Routledge – 2008 – 224 pages
Series: Communication and Society
Television entertainment rules supreme, one of the world’s most important disseminators of information, ideas, and amusement. More than a parade of little figures in a box, it is deeply embedded in everyday life, in how we think, what we think and care about, and who we think and care about it with.
But is television entertainment art? Why do so many love it and so many hate or fear it? Does it offer a window to the world, or images of a fake world? How is it political and how does it address us as citizens? What powers does it hold, and what powers do we have over it? Or, for that matter, what is television these days, in an era of rapidly developing technologies, media platforms, and globalization? Written especially for students, Television Entertainment addresses these and other key questions that we regularly ask, or should ask. Jonathan Gray offers a lively and dynamic, thematically based overview with examples from recent and current television, including Lost, reality television, The Sopranos, The Simpsons, political satire, Grey’s Anatomy, The West Wing, soaps, and 24.
'Even as media research internationalises and digital convergence shifts earlier assumptions, US television remains a crucial reference-point. In this elegantly written book, Jonathan Gray confirms he is one of our most sure-footed guides through television's complex intersections between politics and entertainment, economics and signification, pleasure and power. Highly recommended!' - Nick Couldry, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK
'Television Entertainment is masterful in both its breadth and detail. Gray compellingly and accessibly weaves together the current thinking on television entertainment and skillfully engages an extraordinary range of the most recent literature. The book provides an essential starting point for understanding the past and present of many key topics in television studies.' - Amanda D. Lotz, University of Michigan, USA
'Gray's theoretical and critical overview is comprehensive, his programming examples are specific, his analysis is extended and thoughtful, his questions are provocative, his tone is balanced, and his prose is jargon-free. This book is likely to inspire further inspiration… Highly recommended.' - CHOICE
'Through complex and dense, yet well-structured and clear, arguments, the book offers a valuable and insightful overview of television entertainment. Dynamically establishing this broad yet distinct category in television and media studies, it is a helpful tool for teaching and opens the way for further research in this area. - Critical Studies in Television
Introduction – What Is Television Entertainment? Chapter 1 – Art with Strings Attached: Creativity, Innovation, and Industry Chapter 2 – Broadcasting Identities: Affect, Fantasy, and Meaning Chapter 3 – Television Unboxed: Expansion, Overflow, and Synergy Chapter 4 – Keeping it Real: Reality and Representation Chapter 5 – Plugged In: Politics and Citizenship Chapter 6 – Channel Interference: Television and Power Bibliography Index
Jonathan Gray is Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University. He is author of Watching with The Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality, and co-editor of Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World and Battleground: The Media.