back for its second season, set in the dystopian totalitarian society of Gilead. 

The first season was based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, but the second season proved to viewers that the showrunners could hold their own in keeping the story going.

Amazon Studios’ breakout hit “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” explores Midge Maisel’s journey through the 1950’s comedy scene as a woman when she discovers her talent for stand-up in season one after her estranged husband leaves her. The second season has already been met with three Golden Globes nominations.

MOVIES

 

Horror: 2018 marked the success of the horror genre, with John Krasinski and Emily Blunt’s A Quiet Place and A24’s Hereditary becoming the representatives of the genre this year. A Quiet Place explores a family living in silence to avoid being hunted by monsters while facing the risk of making noise, which will give away their location. Meanwhile, Hereditary shows the slow burn of realization when a family inherits a haunted house. 

Action: The Marvel Cinematic Universe had an enthralling year of film, starting with the release of Black Panther, proving that representation was profitable and desirable to audiences. The release of Avengers: Infinity War has brought in $2.048 billion, and had the highest grossing opening weekend of any movie.

Comedies: 2018 brought in a slate of romantic comedies, with Netflix rom-coms The Kissing Booth and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before becoming pop-culture sensations and popular on social media, with 50% of their viewership rewatching the movies. Crazy Rich Asians and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before were both celebrated for having Asian Americans in leading roles, and are both expected to have sequels.

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