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The Latest Articles from Media Magazine

Media Magazine, Summer 2023

First response: In ITV’s ‘The Responder’, flawed and falliable Chris Carson is caught up in a society that’s falling apart and a life that’s got too many grey areas for comfort: a response to the current state of policing in the UK? Jenny Grahame takes a look at this gripping TV drama in the context of other police procedurals.

The best crime dramas over time: Whichever crime drama set text you’re studying, you’ll need a feel for the ways the show relates to real-world issues – and that means understanding the social context in which the shows were made, and the ideas about law, order and policing held in society at the time. Here are some of the most well-known or iconic shows you might have heard of but have never had time to watch.

Frank frames: documenting the Amy Winehouse story: Documenting the rise to fame and tragic demise of Amy Winehouse, Asif Kapadia’s ‘Amy’ won plaudits for its sensitivity and moments of jaw-dropping pathos. But is documentary making all about just telling the truth? And whose truth gets told? Sara Barnard looks at Kapadia’s work in the context of other documentary makers to get the true picture.

Written and directed by Taylor Swift: Since the release of Taylor Swift’s 10th studio album, ‘Midnights’, she has dropped three music videos: ‘Anti-Hero’, ‘Bejewelled’ and ‘Lavender Haze’. Charlie Winward considers how these videos show Swift leaning in to the creative control she has now established over her music and what this might mean for her next creative move.

Wes Anderson the Auteur: style over substance? With a string of critically acclaimed movies to his name, Wes Anderson has an unmistakable style and some recurring themes. But what does it all mean? Steven Merrell takes a look at Anderson’s most recent film, ‘The French Dispatch’ in the context of his previous work.

The theory drop: Bourdieu: Why do we like what we like? What detemines the kinds of films, books and newspapers we consume? Pierre Bourdieu had a few ideas on the subject.

A thoroughly modern magazine: the many pleasures of the gentlewoman: How does a publication that largely comprises luxury adverts feel so very different to other women’s magazines? Georgia Platman is ready to join the club.

M3gan: When the trailer went viral at the end of last year, Blumhouse Productions knew they had a cult hit on their hands with the sci-fi horror film M3gan. Ian McMechan examines several factors that contributed to the film’s success.

Interview with Keane Shaw: ‘Little Bit of Love’ was the breakthrough hit for Tom Grennan, reaching the top 10 in early 2021 and paving the way for a number one album and Brit nominations. The video also racked up an impressive number of views and told a story that mirrored Grennan’s own background. Dan Clayton talked to Keane Shaw, the video’s director about what made it so special.

Returning to The Rovers: Soaps have always been a core part of traditional TV schedules, often broadcast for 30 minutes in the early evening. Michael Massey examines ITV’s decision to schedule ‘Coronation Street’ later and for longer and explains why life on the best-known street in Britain is still important for an understanding of how TV drama works.

Lost at sea: 1899, complex television, active audiences & Netflix: An example of complex, compelling ‘puzzle box’ storytelling, ‘1899’ entered 2023 hugely popular but was then unceremoniously cancelled. Kirsty Worrow asks what makes it such great TV and what its cancellation tells us about Netflix’s direction of travel.

Money Heist: a modern twist on the heist genre? A criminal mastermind, a band of skilled thieves and the one big job that means they’ll never need to work again. Such are the key components of heist narratives. Does the Spanish drama ‘Money Heist’ offer anything new? Dawid Soltysik kicks down the doors of the bank vault to find out.

Allergic to colour: Tim Burton, Netflix and the Auteur: Based on the comic strip characters created by Charles Addams in the late 1930s, Tim Burton’s highly anticipated Netflix series ‘Wednesday’ has been met with both critical and commercial success. But in a media world saturated with a vast range of serialised television, James Rose asks if the artisitic vision of a respected A-List Hollywood director can survive and thrive as streamed episodic content.

Careers download: Ynez Myers: Having made films as a teenager, Ynes Myers wanted to get into the industry. She tells MM how she took her first steps.

Marvel cinematic university: In this issue, Caroline Reid tackles representation of mental illness in Marvel’s new series, ‘Moon Knight’ (2022).

Media Magazine, Spring 2023

Tate crime: International playboy and influencer Andrew Tate sprang into the limelight towards the end of 2022as he was soundly owned on Twitter by Greta Thunberg and then arrested by Romanian police investigating his alleged involvement in a sex-trafficking ring. But his rise to popularity and misogynist infamy is a longer story. Giles Gough takes a look at Tate’s growing appeal and dangerous impact.

We want what you have: State-of-the-nation TV drama have a lot to cover, particularly when they only get 4 episodes and the nation is in a right state. Andrew McCallum looks at one such drama, Capital and asks how its creators tried to capture a time and place.

