More related to the popular culture

Toward the end of the twentieth century, science fiction television took a dark turn. Series like The X-Files, Millennium, and Dark Skies wove menacing technologies, paranormal forces, and shadowy government agencies into complex tales of corruption and cover-ups. Mind control, alien abductions, secret government laboratories, and implacable “men in black” moved from the fringes to the mainstream of American culture, making weekly appearances in living rooms everywhere. Other series that played on fears of new technologies—such as virtual reality—set the stage for unfamiliar kinds of exploitation, while Dark Angel offered glimpses of a near-future wasteland devastated by a technological catastrophe.

In The Paranormal and the Paranoid: Conspiratorial Science Fiction Television, Aaron John Gulyas explores the themes that permeated and defined science fiction television at the turn of the millennium. The author traces the roots of this phenomenon in an earlier generation of series including The Invaders, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and Project U.F.O. and examines how changes in the cultural landscape led to the proliferation of these types of shows. This book delves into the internal mythology of shows like The X-Files, resurrects now-forgotten series like Wild Palms and VR.5, and provides an important glimpse into American culture at the close of the twentieth century.

While exploring the pervasive grimness of these shows, Gulyas also examines how they offer hope in the form of heroes—like agents Scully and Mulder—who relentlessly dug through the tissue of lies and distortions to find and expose the truth. The Paranormal and the Paranoid will appeal to scholars of media studies, sociology, and science fiction—not to mention fans of these programs and even conspiracy theorists.
Airing on CBS for fourteen seasons (1979–93), Knots Landing was a spinoff of the popular drama Dallas, but ultimately ran longer and took a very different tone on domestic, social, and economic issues than its predecssor. In the first full-length scholarly study of Knots Landing, Nick Salvato situates the series in its economic and industrial contexts, addresses its surprisingly progressive relationship to the American politics of its period, offers close formal interpretations of noteworthy episodes, and unpacks the pleasures of the program’s sensuous surfaces. While it has been largely overlooked in studies of 1980s television, Knots Landing nonetheless beat more masculine fare like Hill Street Blues and L.A. Law in the ratings, introduced a novel focus on middle-class lives in melodrama, and launched or revived the careers of its major stars. In this study Salvato investigates the series’ place in widespread serialization of American primetime television in the early 1980s and the end of network dominance in the early 1990s, along with its unique relationship to Reaganism and glamour, on the one hand, and everydayness and suburbanization, on the other. Salvato also looks at the series in relation to key concepts such as memory, theatricality, identification, “quality” TV, and stardom. Fans of the series as well as readers interested in popular culture, television history, representations of gender, and constructions of celebrity will find much to enjoy in this volume.
In his seminal book "Television's Second Golden Age", Robert Thompson described quality TV as 'best defined by what it is not': 'it is not "regular" TV'. Audacious maybe, but his statement renewed debate on the meaning of this highly contentious term. Dealing primarily with the post-1996 era shaped by digital technologies and defined by consumer choice and brand marketing, this book brings together leading scholars, established journalists and experienced broadcasters working in the field of contemporary television to debate what we currently mean by quality TV. They go deep into contemporary American television fictions, from "The Sopranos" and "The West Wing", to "CSI" and "Lost" - innovative, sometimes controversial, always compelling dramas, which one scholar has described as 'now better than the movies!' But how do we understand the emergence of these kinds of fiction? Are they genuinely new? What does quality TV have to tell us about the state of today's television market? And is this a new Golden Age of quality TV? Original, often polemic, each chapter proposes new ways of thinking about and defining quality TV.
There is a foreword from Robert Thompson, and heated dialogue between British and US television critics. Also included - and a great coup - are interviews with W. Snuffy Walden (scored "The West Wing" among others) and with David Chase ("The Sopranos" creator). "Quality TV" provides throughout groundbreaking and innovative theoretical and critical approaches to studying television and for understanding the current - and future - TV landscape.
At a time when television offered limited opportunities for women, Donna Reed was an Oscar-winning Hollywood actress who became both producer (though largely uncredited) and star of her own television show. Distinct from the patriarchal family sitcoms of the era, The Donna Reed Show's storylines focused on the mother instead of the father, and its production brought a cinematic aesthetic to television situation comedy. In The Donna Reed Show, author Joanne Morreale illustrates how the program pushed the boundaries of the domestic sitcom at a time when the genre was evolving and also reflected the subtle shifts and undercurrents of unrest in the larger social and political culture. Morreale begins by locating Donna Reed in relation to her predecessors Gertrude Berg and Lucille Ball, both of whom were strong female presences in front of and behind the camera. She also explores the telefilm aesthetics of The Donna Reed Show and argues that the series is a prime example of the emergent synergy between Hollywood and the television industry in the late fifties. In addition, Morreale argues that the Donna Stone character's femininity acts as a kind of masquerade, as well as provides a proto-feminist model for housewives. She also examines the show's representation of teen culture and its role in launching the singing careers of its two teenaged stars. Finally, Morreale considers the legacy of The Donna Reed Show in the representation of its values in later sitcoms and its dialogue with contemporary television texts. Morreale illustrates the interplay of gender, industry, and culture at work in the history of this classic TV series. Fans of the show, as well as students and teachers of television history, will enjoy this close look at The Donna Reed Show.
Passengers disco dancing in The Love Boat’s Acapulco Lounge. A young girl walking by a marquee advertising Deep Throat in the made-for-TV movie Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway. A frustrated housewife borrowing Orgasm and You from her local library in Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Commercial television of the 1970s was awash with references to sex. In the wake of the sexual revolution and the women’s liberation and gay rights movements, significant changes were rippling through American culture. In representing—or not representing—those changes, broadcast television provided a crucial forum through which Americans alternately accepted and contested momentous shifts in sexual mores, identities, and practices.

