Show Sold Separately

Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts

264 pages

19 illustrations

January, 2010

ISBN: 9780814731956

$26

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Jonathan Gray is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of Television Entertainment, Television Studies (with Amanda D. Lotz), Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts, and Watching with The Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality.

All books by Jonathan Gray

It is virtually impossible to watch a movie or TV show without preconceived notions because of the hype that precedes them, while a host of media extensions guarantees them a life long past their air dates. An onslaught of information from print media, trailers, internet discussion, merchandising, podcasts, and guerilla marketing, we generally know something about upcoming movies and TV shows well before they are even released or aired. The extras, or “paratexts,” that surround viewing experiences are far from peripheral, shaping our understanding of them and informing our decisions about what to watch or not watch and even how to watch before we even sit down for a show.

Show Sold Separately gives critical attention to this ubiquitous but often overlooked phenomenon, examining paratexts like DVD bonus materials for The Lord of the Rings, spoilers for Lost, the opening credits of The Simpsons, Star Wars actions figures, press reviews for Friday Night Lights, the framing of Batman Begins, the videogame of The Thing, and the trailers for The Sweet Hereafter. Plucking these extra materials from the wings and giving them the spotlight they deserve, Jonathan Gray examines the world of film and television that exists before and after the show.

Reviews

  • "Show Sold Separately will rewrite the rules of what we look at when we want to understand how audiences make meaning of media franchises. Gray, who has long established himself in the top ranks of contemporary scholars of popular culture, writes with particularity about these varied media properties and their paratexts, yet also writes with a theoretical sophistication which feels effortless."

    —Henry Jenkins, author of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide

  • “Exploring the myriad connections and connotations of a wide array of paratextual materials ranging from movie trailers to action figures, Gray deftly challenges established conceptions of textuality, and opens up intriguing and important new dimensions in media and cultural studies. This is an invaluable contribution, and will change how we think about, and make, media.”

    —Derek Kompare, author of Rerun Nation: How Repeats Invented American Television