Quality Popular Television: Cult TV, the Industry and Fans

Why are some contemporary television shows so compelling? The Sopranos, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friends and ER are examples among many of a new era of the 'must-see' programme. These shows and others like The X-Files and Ally McBeal, have a compulsiveness, a depth of characterisation and 'back-story' that puts most of cinema to shame. Quality Popular Television looks at this new category of 'cult' television (mostly US-produced) and the reasons for its emergence. Looking at shows as diverse as Ally McBeal, Martial Law, Buffy, Lois and Clark, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Ellen the book examines the particular qualities necessary for success and how they relate to issues such as the economics of network scheduling, the growth of the internet and contemporary debates about television audiences. This important new book provides an invaluable window on transformations in contemporary television culture.