Wallowing in Sex is a lively analysis of the key role of commercial television in the new sexual culture of the 1970s. Elana Levine explores sex-themed made-for-TV movies; female sex symbols such as the stars of Charlie’s Angels and Wonder Woman; the innuendo-driven humor of variety shows (The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, Laugh-In), sitcoms (M*A*S*H, Three’s Company), and game shows (Match Game); and the proliferation of rape plots in daytime soap operas. She also uncovers those sexual topics that were barred from the airwaves. Along with program content, Levine examines the economic motivations of the television industry, the television production process, regulation by the government and the tv industry, and audience responses. She demonstrates that the new sexual culture of 1970s television was a product of negotiation between producers, executives, advertisers, censors, audiences, performers, activists, and many others. Ultimately, 1970s television legitimized some of the sexual revolution’s most significant gains while minimizing its more radical impulses.

In Welcome to the Dreamhouse feminist media studies pioneer Lynn Spigel takes on Barbie collectors, African American media coverage of the early NASA space launches, and television’s changing role in the family home and its links to the broader visual culture of modern art. Exploring postwar U.S. media in the context of the period’s reigning ideals about home and family life, Spigel looks at a range of commercial objects and phenomena, from television and toys to comic books and magazines.
The volume considers not only how the media portrayed suburban family life, but also how both middle-class ideals and a perceived division between private and public worlds helped to shape the visual forms, storytelling practices, and reception of postwar media and consumer culture. Spigel also explores those aspects of suburban culture that media typically render invisible. She looks at the often unspoken assumptions about class, nation, ethnicity, race, and sexual orientation that underscored both media images (like those of 1960s space missions) and social policies of the mass-produced suburb. Issues of memory and nostalgia are central in the final section as Spigel considers how contemporary girls use television reruns as a source for women’s history and then analyzes the current nostalgia for baby boom era family ideals that runs through contemporary images of new household media technologies.
Containing some of Spigel’s well-known essays on television’s cultural history as well as new essays on a range of topics dealing with popular visual culture, Welcome to the Dreamhouse is important reading for students and scholars of media and communications studies, popular culture, American studies, women’s studies, and sociology.
In Undead in the West: Vampires, Zombies, Mummies, and Ghosts on the Cinematic Frontier, Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper have assembled a collection of essays that explore the many tropes and themes through which undead Westerns make the genre’s inner plagues and demons visible, and lay siege to a frontier tied to myths of strength, ingenuity, freedom, and independence. The volume is divided into three sections: “Reanimating Classic Western Tropes” examines traditional Western characters, symbolism, and plot devices and how they are given new life in undead Westerns; “The Moral Order Under Siege” explores the ways in which the undead confront classic values and morality tales embodied in Western films; and “And Hell Followed with Him” looks at justice, retribution, and retaliation at the hands of undead angels and avenger.

