Saturday, February 27, 2016

The TV-Novel Complex



Throughout its history, television has often relied on literature for a shot of self-esteem. In the 1950s, when TV lost its luster as a luxury item, when it became a mass product, it looked to literature for a boost – especially in Europe, where broadcasters in Germany and England adapted thousands of plays and novels for their “high cultural value.” Later, in the 1970s, American broadcasters needing to hook viewers over long stretches of time copied a hyper-literary “British” model that relied on adaptations of novels, old and new. Thus was born the television “miniseries,” or “novel for television,” the most noteworthy example of which was Alex Haley’s Roots, adapted by ABC in 1977.
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