Thinking Outside the Box: A Contemporary Television Genre Reader (2005)

Genre has been a fundamental tool in analyzing television since the earliest days of the medium during the late 1940s. Thinking Outside the Box: A Contemporary Television Genre Reader is a cross-section of some of the best and most challenging scholarship presently being conducted in this particular subject area.

The study of television genres is again making a comeback in scholarly circles in response to the unprecedented mixing and matching of traditional generic forms that has occurred over the 1990s and into the new century.  No longer is genre being viewed as a fixed entity where programs are either being evaluated deductively against some ideal conception of what a particular genre should be, or inductively alongside an ever-widening collection of similarly structured texts.  This time the rich potential of studying television genres is being revitalized from a “critical-cultural” perspective.
Current critical-cultural theories have enabled the idea of genre to be reconceptualizing as a process rather than a static category, infusing a new range of possibilities to television genre criticism in general.  Thinking Outside the Box: A Contemporary Television Genre Reader brings together some of the most prominent and accomplished senior scholars in television studies with several of the more promising and innovative newcomers to the field to focus on a broad system of signification that derives its deeper meanings from the interrelationship between an assortment of creative, technological, industrial, institutional, and reception-related practices.
In Part I: “The Contemporary Agenda,” Thinking Outside the Box begins with three theoretical and critically-informed overviews to orient the reader; followed in Part II: “Traditional Genres in Transition” with four successive analyses of generic transformations that have occurred in children’s programming, sitcoms, soap operas, and talk shows; leading to explorations in Part III: “New Directions in Television Genres” of several unique generic hybrids, including reality programs, teen-oriented science fiction/fantasy/supernatural series, “quality drama,” and the recent upswing in networking genres; and concluding in Part IV: “Television Genres in Global Perspective” with three comprehensive investigations into the current worldwide reach and development of television genres, as well as a final bibliographic essay as a convenient reference guide for future study.  Thinking Outside the Box: A Contemporary Television Genre Reader is the single-best volume currently available for explaining how TV genres form, operate, change over time, interact with each other, and signify much about the people who produce and watch them.

Thinking Outside the Box: A Contemporary Television Genre Reader. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2005; Paperback Edition, 2008. (with Brian Rose).
Review from: 

Journal of American Culture:

Television criticism has stepped up to a new level of maturity with this collection of scholarly writing on genres and genre-related studies.

Journal of Popular Culture:

First-rate  .  .  .  a readable and understandable volume that is accessible to students and scholars  .  .  .  It offers considerable breadth and sufficient depth for the student to gain a general overview of television and a sense of how television can be analyzed.

Communication Booknotes Quarterly:

Edgerton and Rose have combined forces to revive and update genre research  .  .  .  This is a useful reading from a number of the key researchers helping to define a field of academic study.

Television Quarterly:

An important volume to those interested in furthering scholarship of television genre studies.  The ideas that Edgerton and Rose have assembled here deserve to be discussed again and again by media scholars and students.

Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly

Edgerton and Rose have written and assembled a compelling collection of essays.  The book makes a persuasive case for continued research into genres along with their function in communicating across texts, audiences, and industries.