Seinfeld’s establishing shots emphasize the role real locations played in making up the show’s fictional—sometimes surreal—portrayal of New York City. But in this supercut, the familiar funk of the show’s musical riffs begin and end in rapid succession. It produces, initially, a disconcerting effect—a kind of nothingness defined by the suspension of movement, of repetition, and of continually denying resolution to the viewer. As the music diminishes and the shots become more varied, it offers a gradual suppression of suspension opening into a hauntingly bleak vision of the show’s world: an empty, uninhabited segmentation of New York City. Through it all the convention of the form, the establishing shot, becomes a kind of mocking specter of loneliness, of desperation, and finally of despair.
Anthologies have often struggled with the need to contextualize the disparate stories on offer each week. The Twilight Zone brought Rod Sterling’s famous narration, Tales from the Crypt couched each story in the infectious cackles of the Crypt Keeper before inevitably zooming into a corresponding comic. But Goosebumps took the material inspiration for its stories a step farther, positing a world in which the pages spilling out from the mysterious strangers briefcase (marked “R.L. Stine”) enact a kind of material dissemination of darkness within the otherwise tranquil town below.
While some Transformers (like the Dinobots) have developed more elaborate transformations, the original crew tend towards more mundane logistical forms. The most iconic is Optimus Prime’s excursion from his recognizably robotic position as leader of the Autobots to the (other) toy marketing executives most associate with young male children.
The hit pack-in from Valve’s Orange Box introduced its players to a harsh world of testing and evaluation (“for science”).
In opposition to the flexible technologies of demand that accompany most logistical calls to action, the Bat-Signal’s blunt simplicity can be directed only to one fixed and singular purpose. Of all the various mechanisms for unleashing the crime-fighting potential of the caped crusader (including the rather more mundane, but daytime friendly, Bat Phone), none offers the iconic instantaneity of this illuminating symbol of justice within the darkness of Gotham City.
In a refreshingly materialist spin on the spiritual, Ghostbusters (1984) is forced to forge new ground in its efforts to exorcise ectoplasmic emanations. Acting at the intersection of supernatural studies and paranormal pest control, the logistics for the capture and containment of the undead finds form in proton packs (where the nuclear powered proton stream counters negative energy with a stream of positively charged ions) and the laser grid containment unit.