New Edition of “Television” Coming in February 2018

Television Cover, Fifth EditionThe fifth edition of Television is scheduled to be released in February 2018.

A cover design has been selected, the copyediting is done, the figures have been collected, and indications are good that we’ll hit that date.

To acknowledge the turmoil in today’s television, we’ve adopted a new subtitle: Television: Visual Storytelling and Screen Culture. And we solicited a new chapter on television today by renowned authority, Amanda D. Lotz.

The new edition also has updated examples and screenshots throughout.

Updates will be announced on

New Photography Project: The 1970s in Black & White

Jeremy Butler in 1970s Darkroom
Jeremy Butler in a 1970s Darkroom

In high school and college, I was an avid photographer; but I often could not afford to print all the images I wanted to. Consequently, I have a stack of almost 100 contact sheets containing hundreds of images that never saw the light of day. I recently embarked on a scanning marathon and digitized all of them.

So, what to do with all these black-and-white images from the 1970s? I decided to make an online gallery of them, titled The 1970s in Black & White—subtitled, Color Is for Rust Stains and Sea Anemones.

I figure, at least by the law of averages, that there should be some gems in among those hundreds of images. The site was just launched and, for now, will be slowly populated. If you’re interested, you can receive email updates on my progress.

Also, the photographs in The 1970s in Black & White are available for sale—as prints (framed and unframed) and various other merchandise (yoga mats!). My main goal is to get these images out into the world, and if a little income were to accrue from that process it would help to support my newly revived photography interest… obsession?



New Book Project: The Sitcom

The Sitcom (A Routledge Television Guidebook) will analyze the genre’s position as a major media artefact within American culture and will provide a historical overview of the genre as it has evolved in the US. The Sitcom will examine discourses of gender, race, ethnicity, class, and sexual orientation that are ever always at the core of humor in our culture and it will interpret how those discourses are embedded in television’s relatively rigid narrative structures.

The Sitcom will be principally organized around roughly chronological sub-genres through which the sitcom has cycled: for example, the rural sitcom, the workplace sitcom, the family sitcom, the “ethnic” sitcom, and so on. However, full understanding of the sitcom goes beyond its discourses and narratives. A comprehensive consideration of the genre must also address the style of its sound and image—especially in programs that derive their humor from intertextual or self-referential play. The Sitcom will thus cover the mockumentary and what, after John Caldwell, might be called the “televisual” sitcom—programs that encourage the viewer to find humor in self-reflexive and intertextual gags.

The Sitcom is currently under contract with Routledge. Follow the book’s progress and read interesting tidbits about the sitcom on The Sitcom‘s development site.

Tentative table of contents:

  • Introduction: Taking Comedy Seriously: An Argument for the Study of the Sitcom
  • Chapter 1. A TV Genre Is Born: Comedy in the Golden Age of Broadcasting
  • Chapter 2. Comedy, Family, and Small Towns
  • Chapter 3. Comedy, Work, and Class
  • Chapter 4. Comedy, Sex, and Gender Identity
  • Chapter 5. Comedy, Race, Ethnicity, and Religion
  • Chapter 6. Comedy, Televisuality, and Genre Mixing
  • Conclusion: TV Comedy in Convergence Culture