PUBL Meta in Film and Television Series

Roche, David. Meta in Film and Television Series. Edinburgh University Press, 2022. 376p. ISBN 9781399508032

The first book-length study of meta-phenomena in film and television series

  • Works discussed include: Sunset Blvd., Fellini Roma, Twin Peaks, Scream, Community, and NO
  • Explores the theory and history of meta
  • Provides methodology for the analysis of meta-phenomena

“That’s so meta!” The emergence of the prefix-turned-adjective “meta” to describe media productions is, no doubt, symptomatic of an increasingly media-savvy audience; it has also drawn attention to the lack of scholarship on meta-phenomena in film and television studies.

Meta in Film and Television Series aims to make up for this. Meta is defined as an intense form of reflexivity, that is characterized by its aboutness; meta-phenomena are not just an arsenal of devices but suppose an interpretive act and an active audience. Meta creates a framework with which to interrogate a work’s relationship to its production, reception, medium, forms, and the world, and to explore its potentials and limitations. Meta supports the intuition latent in the popular usage that meta-phenomena are deeply entangled, while demonstrating that analysis stills requires such concepts to make sense of them.

In this impressive study Roche weaves together numerous strands of thought on the ‘meta’ and reflexive in cinema, television and media culture, with admirable clarity and focus. Full of insightful analysis of a diverse corpus of moving-image works – and engaging with important non-English language scholarship – this timely, indeed long overdue, book will no doubt be a standard point of reference on a perennially fascinating topic.

Daniel Yacavone, University of Edinburgh

David Roche is one of the best film theorists. His Meta in Film and Television Series is the most comprehensive study dedicated to metacinema and metafilms. It is a crowning achievement dwelling with a considerable number of examples, always lightened by David Roche’s free ruminative thought.

Marc Cerisuelo, author of Hollywood à l’écran : les métafilms américains

David Roche, a 2022–7 IUF member, is Professor of Film Studies at Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, France and President of SERCIA. He is the author of Quentin Tarantino: Poetics and Politics of Cinematic Metafiction and Making and Remaking Horror in the 1970s and 2000s, and has co-edited several collected volumes, including Women Who Kill: Gender and Sexuality in Film and Series of the Post-Feminist Era (with Cristelle Maury) and Transnationalism and Imperialism: Endurance of the Global Western Film (with Hervé Mayer).



Part I: The Theory and History of Meta

1. What Is Meta and Who Uses the Term?

2. How Does Meta Work?

3. When, Where and Possibly Why Did it Appear?

Part II: The Aboutness of Meta

4. Industry and Creation

5. Apparatus and Spectatorship

6. Medium and Materiality

7. Adaptation and Remake

8. Genre

9. Seriality

10. History and Historiography

11. Politics


Glossary of Meta-Phenomena