Televisuality: Style, Crisis, and Authority in American Television

Synopsis

"Holling is tormented by Koyaanisqatsi dreams until he goes out and does the wild thing with a young stag.... "--Synopsis from production company "Bible," Northern Exposure, March 30, 1992

The collision of auteurism and rap--couched by primetime producers in the Northern Exposure script--was actually rather commonplace by the early 1990s. Series, and even news broadcasts, regularly engineered their narratives around highly coded aesthetic and cultural fragments, with a kind of ensemble iconography. Televisuality interrogates the nature of such performances as an historical phenomenon, an aesthetic and industrial practice, and as a socially symbolic act. This book suggests that postmodernism does not fully explain television's stylistic exhibitionism and that a reexamination of "high theory" is in order. Caldwell's unique approach successfully integrates production practice with theory in a way that will enlighten both critical theory and cultural studies.