The subjects explored here run the gamut from such B films as Curse of the Undead and Billy the Kid vs. Dracula to A-list features like From Dusk ‘til Dawn and Jonah Hex, as well as animated films (Rango) and television programs (The Walking Dead and Supernatural). Other films discussed include Sam Raimi’s Bubba Ho-Tep, John Carpenter’s Vampires, George Romero’s Land of the Dead, and Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West. Featuring several illustrations and a filmography, Undead in the West will appeal to film scholars, especially those interested in hybrid genres, as well as fans of the Western and the supernatural in cinema.
Although we tend to think of television primarily as a household fixture, TV monitors outside the home are widespread: in bars, laundromats, and stores; conveying flight arrival and departure times in airports; uniting crowds at sports events and allaying boredom in waiting rooms; and helping to pass the time in workplaces of all kinds. In Ambient Television Anna McCarthy explores the significance of this pervasive phenomenon, tracing the forms of conflict, commerce, and community that television generates outside the home.
Discussing the roles television has played in different institutions from 1945 to the present day, McCarthy draws on a wide array of sources. These include retail merchandising literature, TV industry trade journals, and journalistic discussions of public viewing, as well as the work of cultural geographers, architectural theorists, media scholars, and anthropologists. She also uses photography as a research tool, documenting the uses and meanings of television sets in the built environment, and focuses on such locations as the tavern and the department store to show how television is used to support very different ideas about gender, class, and consumption. Turning to contemporary examples, McCarthy discusses practices such as Turner Private Networks’ efforts to transform waiting room populations into advertising audiences and the use of point-of-sale video that influences brand visibility and consumer behavior. Finally, she inquires into the activist potential of out-of-home television through a discussion of the video practices of two contemporary artists in everyday public settings.
Scholars and students of cultural, visual, urban, American, film, and television studies will be interested in this thought-provoking, interdisciplinary book.
A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Friends, published for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the show's premiere. Howyoudoin’?

In September 1994, six friends sat down in their favorite coffee shop and began bantering about sex, relationships, jobs, and just about everything else. A quarter of a century later, new fans are still finding their way into the lives of Rachel, Ross, Joey, Chandler, Monica, and Phoebe, and thanks to the show’s immensely talented creators, its intimate understanding of its youthful audience, and its reign during network television’s last moment of dominance, Friends has become the most influential and beloved show of its era. Friends has never gone on a break, and this is the story of how it all happened.

Noted pop culture historian Saul Austerlitz utilizes exclusive interviews with creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman, executive producer Kevin Bright, director James Burrows, and many other producers, writers, and cast members to tell the story of Friends’ creation, its remarkable decade-long run, and its astonishing Netflix-fueled afterlife. Readers will go behind the scenes to hear from the people who were present as the show was developed and cast, written and filmed. There will be talk of trivia contests, prom videos, trips to London, Super Bowls, lesbian weddings, wildly popular hairstyles, superstar cameos, mad dashes to the airport, and million-dollar contracts. They’ll also discover surprising details—that Monica and Joey were the show’s original romantic couple, how Danielle Steel probably saved Jennifer Aniston’s career, and why Friends is still so popular that if it was a new show, its over-the-air broadcast reruns would be the ninth-highest-rated program on TV.  
 
The show that defined the 1990s has a legacy that has endured beyond wildest expectations. And in this hilarious, informative, and entertaining book, readers will now understand why.
The highest-rated network program during its first three seasons, comedy-variety show Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In (NBC, 1968–1973) remains an often overlooked and underrated innovator of American television history. Audiences of all kinds—old and young, square and hip, black and white, straight and queer—watched Laugh-In, whose campy, anti-establishment aesthetic mocked other tepid and serious popular shows. In Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, author Ken Feil presents the first scholarly investigation of the series whose suggestive catch-phrases “sock it to me,” “look that up in your Funk’n’Wagnalls,” and “here comes the judge” became part of pop culture history. In four chapters, Feil explores Laugh-In’s newness, sophisticated style, irreverence, and broad appeal. First, he considers the show’s indulgence of “bad taste” through a strategy of deliberate ambiguity that allowed audiences to enjoy countercultural, anti-establishment transgression and, reassuringly, conveyed the sense that it represented the establishment’s investment in containing such defiant delights. Feil considers Laugh-In’s camp, otherness, and “open secrets” as well as the show’s conflicted positions on the “private” issues of taste, sexuality, lifestyle, and politics. Sexual swingers, stoned hippies, empowered African Americans, feminists, and flamboyantly “nellie” men all filled Laugh-In’s routine roster, embodied by cast members Jo Anne Worley, Lily Tomlin, Chelsea Brown, Alan Sues, Johnny Brown, and Judy Carne, along with regular guests Flip Wilson, Sammy Davis Jr., and Tiny Tim. Related to these icons, Laugh-In reflected on hotly politicized current events: militarism in Vietnam, racist discrimination in the U.S., Civil Rights and Black Power, birth control and sex, feminism, and gay liberation. In its playful put-ons of the establishment, parade of countercultural types and tastes, and vacillation between identification and repulsion, Feil argues that Laugh-In’s intentional ambiguity was part and parcel of its inventiveness and commercial prosperity. Fans of the show as well as readers interested in American television and pop culture history will enjoy this insightful look at Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.
"A fascinating, moving recollection that celebrates one of the great achievements in Canadian television." Elaine Lui, author of Listen to the Squawking Chicken

"Ward celebrates...raw, forward-thinking, multicultural, multigender-produced content by finally freezing it in a compelling book where, occasionally he himself wonders, ‘How the hell did we do that?’” The Globe and Mail

“What a blast! With a raucous mix of music and personalities, Christopher Ward has compiled the ultimate treasure trove of Canada’s 1980s rock scene. Everybody you remember is here. Revealing, entertaining, enlightening and, most all, fun.” Will Ferguson



From the first Canadian VJ Christopher Ward, Is This Live? captures the pure fun and rock ’n’ roll rebellion of the early years of MuchMusic television.
 
On August 31, 1984, the Nation’s Music Station launched, breaking ground as the Wild West of Canadian television—live, gloriously unpredictable, seat-of-the-pants TV, delivered fresh daily. 
            The careers of Canadian legends like Blue Rodeo, Corey Hart, Jane Siberry, Bryan Adams, Platinum Blonde, Glass Tiger, Colin James, the Parachute Club, Honeymoon Suite, Barenaked Ladies, Maestro Fresh Wes and Sloan were launched when Much brought them closer to their fans. Much also gave us international acts (Duran, Duran, Tina Turner, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Madonna, Motorhead, Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers), and covered the second wave of music activism with events like Live Aid and the Amnesty International Human Rights Now! tour. Ranging from Toronto’s iconic studio at 299 Queen Street West, to Vancouver’s MuchWest, MuchMusic’s programming travelled across Canada and connected the Canadian music scenes in an unprecedented way.
            The dream child of TV visionary Moses Znaimer, and John Martin, the maverick creator of The New Music, Much was live and largely improvised, and an entire generation of Canadians grew up watching the VJs and embraced the new music that became the video soundtrack of our lives.
           With stories of the bands, the music, the videos, the specialty shows, the style and the improvisational approach to daily broadcast life at Much, Is This Live? is told by the people who were there—the colourful cast of on-air VJs, the artists who found their way into our living rooms of the nation as never before, and the people behind the cameras. 
            As our tour guide to the first decade at MuchMusic Christopher Ward delivers a full-on dose of pop culture nostalgia from the 1980s and ’90s, when the music scene in Canada changed forever.
All That Hollywood Allows explores the representation of gender in popular Hollywood melodramas of the 1950s, the last decade in which film enjoyed a pivotal cultural position. Both a work of feminist film criticism and theory and an analysis of popular culture, this provocative book examines from a cultural studies perspective the top-grossing film melodramas of that decade, including A Streetcar Named Desire, From Here to Eternity, East of Eden, Imitation of Life, and Picnic.

