The Dynasty Years: Hollywood Television and Critical Media Studies

The Dynasty Years: Hollywood Television and Critical Media Studies

The Dynasty Years: Hollywood Television and Critical Media Studies

The Dynasty Years: Hollywood Television and Critical Media Studies


In a groundbreaking and richly sourced study, Jostein Gripsrud investigates the life and times of the ultimate soap, how it was made, how it came to international television screens and how it was received by its audiences. Through his discussion of Dynasty , Gripsrud offers a critique of many central positions in media studies, including notions of 'audience resistance' and the 'sovereign' audience and its freedom in menaing-making, arguing against uncritical celebrations of the soap-opera genre in much contemporary media criticism.


It is now about ten years since I started the research which has resulted in this book. a major reason why it has taken so long to complete is that I have been busy organizing, administrating and teaching media studies at the University of Bergen. But a project as ambitiously comprehensive as this necessarily takes a lot of time, particularly since for me, with a background in the social history of literature and popular culture, it has served as an introduction to the wider, complex field of modern media studies.

I have learnt a lot over the years, not only from reading scholarly work, but also from talking to more experienced people in the field, including, not least, many of those whose work I criticize on some accounts in this book. I wish to express my gratitude to all the colleagues, too many to name here, in several countries, in film, television, (mass) communication and cultural studies, whose interest in my work, advice and friendliness I have enjoyed. I hope a somewhat polemical tone here and there will not seriously damage my chances for future discussions with those I criticize-our disagreements will hardly come as a surprise to most of those concerned. in most cases, I also share (and draw on) some of their perspectives and conclusions.

I would, moreover, like to thank the many women and men who kindly devoted time and effort to helping me in my work at a more practical level. They include, first of all, Esther Shapiro, Robert and Eileen Pollock, Curtis Harrington and others involved in the production of Dynasty, whom I interviewed. Thanks also to Wendy Wilkinson for helping to arrange some of these interviews. I am very grateful to the late Beverle Houston and Nick Browne for helping to arrange my stays as Visiting Scholar at usc and ucla (in 1987 and 1993). James Monaco kindly allowed free use of Baseline Inc.'s database on the us entertainment industry-thank you. Geir Waagsbø and his market research company in Bergen, Norway (Salgs-og Markedsinstituttet), helpfully provided vital services at discount prices. Thanks also to Stein Roger Bull and Per Selstrøm at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, and to the staff at Kristelig Kringkastingslag's office in Oslo, whose archives were very useful.

The Film and Series Department at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation made an extremely important contribution to my work when they, free of

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