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Title: Queer TV? : the case of showtime's 'Queer as Folk' and 'The L Word'
Author: Burnichon, Magali Claudine Dominique
ISNI:       0000 0004 7659 8803
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This work answers questions regarding the extent to which U.S. pay cable television can be thought of as queer TV, in the sense of defying (hetero)normativity and advocating for political resistance. Adopting a queer theory approach, the thesis examines how this queerness manifests at the production, textual and reception levels and how it shifts the understanding of television as a domestic medium and re/producer of mass culture. It suggests that Showtime's Queer as Folk and The L Word are queer narratives that generate critical and political sites of resistance by offering diverse and flexible producing and viewing positions and images challenging essentialised understandings of identities and sexualities. This is possible because these texts are produced by Showtime, which offers its writers creative freedom and authorial vision unavailable on other forms of television, and its subscribers content that is not 'regular TV'. Exploring the state of the U.S. television landscape, Chapter I demonstrates the complexity of U.S. television and argues that TV texts should be discussed in relation to the medium that produces them. Analysing Showtime's writing process, Chapter II identifies three characteristics that make my case studies queer narratives and proposes that these narrative devices are directly connected with the Showtime 'quality TV' brand. Focussing on television reception, Chapter III discusses TV viewers as tourists visiting and discovering new places and characters and suggests that queer narrative viewers occupy viewing positions that exist betwixt and between on-screen and real-life life-worlds. Another queer narrative characteristic, liminality offers viewers a dual identification process with the characters: immersion and awareness. This thesis contributes to the body of work on my case studies by discussing them with respect to Showtime, a perspective often neglected in past studies, and to the queer television studies literature through its discussion of queer narratives and liminal television viewers.
Supervisor: Agar, J. ; Mills, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available