Monday, January 09, 2017

Cult-TV Theme Watch: White Eyes

A few weeks back, I looked at eyes of black in cult-TV series, and what they typically signify.  This week, it’s time for a look at eyes of white in TV history.

In cult-TV history eyes of white have signified, largely, blindness.

But there’s another quality to discuss there too.  There are those who can’t see what most typically see, but their white eyes nonetheless suggest that these individuals possess other types of “sight.”

Geordi LaForge (Levar Burton) in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) is blind, of course, but through technology (his visor…) he possesses sight far beyond the capacities of normal man.  

Without his visor, Geordi’s eyes are white sightless orbs, but one can hardly claim the man can’t see.

Similarly, think of Cassandra Carver in Smallville (2001 – 2011), a woman with stark, white blind eyes, but also the “vision” of prophecy.  Her sightless eyes “see” a world in which a maniac, Lex Luthor, is in the white house.

This dynamic is repeated in Game of Thrones (2011 - ). Bran Stark is apparently both blind and imbued with a brand of second sight.

Sometimes white eyes do signify merely blindness (as they do with Wilma Deering in Buck Rogers’ “The Guardians”), but sometimes they represent forces beyond human nature too. 

The demons/angels of Supernatural (2005 - ) have white eyes, for instance, as do some demons on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003).  In their own way, white eyes can look as terrifying as black eyes do.

White eyes may also signify sickness or impending death.  Consider the dying Meta Probe astronauts of Space: 1999’s (1975-1977) “Breakaway,” for example.

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