When the final episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired in 2003, fans mourned the death of the hit television series. Yet the show has lived on through syndication, global distribution, DVD release, and merchandising, as well as in the memories of its devoted viewers. Buffy stands out from much entertainment television by offering sharp, provocative commentaries on gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and youth. Yet it has also been central to changing trends in television production and reception. As a flagship show for two U.S. “netlets”—the WB and UPN—Buffy helped usher in the “post-network” era, and as the inspiration for an active fan base, it helped drive the proliferation of Web-based fan engagement.
In Undead TV, media studies scholars tackle the Buffy phenomenon and its many afterlives in popular culture, the television industry, the Internet, and academic criticism. Contributors engage with critical issues such as stardom, gender identity, spectatorship, fandom, and intertextuality. Collectively, they reveal how a vampire television series set in a sunny California suburb managed to provide some of the most biting social commentaries on the air while exposing the darker side of American life. By offering detailed engagements with Sarah Michelle Gellar’s celebrity image, science-fiction fanzines, international and “youth” audiences, Buffy tie-in books, and Angel’s body, Undead TV shows how this prime-time drama became a prominent marker of industrial, social, and cultural change.
Contributors. Ian Calcutt, Cynthia Fuchs, Amelie Hastie, Annette Hill, Mary Celeste Kearney, Elana Levine, Allison McCracken, Jason Middleton, Susan Murray, Lisa Parks
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"Aiming its Mr. Pointy at preconceived ideas about the show, this collection tackles "Buffy" from cultural, economic, and aesthetic angles. Cancellation has clearly done nothing to blunt the show's cutting edge. Read it along with Joss Whedon's new eighth-season comic book and you'll agree: Buffy is dead--long live Buffy!"--Heather Hendershot, author of "Saturday Morning Censors: Television Regulation before the V-Chip"About the Author:
Elana Levine is Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She is the author of Wallowing in Sex: The New Sexual Culture of 1970s American Television, also published by Duke University Press.
Lisa Parks is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of Cultures in Orbit: Satellites and the Televisual, also published by Duke University Press.
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