There’s something about coming back from a long day of classes and heading straight for the computer or television that really relaxes sophomore, Emma Davis. The comparative cultures and politics student loves being captivated by characters and plot lines of certain shows that create a means of escape from her busy, homework infested college life.
“I think the excitement of adventure and danger and romance of fantasy shows allows us to escape our normal lives for an hour or so,” said Davis. “But it still allows us to relate through the inherently human themes of desire, lust, revenge, and sorrow.”
Once Upon A Time, created by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis (who also crafted the ABC drama, Lost), is a fantasy-based drama that follows the enthralling chronicles of well-known fairy tale characters Snow White, Prince Charming and the Evil Queen—but with a twist. Because of a horrible curse from the wicked Queen Regina, the beloved fairytale characters become stuck in our world, in a town called Storybrooke, Maine.
“While Once Upon a Time is based on fairy tales we all know and love, the shows writers have put their own twists on them, making the show both familiar and unexpected,” said Davis. “The idea of two dimensions, one in the ‘real world’ and one in the fairy tale world, is also very captivating.”
The reason the show is so captivating proves to be because of the relatable characters, something extremely imperative for any television program, and the escapism linked to it that helps college students de-stress, Davis explained.
“Fairy tales have lasted through the ages, which I think shows that while they may not be identical to our real lives, their are themes and ideas that run through them that sit true with all humans regardless of age, ethnicity, location and what have you,” Davis said.
Though fantasy has entranced audiences around the globe, a simpler genre has also gripped the public for years.
Back by popular demand and premiering on Netflix in the spring of 2013, Arrested Development centers on the Bluths, a dysfunctional, and often times idiotic, American family.
“I’m thrilled it’s coming back because it’s such a high quality comedy,” said Evan Adams, a political theory and constitutional democracy student. “During its air time it received Emmys and other notable accomplishments yet it was canceled prematurely. Maybe it was just ahead of its time.”
Filming for the fourth season began in early August, 2012, which, according to creator Mitchell Hurwitz, will be a predecessor for an upcoming theatrical film, as reported by The Huffington Post.
Because the show is premiering and running on Netflix, there is some outcry from audiences.
“It being on Netflix is disappointing, but it just further makes the point that people don’t always appreciate quality writing and performance in TV and film,” Adams said. “Either way, I’ll watch it.”
New to NBC this season, The New Normal follows the family of David and Bryan, an overjoyed homosexual couple from Los Angeles that are in the process of adopting a baby from a surrogate.
“This show is important because it represents homosexuality becoming more accepted and more mainstream,” said Emily Snoek, a women’s studies and social relations and policy senior. “Having a show focused on gay characters is new and valuable. It just shows how much more mainstream the LGBT community and issues are becoming.”
The New Normal brings relatable humor and heightened social issues to the forefront that blend, according to Snoek, into an entertaining and emotional plot that can relate well to the LGBT community, including the one at MSU.
“I believe the media is an incredibly important way to view what is happening in society,” said Snoek. “The New Normal shows that the media is paying attention to a new and important demographic.”
While Arrested Development, Once Upon A Time and The New Normal are supremely different programs, they captivate audiences and are important to what is going on in society today. Aside from this, they are a perfect way to relax after a tiresome day and to escape into a whole new world.
Davis explained, “We live vicariously through these characters and that somehow fulfills our desire for the adventure, humor and romance while we relax on our sofas.”