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O'Donnell, Victoria. Television Criticism.

O'Donnell, Victoria. Television Criticism. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2007. Pp. xvii, 261. ISBN 978-1-4129-4167-9 (paper) $50.00

"Just as critics of books evaluate works of fiction and nonfiction by holding them to established standards, television critics utilize methodology and theory to comprehend, analyze, interpret, and evaluate television programs" (p. 4). This book presents an accessible introduction to the act of criticism, urging it so that the critic might "gain greater understanding and appreciation about television programming, as well as about your own culture and the social forces within it" (p. 4). As a general introduction, the book discusses the work of the critic; the business side of television; formal aspects of television such as style--camera shots, framing, lighting, and so on--narrative, and genres; theoretical approaches to criticism, including rhetorical criticism, representation and audience, and postmodernism. The book concludes with some guidelines for criticism and some sample critical analyses. The chapter on television genres is quite comprehensive, including not only a list of genres (comedy, talk show, news, magazine shows, drama, soap opera, science fiction, reality shows, sports, children's television, games shows, etc.) but also a very helpful table that brings together each genre, its subgenres, characteristics, and approaches to plot and character.

For ease of classroom use, each chapter contains exercises and suggested readings. The book itself has a reference list and an index.

The author and publisher have very recently issued a second edition of the book, which, according to the publisher, includes an updated discussion on viewers' uses of television and on the impact of the Internet on television.

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Title Annotation:Briefly noted
Publication:Communication Research Trends
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2012
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