The New Steve Irwin: Youtube Edition

“I’m Coyote Peterson. Be Brave. Stay Wild. We’ll see you on the next adventure”.

     The quote above is the signature catchphrase by the Youtube sensation Nathaniel Peterson, also known as Coyote Peterson by his online channel Brave Wilderness which has fourteen million subscribers and growing. He is known for being a wildlife educator which is exactly what he does twice a week when he uploads. Each episode begins with a little clip of what’s to come later to get the viewers interested, this a common technique used by youtubers. He then proceeds to show either the landscape of where the topic animal is from or a quick summary of the last episode to keep viewers caught up. Another technique of his and Youtube in general is to capitalize the title of the video to make it seem more urgent, and to exaggerate the thumbnail image to get people more intrigued. In each episode Coyote introduces a new animal and tells us interesting facts about it. These facts will include the scientific name of the creature, its diet, where and what kind of environment it lives in, and its predators. His most popular videos are the ones when he includes the segment the “sting zone”. This consists of his finding insects with the highest pain/sting index and stinging himself so that people know what it feels like.

       The Convergence Era is the most modern phase in TV history; it is the era where people are able to watch TV online whenever or wherever, avoid commercials (for the most part), have access to millions of channels or apps, and lastly watch what specifically interests them like animals. That is exactly what Youtube and Brave Wilderness does. Nowadays you can watch TV in color, and you don’t have to worry about missing an episode and never finding out what happens. Now, it is most likely that you can get up to date by finding the episode you missed on Youtube, or better yet, on the network’s website. What is posted on Youtube is there forever (unless the owner decides to take it down) unlike old TV shows that depend on reruns that don’t always happen. What Coyote Peterson and others on Youtube do is a new creative way of making money, and the new and improved form of television.

–Gabby Vasquez

Televisuals- Breaking Bad

In 2008, AMC premiered its hit drama series Breaking Bad. Throughout five thrilling seasons, the show follows high school chemistry teacher, Walter White, who is afraid his life can not get much worse. He had recently been diagnosed with cancer while his wife is pregnant with his second child and he does not have the funds to support a new child let alone pay for his cancer treatment. He decides to join forces with former student and high school dropout, Jesse Pinkman to start cooking meth in an old RV to start making money to be able to pay for his cancer treatments. 

The scene I chose was originally from season 4 episode 6 titled “Cornered.” The entire scene takes place in the bedroom of Walter and his wife Skyler. Prior to the conversation a person very close to Walter is killed after someone enters his home and shoots him from point-blank range. Skyler is worried that Walter is next but little does she know he’s the one responsible for this man dying. She is pleading with him to go to the police for help and to try to back out of this new business venture he’s apart of before that same thing happens to him. He then explains that if he were apart of that scenario he’d be, ‘the one who knocks.” 

This can be looked at as an example of how much programming has changed since the beginning of the Post-Network era. For example, even though this scene only takes place in one room, it still shows multiple camera angles for the duration of the clip. When looking at the average television show from the network era, almost every scene takes place in one room from one camera angle. Another example that could be used is the dialogue and the conflicts throughout the series. In shows like The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, the characters would encounter whatever conflict and then resolve it by the end of the episode. Not only is the dialogue much more intense and serious, the conflicts are often not resolved by the end of the episode. This show is like many early shows in the Post-Network era like Hill Street Blues that uses cliff-hangers to keep audiences involved so they will tune in next week to find out what happens next to Walter and Jesse. 

Teachable Moments in The Andy Griffith Show

The Andy Griffith Show, season three episode twenty-one called “Opie and the Spoiled Kid” aired on February 18th 1963 where Andy explains to Opie the value of hard work. Opie is Andy’s son and, in this episode, Opie learns about the value of hard work. Opie meets some new kids at school who get a hefty allowance so in this scene Opie tries to convince Andy to give him a big allowance for the work he is currently doing for free. Andy sits down and explains to Opie the value and importance of working hard for a respectable pay and not just working to get rich.

The shows values are clear from this scene because it values working hard and teaching children about morals This ideology relates back to incorporating family with television. This is the type of show that would be considered appropriate in 1963 for the entire family to watch and enjoy. There is comedy involved with the adult characters on the show that parents can enjoy watching while there are subplots with Opie and other kids that would entertain children watching the show. Not only is it entertaining for the whole family to gather around and watch, but it also teaches children lessons about what is right and wrong.

Early television was meant to bring together the family and promote ideas that were appropriate and safe to air on tv. There was a lot of fear surrounding television that it was “brainwashing” children, making people lazy, and stupid. To reassure people, television shows such as this one were created to show how television was safe and nondamaging for your child to watch. Family is what the entire show circles around because the show is specifically meant for families to watch together. This scene highlights this fact and provides insight to televisions humble and innocent beginnings. Oh how far we’ve strayed from this…

-Sophia Pellar

Breaking Bad Breaking Televisual Boundaries

Breaking Bad is a drama/thriller series that began in 2008. From then there has been a total of five seasons, with a total of 62 episodes. The premise of the show is the main character, Walter White, is diagnosed with lung cancer and in order to pay for his cancer treatment and save money for his family, he began to run a meth lab.

