Archive for December 20th, 2011

December 20, 2011

Monkey Tennis

jersey shore

hardcore pawn

Monkey Tennis‘ is a British pop culture phrase, first used in the late 1990s and popular throughout the 2000s. Originating as a joke in a television sitcom, it has come to be commonly used as an example of the hypothetical lowest common denominator television program that it is possible to make.

The term originates from the opening episode of the sitcom ‘I’m Alan Partridge,’ originally broadcast on BBC Two in 1997. In one scene the eponymous character of Partridge, a failed chat show host, desperately attempts to pitch program ideas to uninterested BBC executive who cancelled his first series. After failing to interest him in ideas plucked from thin air such as ‘Arm Wrestling With Chas & Dave,’ ‘Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank,’ ‘Inner-City Sumo’ and ‘Cooking in Prison,’ Partridge comes up with a final spur-of-the-moment suggestion, ‘Monkey Tennis?,’ which is met with similar disdain.

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December 20, 2011

Space Opera

Diva Plavalaguna

Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced technologies and abilities. The term has no relation to music and it is analogous to ‘soap opera.’ Perhaps the most significant trait of space opera is that settings, characters, battles, powers, and themes tend to be very large-scale.

Sometimes the term is used pejoratively to denote bad quality science fiction, but its meaning can differ, often describing a particular science fiction genre without any value judgement. The genre’s varying definitions were affected by literary politics, ‘what used to be science fantasy is now space opera, and what used to be space opera is entirely forgotten.’

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December 20, 2011

Horse Opera

roy rogers

A horse opera, or hoss opera, is a western movie or television series that is extremely clich├ęd or formulaic (in the manner of a soap opera). The term, which was originally coined by silent film-era Western star William S. Hart, is used variously to convey either disparagement or affection.

The name “horse opera” was also derived in part from the musical sequences frequently featured in these films and TV series which depicted a cowboy singing to his horse on-screen. The term “horse opera” is quite loosely defined; it does not specify a distinct sub-genre of the western (as “space opera” does with regard to the science fiction genre).

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December 20, 2011

Planetary Romance

planet stories

Planetary romance is a type of science fiction or science fantasy story in which the bulk of the action consists of adventures on one or more exotic alien planets, characterized by distinctive physical and cultural backgrounds. Some planetary romances take place against the background of a future culture where travel between worlds by spaceship is commonplace; others, particularly the earliest examples of the genre, do not, and invoke flying carpets, astral projection, or other methods of getting between planets. In either case, it is the planetside adventures which are the focus of the story, not the mode of travel.

As the name of the genre suggests, the planetary romance is an extension of late 19th and early 20th century adventure novels and pulp romances to a planetary setting. The pulp romance (of writers like H. Rider Haggard and Talbot Mundy) featured bold characters in exotic settings and ‘lost worlds’ such as South America, Africa, the Middle or Far East; a variant type took place in real or fictional countries of ancient and medieval times, and eventually contributed to the modern fantasy genre.

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December 20, 2011

Sword and Planet

a princess of mars by frank frazetta

Sword and Planet is a subgenre of science fantasy that features rousing adventure stories set on other planets, and usually featuring Earthmen as protagonists. The name derives from the heroes of the genre engaging their adversaries in hand to hand combat primarily with simple melee weapons such as swords, even in a setting that often has advanced technology.

Though there are works that herald the genre such as Percy Greg’s ‘Across The Zodiac’ (1880) and Edwin Lester Arnold’s ‘Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation’ (1905; published in the US in 1964 as ‘Gulliver of Mars’), the prototype for the genre is ‘A Princess of Mars’ by Edgar Rice Burroughs originally serialized by ‘All-Story’ in 1912.

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