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December 2009, Week 3


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Jeremy Butler <[log in to unmask]>
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Mon, 21 Dec 2009 13:57:36 -0600
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My new book, *Television Style,* has just been released by Routledge.
Examination copies are available for lecturers/professor.

Here's how Routledge's marketing folks describe it:

Style matters. Television relies on style—setting, lighting, videography,
> editing, and so on—to set moods, hail viewers, construct meanings, build
> narratives, sell products, and shape information. Yet, to date, style has
> been the most understudied aspect of the medium. In this book, Jeremy Butler
> examines the meanings behind television’s stylstic conventions.
> *Television Style* dissects how style signifies and what significance it
> has had in specific television contexts. Using hundreds of frame captures
> from television programs, *Television Style* dares to look closely at
> television. *Miami Vice*, *ER*, soap operas, sitcoms, and commercials,
> among other prototypical television texts, are deconstructed in an attempt
> to understand how style functions in television. *Television Style* also
> assays the state of style during an era of media convergence and the
> ostensible demise of network television.
> This book is a much needed introduction to television style, and essential
> reading at a moment when the medium is undergoing radical transformation,
> perhaps even a stylistic renaissance.
> Discover additional examples and resources, including a sample chapter, on
> the companion website: .


“Television Style cuts through the cultural and academic haze that still
> clouds television, providing scholars and students with an incisive,
> comprehensive, and much-needed study detailing the intricacies and nuances
> of television as an artform.”
> –John T. Caldwell, Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, UCLA, author of
> *Production Culture: Industrial Reflexivity and Critical Practice in Film
> and Television* and *Televisuality: Style, Crisis, and Authority in
> American Television*.
> “Once upon a time in Hollywood, creative people treated TV like the
> annoying little brother who always wanted to play with the big kids.  If you
> were a TV director, good luck making the leap into the more respectable
> medium.  And, if you were a film director, why on earth would you deign to
> work for that tiny screen?  Well, things have changed, to say the least.
> The old biases no longer apply, particularly when it comes to style, and
> Jeremy Butler has provided an account of a medium that has never been as
> dynamic as it is today.  In the past decade, television style has evolved at
> a dizzying rate, and Butler charts the changes with a clear-eyed energy
> appropriate for a medium that, many agree, has left its elder sibling in the
> dust.”
> –Ken Kwapis, film and television director, *The Office, The Larry Sanders
> Show*, and *He’s Just Not That Into You*.
> “Television has grown more stylish in the last decade, and Butler’s book
> explain how and why this has happened. This book places film theory and
> criticism in dialogue with masterful research on television production to
> illuminate these important changes.  The rise of single-camera television
> and the role of the TV director are finally given the credit they are due
> for making TV today as exciting as cinema ever was.”
> –Ellen Seiter, Stephen K. Nenno Endowed Chair in Television Studies, USC,
> author of *The Internet Playground: Childen’s Access, Entertainment and
> Mis-education* and *Sold Separately: Children and Parents in Consumer
> Culture*.

*Table of Contents:*


The introduction establishes the importance of stylistic analysis and
discusses the strengths and weaknesses of such an approach.  It surveys some
of the significant essays/books that have incorporated close analysis of
moving-image texts—both in television and film. Available online:

Chapter 1:  Television and Zero-Degree Style -- "zero-degree" television
style and the soap opera.

Chapter 2:  Stylistic Crossover:  From Film to Television -- the crossover
of film noir from cinema to TV in *Miami Vice*.

Chapter 3: The Persuasive Power of Style -- persuasive style and

Chapter 4:  Style in an Age of Uncertainty -- style in the age of
convergence, the failure of *ER*'s online efforts.

Chapter 5: Television and Televisuality -- "excessive" style in the
single-camera sitcom.

Jeremy Butler

Professor - TCF Dept. - U Alabama

Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: