Q2: What role does Hills (2004) suggest the fans play in the construction of cult TV? How is new media central to this?
Hills gives a definition of Cult TV and as he describes “in different levels in a three-part model of text/ inter-text/audience.” There is no doubt that fans are an essential part of developing and producing successful material. Based on Hills(2004), The fans of cult TV crated an ‘intertextual network’ which roughly defines a combination new work that keeps fans on the loop for every kind of popular material such as films, comics, etc.
Forms of ‘cult’ media normally contain lots of quotable dialogue as well as an elaborate fictional world that the story is based in. It can be defined in various ways ‘cult’ can be defined by textual analysis, through an analysis of fan practices or even the popularity and success of text. Despite the multiple definitions and textual examples it still is not clear as to what makes media text a ‘cult’ media text. Matt Hill’s view that texts can be defined as a cult ‘through an analysis of fan practices’ is also shared by Mark Jacovich and Nathan Hunt as they state ‘Cult TV is not defined by any future shared by show themselves but rather the way they are appropriated by specific groups.’ This actually suggests what makes a media text a ‘cult’ media text is, in fact, the audience themselves.
However, ‘cult’ media cannot be defined without analyzing the texts themselves such as what their similarities and differences, as well as seeing if there are certain characteristics shared by certain texts that make them ‘cult’. There is an example of this Hyper-diegesis which is described by Hills as, ‘The creation of vast and detailed narrative space, only a fraction of which is ever directly seen or encountered within the text.’ An example of this is in Doctor Who as the universe inside the show (‘Whoniverse’) is very vast. Furthermore, this creates more similarities between forms of ‘cult’ media as they all usually fall into similar genres like sci-fi and fantasy as these genres are easier to create large fictional worlds in.
In conclusion, Hills ends his final words by suggesting that instead of referring to three different definitions of cult statuses, there needs to be a way to institutionalize all three of those different components of the definition since there is all part of the same equation. He concludes by saying,
“This would mean investigating how cult status is generated by texts placed within the institutional contexts of US and UK media industries, by producers placed within the institutional context of production companies and professional bodies, and by fans placed within the institutional contexts of organized and online fan communities… Such an approach would lead us away from celebrating cult texts for their supposed uniqueness, analyzing and defining cult TV as part of broader patterns within changing TV industries.”
What makes a media text ‘Cult’? Media texts and genres assessment. (2017, January 08). Retrieved from https://httpsjonrossiterblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/03/what-makes-a-media-text-cult-media-texts-and-genres-assessment/