Television in Transition: The Life and Afterlife of the Narrative Action Hero

Overview

From a few national broadcasters to hundreds of digital channels and from a box in the living room to screens of every size, everywhere, television looks and feels very different now. Today television programming must "translate" to different nations, cultures, broadcast systems; different formats, distribution outlets, and screen sizes, while simultaneously attracting and sustaining audience interest over the time it takes to travel through these spaces.

Blending institutional ...

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Overview

From a few national broadcasters to hundreds of digital channels and from a box in the living room to screens of every size, everywhere, television looks and feels very different now. Today television programming must "translate" to different nations, cultures, broadcast systems; different formats, distribution outlets, and screen sizes, while simultaneously attracting and sustaining audience interest over the time it takes to travel through these spaces.

Blending institutional and textual analyses, Television in Transition examines the return to action narratives with individual (super) heroes intended to navigate this new, international, multi-channel universe. Case studies of Highlander: The Series, Smallville, 24, and Doctor Who call up new questions of political, economic and cultural citizenship, crossing borders, splitting affinities, and pushing boundaries through reinterpretations of long-time televisual representational themes (white masculinity, heroism, nation, genre, etc.) within this era of transformation and perceived industry crisis.

Television in Transition examines the narrative and institutional paradigms of textual afterlife to offer a highly original explanation of how innovation takes place within the television industry's management of predictability, risk, and familiarity.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Shawn Shimpach's Television in Transition is a timely and original study of the complex industrial and textual dynamics of contemporary televisoin production. . . Like the industry it examines, Television in Transition's thesis is multifaceted, but Shimpach does an excellent job in guiding the reader through the new narratives and spatio-temporal configurations of TVIII." (Popular Communication, 12 July 2011)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405185356
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Shawn Shimpach is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research has appeared in the online scholarly fourm FLOW, as well as in many journals, including Social Semiotics and Cultural Studies and in the collectin Media and Public Sphere.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii

Introduction: The Time and Space of Television in Transition 1

1 Television in Transition 14

2 The Hero 30

3 How to Watch Television 48

4 Highlander: The Immortal Cosmopolitan 66

5 Smallville: "No Flights, No Tights": Doing Business with Superman 94

6 24: In Real Time 125

7 Doctor Who: Regeneration through Time and (Relative Dimensions in) Space 152

Conclusion: Do We Need Another Hero? 179

Notes 190

References 209

Index 227

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