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6: Fanspeak

Anne MooreJust in time for the new season of Lost, Alana talks with popular culture scholar Anne Moore about television, fan communities, and the pleasures of serial narratives.

Anne’s work questions the conventional association of narrative closure with artistry; she celebrates, instead, the open-ended pleasures of soaps, prime-time dramas, and serialized space operas.  


Listen to Episode 6 Episode 6: Fanspeak.

About Our Guest

Anne Moore is a fifth-year PhD candidate at Tufts University. Her dissertation focuses on serial reading and fan communities organized around Victorian novels and contemporary television. Anne blogs about television, fandom, and her other obsessions at  She has some Big Theories about the final season of Lost, which she will be glad to share with you anytime.

Music in This Episode

Intro: “The Remainder,” Rosehips from the album Rosehips.

Intermission: “Goliath,” The Receiver from the album Decades.

Outro: “Enough,” Rosehips from the album Rosehips.


TWoP, aka Television without Pity, provides recaps and reviews of popular TV shows.  Select your show, go to the forums, and let the snarking begin!  A great place to find informed TV fans sharing opinions and ideas—also good for spoiling the endings of your favorite episodes before you’ve seen them.

Although not satirical like its parent paper, The Onion, The A.V. Club doesn’t fail to bring the snark.  Its regular reviews of TV shows, movies, books, and games are written by sharp-witted critics who are also clearly fans.

PopMatters posts smart, critical reviews and feature essays about TV shows (as well as many other forms of pop cultural production — music, film, books, DVDs, comics, and more).

i09’s correspondents (chief among them: Alana’s Top Braincrush, Annalee Newitz) write smart, concise episode recaps. More than a site for SciFi news, i09 does an amazing job of analyzing past and present SciFi pop culture product in terms of the cultural, social, political, economic, and historical contexts in which it was created — in whipsmart yet accessible prose.

Check out for user-provided definitions of conventions that turn up in lots of television shows and movies—you know, like when a straight character is constantly mistaken for gay, when a white hero is saved by the powers of a magical minority, or when that uptight male protagonist has his world turned upside-down by a manic pixie dream girl.

JustTV is the media studies blog of Jason Mittell, author of Television and American and Genres and Television: From Cop Shows to Cartoons in American Culture

The audience-response critic Henry Jenkins, author of Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture, also maintains an excellent site and blog devoted to media studies and fan communities.  And let’s not forget the critic Douglass Kellner, who has written extensively about television, spectacle, and the relationship of media to democracy.

Lostpedia is an Anne-endorsed fan wiki containing every Lost theory and reference, no matter how out there or obscure.

Consulting the Fan Fiction section of Yahoo! Directory is a wormhole into the world of fan-written fiction and slash (you know, slash, like stories of the forbidden love of a certain starfleet captain and his vulcan science officer).

Fanpop is an online network of fan clubs for fans of television, movies, music and more to discuss and share photos, videos, news and opinions with fellow fans.


Allrath, Gaby, and Marion Gymnich. 2005. Narrative strategies in television series. Houndsmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, U.K.: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dines, Gail, and Jean McMahon Humez. 1995. Gender, race, and class in media: a text-reader. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage.

Jenkins, Henry. 1992. Textual poachers: television fans & participatory culture. Studies in culture and communication. New York: Routledge.

Johnson, Merri Lisa. 2007. Third wave feminism and television: Jane puts it in a box. Reading contemporary television. London: I.B. Tauris.

Lavery, David. 2006. Reading Deadwood: a western to swear by. Reading contemporary television. London: I. B. Tauris.

Leverette, Marc, Brian L. Ott, and Cara Louise Buckley. 2008. It’s not TV: watching HBO in the post-television era. New York: Routledge.

Nochimson, Martha. 1992. No end to her: soap opera and the female subject. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Pearson, Roberta. 2009. Reading Lost Perspectives on a Hit Television Show. I B Tauris & Co Ltd.

Storey, John, and John Storey. 2009. Cultural theory and popular culture: a reader. Harlow, England: Pearson Longman.

Strinati, Dominic. 2004. An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture. Routledge.

Tompkins, Jane P. 1981. Reader-response criticism: from formalism to post-structuralism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Warhol-Down, Robyn. 2003. Having a good cry: effeminate feelings and pop-culture forms. The theory and interpretation of narrative series. Columbus: Ohio State University Press.


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