Seventeen going up, up and away: Sam Fender’s hugely successful second album, Seventeen Going Under was propelled into the charts by its title track and its singer’s down-to-earth charisma and powerful voice, but the video also played a big part in its appeal. Now an Eduqas set text, the video’s director, Brock Neal-Roberts talked to Dan Clayton about how it came together and the stories it tells. We also had the chance to talk to Semera Khan, Creative Director at Polydor Records about the process involved.

Is this the geatest? Citizen Kane: When embarking on a Film Studies course you’ll inevitably come across several ‘greatest’ films of various era and genres. One such film, Citizen Kane, is lauded as a masterpiece of Hollywood filmmaking, But maybe you’re struggling to understand why this film is such a big deal. Steve Merrell argues its case.

The theory drop: uses and gratifications: The media we consume and how we consume it varies, depending on our needs and moods. Mark Dixon tracks the evolution of this audience theory.

Bait-and-switch: In the representation of gay people improving on screen or are gay audiences just being toyed with? Cerys Garner looks back through the different stages and asks if supposed advances are real or just plastic, especially when it comes to Disney films.

All About Eve: Representations of gender in TV drama are often one-dimensional but Killing Eve, a new set text for OCR and Eduqas offers something a little more interesting to students applying gender theory to media texts. Caroline Birks explains how production contexts play a significant role in the types of representations we see with a focus on the opening episode.

Ten thousand years of lunacy: Kirsty Worrow explores the oppositional world of Luis Bunuel’s incendiary follow-up to Un Chien Andalour, L’Age d’Or.

Dahmer: The viewing public have long been obsessed with the grizzly details of true crime and Jeffrey Dahmer’s story has been told multiple times before the 2022 drama Dahmer – Monster. But in the wake of streaming services and binge-watching, the impact of that obsession, arguses, Viki Carter, has become more problematic.

You need a montage! The editing technique associated with early Russian cinema fell out of favour in modern Hollywood, but with the rise of TikTok, montage editing is making a comeback.

Let’s exchange the experience: the enduring power of Kate Bush: In 2022, a song captured the imaginations of a generation of teenagers who knew almost nothing about the artist who wrote and performed it. James Rose explains how a scene in Stranger Things that used the track Running up that Hill has turned a whole generation onto Kate Bush, one of the UK’s most original and creative singer songwriters.

We ‘auteur’ know better! Mark Ramey on the limits of Auteur Theory.

Careers download: In this issue we caught up with Director of Photography Angus Steele to hear about his filmmaking work.

Marvel cinematic university: What can Marvel teach us about postmodernism? Your regular lecturer Caroline Reid explains, with reference to She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

Media Magazine, Winter 2022

Black Panther? It’s like they never talked to an African! As Wakanda Forever hits our screens, Matthew Daintry-Hall talks to East African audiences and filmmakers about some problematic issues of representation in the blockbuster franchise.

GQ: interview with Stuart McGurk: GQ magazine is studies by AL and GCSE students alike. But what’s it really like to be one of the key decision makers at one of the UK’s best-selling men’s lifestyle magazines? We caught up with Stuart McGurk, now a freelance editor but formerly Associate Editor at GQ UK and asked him the questions that Media students need answers to! This article supports your unit on Magazines: Changing Representations.

The changing TV industry reflected in Black Mirror: Technology-based anthology drama Black Mirror started out as a quirky Channel 4 programme but is now a global Netflix hit. Focusing on ‘San Junipero’, Philip Bishop explores how changes to the show’s production reflect some of the ways the televsion industry itself is evolving. This article supports your unit on Television in the Global Age.

BBC: in the balance? With its funding under threat and criticism of its supposed impartiality more vical than ever, the BBC’s enemies are circling. But, asks Giles Gough, is the BBC actually its own worst enemy? This article supports your unit on Television in the Global Age.

Top Gun is not fun: The nostalgia-driven Top Gun blockbuster of summer 2022 was celebrated by many for its lack of ‘woke agenda; a film everyone could enjoy without worrying about race and gender inequalities. But scratch the surface and you’ll see a more alarming subtext.

One upon a time in the Midlands: Peaky Blinders and the making of a franchise: Lethal gang violence has never been more stylish than in Peaky Blinders – a TV show that captured the imagination of viewers more than most. Jonathan Nunns looks at what gives the show its unique look and its ever-expanding catalogue of spin-offs.

The theory drop: Clay Shirky: Clay Shirky’s book, Here Comes Everybody, is about the emancipatory power of the internet. Mark Dixon stage dives into the audience, to see what’s changed since the emergence of ‘web 2.0’.

