In the first few minutes of the opening episode of depression-era drama Damnation, one character asks another about the local farmers’ strike: ‘What are you striking against‘? The other replies: ‘The American economic system‘. As this pithy response suggests, Damnation is a mainstream US television series dramatising the struggle between capital and labour across 10 nail-biting episodes. It aired on the USA Network between November 2017 and January 2018 and is now to stream globally via Netflix. Damnation‘s viewing figures were low and a week after the season finale, the USA Network announced it would not be commissioning a second season. It’s not surprising it got cancelled after one season – what is surprising is that it got commissioned at all. So where does Damnation sit in the canon of woke US TV?
Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’
In the film Back to The Future, Doc Brown (played by Christopher Lloyd) is incredulous when Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) claims to have travelled back to 1955 from 1985 in a time machine invented by Doc’s future self. Doc Brown tests out Marty’s claim by asking him who the US President is in 1985. Doc’s response to hearing that it’s Hollywood star Ronald Reagan is sarcastic disbelief: “Ronald Reagan?!? The actor?!? Then who’s vice-president?!? Jerry Lewis?!?” However, as Doc learns more about the culture of 1985, he reflects that it makes perfect sense for the President to be an actor, as he has to look good on television.
Like Doc Brown, many of us are looking on in disbelief at the triumph of Donald Trump in the Republican Presidential race and his increasing strength in general election polling. In this post Heather argues that – like Back to the Future‘s Doc – if we reflect on the culture of 2016, we can understand why it makes sense for the President to be a Reality Television celebrity.