Remake Television: Reboot, Re-use, Recycle

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Remakes are pervasive in today’s popular culture, whether they take the form of reboots, “re-imaginings,” or overly familiar sequels. Television remakes have proven popular with producers and networks interested in building on the nostalgic capital of past successes (or giving a second chance to underused properties). Some TV remakes have been critical and commercial hits, and others haven’t made it past the pilot stage; all have provided valuable material ripe for academic analysis.

In Remake Television: Reboot, Re-use, Recycle, edited by Carlen Lavigne, contributors from a variety of backgrounds offer multicultural, multidisciplinary perspectives on remake themes in popular television series, from classic cult favorites such as The Avengers (1961–69) and The X-Files (1993–2002) to current hits like Doctor Who (2005–present) and The Walking Dead (2010–present). Chapters examine what constitutes a remake, and what series changes might tell us about changing historical and cultural contexts—or about the medium of television itself.

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About the Author:

Carlen Lavigne holds a Ph.D. in communications studies and teaches at Red Deer College in Alberta, Canada. She is the co-editor of American Remakes of British Television: Transformations and Mistranslations and the author of Cyberpunk Women, Feminism and Science Fiction: A Critical Study.

Review:

This volume will appeal to media scholars, as well as to those looking for material to generate discussion in the undergraduate classroom. Remaking Television convincingly makes the case that the television remake has been under-theorized and under-appreciated. (Literatur in Wissenschaft und Unterricht)

In a moment in which “remake” and “reboot” have been reduced to synergistic buzzwords, Remake Television: Reboot, Re-use, Recycle offers a more expansive and historically rich understanding of these terms. By considering how television remakes itself through adaptations, in media res reboots, and fan discourse, this collection offers a dynamic and detailed consideration of television's capacity to respond and adapt to culture. (Suzanne Scott, Arizona State University)

Remake Television is an engaging collection of essays inhabited by spies, chefs, time-travellers, detectives, angels, and beasts. The various chapters use popular television programs to examine complicated concepts like “fidelity,” “nostalgia,” and shared memory and often provide illuminating insights into the process of retelling and retooling familiar stories to fit changing times.

This book should be on the shelf of anyone interested in television, culture, and media studies. (Daniel Downes, University of New Brunswick at Saint John)

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