Stereotypically viewed as a complacent and idyllic time, the 1950s were actually a period of dislocation and great social change as Americans struggled to regain their equilibrium in the wake of World War II. Jackie Byars argues that mass-media texts of the period, especially films, provide evidence of society's consuming preoccupation with the domestic sphere -- the nuclear family and its values. The melodramas included in her study appeared in theaters just as women were leaving their homes for the workplace. Some films challenged and some reinforced previously sacrosanct gender roles. Byars shows how Hollywood melodramas participated in, interpreted, and extended societal debates concerning family structure, sexual divisions of labor, and gender roles.

Byars's readings of these films assess a variety of critical methodologies and approaches to textual analysis, some central to feminist film studies and some that previously have been bypassed by scholars in the field. She specifically questions the validity of readings grounded solely on the premises of psychoanalysis, arguing that the male norm inherent in the psychoanalytic viewpoint may well prevent us from hearing, let alone understanding, the female voices that make their way into the most patriarchal of films. Byars thus critiques earlier approaches to the study of women's films and offers fresh readings, emphasizing from several important perspectives the suppressed female voice.

David Lynch and Mark Frost's television series Twin Peaks debuted in April 1990 and by June of 1991 had been cancelled. Yet the impact of this surreal, unsettling show--ostensibly about the search for homecoming queen Laura Palmer's killer--is far larger than its short run might indicate. A forerunner of the moody, disjointed, cinematic television shows that are commonplace today, Twin Peaks left a lasting impression, and nowhere is that more clear than in the devotion of its legions of loyal fans.

Fan Phenomena: Twin Peaks is the first book of its kind to revisit Lynch and Frost's groundbreaking series and explore how the show's cult status continues to thrive in the digital era. In ten essays, the contributors take a deeper look at Twin Peaks' rich cast of characters, iconic locations, and its profound impact on television programming, as well as the impact of new media and fan culture on the show's continued relevance. Written by fans for fans, Fan Phenomena: Twin Peaks is an intelligent yet accessible guide to the various aspects of the show and its subsequent film. Featuring commentary from both first generation and more recent followers, these essays capture the endlessly fascinating universe of Twin Peaks, from Audrey Horne's keen sense of style to Agent Cooper's dream psychology.

The first non-academic collection that speaks to the show's fan base rather than a scholarly audience, this book is more approachable than previous Twin Peaks critical studies volumes and features color images of the series, film, and fan media. It will be welcomed by anyone seduced by the strangeness and camp of Lynch's seminal series.
Few could have predicted the enduring affection inspired by Joss Whedon's television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. With its origins in a script Whedon wrote for a 1992 feature film of the same name, the series far outpaced its source material, gathering a devoted audience that remains loyal to the show more than a decade after it left the airwaves. Heralded for its use of smart, funny, and emotionally resonant narrative; subversive and feminist characterizations; and unique approaches to television as an art form, the show quickly developed its own unique fan community, who built on existing narratives through fan fiction, media manipulation, and performance.
Fan Phenomena: Buffy the Vampire Slayer explores how this continued devotion is internalized, celebrated, and critiqued. Featuring interviews with culture makers, academics, and creators of participatory fandom, the essays here are a window into the more personal and communal aspects of the fan experience. Essays from critical thinkers and scholars address how Buffy inspires the creation of, among other enduring artifacts of fandom, fan fiction, crafting, performance, cosplay, and sing-alongs.
As an accessible yet vigorous examination of a beloved character and her world, Fan Phenomena: Buffy the Vampire Slayer provokes a larger conversation about the relationship between cult properties and fandom, and how their interplay permeates the cultural consciousness, in effect contributing to culture through new narrative, academia, language, and political activism.
"Play it again, Sam" is the motto of cult film enthusiasts, who will watch their favorite movie over and over, "beyond all reason." What is the appeal of cult movies? Why do fans turn up in droves at midnight movies or sit through the same three-hanky classics from Hollywood's golden era? These are some of the questions J. P. Telotte and twelve other noted film scholars consider in this groundbreaking study of the cult film.