Ideology and La La Land: On one level, La La Land is a film about singing and dancing, but viewed through different ideological interpretations, new angles open up. Steve Merrell takes us through the la-la-lens of ideology to explore more ways of reading this film text.

Lizzo: Lizzo has been leading the way with body positive female empowerment in her music and videos. Sophie Gower turns up the music and turns downs the lights to see what’s happening in About Damn Time. This article supports your unit on Selling Images – Advertising and Music Video.

Chanelling content: With attention spand falling, do traditional linear TV shows – especially news and opinion shows – have anu future? Or is Piers Morgan actually right – that the future is all about shared clips? If so, what dies £50 million get you? Chris Welch takes a look at what’s going on. This article supports your unit on Television in the Global Age.

Retrocop?: The Life on Mars formula – modern cop wakes up in the past – has gone worldwide, but what can these different versions tell us about nostalgia and how it relates to history?

Double Indemnity: sounds sense: Billy Wilder’s moody masterpiece is a perfect example of a 1940s film noir. In this article, Michael Massey analyses the way sound is used to establish the characters and narrative.

Problematic (xmas) faves: Be it The Holiday, Die Hard or Home Alone, many of us revisit the same few Christmas films year after year. But have these films moved with the rapidly changing times? Some of MediaMag’s regular writers examine their problematic faves.

Careers download: Whitney Otti: Motion graphic designer: MediaMagazine caught up with Whitney Otti to find out more about the life of a motion graphics designer.

Marvel cinematic university: Caroline Reid explains what we can learn about the film industry by studying Scarlett Johansson and Black Widow. This article supports your unit on Film Industries.

Media Magazine, Autumn 2022

It was better back then… Netflix’ Stranger Things and the desire for nostalgia: With its deluge of 1980s reference points, Stranger Things could just be a clever-clever postmodern ticklist, but it’s much more than that. James Rose wallows in the warm glow of its nostalgia.

Social media, feminism and celebrity: Social media has opened the door to fame and worldwide exposure for many young women, supposedly revealing their authentic selves. But how healthy is it, asks Sophie Muir, and how authentic a view are they getting?

Studying Selma: Interweaving inspiration with humiliation and the violent with the valiant, Selma is an impressive piece of filmmaking. Sue Barnard explores why it’s worth watching as a film in its own right and as a view into the long march to racial justice in the USA.

Silence made visible: expanding representations of deafness: Representation is only the first step in the biger picture of showing the full scope of human experience on the screen. James Middleditch looks at important moments in the representation of the deaf community and what happens next.

Seeing with a different eye: making sense of Un Chien Andalou: It’s one of the classics of surrealist genre, but what does it all mean? Kirsty Worrow tries to make sense of a film that seems designed to evade rational interpretation.

The theory drop: David Hesmondhalgh: Art and business seem worlds apart but Hesmondhalgh has written extensively about the constant tension between shareholders and creatives in the cultural industries. Here, April McCarthy applies these ideas to reality television.

Women in Captain Fantastic: The members of the Cash family in ‘Captain Fantastic’ are anything but ordinary. Yet the female characters in Matt Ross’ 2016 film rely on well-worn stereotypes of femininity and offer viewers notyjing to challenge dominant gender roles.

Loving Late Night ‘Woman’s Hour’: As a fan of Radio 4 and a listener to ‘earning morning’ ‘Woman’s Hour’, Caroline Birks took on the challenge of tuning in to the ‘Late Night’ version to see what it offers modern female audiences.

Still swimming against the mainstream: In MediaMag issue 80, we looked at hw two recently established newspapers, ‘The Byline Times’ and ‘The Bristol Cable’ swam against the prevailing tide (and conventional wisdom) to launch new independent news publications at a time of falling newspaper readership. This time, we pick up the story by looking at the kinds of stories they’ve been covering and what they have planned for the future. This article supports your unit on News in the Online Age.

Conflict in ‘District 9’ and ‘The Grandmaster’: Conflict makes good cinema – good guys and bad guys are battling it out all the time on our screens – but what happens when the smoke clears and the guns fall silent? Darren Bird looks at ‘District 9’ and ‘The Grandmaster’ to see what lies beneath simplistic notions of good and evil.

Waging the propaganda war: Russia vs Ukraine: ‘The first casulty of war is the truth’, the saying goes and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the propaganda war was fought on multiple fronts. Jonathan Nunns takes a look at the early months of the conflict and asks who Putin was really trying to convince.

The fall of Netflix and what it means for the animation industry: In the currently flooded VOD market, Netflix is struggling to maintain its share of subscribers. But what does that mean for all the brilliant animation it has shown over the past decade? Laurence Russell breaks the bad news.

Careers download: Shaheena Uddin: MediaMag contributor and video journalist Shaheena Uddin shares her tips and advice for breaking into the media industries.