March 20, 2023

When someone mentions the fall season, our minds instantly go to pumpkin spice and multicolored leaves. But what about the movies and TV shows that make us think about autumn?

There are obvious things that feel like the autumn season. The familiar feeling of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” Thanksgiving specials for television series favorites or scary movies to run a chill down your spine just in time for Halloween’s spooky season all fall into this category. 

That is because those holidays and genres of movies or TV shows can be themed explicitly to a specific season. But there are also subtle aspects of film that make people associate them with the fall aesthetic.

For example, many people associate the television series “Gilmore Girls” with the fall season. The television series follows the lives of a young single mom and her teenage daughter. The show is in a cozy small town with plenty of friendly people, the classic town diner and a loving mother-daughter relationship.

Avery Lang, sophomore worship arts and ministry major, shares her experience with “Gilmore Girls” and why it reminds her of the fall season.

“There are a lot of things about ‘Gilmore Girls’ that make people associate it with the fall season,” Lang said. “The first thing shown during the theme song is a town surrounded by fall-colored trees, so that puts people in a cozy mood right from the start.”

Micheal Eaton, professor of film studies and film production, provides an inside look at the cinematography that creates a cozy autumnal atmosphere.

Eaton mentions the phrase “Mise en scène,” which Oxford Languages defines as “the arrangement of scenery and stage properties in a play.” 

“Mise en scène is a film term that refers to everything placed on the stage or in front of the camera, including the people, that contributes to the visual presentation and overall ‘look’ of the film,” said Professor
Eaton.

Everything within the camera’s shot is intentional and contributes to the “feeling” of the production.

Aside from the aspects that make viewers associate content with fall, like a Halloween episode or a scene at a pumpkin patch, many other factors contribute to the overall “fall feeling” media has. 

Simple details like a slight breeze blowing through the protagonist’s hair or warm sunlight peeking through a cloudy afternoon contribute in small ways to trigger the audience’s association with autumn.

“Location, lighting, costumes and sometimes special effects, such as wind machines or fake snow, can be used to indicate that it is a blustery fall day on a movie set,” said Eaton, whose favorite fall film is “Good Will Hunting.”

Fall is a beloved season to many, especially on a campus like California Baptist University, where so many students cannot wait to beat the heat.

Kaelyn Mondo, sophomore psychology major, shared her favorite television series that puts her in the fall mood.

“‘Virgin River’ is the perfect fall show because of its setting and the vibe of the town where it takes place,” Mondo said. “It instantly transports me to that fall feeling.”

Get ready for this fall season and cozy up to a movie or television series like “Gilmore Girls,” “Virgin River” or “Good Will Hunting.”

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