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Television Studies

This guide is an introduction to library and internet resources for Television Studies.

A definition for 'Adaptation'

A pre-existing work that has been made into a film. Adaptations are often of literary or theatrical works, but musical theatre, best-selling fiction and non-fiction, comic books, computer games, children’s toys, and so on have also been regularly adapted for the cinema. Adaptations of well-known literary and theatrical texts were common in the silent era (see silent cinema; costume drama; epic film; history film) and have been a staple of virtually all national cinemas through the 20th and 21st centuries. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories (1887–1927) have been adapted in a range of national contexts but probably the most adapted author is Shakespeare, whose plays have appeared in film form as a large-budget Hollywood musical (West Side Story (Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise, US, 1961)), a historical epic set in feudal Japan (Kumonosu-jo/Throne of Blood (Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1957)), a Bollywood musical (Angoor (Gulzar, India, 1982)), and a children’s animation (The Lion King (Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, US, 1994)), to name but a few. Adaptations often sit within cycles associated with a particular time and place, as with the British heritage film in the 1980s (see cycle). It is claimed that adaptations account for up to 50 per cent of all Hollywood films and are consistently rated amongst the highest grossing at the box office, as aptly demonstrated by the commercial success of recent adaptations of the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Other varied US adaptations include: computer games (Resident Evil (Paul W.S. Anderson, 2002)), graphic novels (Ghost World (Terry Zwigoff, 2001)), comic books (The Avengers (Joss Whedon, 2012)); see also cinematic universe; superhero film), and children’s toys (Transformers: The Last Knight (Michael Bay, 2017)). A number of films also display a certain level of self-reflexivity regarding the process of adaptation, as can be seen in Adaptation (Spike Jonze, US, 2002) and The LEGO Movie (Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, 2012). A property ripe for adaptation is referred to as pre-sold; older works in particular are attractive to film producers because they are often out of copyright (see Deal, the).   ...

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). Adaptation. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 31 May. 2023

In the Library's collections

The following are useful subject headings for searching the online catalog. The books on adapting source materials for films are shelved in the call number range PN 1997.85 on Baker Level 4.

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book title(s)

Finding scholarly articles & journal title(s)

Articles and other writings about television adaptations can be found in many publications. Our collection has one journal that looks exclusively at adaptations of all types and it is called Adaptation. You can use Film & Television Literature Index or the search box at the top of the page to find articles.

Adapted TV programs

Here is a short list of adapted television located in the Jones Media Center or available through streaming. Find more titles in the library's online catalog.

Keeping up with the journal literature

Want an easy way to keep up with the journal literature for all facets of Film Studies? And you use a mobile device? You can install the BrowZine app and create a custom Bookshelf of your favorite journal titles. Then you will get the Table of Contents (ToCs) of your favorite journals automatically delivered to you when they become available. Once you have the ToC's you can download and read the articles you want.

You can get the app from the App Store or Google Play.

Don't own or use a mobile device? You can still use BrowZine! It's now available in a web version. You can get to it here. The web version works the same way as the app version. Find the journals you like, create a custom Bookshelf, get ToCs and read the articles you want.