Reviews

Reviews of the fifth edition of Television:

“In recent years, TV has radically changed and, simultaneously, tapped into genres and technical formulas pioneered decades ago. Butler’s magisterial book—including a terrific new chapter by Amanda Lotz—enables us to make sense of it all. There is, quite simply, no more comprehensive resource for the student of television.”

–Heather Hendershot, MIT

Television remains the best book out there for introducing students to the art, industry, and culture of television as we actually experience it. An essential guide to the stories television tells, yesterday and today.”

–Michele Hilmes, University of Wisconsin

“Instructors of undergraduate television studies courses know that Butler’s Television is a smart, accessible, and indispensable teaching tool, whether our objects of study are The Beverly Hillbillies or Breaking Bad, Monday Night Football or Meet the Press. This exciting new edition incorporates up-to-date critical perspectives on the latest developments in a medium that keeps expanding across multiple modes of delivery, ways of watching, and forms of communication.”

–Mary Desjardins, Dartmouth College

“Given television’s pervasive presence in our personal and political lives today, it’s vital to understand how TV works as an expressive form, a business, and a cultural force. Jeremy Butler’s updated Television proves more indispensable  than ever before in exploring these facets of the medium.”

–Christine Becker, University of Notre Dame

Reviews of previous editions:

Television is the best textbook on television available today. Butler provides a comprehensive introduction to television genres, cultural and critical approaches, modes of production and formal and aesthetic analysis. The question of how television communicates is placed in a broad perspective of art and cultural history. Through engaging examples, ranging from cartoons to sitcoms to MTV, Butler introduces students to the best of media theory in clear and entertaining style. The author’s sound grasp of technological issues also makes for enlightening reading. The book includes an invaluable glossary and bibliography.

Ellen Seiter, USC

Television is an ideal text for courses introducing television to undergraduates. Written with clarity and wit, it surveys a range of ways of analyzing a medium which young people, although they consume it voraciously, seldom scrutinize. Students should come away from this book with a greater understanding of the economic and institutional factors influencing what they see; just as important, they should gain a richer awareness of the skill, and even the artistry, involved in creating a television show. This book can help make students more sensitive and critical consumers of the major mass medium of our time.

David Bordwell,University of Wisconsin

This is, quite simply, the best book out there for teaching introductory TV courses. The text is well-conceived and engaging, and Butler does a superb job of illustrating the formal and aesthetic structures of television in a clear and readable manner.

Tara McPherson, USC

Television is the rare textbook that offers students a theoretical approach to the medium that is grounded in an understanding of the nuts-and-bolts reality of television making. Jeremy Butler’s arguments are informed by a grasp of what goes on behind the scenes, what factors confront a director during production, and what non-aesthetic issues govern the creation of a show. I have not read a book that so successfully builds a dialogue between theory and practice.

–Ken Kwapis, director/producer
(The Office, ER, Malcolm in the Middle, The Larry Sanders Show)

This is a first rate book–up to date in terms of both U.S. TV programming and critical scholarship, cogently organized, and stylishly written. It is witty and generous to other scholars. Television makes dense arguments comprehensible and concrete, always coming up with terrific examples to make points clear.

Patricia Mellencamp, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Butler’s presentation is crystal clear, thoughtful, and complete. I’ve found this an outstanding text for introductory classes: it presents the basics in a way which allows me to elaborate with contemporary examples in lecture. With great visual analysis, the book is often praised in student course evaluations.

Chuck Kleinhans, Northwestern Unviversity

Television is an ideal book for foundation courses in television studies. Unlike many other books and critical anthologies, Butler integrates critical analysis with discussions of television form and industrial practice, demonstrating the importance of textual analysis for any comprehensive understanding of television.

John Caldwell, UCLA

I have found Television to be invaluable in the teaching of television studies; indeed, I was shocked and dismayed when I heard that Wadsworth was no longer planning on publishing the book . . . This book is a very important text in the field of television studies–indeed, it has been important, I believe, in the very establishment of the field as a significant and legitimate one. I have confidence that the author’s revisions will make it even better

Lynne Joyrich, Brown University

Television is a paradigm-setting textbook for the burgeoning field of television studies. The text is especially useful because of its methodological range and lucid treatment of the concepts and issues central to the study of television. The revised edition will no doubt continue to set the pedagogical standard for television studies as the discipline continues to develop and flourish.

James Castonguay, Sacred Heart University

Television is a terrific book with wide student appeal. Butler explains critically sophisticated ideas in clear, accessible language, with concrete examples that bring those ideas to life. The book’s substance, structure and ‘user-friendly’ design make it the best all-around book I know for teaching students how to think about television.

Kathleen Rowe Karlyn, University of Oregon

Television achieves the impossible: it is a textbook which presents complex theories clearly without either diluting them to the point of banality or seriously distorting them. Above all, Butler’s is a supremely and uniformly useful textbook . . . the best teaching tool I have yet found for introducing undergraduates to the concepts and practices of analyzing the television medium.

Edward R. O’Neill, Bryn Mawr College

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