Substance / style: moments in television

Sarah Cardwell (Editor), Jonathan Bignell (Editor), Lucy Fife Donaldson (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Substance and style have been attended to separately in different strands of television studies, from those who have sought to establish the discipline as serious and worthy of study, to the work of television aesthetics which has taken stylistic achievement as a primary focus. This collection interrogates and overturns the typical relationships between the terms, instead setting them alongside one another and renegotiating their relationship through new perspectives and with reference to a range of television programming. Contributors draw attention to the ways substance and style inform one another, placing value on their integration and highlighting the potential for new meanings to form through their combination. In this way, the binary is used to re-evaluate television that has been deemed a failure, or to highlight the achievements of programming or creative personnel who are less celebrated. Chapters present style as a matter of substance, in terms of it being both part of the material constitution of television and an aspect of television that rewards detailed attention. Substance is developed through a range of interpretations which invite discussion of television’s essential qualities and capabilities as well as its meaningfulness, in conjunction with its stylistic achievements. Programmes studied comprise The Americans, Call the Midwife, Les Revenants, The Good Wife, Friends, The Simpsons, John From Cincinnati, Police Squad!, and The Time Tunnel. Substance and style are evaluated across these examples from a wide range of television forms, formats and genres, which include series and serial dramas, sitcoms, science-fiction, animation, horror, thrillers and period dramas.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages237
ISBN (Electronic)9781526148797
ISBN (Print)9781526148780
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2022

Publication series

NameThe television series


  • Television aesthetics
  • Television studies
  • Television style
  • Television substance


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