Recommend to your Librarian

The Contemporary Television Series

Edited by Michael Hammond, Lucy Mazdon

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An engaging and provocative study of the contemporary prime-time 'quality' serial television format, this book gives a timely account of prominent programmes such as 24, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ER, The Sopranos and The West Wing and explores their influential position within the television industry. Divided into the areas of history, aesthetics and reception, the text provides an illuminating overview of an increasingly hybrid television studies discipline. Chapters consider the formal and aesthetic elements in the contemporary television serial through approaches ranging from those concerned with issues of gender and sexuality, national identity, and reception to industry history and textual analysis. The book also includes British examples of 'quality' serial television emphasizing not only their cultural specificity but also the transnational context in which these programmes operate.

Key Features

  • Section introductions provide student-friendly explanations of the various approaches and methodologies employed in the book
  • Chapters are written by an international team of experts in the field of television studies
  • Ideal for use as a textbook on courses in contemporary television taught at undergraduate level


1. Hill Street Blues: Innovative Scriptwriting and a Television Renaissance (Michael Hammond, Southampton)
2. Mainstream Cult TV: The X-Files and Television History (Catherine Johnson, Southampton)
3. thirtysomething Ten Years On (Jane Feuer, Pittsburgh)
4. Twin Peaks: Erotic Surreal/Serial Thriller (Linda Ruth Williams, Southampton)
5. The Serial in Recent British Television History (Cathy Johnson, Royal Holloway)
6. Television and the Neo-Baroque (Angela Ndalianis, Melbourne)
7. Ally McBeal and the Problems of Long Term Character Growth (Greg R. Smith, Georgia)
8. The Bartlet Administration and Contemporary Populism in NBC's West Wing (J. Elizabeth Clark, New York)
9. The Representation of Youth and the Twenty-something Serial (Sarah Cardwell, Kent)
10. Television, Horror and Everyday Life in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Eric Freedman, Florida)
11. The Sopranos: Genres, Gangsters and Psychotherapy (Glyn White, Lancaster)
12. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Contemporary TV Seriality and the Role of the Episode Guide (Matthew Hills, Cardiff)
13. Creating Audiences for Channel 4's ER (Janet McCabe, London)
14. ER and the Rise of Docu-Tainment (Solange Davin, London).

About the Author

Michael Hammond is Lecturer in Film at the University of Southampton


This is a fine collection - a strong list of contributors brings knowledge and insight to a range of US dramas. The emphasis on history and production as well as text and audience is very welcome and the analysis is informed as well as enthusiastic.
- Professor Christine Geraghty, University of Glasgow