In Demographic Vistas, David Marc shows how we can take television seriously within the humanist tradition while enjoying it on its own terms. To deal with the barrage of messages from television's chaotic history, Marc adapts tools of theatrical and literary criticism to focus on key personalities and genres in ways that reward serious students and casual viewers alike.
This updated edition includes a new foreword by Horace Newcomb and a new introduction by the author that discusses the ways in which the nature of television criticism has changed since the book's original publication in 1984. A new final chapter explores the paradox of the diminishing importance of over-the-air broadcasting during the period of television's greatest expansion, which has been brought about by complex technologies such as cable, videocassette recorders, and online services.
Preface to the 1984 Edition
Foreword to the Revised Edition , by Horace Newcomb
Introduction to the Revised Edition
1. Beginning to Begin Again
2. The Situation Comedy of Paul Henning: Modernity and the American Folk Myth in The Beverly Hillbillies
3. The Comedy of Public Safety
4. Gleason's Push
5. Self-Reflexive at Last
6. What Was Broadcasting?
Appendix: Broadcast Network Prime Time Viewing Suggestions, 1984-96
Index of Television Series
Index of Films Made for Theatrical Release
"A cooly sophisticated analysis . . . of American televsion."—American Studies International
From reviews of the first edition—
"Quite simply, a tour de force—a wonderful synthesis of history and criticism."—Daniel Czitrom, author of Media and the American Mind
"Marc does a good job of drawing links between the American literary tradition and television themes, which illustrate that television texts are not isolated from the critical mainstream of American creative efforts. . . . These links illustrate that television texts offer themselves to much the same analytical forms as any other literary endeavor."—Southern Speech Communication Journal
"Demographic Vistas analyzes television in the tradition of a Gilbert Seldes or Michael Arlen. Exhibiting fluency in television history, theories of culture, and American literature, the book offers a thoughtful, idiosyncratic interpretation of television's life so far in American culture."—Critical Studies in Mass Communication