Sarah Cardwell
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Introduction
Epic/everyday
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Both ‘epic’ and ‘everyday’ have been employed explicitly and implicitly in critiques of television programmes and indeed the art (or medium) of television – sometimes to TV’s benefit, sometimes to its detriment; rarely with neutrality. This volume advocates that notions of epic and everyday, when used in appropriately reflective and nuanced ways, can be of value when assessing television works. The Introduction explores and assesses the ways in which the concepts ‘epic’ and ‘everyday’ are used in television studies, and proffers a number of fresh perspectives and possibilities which are taken up in contributors’ chapters. Television has been overtly and sustainedly correlated with everyday life – in practice, in criticism and in scholarship. The Introduction explores the value of this existing work, going on to recommend that we also attend more closely to everyday aesthetics. The established genre of TV is examined, tracing its connections with earlier and alternative epic forms. However, the idea of epic is then explored more deeply, revealing surprising, previously unacknowledged ways in which it shapes perceptions and evaluations of modern television. Furthermore, though epic and everyday can be conceived as near-opposites, this book argues that they are intimately interdependent. The introduction closes by presenting the chapters, briefly summarising the content of each one. Most importantly, it highlights the connections and flow within the book, especially in terms of the exploration of the binary ‘epic/everyday’, but also in terms of the programmes chosen, the approaches taken by authors, and other themes that arise across chapters.

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Epic / everyday

Moments in television

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