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Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  57 ratings  ·  7 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by New York University Press
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Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
In Film and Media Studies, scholars often focus on the text. They focus on television shows, films, and video games. However, the analysis of the text and its ‘meaning’ usually stops at that point. Jonathan Gray, on the other hand, argues passionately for scholars to consider the surrounding texts—the paratexts—and the effect they have on the main text.

The focus of Show Sold Separately is to establish a framework on which to build future understandings of a textual ecology. The main text is at t
Jun 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Gray's book is on pop culture, specifically, the pop culture that relates to television shows and film. But he's not looking at the films and shows themselves; rather, he's looking at their paratexts, the texts that circle around these main texts, and alter their meanings in significant ways. He looks at how a movie trailer declares the genre of a movie; how a television show's opening credits set the tone for the show. A paratext can be more distant as well--a fan fiction is an unendorsed examp ...more
Jan 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I wish I could give this a higher rating (as it is I had trouble enough assigning it three stars), as it is an impressively well-researched and convincingly argued book.
The reason I gave this book only three stars (instead of four), and seriously considered awarding it a mere two, is that I found it to be a bit dry and inaccessible at times. I can well imagine the curious cinephile reader who picks up this book only to find that satiating their intellectual hunger necessities stomaching heaping
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
A strong case for taking all media--not just the titular promos and spoilers, but prequels, stars, IMDb reviews, toys, and other intertexts--as seriously as we take the "main" texts they adapt. Gray even argues, mostly indirectly, that there may not even be such a thing as a "main" text, which ends up being a more rational POV than it might sound before reading the book.

Effortlessly and never unnecessarily theoretical in its basis, the book covers hype, promotional materials, authors (not to sa
Michael Suen
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
A solid primer to a framework for understanding textuality, audiences, and industry in an era of media convergence. Though I recognize that an argument for the (often unacknowledged) importance and uniqueness of paratexts is important, I would love to have read more critical perspectives on this development—particularly in relation to its participation in a capitalist ecosystem.
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating study of trailers, toys, sequels, MMPORGS and all of the 'ancilliary' bits (or paratexts) that make up a film or TV program (the text), that are often ignored and yet, as Gray argues, play a massive role in how a text is understood and consumed by audiences. ...more
Feb 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: uc-berkeley
(1.4/5.0) Informative, but not particularly original; even as a synthesis of existing scholarly work in the field, Gray's work doesn't budge discourse in any meaningful or surprising directions. Read the source materials rather than this corny little survey. ...more
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