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Reading between Designs: Visual Imagery and the Generation of Meaning in The Avengers, The Prisoner, and Doctor Who Paperback – June 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 267 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292709277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292709270
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,876,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The power to influence our concept of style lies in the hands of designers in television. Most people today can recognize 'a look' that a character projects. Steed and Emma Peel [of The Avengers] were the first to convey 'a look,' and their designers should be saluted. At the heart of this book lies the story of how the look came about." Madeline Ann Kozlowski, Professor of Drama, University of California, Irvine, and Emmy Award-winning costume designer for Pryor's Place

Review

The power to influence our concept of style lies in the hands of designers in television. Most people today can recognize ‘a look’ that a character projects. Steed and Emma Peel [of The Avengers] were the first to convey ‘a look,’ and their designers should be saluted. At the heart of this book lies the story of how the look came about. (Madeline Ann Kozlowski, Professor of Drama, University of California, Irvine, and Emmy Award-winning costume designer for Pryor’s Place)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
So this is what happens to people who watched a lot of TV when they were young, then went on to become professional students (humanities professors, in other words). They deconstruct their favorite TV shows.

In Reading Between Designs, authors Britton and Barker examine the set designs and costumes in The Avengers, The Prisoner, and Doctor Who. They discuss the changing look of the Avengers over the course of the show, especially the costumes of Steed. In the first few seasons, when the show was only seen in Great Britain, Steed was expensively attired, but within the norms of his class. Later on, he became not only a caricature of upper class snobbery, but a fop as well. Apparently, this played better in North America.

The Prisoner provides a wealth of possibilities for analysis with its contrived sets, carnival-like costumes, and the fact that no one really knows what it was all about. Never having watched Doctor Who, I skipped that section, but fans will surely enjoy the discussions of the designs of sets, gadgets, costumes, and characters.

The authors have a very clear and readable style, without the jargon and psycho-babble one might expect in an academic text of this kind. They even acknowledge the annoying habit many of their colleagues have of talking about "reading" television or film. With plenty of black-and-white photos to back up their theories and observations, this is quite an enjoyable book.
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