Culture Matters

Spherex's weekly insights into the globalization of entertainment.

Understanding international cultural trends and narratives is critical to the media and entertainment industry’s ability to adapt, evolve and innovate.


‘Family Guy’ Is So Controversial It’s Banned In Several Nations

In the very late-90s, Family Guy rose to fame in the United States. It is an animated TV series that often displays satire in many of its jokes. Multiple nations outright banned the series from broadcasting on their television networks. One country that prohibits the show is Egypt, according to Screen Rant. The ban was due to moral censorship and religious reasons. Russia removed Family Guy from the air because it was too immoral. Iran was not a fan of the series having gay characters. Other nations that banned the show are South Korea, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Offensiveness and indecency tend to be common complaints in countries without hefty free speech protections, according to CBR. Other countries have censored individual episodes instead. It is unknown if some nations lifted their ban on Family Guy. [Global]


Movie Studio Misgenders Laverne Cox’s ‘Promising Young Woman’ Role In Europe

Universal Pictures is postponing the international distribution of “Promising Young Woman” amid outrage that cisgender male actors were hired to dub Laverne Cox’s voice in European editions of the movie. [Europe]


20 Years of ‘Shrek’ and Its Curious, Controversial Scottish Legacy

Scotland has a complicated relationship with Hollywood’s depiction of [Shrek]. The earliest days of the film industry featured Scottish-focused stories, typically adaptations. There were no fewer than four silent adaptations of J.M. Barrie’s The Little Minister before a 1934 sound version gave us Katharine Hepburn rolling her Rs like a broken motorcycle. There are seemingly endless adaptations of The 39 Steps and Kidnapped, plus retellings of the story of Greyfriars Bobby. Such stories were almost exclusively ones of Highland mystery, picturesque scenery, men in kilts, and the overwhelming sense of Scotland as a magical, near-fantastical place. This would reach its zenith/nadir with the infamous musical Brigadoon, an agonizing series of cliches and butchered accents that feels like a bingo card collection of Scottish stereotypes. Like its many Hollywood predecessors, it’s Scotland as imagined by people who view the country solely through shortbread tin designs. Its cloying falseness was exacerbated by the now-legendary decision of MGM to shoot the entire production on a sound stage in California because they didn’t think the real thing looked Scottish enough for their liking. [Scotland]


The TV shows that reveal the real France

During the long, lonely evenings of lockdown, the world turned to French television. Series such as Call My Agent!, The Bureau, and Lupin were streamed globally and acclaimed for their flair and originality. An industry once derided for producing derivative melodrama – and always in the shadow of French cinema – finally seems to have found its own voice. Just as "Nordic Noir" captured the world's imagination at the start of this century, the past decade has seen the evolution of television's so-called "new French Wave". [France]


Proposed broadcast regulation legislation not ready for prime time

In an earlier age – when water was free and you paid for music – there was some reason for a broadcast regulator. Today: not so much, and in the expansive proposal now before Parliament, not at all. [Canada]

New TV series showcases ancient Pacific tales in the modern day

A new Pacific-themed drama and horror television series has been created for New Zealand. It is the country's first show to be written, directed, produced and crewed entirely by people of the Moana. [New Zealand]


Kerala High Court Stays CBFC Certification Of Malayalam Film 'Aquarium' On Nun's Plea That It Offends Religious Sentiments

The Kerala High Court has stayed for two weeks the certification granted to Malayalam Film 'Aquarium' slated to be released on an Over-The-Top Platform (OTT) 'Saina Top Play'. A Bench of Justice PV Kunhikrishnan issued the stay order upon a petition by a nun, Sister Josia. In Court, Senior Advocate George Poonthottam for Sister Josia argued that the film is highly defamatory to Roman Catholic Christians and stated that the film was slated to be released over OTT. [India]


Feature films banned on TV from July 1

Stakeholders in the Ghanaian film industry have resolved to stop the showing of feature films on television stations from Thursday, July 1. This was a fallout from a three-day strategy session organized by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) to understand the challenges and reasons behind the collapse of the Ghanian film industry. [Ghana]


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