Super Heroes and Soap Operas – Episode 46

Have you ever made fun of Soap Operas? How about Professional Wrestling? If so you might be a little shocked when you listen to this episode and discover how many of our favorite geeky tv shows are essentially soap operas. We go over what makes a soap opera ( and then see if those characteristics apply to many of our favorite TV shows such as The Walking Dead, The Flash, The Arrow, Gotham, Agents of SHIELD and even Doctor Who. Which shows are basically Soap Operas with Ninjas and which ones brush off the tired tropes? Well for the answer you will have to listen to the episode, but we will give you one free hint … “You Have Failed This Genre!”

Our Trivia Question for this week is, which classic TV show and Movie does Nik get the name “August Christopher” from for many of his video game characters. Reply to this episode post for a chance to win!

Top News (
1 – Netflix Plans to do clean edits of material
2 – Steven Moffat on the lookout for new Doctor Who show runner
3 – Chronicles of Shannara premiered on MTV

What did you think? Do you have any news stories that you would like us to discuss? How about your shows, did they make the Soap Opera Cut or do they stay something unique? We want to know! Get in touch with us!

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4 thoughts on “Super Heroes and Soap Operas – Episode 46

  1. I’m kinda sad. You guys both dismissed Teen Wolf pretty brazenly, despite not having watched it. Even the note that someone you know likes it wasn’t enough to curb a casual judgement based on hot, empty air.

    The sad thing is that Teen Wolf lines up exactly in the lane of other media that you both so readily consume. It follows a young teen in high school as he is introduced to a world of superpowers and forced to take on greater and greater responsibility. He gains and loses mentors, he has a devoted best friend / brother figure as the core relationship of drama, he has rivals and enemies in his ascension to heroic status, he has a complex romantic subplot, and the whole show makes an effort to address young people’s drama in things like A) scholastic ambition and expectations, B) sports, C) drugs and peer pressure, D) sex and relationships, E) mental illness, F) parent/child relationships, and oh, yeah, what to do when your classmates are being murdered or turned into supernatural monsters every week. The series makes a particular visual effort to mimic classic horror film tropes, and while it can veer into corny stuff with the fight scenes, in general it gets much, much creepier than new Doctor Who does, and makes a specific aesthetic effort to live up to the horror genre.

    This is what gets me, tho! I don’t see any difference between Teen Wolf’s Scott McCall and the story of Peter Parker, or Luke Skywalker, or any other teen superhero / chosen one. The tropes are all there. But you dismiss the show.

    Hard reality about Teen Wolf: its not a perfect series, and seasons 4 and 5 have gone the loopy way of many dramas who don’t know how to handle a longer format. This season’s plot is so complicated I can’t even try to explain. But for at least three seasons Teen Wolf has been a decently made genre series about the young hero and his rag-tag group of friends as they defend their town and gain supernatural powers. It has a mix of very good actors and mediocre actors, some very good directors and some mediocre directors. It’s no more silly than any given episode of Doctor Who, and takes a more serious approach to its genre than most of DW does.

    I’m not saying it’s better than Doctor Who–Doctor Who is too vast over too many years to ever condense for such a judgment– but I’m saying that these are both examples of young adult media that pull from the same well and appeal to similar nerd audiences. In Teen Wolf, for example, there’s an entire episode set in a mental asylum that is a virtual love letter to horror films.

    If they titled ‘Teen Wolf’ something like ‘Tooth and Claw’ then sold it as a comic book you guys would eat this shit up. It’s geek chocolate, with all the good and the bad luggage that such designation brings. But you don’t–you just saw it was on MTV, you went along with what you were told, and you dismissed it as a melodrama, probably a bad one. In fact, knowing that the Shannara pilot being good wasn’t even enough for you to give Teen Wolf a second consideration, when it’s the success of Teen Wolf with its youth audience that has laid the groundwork for future scripted content being succesful on MTV.

    Is it the next Game of Thrones? No, but then very few shows are. It’s certainly decent enough to be worth discussing on a geek podcast. It’s a genre show that has been a hit on its network, has launched the franchise movie career of at least Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner), and has inspired fan conventions in multiple countries in the last five years. It is the biggest scripted show on MTV. It fills ballrooms in SDCC. Gosh darn, those darn kids do seem to like it.

    Since when is that level of output beneath your notice or your repsect? Or is something YA only worth consideration if it started 30+ years ago?

  2. Edit: So I hate to follow up on a strong concluding statement, but I forgot to say at the top that I enjoyed your soap opera discussion. Most superhero TV shows fit the soap concept, as do the ongoing hijinks inncomics over the decades. Good subject choice for discussion!

    Now go watch the first season of Teen Wolf, and once you’ve put your time in, then you have the right to b**** about it with the rest of us. Cheers.

    1. Hey, I didn’t mean to completely disregard the show. I apologize. I will watch the first 5 episodes this week and report back on the next episode! Thank you for your well thought out response!

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