Thinking Outside the Box: A Contemporary Television Genre Reader

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From the Western and the sitcom to the game show and the reality series, genre has been at the center of television's identity since programming began in the 1940s. Thinking Outside the Box: A Contemporary Television Genre Reader brings together some of the best and most challenging scholarship about television genres, exploring their beginnings, their development, and their shaping by creators, networks, and viewers. While television genre was seen as static in the scholarship of the 1980s, Thinking Outside the Box explores the malleable and reflective nature of various TV programs. The book begins with a historical and theoretical overview of television genres and examines their influences on a national popular culture. The authors analyze less-studied genres such as cartoons, soap operas, and talk shows, locating their place and critical importance in American society. Thinking Outside the Box also examines the ways in which television genres have begun to blend together in recent years. Shows such as American Idol, The Osbournes, Fear Factor, and Trading Spaces are all examples of hybrid programming that illustrate the intuitive nature of genre and how its formulas succeed within mainstream television. The book closes with an investigation of American television's reach into foreign countries and its impact on the patterns of various genres worldwide. Thinking Outside the Box is an essential resource for understanding television's past and future. It is the first book to focus on genre as a significant process in the development of the TV industry and includes an epilogue that serves as a convenient bibliographic guide to further study. Instead of treating genre as a trivial categorization of various programs, Thinking Outside the Box makes a strong case for genre as essential to media-studies scholarship. Identifying historical continuities and envisioning trends, this is the richest and most up-to-date study of how television genres form, operate, and change.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Provides its readers with thoughtful, comprehensive surveys of genre scholarship written by leaders in the field, and a soon-to-be influential call for a cultural, pragmatic approach to television genre scholarship." --Carolyn Anderson, University of Massachusetts" --

"This good, well-crafted collection will be a useful tool for the undergraduate scholar who wants to see the new direction television is headed." --J. Dennis Bounds, Regent University" --

"A readable and understandable volume that is accessible to students and scholars.... This work is first-rate and ideal for an introductory course in television studies. It offers considerable breadth and sufficient depth for the student to gain a general overview of television and a sense of how television can be analyzed." --Journal of Popular Culture" --

"Argues strongly for the study of genre as a key to understanding television.... This is useful reading from a number of the key researchers helping to define a field of academic study." --Communication Booknotes Quarterly" --

"A thoughtful and useful roadmap to navigating this evolving landscape.... The ideas that Edgerton and Rose have assembled here deserve to be discussed again and again."--Television Quarterly" --

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813191942
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 11/5/2009
  • Series: None Ser.
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 945,919
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary R. Edgerton, professor and chair of the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts at Old Dominion University, is the author and editor of numerous books. Brian G. Rose teaches at Fordham University and is the editor of TV Genres and author of three other books.
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