This particular scene is from season three, episode 10, titled “Fly.” The scene takes place in the meth lab and begins with Walter White trying to figure something out. Then the viewer is first introduced to a fly by hearing a somewhat unsettling buzz amongst the silence. Then the camera angle is positioned to put the viewer in the same perspective as Walter. This technique makes the audience feel as if they are right there with Walter, and experiencing his frustration.

The entire scene takes place in one room, however, the audience does not get bored of the visual aspect of the scene because we get many different camera angles and movements. In classic television shows, such as sitcoms, the audience generally sees only a few different angles and little to know camera movement. Breaking Bad takes advantage of the different possibilities of shooting a scene such as the slightly shaking camera during Walter’s attempts at killing the fly, moving the camera to follow his path through the lab, a point of view shot from Walter’s perspective, and from the fly’s perspective on the ceiling. These different uses of filming results in a much more visually appealing style that will keep the viewer wanting to watch more.

What is most interesting about this scene is the lack of dialogue. In classic sitcoms a program’s only method of keeping an audience intrigued is through the script. However, this scene shows that with no dialogue (besides the accounts of Walter mumbling phrases to himself), visuals play a very important role in telling a story and reflecting the tone of the narrative. The viewer understands a sense of complexity of the situation as the camera follows Walter as he wanders through the lab. The viewer also feels a sense of frustration from the closer shots of Walter’s face as well as the emphasized sudden movements and sounds in an otherwise still and silent lab. This scene shows how the televisuality and styles that has emerged and evolved since television was first introduced have a large influence in the quality of television and keeping an audience intrigued.


Post-Network Era: Nothing Kompares to Reruns

“Goodnight, Mary Ellen. Goodnight, Jim Bob”

On September 14, 1972, in coherence with the Broadcast Era, these words echoed in living rooms across the United States for the first time. This was the sound of The Waltons’ bedtime routine, a fictional family that Americans tuned in to watch for a subsequent nine years after the airing of the first episode on CBS. The show was set in the midst of the Great Depression and World War II, spanning from 1933 to 1946. More specifically, the show follows the struggles of The Walton family to make a decent living during such hardship, but they never fail to end the day with their famous goodnights.

I remember the first time I heard about The Walton family. I was staying in a hotel room with my mom and siblings when we turned out the lights, said goodnight, and shut our eyes in hopes of a good night’s rest. However, my mom seemed to have a different plan, as she proceeded to recite the closing scene of The Waltons. She began, “Goodnight, Mary Ellen…” and my siblings and I questioned, “Mom, what are you doing?” Sure enough, she was nostalgically recalling the days when she would rush home from school to watch The Waltons with her family.

However, they were not watching the original nine seasons of the show, as was characteristic of the Post-Network Era. Instead, my mom and her family were the perfect example of a “family-orientated slate” audience that The Family Channel hoped to attract to their reruns of The Waltons in the 1980s. Originally, these reruns aired with the intent to seek familiar and popular programming that The Family Channel could afford, as pointed out in Derek Kompare’s article, “TV Land: Cable and Satellite as Boutique Television.” Not to mention, this increased the amount of income from advertising and their subscribing base, meaning the channel could meet distributors’ prices.

Additionally, the hopeful intentions of The Family Channel were met with even more successful results. One of which was that reruns served as a large component in the formation of cable networks’ strong identities. These identities were the result of The Family Channel being a boutique, meaning it had specialized audiences that were dedicated to their shows. This audience included those such as my mother and her family, proving that even forty years later, the boutique function of The Family Channel sold itself to its family-oriented audience quite well.


Full House : Safe, Nostalgic, & Impactful

Full House, a classic show that made its debut on ABC in 1987 in the center of the Post Network Era it was a courageous take on what we had all known the traditional family to be. It is evident that with the ever booming rapid growth of cable television, networks such as ABC were scrambling to find something that would stick, re-imagine how we viewed family, appeal to core audiences while still being universal thematically at the same time. Each character on the show was crafted with a particular audience in mind. When you look back you can see that the cult following for Full House consisted of a majority of females. Women swooned over heartthrob Jesse Katsopolis, girls could identify with the daughters as they grew up and dealt with teenage struggles, boy problems, and who could forget the cute and funny moments with adorable baby Michelle. With this revised idea of what we deemed the nuclear family, networks such as ABC drove family narratives in their sitcoms that didn’t rely on style to captivate audiences.

Life lessons were the core of Full House which made it timeless. The scene below demonstrates how social issues were tied with relatability. You had 3 male parental figures that presented themselves as non-threatening. Whenever an emotional scene took place the adults would address it. In the scene below DJ is dealing with body issues and her father speaks to her encouraging her. Scenes like the one below exemplify family struggles, which is why from a narrowcasting perspective one could see why this show was a hit with its core audience.  Teen girls specifically ,could identify with DJ and her struggles.

Narrowcasting induced a wave of nostalgia that we see today. Full House is the phenomenon that it is because of its hit success back then and its current rerun syndication viewership today with females in the 18-34-year-old range. Nickelodeon still airs it every night and is remembered because of the societal issues. Where other TV shows in the post-network era had style and outrageous graphics, ABC struck gold with a different kind of sitcom and different kind of family. Full House was safe wholesome television that touched on issues without pushing the envelope. It was a show that would teach life lessons in households for years to come.

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