About cult tv

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In response to the contextual concept of Cult Television programs. Hills (509) stated that there are three distinct views on what cult television signifies.

Textual Interpretation

To begin, cult television can be characterized in the sense of textual interpretation, which is dependent on the texts. For example, the textual interpretation is based on characteristics that are shared by many cult television shows and may hence be designed individually, as is often seen in media producers.

Analysis of Secondary Texts

Second, cult television can be interpreted by analyzing secondary texts, intertexts, and being based on intertexts. The implication is that one would get to examine media channels such as the newspapers coverage and other commercial print media that tend to describe cult programs (Hills, 510).

Analysis of Fan Practices

Thirdly, the author notes that cult television can be understood from analysis of the programs' fan practices which rely on the respective fan activities and related involvements. This paper, therefore, discusses two of the latest cult TV programs Arrow-2012 and Empire-2015, to find out how they qualify to be cult TV in regards to Hill's textual definition.

Arrow-2012 TV Series

The 2012-trending TV series is based features a multi-billionaire's son Oliver Queen. The series momentum begins when Oliver Queen and his father on a tour of the sea finally get lost in the middle of the see when the luxurious yacht they were touring on finally sinks in the middle of the see due to unbearable storms and heavy rains. Fortunately, Oliver the only survivor of the ordeal thereof lived on the Island for five long years eventually returns to the city. While on the Island, he was never alone but under the company mercenaries where besides learning fighting skills as well as survival tactics, he learned of his father's unfair dealing and involvement in corrupt businesses in the city. As such, he was driven to come back to the city with the aim and purpose of righting the wrongs that his father did. He returns to the city a refine, informed person man determine to change the city for better lives with zero tolerant to corruption and corrupt dealings. Hence, he is forced to live two live, that of the innocent Oliver five years ago and the other a night vision vigilante watching every occurrence and listening to every event in the city at night.

Empire-2015 TV Series

An empire like the title suggests does a story based on a street-smart Luscious Lyon who finally rises to be a multi-billionaire own a music company and the leading in the music industry. His acquisition of the industry follows drug dealing ordeals which saw his wife Cookie sent to jail taking blame for the for the family. Luscious Lyon, thus, is left to raise their three children for the better part of their lives in the company of a second wife married while Cookie is in prison. The events rise to the climax when Cookie is finally released from prison and needs her equal share of the wealth. On the other hand, Luscious is diagnosed with a terminal illness ALS hence is forced with the hard decision and conflicting personal interest in choosing a success among his three sons to lead the empire music business. The unfolding events see the family separate while their sons even though rebellious, try to make their own live independent of their father's wealth and control.

Comparison and Contrast

Comparison and contrast of the two highlighted television programs in reference to Hill's textual analysis show that programs share certain qualities as can be identified from major themes (Hills, 511). For example, there is the common theme of sacrifice where parents are depicted to be so much loving and would do anything to ensure that their children survive the tests of time. The audience is moved by such themes when Oliver Queen's father while in the middle of the see kills himself in order to ensure that his son's survival probabilities are increased when he manages to remain afloat and finally rests on the island. In comparison, Cookie willingly took the blame for her husband at the time when they were struggling in life and doing all odds to make ends meet. Such was the situation that she finally had to go to prison taking blame for the entire family and ensure that her husband remained free and was able to continue supporting their children.

Similarly, both have the thematic connection to the rebellion that is a characteristic of many families or at least has been the experience in any family and is thus moved by the reality that is exemplified in the scenes besides their moral purposes in the series. For instance, while Oliver is rebellious of his mother's continued support of the corrupt deals which he is fighting to eliminated, Jamal and Hakim in Empire are determined to rebel their father who is under the illusion that they cannot survive 0on their own. Whereas the audience is able to realize that a time comes when children are grown ups and their decisions to be respected, they learn how to so in a hard way. As such, the identified television programs qualify as cult TV programs for being aesthetically thematic (Hill, 510).The TV series as proposed by Hills are considered Cult TV they share certain common textual attributes. For example, the stories are based on fantastic narratives worlds which the audience would die for to encounter hence the derived moral lessons.

Taking into account that the production of a television program episode after an episode is based on the demand by fans, it is imperative to note that the fans involvement and association with the programs determine the future of the programs. These can be either to stop its production or continue.


to Hill textual analysis, characterize the series as cult TV based on definition three where cult TVs are defined by the analysis of the fan’s practices as well as their activities. For instance, the series are much identical in their ability to deliver to the fans substantial creative fan arts. The themes analysis reveals that the intended revelations of intended messages are delivered through various genres encompassing science fictions, fantasies, as well as horrific experiences. Moreover, the geographies in the Arrow series are landscapes that are mysterious; those in Empire are situations of normal living completion where competition and value are the business motivators. Considering fans activities, the majority of audience target by the Empire series is those with interest in music and its accompanying components such as dance styles and stage performances. On the other handle, science and fiction lovers find Arrow attractive. It is for this reason that Arrow followers have been putting on woods whenever they are spotted walking along the streets.

Finally, the programs are perfect examples of cult TV based on their ability to represent diverse types of relationships. According to Hills (512), such relationships are always non-sexual as attributed to the textual attributes of Cult TV. Hills noted that “Because active heterosexuality must continually be reined in if it is not to effect a collapse of the exotic-fantastic into suburban domesticity, protagonists’ primary relationships usually fall into one or two categories”(Hill,512). For example, in Arrow, Oliver elopes with his fiancé's sister whom he had a crush on. This is a primary type of relationship between a male and a female depicted in many cult TV programs which have been characterized to signal mutuality of sexual attraction but not fulfilled. In contrast, Empire exemplifies relationships between characters of the same sex. Such is highlighted when Jamal second born in Luscious’ family reveals to the public during his performance that he is gay. On the same note, Tiana reveals her lesbianism.


Concisely, cult TV has many common factors that enable them to be recognized. Even though the definition of Cult is viewed as abstract, the available information provided b Hills in his textual analysis reveals a lot in the characteristics of Cult TV series. Hence, it is the common characteristics and similar lines of stories development that make them entertaining and educative. Above all, the key qualities make them standard out such that each episode leaves the audience in suspense and urged to find and know more resulting in continued production.

Work Cited

Hills, Matt. "Defining cult TV: Texts, inter-texts and fan audiences." The television studies reader (2004): 509-10.

November 03, 2022

Literature Sociology


Communication News media

Subject area:

Understanding Audience Media

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Expertise Media
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