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Reflections of the Small Screen

Television has evolved into more than just an entertainment medium, but a reflection of modern day culture that offers insights into the various elements that constitute contemporary society. Television can likewise be a learning experience, as many narratives rely on historical facts, scientific theories and various subcultures for their storylines. The ABC crime drama Castle, for instance, has examined Steampunk and Real Life Superheroes within its episodes, while White Collar on the USA Network has woven the Amber Room of Russia and Culper Spy Ring of the American Revolutions into its installments. Literature can also serve as inspiration for a television series, as witnessed by another ABC drama, Revenge, which acts as a contemporary Count of Monte Cristo. In short, there is more to the images that are reflected on the small screen than meets the eye, whether one realizes it or not.


Alcatraz, Comic Books and Diego Soto Examination of Diego “Doc” Soto from the FOX drama Alcatraz, the past appearances of the famed prison in comic books and the influence of the medium on the series.

Alcatraz: The Real Alcatraz Examination of the notorious prison as depicted on the FOX drama Alcatraz as well as in the book Alcatraz: A Definitive History of the Penitentiary Years by Michael Esslinger.

Alien Invasions and Body Snatchers Exploration of alien-themed television dramas like Falling Skies and The X-Files and their similarities with the 1956 science fiction classic film Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Dexter: Investigating Cutting Edge Television Review of the book Dexter: Investigating Cutting Edge Television, which discusses many of the cultural and moral issues reflected in the Showtime series.

Dollhouse and Rossum's Universal Robots Exploration of the Joss Whedon drama Dollhouse and the 1920 Czech play Rossum’s Universal Robots, from which the Rossum Corporation took its name.

Dollhouse and Science Fiction Films of the 1980s Comparisons of the short-lived FOX drama Dollhouse to quintessential sci-fi films of the 1980s, including Blade Runner, Total Recall and The Terminator.

Dr. Horrible and How to Be a Villain Analysis of the lead character from the musical web series Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, using Neil Zawacki’s tongue-in-cheek book How to Be a Villain as a guideline.

Game of Thrones and Philosophy Exploration of the book Game of Thrones and Philosophy, with an emphasis on how the HBO drama reflects the political writings of Thomas Hobbes and Niccolo Machiavelli.

Grimm and the Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault Exploration of the various narratives on the NBC drama Grimm that directly relate to the stories of Charles Perrault, published under the moniker Mother Goose.

Justified and Harlan County Exploration of the Harlan County seen on the FX drama Justified and the real life Kentucky community depicted in the memoirs of G.C. Jones, Growing Up Hard in Harlan County.

Justified and the Family Blood Feuds of Kentucky Exploration of family blood feuds of rural America as exemplified by the Hatfields and McCoys, and how they compare to the conflict on the FX drama Justified.

Justified and the Lawmen of the US Marshal Service Examination of the US Marshal Service and the difference between a marshal and a lawman as reflected in Raylan Givens from the FX drama Justified.

The Killing and Twin Peaks Comparison of the AMC drama The Killing and the classic ABC series Twin Peaks that details similarities between the two murder mysteries that serve as the heart of both shows.

Leverage and The Big Con Examination of the book The Big Con by David Maurer, which recites the history of the early Twentieth Century confidence man, and how it relates to the TNT drama Leverage.

Leverage and San Diego Comic Con In a 2013 tie-in paperback novel, the team of former criminals from the TNT drama attend the annual convention and receive an initiation into the world of Geek Culture.

Modern Television Conmen and The Yellow Kid Examination of real life conman Joseph “The Yellow Kid” Weil and those found on television, including Neal Caffrey from White Collar and the team on Leverage.

The Origins of Dexter Morgan and Bruce Wayne Comparison of the origin stories of Dexter Morgan and Bruce Wayne as well as other similarities between the title character of the Showtime drama and Batman.

Person of Interest and Jason Bourne Examination of John Reese from the CBS drama Person of Interest and Jason Bourne from the trilogy of films starring Matt Damon, including their many shared similarities.

Person of Interest and Minority Report Examination of the CBS drama Person of Interest and Steven Spielberg film Minority Report, both of which explore worlds in which violent crimes can be predicted.

Person of Interest and The Shadow Factory Comparison of the surveillance system in the CBS drama Person of Interest and the real life capabilities of the NSA as outlined in the book The Shadow Factory.

The Philosophy of Felicia Day's The Guild Exploration of Nietzsche and nihilism as outlined in Luke Cuddy’s essay from World of Warcraft and Philosophy and how it relates to the webseries The Guild.

The Pre-Justified Adventures of Raylan Givens Exploration of the fictitious US Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens from the FX drama Justified and his initial appearances within the novels of Elmore Leonard.

Revenge and The Count of Monte Cristo Comparison of the ABC drama Revenge and the classic literary work by Alexandre Dumas, with an emphasis on main protagonists Edmond Dantès and Amanda Clarke.

Rubicon and the Art of Intelligence Examination of the AMC drama Rubicon through the eyes of API’s intelligence analysis capabilities and within the framework of David Omand’s book, Securing the State.

Sherlock and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Comparison of the contemporary Sherlock Holmes from the British drama Sherlock and the original Nineteenth Century iconic detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Survival Techniques for The Walking Dead Advice gathered from various Internet sources regarding how to prepare for a zombie uprising like the one witnessed on the AMC drama The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead and Philosophy Exploration of the book The Walking Dead and Philosophy, with an emphasis on how the AMC drama reflects the concepts of philosophical zombies and existentialism.

White Collar and Catch Me If You Can Exploration of the similarities between Neal Caffrey of the USA Network drama White Collar and Frank Abagnale Jr. from the book-turned-film Catch Me If You Can.

White Collar and Catherine the Great's Music Box Examination of the mythology from the first two seasons of the USA Network drama White Collar, which includes a music box and pilfered Nazi artwork.

White Collar and the Culper Ring Exploration of the spy ring used by George Washington during the Revolutionary War and the “Identity Crisis” episode of White Collar, which borrows from their history.

The X-Files and Men In Black Examination of real world Men In Black encounters, using the episode “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” from The X-Files and The Real Men In Black by Nick Redford as catalyst.

The X-Files and Roswell Examination of the events in Roswell, New Mexico, and how the supposed crash of a UFO in 1947 has been incorporated into the mythology of the classic FOX sci-fi drama The X-Files.


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