The Cult TV Book: From Star Trek to Dexter, New Approaches to TV Outside the Box

The Cult TV Book: From Star Trek to Dexter, New Approaches to TV Outside the Box

by Stacey Abbott (Editor)


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As evidenced by the recent proliferation of fan conventions, television show boxed sets, and collectible character figurines, cult TV shows have arguably become the most vital and interesting programming on television. The once-marginal genre manifests itself in a remarkable variety of programs, from the suburban mob drama The Sopranos to the beloved occult fantasy Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Cult TV Book is a guide to this phenomenon, complete with lively and diverse analyses of the work that goes into conceiving and marketing a cult series, as well as numerous investigations that explore the unique cult appeal of individual programs. Leading scholars, journalists, and writers consider the many aspects of a show — both script-based and visual — that attract the kind of uncompromisingly loyal fan bases that we know as “Trekkies,” for example, or, more recently, “Losties.”
The Cult TV Book sheds light on the heretofore under-examined science of addictive TV programming, pinpointing the complex arcs and intentionally inadequate explanations that keep viewers coming back for more. The contributors cover every corner of the cult map, all the while trying to define the elusive genre, to understand the cult TV obsession from the outside in.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593762766
Publisher: Soft Skull Press, Inc.
Publication date: 05/11/2010
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments x

About the Contributors xii

Introduction: 'Never Give Up-Never Surrender!': The Resilience of Cult Television Stacey Abbott 1

Part 1 Defining Cult TV: History, Aesthetics, Discourses

Chapter 1 Observations on Cult Television Roberta Pearson 7

Chapter 2 Members Only: Cult TV from Margins to Mainstream Sergio Angelini Miles Booy 19

Case Study: Twin Peaks-Miles Booy 28

Chapter 3 The Aesthetics of Cult Television Rhonda V. Wilcox 31

Chapter 4 Babylon 5 Sergio Angelini 41

Chapter 5 Playing Hard to ‘Get’-How to Write Cult TV Jane Espenson 45

Chapter 6 The Twilight Zone Stan Beeler 55

Part 2 Reading Cult TV: Texts and Contexts

Chapter 7 The Avengers/The New Avengers Paul Sutton 61

Chapter 8 Mainstream Cult Matt Hills 67

Case Study: Grey's Anatomy Hillary Robson 74

Chapter 9 Transgressive TV Jes Battis 77

Case Study: Trailer Park Boys Sharon Sutherland Sarah Swan 84

Case Study: Masters of Horror Donato Totaro 87

Chapter 10 Innovative TV Stacey Abbott 91

Case Study: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Stacey Abbott 100

Case Study: The Prisoner Sergio Angelini 103

Chapter 11 Representation: Exploring Issuses of Sex, Gender, and Race in Cult Television Lorna Jowett 107

Case Study: Angel Lorna Jowett 114

Case Study: Battlestar Galactica Bronwen Calvert 117

Chapter 12 Boldly Going: Music and Cult TV Jenet K. Halfyard 121

Part 3 Constructing Cult TV: The Broadcast Industry and Cult Television

Chapter 13 The Star Trek Franchise Lincoln Geraghty 131

Chapter 14 Cult TV and the Television Industry Catherine Johnson 135

Case Study: HBO and the Sopranos Catherine Johnson 148

Case Study: The Quatermass Serials Catherine Johnson 150

Chapter 15 Cult Channels: Showtime, FX, and Cult TV Simon Brown 155

Case Study: The X-Files Simon Brown 163

Chapter 16 Through the Oblong Window: The Regulated Duopoly and the Creation of a Cult Children's 'Canon' in Britain Tat Wood 167

Case Study: Bagpuss Tat Wood 175

Chapter 17 Cult TV and New Media Denzell Richards 179

Chapter 18 Doctor Who Miles Booy 189

Chapter 19 Writing Tie-ins Nancy Holder 191

Chapter 20 South Park David Simmons 199

Part 4 The Cult in Cult TV: Audiences, Fans, and Fandom

Chapter 21 Dark Shadows Stacey Abbott 205

Chapter 22 Television and the Cult Audience: A Primer Hillary Robson 209

Case Study: Da Ali G Show Hillary Robson 221

Chapter 23 The Cult of Cult TV? Dick Fiddy 225

Chapter 24 Subcultural Celebrity Matt Hills 233

Chapter 25 Sapphire & Steel Sergio Angelini 239

Chapter 26 Gen, Slash, OT3s, and Crossover-The Varieties of Fan Fiction Roz Kaveney 243

Works Cited 248

Television and Film Guide 260

Index 268

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