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Episode two of the Hannibal news. Hidden behind the 'read more'-button, you'll find the draft of an article which has been accepted for publication (basically as-is) by the European Journal of American Culture for its special issue on "The Joy and Sorrow of Food: An American Story" (vol. 34, issue 2). The abstract goes like this: 'Amuse-Bouche', 'Sorbet', 'Digestivo' – Hannibal's episode titles announce the important role food plays in Bryan Fuller's recent re-imagination of the well-known narrative surrounding a serial-killing, anthropophagic psychiatrist. This article traces food's path from procurement via preparation to its consumption. Along this path, the article highlights how the show constantly questions binary constructs by intelligently interconnecting the liminal role of its central character, who happens to be a cannibal, to his relation to food. In the end, the article demonstrates that food, a liminal object that enters the human body from the outside, is a remarkably potent semiotic vehicle for relating a story about a human monster who rejects and yet, surprisingly, at the same time reinforces cultural boundaries.

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This is the first news concerning NBC's Hannibal—in keeping with the logic of seriality, part 2 will follow in the next couple of days. Together with Mike Phillips (once again), I am working on a chapter titled "Honoring the Taste and Aesthetic of What We Eat (and Kill): Porning Food and Fetishizing Murder in Hannibal," which will be included in a collection tentatively titled What's Eating You? Food and Horror on Screen edited by Cindy Miller and Bow Van Riper, slated for publication with Bloomsbury Academic. For the abstract, click the 'read more' button.

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24 May

Call for Contributions: Fantastic Cities

Posted by Michael Fuchs
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Together with Stefan Brandt (University of Graz) and Steve Rabitsch (University of Klagenfurt), I am editing a book on American urban spaces in science fiction & fantasy. Click 'read more' for the full call for contributions.

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25 Apr

Supernatural & Television Authorship

Posted by Michael Fuchs
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This the final draft of a chapter titled "Supernatural's Showrunners, Creative Teams, and Fans: Television Authorship in the Age of Participatory Culture," which will be published in a volume on 'auteur TV' edited by Ralph Poole and Saskia Fürst.
Abstract:
In his seminal article "Narrative Complexity in Contemporary American Television," Jason Mittell notes that television has earned the "reputation as a producer’s medium, where writers and creators retain control of their work more than in film's director-centered model" (31). However, it seems as if no other live-action television show has highlighted the importance of its creative team in the way Supernatural has. While, for example, naming characters after writers (e.g. Bobby Singer) may serve as a secret handshake with fans, the show, in fact, has taken its play with authorship to such a level that in seasons four and five, Eric Kripke's (the main creative force behind the show—at least during its first five seasons) fictional double Chuck Shurley (a.k.a. Carver Edlund—not surprisingly a combination of the last names of two of the show's writers) has repeated appearances on the show, culminating in the season five finale, in which Chuck serves as the episode's voiceover narrator.
While Chuck's role as the show's narrator, who metaleptically occupies intra and extra-diegetic positions simultaneously and whose narration, in fact, precedes diegetic reality, provides neat meditations not only on authorship in television series but also on postmodern theory, the season seven episode "Season Seven, Time for a Wedding" adds an important twist to the question of authorship by featuring a plot diegetically imagined by Supernatural fanfic writer Becky (a recurring character since season five) that sees her marrying her hero Sam, one of the show's main characters. Thus, the focus turns from how the show is a creative construct of a select few to how Supernatural is actually (re)created by its fans. This essay will analyze how Supernatural negotiates these two seemingly contradictory poles (the creative team's control vs. fans' 'control') in its diegesis and paratextual materials.

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Together with Jeff Thoss (FU Berlin), I am editing a book on video games and intermediality. Click 'read more' for the full call for contributions.

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