The book identifies two basic types of cult films—older Hollywood movies, such as Casablanca, that have developed a cult following and "midnight movies," most notably The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Telotte, Bruce Kawin, and Timothy Corrigan offer thought-provoking discussions about why these two types of movies become cult films, the sort of audience they attract, and the needs they fulfill for that audience. Subsequent essays employ a variety of cultural, feminist, ideological, and poststructural strategies for exploring these films.

In a section on the classical cult film, the movie Casablanca receives extensive treatment. An essay by T. J. Ross considers Beat the Devil as a send-up of cult films, while another essay by Wade Jennings analyzes the cult star phenomenon as personified in Judy Garland.

"Midnight movie madness" is explored in essays on The Rocky Horror Picture Show, movie satires of the 1950s, science fiction double features, and horror thrillers.

Illustrated with scenes from favorite movies and written for both fans and scholars, The Cult Film Experience will appeal to a wider audience than the "usual suspects."

Blackness Is Burning is one of the first books to examine the ways race and psychological rhetoric collided in the public and popular culture of the civil rights era. In analyzing a range of media forms, including Sidney Poitier’s popular films, black mother and daughter family melodramas, Bill Cosby’s comedy routine and cartoon Fat Albert, pulpy black pimp narratives, and several aspects of post–civil rights black/American culture, TreaAndrea M. Russworm identifies and problematizes the many ways in which psychoanalytic culture has functioned as a governing racial ideology that is built around a flawed understanding of trying to “recognize” the racial other as human. The main argument of Blackness Is Burning is that humanizing, or trying to represent in narrative and popular culture that #BlackLivesMatter, has long been barely attainable and impossible to sustain cultural agenda. But Blackness Is Burning makes two additional interdisciplinary interventions: the book makes a historical and temporal intervention because Russworm is committed to showing the relationship between civil rights discourses on theories of recognition and how we continue to represent and talk about race today. The book also makes a formal intervention since the chapter-length case studies take seemingly banal popular forms seriously. She argues that the popular forms and disreputable works are integral parts of our shared cultural knowledge. Blackness Is Burning’s interdisciplinary reach is what makes it a vital component to nearly any scholar’s library, particularly those with an interest in African American popular culture, film and media studies, or psychoanalytic theory.
Americans have a long history of public arguments about taste, the uses of leisure, and what is culturally appropriate in a democracy that has a strong work ethic. Michael Kammen surveys these debates as well as our changing taste preferences, especially in the past century, and the shifting perceptions that have accompanied them.

Professor Kammen shows how the post-traditional popular culture that flourished after the 1880s became full-blown mass culture after World War II, in an era of unprecedented affluence and travel. He charts the influence of advertising and opinion polling; the development of standardized products, shopping centers, and mass-marketing; the separation of youth and adult culture; the gradual repudiation of the genteel tradition; and the commercialization of organized entertainment. He stresses the significance of television in the shaping of mass culture, and of consumerism in its reconfiguration over the past two decades.

Focusing on our own time, Kammen discusses the use of the fluid nature of cultural taste to enlarge audiences and increase revenues, and reveals how the public role of intellectuals and cultural critics has declined as the power of corporate sponsors and promoters has risen. As a result of this diminution of cultural authority, he says, definitive pronouncements have been replaced by divergent points of view, and there is, as well, a tendency to blur fact and fiction, reality and illusion.

An important commentary on the often conflicting ways Americans have understood, defined, and talked about their changing culture in the twentieth century.
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