Tag: genre theory

Used To Be You Could Trust In the Story: Mr. Robot & Genre

Yes, '90s sitcom is a genre.

Below I assume at least a passing familiarity with the series Mr. Robot, and engage in spoilers for ep 2.6 of the same. (Also contains spoilers for Supernatural ep 5.8)

Since Mr. Robot started airing on USA Network (to general critical acclaim), I’ve been asking myself as I watched, is this a “genre show” or not? It takes place in a reality that has at least plausibly recently diverged from our own, no one has superpowers, there are no supernatural elements running amok, and really the only “super-” element present is the skill of the hackers portrayed.

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Genre’s “Evolution” Myth

Nick is sick and tired of these monday-to-friday recyclings of stale theory by these monkey-fighting think-pieces.

“This may be obvious, but is it true?”

So demands my favorite line in Tag Gallagher’s veritable molotov cocktail of genre criticism, “Shoot-Out At the Genre Corral”. An early inspiration for my own academic work seeking to shape a comprehensive theory of genre, this essay remains at least as relevant today as when it was published three decades ago. Gallagher’s aim was to question the very foundations of film genre theory: in particular the belief, widely shared amongst prominent scholars, that genres individually “evolved” in some biological way, eventually peaking at some perfect expression of the form and subsequently degenerating into mere parody or worse. Supposedly thus, genres were birthed, lived, came of glorious age, and then inevitably descended into dottage and death.

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