THE SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF POPULAR CULTURE AND THE MIDDLE AGES invites proposals for 15- to 20-minute papers on any aspect of the medieval in television programming to be included in sessions devoted to the topic of “Getting Medieval on Television” to be held at the 42nd International Congress on Medieval Studies, which convenes at Western Michigan University from 10-13 May 2007. In addition, submissions will also be considered for inclusion in an essay collection on the same topic. For potential topics and a bibliographic guide to the medieval on film and television, please visit THE MEDIEVAL STUDIES AT THE MOVIES web site at:
Please submit abstracts of 250-500 words and complete contact information, by 15 September 2006, to the session organizer at the following address:
Michael A. Torregrossa
34 2nd St
Smithfield, RI 02917-3627
With the success of Kevin J. Harty’s THE REEL MIDDLE AGES (1999), most medievalists and enthusiasts of the medieval period are now familiar with the wide variety of medieval-themed films that have been produced since the late nineteenth century, yet relatively few of these individuals know about the equally active world of medieval-themed television programming in existence since the 1950s. For the initiated, it is fascinating world, which includes animated series (GARGOYLES), comedies (MR. MERLIN), documentaries (TERRY JONES’ CRUSADE), made-for-television movies (MERLIN, MISTS OF AVALON, ROBIN HOOD), reality programming (WARRIOR CHALLENGE), science fiction series (BABYLON 5, DOCTOR WHO, STARGATE SG-1), and westerns (BONANZA) in addition to the expected action adventure and fantasy series (ADVENTURES OF SIR LANCELOT, CHARMED, GUINEVERE JONES, MYTHQUEST).
Like film medieval-themed television has produced some disappointments, such as the appearance of the “B. O. Wolf” in an episode of the BEETLEJUICE animated series or the extraterrestrial dragons that attack medieval Carpathia in the telefilm DRAGONSTORM, but, also like medieval film, medieval television has its gems--characters Frasier Crane and Daphne Moon’s appearance as Geoffrey Chaucer and the Wife of Bath on NBC’s FRAISER, the BBC’s CADFAEL, and Nelvana Ltds’s BLAZING DRAGONS, an animated series co-created by Terry Jones, come most immediately to mind. The purpose of these panels is to let the spotlight shine briefly on this ephemeral cousin to medieval film and allow those who know these works most intimately to share them with the wider audience that they deserve.
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