Pop Life

WAER's Joe Lee is joined be a rotating array of expert guests to discuss significant, work, events and milestones in popular culture.

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Supernatural, the WB network television series about two brothers who follow in their father’s footsteps as hunters fighting evil supernatural beings, has developed one of the most devoted fanbases of any popular American TV show.  For 15 seasons, Supernatural offered its fans compelling storylines, riveting characters, and an abundance of demon hunting.


There is little doubt about social media’s influence on American popular culture.  It influences our culture and our language including how we advocate, call to act, and use language to influence the behavior of others or silence them altogether.  This behavior has come to be known as cancel and callout culture.  On this episode of Pop Life, host Joe Lee visits with Charisse L’Pree, Syracuse University Associate Professor of Communications and author of 20th Century Media and the American Psyche: A Strange Love, to talk about cancel culture’s impact on pop culture entertainment.


Gone are the days when you had to wait for Christmas movies and specials like A Charlie Brown Christmas or A Christmas Carol to get scheduled for a one-and-done airing by the big three networks.  Today, outlets like the Hallmark Channel and streaming services like Netflix combined have more content than you can watch in an entire year.  Does the proliferation of this content make it less special?  Who are the major players?  What are the new classics?  Pop Life host Joe Lee is joined by Syracuse University Newhouse professor and popular TV expert, Bob Thompson, to discuss this and more.  


The recent passing of Alex Trebek, host of America’s favorite quiz show, represents the loss of a major pop culture icon.  The Jeopardy! host most known for his genial style and passion for trivia was a mainstay on television and a 7-time Daytime Emmy award-winner.

On this episode of Pop Life, host Joe Lee speaks with Claire McNear, staff writer at The Ringer and author of the new book Answers In The Form Of Questions: A Definitive History And Insider’s Guide To Jeopardy!  The two speak about Trebek’s success as show host and the impact that Jeopardy! has on American Popular culture.


Noted actor Sir Thomas Sean Connery passed on October 31, 2020 at the age of 90.  The actor, best known for is role as James Bond, left behind a legacy of work expanding 70 years.  On this episode of Pop Life, Joe Lee is joined by media scholar Bob Thompson of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University to discuss Connery’s body of work and the problematic nature of the James Bond character.  


HBO

The season finale of HBO’s Lovecraft Country left fans shocked and confused.  In this episode of Pop Life, host Joe Lee welcomes Lovecraft County author Matt Ruff back to the show to discuss the divergence of the television series and his novel in an effort to make sense of the series's shocking ending.  

The two compare and contrast the final chapter of the book, The Mark of Cain, to the final two episodes of the HBO series and discuss where the show might go from here.  


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Planning to limit your public engagement this Halloween?  If you need ideas for at-home entertainment, this episode of Pop Life promises to help you make it spooky and safe. 

Joe Lee is joined by Kendal R Phillips, professor of Communications & Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University and author of the book Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture, to discuss a few movies and shows to explore for a haunting good time during the global pandemic.


By now you have likely heard about Lovecraft Country, the dark, horror, fantasy series airing on HBO, but how much do you know about the source material?

On the latest episode of Pop Life, host Joe Lee speaks with Lovecraft Country author, Matt Ruff, about his book, its adaptation for television, and his thoughts on HBO’s vision for his acclaimed work.  The two discuss at length the intersection of racism and the science fiction genre and H.P. Lovecraft’s problematic inspiration for this story.


HBO

Lovecraft Country, a dark fantasy horror show adapted from the Matt Ruff novel of the same title, premiered on HBO this past Sunday.  It explores the conjunction between the horror fiction of H. P. Lovecraft and racism in the United States during the Jim Crow era as experienced by black science-fiction fan Atticus Turner and his family. 

Pop Life host Joe Lee and guest Kendall R. Phillips, Syracuse University professor of Communications and Rhetorical Studies, explore the mythological universe and the connected themes of H.P. Lovecraft, the Lovecraft Country novel by Matt Ruff, and the new HBO series Lovecraft Country, and what we can expect from the series this season.


The rise in popularity of the true crime genre has given us some memorable and moving content focusing on bizarre crime cases ripped straight from the headlines.  These shows and documentaries often introduce new theories, new evidence, and fresh perspectives on cases from the little known to those that gripped the nation.

What is driving this obsession? Why do we love to consume stories about the dark side of human behavior?


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