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Introduction
Substance / style
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This introduction traces how the key terms of the collection have been addressed in television studies, providing a snapshot of the differing ways we might encounter substance and style in relation to television. Moving from the commonplace axiom of ‘substance over style’, which reinforces a hierarchical relationship between substance (as aligned with seriousness, intellectual weight and solidity) and style (associated with frivolous decoration and ephemerality), the introduction highlights varied ways to nuance and complicate the relationship between these terms, which are reflected in the chapters that follow. Substance is considered in its figurative usage, particularly in relation to the work television studies has done to present television as a serious object of study, as well as in terms of its ontological basis, reflecting on the materiality and technology of television production and reception. Style is connected to the work of television aesthetics, as well as to other work which places form centrally, such as that which seeks to connect stylishness to the ‘cinematic’, a contentious move which this volume is keen to challenge in its integration of substance with style. The introduction concludes by situating its chapters, which bring a breadth of approaches, interrogating the binary across programming ranging from the 1960s to today, from network and public service broadcasting to premium cable, serial and episodic drama, as well as comedy, sitcom and animation.

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Substance / style

Moments in television

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