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SAGE Publications
Television Criticism / Edition 3

Television Criticism / Edition 3

by Victoria J. O'Donnell
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Television Criticism presents a four-part original treatment of television criticism with a foundational approach to the nature of criticism. Readers gain an understanding of the business of television, production background in creating television style, and are presented with in-depth chapters on storytelling, narrative theories and television genres.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781483377681
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Publication date: 03/04/2016
Edition description: Third Edition
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 661,451
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Victoria O’Donnell is Professor Emerita and former director of the University Honors Program and Professor of Communication at Montana State University–Bozeman. She also taught a seminar in television criticism for the School of Film and Photography at Montana State University. Previously she was the chair of the Department of Speech Communication at Oregon State University and chair of the Department of Communication and Public Address at the University of North Texas. In 1988 she taught for the American Institute of Foreign Studies at the University of London. She received her Ph D from the Pennsylvania State University. She has published articles and chapters in a wide range of journals and books on topics concerning persuasion, the social effects of media, women in film and television, British politics, Nazi propaganda, collective memory, cultural studies theory, and science fiction films of the 1950s. She is also the author (with June Kable) of Persuasion: An Interactive-Dependency Approach, Propaganda and Persuasion (with Garth Jowett), Readings in Propaganda and Persuasion: New and Classic Essays (co-edited with Garth Jowett), Television Criticism, and Speech Communication. She made a film, Women, War, and Work: Shaping Space for Productivity in the Shipyards During World War II, for PBS through KUSM Public Television at Montana State University. She has also written television scripts for environmental films and has done voice-overs for several PBS films. She served on editorial boards of several journals. The recipient of numerous research grants, honors, and teaching awards, including being awarded the Honor Professorship at North Texas State University and the Montana State University Alumni Association and Bozeman Chamber of Commerce Award of Excellence, she has been a Danforth Foundation Associate and a Summer Scholar of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has taught in Germany and has been a visiting lecturer at universities in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Wales. She has also served as a private consultant to the U.S. government, a state senator, the tobacco litigation plaintiffs, and many American corporations. She is an active volunteer with Intermountain Therapy Animals, taking her Golden Retriever, Gabriel, to the elementary schools where the children read to the dog in the R.E.A.D. program. She writes children’s stories about Gabriel. She is currently writing a novel about Ireland.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction 1

Part I Orientation 7

1 The Work of the Critic 9

Introduction 9

The Ends of Criticism 9

Journalistic Television Criticism 10

The Critical Stance 11

Criticism and Culture 13

Narrative and Contextual Reality 14

Critical Categories and Critical Choices 17

The Business of Television 18

The Familiar and the Unfamiliar in Television 19

Critical Orientation 19

Summary 20

Exercises 21

Suggested Readings 22

2 Demystifying the Business of Television 23

Introduction 23

The Role of Advertising, Ratings, and Schedules 24

Advertising 24

Ratings 24

Categories of Ratings 27

Demographics 27

Public Television and Ratings 28

Ratings and the Cost of Advertising 28

The Sweeps 29

Why Television Shows Get Renewed or Canceled 30

Ratings in the Summer 31

The Strategies of Television Advertising 31

Product Promotion Within Television Programs 33

Product Placement 34

Scheduling and Advertising 35

Noncommercial Channels 36

The Production of a Television Show 36

Production Houses 36

Pilots and the "Pitch" 37

The Production Team 38

The Producer 38

Writers 39

The Writer's Treatment 41

Directors 42

Casting 43

Putting a Show Into Production 43

Summary 45

Exercises 46

Suggested Readings 47

Part II Formal Aspects of Television 49

3 Television Style 51

Introduction 51

Length of Shot and Framing 51

Multi-Camera Production 53

Reaction Shots 53

Lighting 54

Production on Film Versus Digital Video 55

Style, Reception, and Digital Video Practices 56

Modes of Presentation 58

Television Sound and Editing 59

Production Styles 60

Art Direction 60

The Split Screen 63

Directors 63

Actors 64

Summary 64

Exercises 65

Suggested Readings 66

4 Television, the Nation's Storyteller 67

Introduction 67

Storytelling and the Human Condition 69

The Nature of Narrative 71

Narrative Theories 72

Aristotle's Narrative Theory 72

Propp's Narrative Theory 73

Barthes's Narrative Theory 73

Narrative Structure 75

Intertextuality 76

Characters 77

Archetypes 79

Myth 81

Close Analysis of Narrative Structure 86

Summary 86

Exercises 87

Suggested Readings 88

5 Television Genres 89

Introduction 89

Television Genre, Production, and Scheduling 90

The Rules for Classifying Genres 90

Genre and Television Criticism 92

Comedy 93

Situation Comedy 93

Animated Situation Comedy 102

Variety Comedy 103

Talk Shows 103

Nighttime Talk Shows 103

Daytime Talk Shows 104

Information Talk Shows 104

News 105

National and World News 105

Local News 106

News-Talk 107

24-Hour News 107

Magazine Shows 108

News-Talk-Entertainment 108

Investigative or Public Affairs 108

Celebrity News 109

Drama 109

Crime Shows (Detective, Police, FBI, and Forensic Science) 110

Workplace Drama 111

Family Drama 111

Hybrid Drama 112

Teleplays and Telefilms 112

Docudrama 113

Soap Opera 113

Science Fiction 115

Reality Shows 115

Sports 117

Children's Television 117

Game Shows 118

Other Genres 119

Summary 119

Exercises 120

Suggested Readings 121

Part III Theoretical Approaches to Television Criticism 123

6 Rhetoric and Culture 125

Introduction 125

Rhetoric 126

Classical Rhetoric 127

Rhetoric Through the Ages 128

Intentionality 129

The Symbolic Nature of Rhetoric 129

The Rhetoric of Kenneth Burke 130

Television Rhetoric 132

Rhetoric and Values 133

Cultural Studies 135

British Cultural Studies 137

Power, Ideology, and Hegemony 138

Hall's Encoding/Decoding Model 139

The Codes of Television Production 141

Decoding and Pleasure 143

Summary 144

Exercises 145

Suggested Readings in Rhetoric 146

Suggested Readings in Cultural Studies 147

7 Representation and Its Audience 149

Introduction 149

What Is Representation? 150

Television Representation 150

Interpreting Representation 151

Reception of Televisual Images 152

Symbols 153

The Illusion of Reality 153

The Need for Images 154

Representation of the "Other" 155

Advice for Television Critics 158

Representation and Collective Memory 160

Summary 161

Exercises 162

Suggested Readings 163

8 Postmodernism 165

Introduction 165

Postmodernism Defined 166

Postmodern Television 168

MTV 170

MTV Reinvented 172

MTV's Influences 173

Postmodern Theories 173

Summary 176

Exercises 177

Suggested Readings 178

Part IV Critical Applications 179

9 Guidelines for Television Criticism 181

Introduction 181

Critical Orientation 182

Story and Genre 182

Organization 184

Opening Segment 184

The Structure of the Program 188

Demographics 188

Context 189

The Look of the Program and Its Codes 190

Analysis 192

Judgment 194

Writing Television Criticism 194

Summary 195

10 Sample Criticism of a Television Program: Parenthood 197

Introduction 197

Thesis 197

Purpose 198

Description of Parenthood 198

Production Information 200

Description of the Episode 201

Questions for Analysis 203

Analysis and Interpretation 204

Story, Substance, and Context 204

Representation 208

Demographics and Viewer Involvement 209

Summary 210

Glossary 211

References 217

Index 227

About the Author 239

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