WXXI AM News

television

Are sitcoms dying? As TV habits continue to change, viewers are moving further away from appointment viewing and the days of “Must-See TV.” But with the return of shows like Will & Grace, Roseanne, and others, could the sitcom be making a comeback? Or is the format back, but are we watching it in different ways?

We discuss the future of TV viewing with our guests:

  • Todd Sodano, associate professor of media and communication, and director of the Film and Television Studies Program at St. John Fisher College
  • Katie Libby, freelance writer and pop culture enthusiast
  • Juan Vazquez, digital engagement facilitator for WXXI News
  • Joy Press, author of Stealing the Show

A recent piece in the Washington Post is examining the heroes in romantic comedies in a new light. It argues that now, in the midst of the #MeToo movement, the persistence and grand gestures of men in films like Sixteen Candles and Say Anything are not romantic, but harassment.

Critics say they're just films and we should watch them with that in mind, but others say the media we create can reinforce or warn against certain behaviors in our society. We break it all down with our guests:

  • Monica Hesse, author and staff writer for the Washington Post
  • Esther Winter, local actor, choreographer, and director
  • Patti Lewis, local actor, director, and teaching artist
  • Jack Feerick, critic at large for PopDose.com and former critic for Kirkus Reviews

Will & Grace is back with new episodes, and a Roseanne revival is set to premiere next month. Plus, there are rumors of a Seinfeld reboot. Fans of these shows are excited about them returning to their screens. So why do we love seeing specific characters and shows back on TV after years off the air?

Our guests talk about nostalgia, and what the teams behind the revival shows need to do to keep their audiences watching. In studio:

  • Bob Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University
  • Kate Sweeney, TV fan and co-organizer of Ambush Rochester
  • Tom Proietti, resident scholar in media at St. John Fisher College 

The sitcom Will and Grace is making its return to the airwaves on Thursday, after finishing an eight year run in 2006. Former Vice President Joe Biden credited the show with educating Americans about LGBTQ issues.

We discuss the evolution of gay characters on screen, and whether the show deserves its reputation. In studio:

Was Seinfeld better than Breaking Bad? Was Cheers better than The Simpsons? And is binge watching going to permanently alter the quality and impact of great shows? A new book from two of the top critics in the country runs down the greatest shows, and why. It's called TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time. One of the co-authors, Matt Zoller Seitz, won the Pultizer Prize for Criticism. He's coming to Western New York this week, but he joins us first:

  • Matt Zoller Seitz, television critic and author
  • Eric Grode, regular contributor to the New York Times culture section and director of the Goldring Arts Journalism Program at Syracuse University

In the first part of the show, we take a look at a new project designed to digitally recreate Rochester's old train station. With us is Joan Saab, one of the people trying to create a 3-D online model of Rochester's Third New York central station.

Then we'll try to answer the question, "Why are there so few modern-day Alices?" We're talking with Tom Proietti about actress Ann B. Davis, who passed away this week. She played Alice on the Brady Bunch, and it seems there are few, if any, modern stars who have found a place in our hearts like she did. Why is that? What has changed with entertainment?