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Genre and Television: From Cop Shows to Cartoons in American Culture 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0415969031
ISBN-10: 0415969034
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Mittell makes a strong case for a return to genre theory, history, and criticism within television studies as a means of understanding the production, distribution, and reception of television programs. Each of the case studies is compelling in its own terms, offering a deep picture of important trends in the history of American television." -- Henry Jenkins, MIT


"Genre and Television is an insightful, original, and well researched book and makes a significant and timely contribution to television studies." -- Annette Hill, University of Westminster, UK


"Jason Mittell re-energizes the field of genre study with this intriguing analysis of American television. From talk shows to cop shows to reality TV, Mittell eloquently demonstrates why genre still matters to TV creators, critics, and fans. Rigorously researched and theoretically-informed, Genre and Television makes a vital contribution to the field of cultural studies." -- Michael Curtin, University of Wisconsin-Madison


"Genres emerge from a dialectic of orthodoxy versus innovation, as the culture industries strive to blend predictability with surprise. By transcending the normal science of textual analysis and considering genres as industrial categories, Jason Mittell has done students of US television a considerable service." -- Toby Miller, Television & New Media

About the Author

Jason Mittell is Assistant Professor of of American Civilization and Film and Media Culture at Middlebury College. He has published essays in Cinema Journal, The Velvet Light Trap, Television and New Media, Film History, Journal of Popular Film and Television, and several anthologies. He lives in Middlebury, Vermont.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (June 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415969034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415969031
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Malvin VINE VOICE on January 7, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Genre and Television" by Jason Mittell is a scholarly but accessable study of television and American culture. Mr. Mittel demonstrates how genres function as cultural categories by stressing the interplay of historical processes, industrial practices, audience discources, text, genre mixing and parody. Interestingly, Mr. Mittel draws on the work of Michel Foucault to discuss how genres are crucial in developing and maintaining audience discourses where definitions, interpretations and evaluations may be challenged and revised over time. Mr. Mittell's mix of interesting and entertaining case studies combined with sophisticated analyses makes for fascinating reading and will no doubt prove to be a highly influential work within the media studies field.

Mr. Mittell presents a historiography of the quiz show to demonstrate how public policy decisions can shape genres. The radio origins of the quiz show provided a model of how the genre would be presented on television in the mid-1950s, with expectations of monetary awards, honest competition, a question and answer format, educational content and positive social value. As the reality of lotteries and scripting were discovered, the FCC strong-armed the industry into producing shows that conformed to what it perceived to be the mass audience' preferences and expectations.

Cartoons are discussed to illustrate the lasting impact that industrial practices can exert on genres. We learn how cartoons produced by Hollywood film studios for general theater audiences were re-broadcast on television for consumption by children in the Saturday morning timeslot.
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