Critical Studies in Television seeks to publish incisive and insightful book reviews which provide information about the book for the reader, offer informed criticism of the book’s content and convey a balanced assessment of the work’s contribution to its field. Our book reviews are a crucial part of CST’s commitment to engaging with the most recent, ground-breaking research within the field of television studies and we very much appreciate the work our book reviewers do.
The production of the Review section is in the hands of a team: Christine Geraghty (University of Glasgow) edits reviews and oversees the process of getting the reviews into the journal; Caitriona Noonan (University of Cardiff) commissions reviews and helps reviewers to submit their work to us; Kevin Geddes (Edinburgh Napier University) organises books for review and liaises with publishers.
We try to use a wide range of reviewers from different backgrounds and expertise. We strongly encourage reviewers from non-Western contexts and from all career stages. Please be aware that the reviewer should have no relationship to the production of the book nor a close relationship to its author so please let us know if that is the case when you are asked to review a book.
If you would like to review for CST, do please email the Assistant Book Reviews Editor Caitriona Noonan (firstname.lastname@example.org), giving details of your situation and research interests. We publish around 6-7 reviews in an issue and are happy to welcome new reviewers.
Here is some guidance about reviewing for CST which we hope you will give an idea of our approach and be particularly helpful for those commissioned to write a review.
Getting the book
When your review is commissioned, Kevin Geddes will seek to get a copy of the book to you in a format you desire. We are particularly concerned to get print copies of a book if that is what you want. This can take a bit of time and persuasion but publishers now seem more willing to accede to that.
When you have received the book, you will be contacted by Caitriona Noonan who will confirm the word limit and deadline for you. The usual word limit for single-book reviews is 800-1,000 words, and for double reviews is 1500-1800 words. We normally plan very far ahead so the deadline will be very reasonable. Please stick to the deadline if possible. We are delighted to receive early copy but if, at any stage, you foresee any problems with hitting a deadline, please contact Caitriona. In any case, Caitriona will send a reminder nearer the deadline as we begin preparations for publication. It is helpful if you can acknowledge these emails, even just to confirm that you are on schedule.
Your finished review should be sent to Christine Geraghty as Book Reviews Editor (email@example.com) with a copy to Caitriona so that she knows that you have submitted it. Christine will then begin the editorial process and will contact you direct.
Layout of the review
Please head your review with the book’s details which can normally be found on the publisher’s website:
Author’s name, title, place of publication: publisher, date of publication; 000 pp. ISBN 000, price (hbk), ISBN 000, price (pbk), ebook details if available
Editor’s Name (ed[s].), title, place of publication: publisher, date, 000 pp. ISBN 000, price (hbk), ISBN 000, price (pbk), ebook details if available
This is followed on a separate line by your details: Reviewed by Janet McCabe, Birkbeck, University of London, UK
The review then follows with a reference section and an author’s biography at the end. Please note that a review should not have footnotes. The editor will help if you have problems over this.
It is important you abide by CST’s style guidelines. Please pay particular attention to the referencing system and follow the examples below. All books and visual works referred to in the text should be included in the References section at the end of the review. Television and film titles should appear in alphabetical order by title. Titles beginning ‘The’ (or equivalent in languages other than English) should be listed under ‘T’ (or equivalent).
Books should be detailed as
Author (date) Name of book, place of publication: publisher.
Wheatley H (2016) Spectacular Television: Exploring Televisual Pleasure, London: I.B. Tauris.
Articles in journals should be detailed as
Author (date) Name of article. Journal title No (issue): pages.
McElroy R and Noonan C (2016) Television drama production in small nations: Mobilities in a changing ecology. Journal of Popular Television 4 (1): 109–127.
Articles in edited collections should be detailed as
Author (date) Name of article. In: name of editor (ed) Name of book Place of Publication: Publisher, page numbers.
Pearson R (2010) The Multiple Determinants of Television Acting. In: Cornea C (ed) Genre and Performance: Film and Television. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 166-183.
Films should be detailed as
Film title (year of release), director name, distributor, nation of origin e.g Julie and Julia (2009), Nora Ephron, Columbia Pictures, US.
Films in text
Film title followed by year in brackets e.g. Julie and Julia (2009)
TV programmes should be detailed as
TV show name [English language translation if necessary] (years of broadcast), Channel of original broadcast, major production companies, followed if necessary by ‘et al.’, nation of origin.
Years should be given in abbreviated form i.e. 1965-9, 2018-21. Use ‘ – present’ when broadcast is ongoing. Use broadcaster of nation of origin. Use the styling of the broadcaster: e.g. BBC One, Channel 4, Syfy, DD National, RTÉ 2.
E.g. All in the Family (1971-9), CBS, Tandem Productions/CBS, US.
La Piovra [The Octopus. Power of the Mafia] (1984 – present), Rai 1, Télécip et al., Italy.
TV programmes in text
TV Show name (years of broadcast) e.g. All in the Family (1971-9)
Series made for SVOD services should be detailed as
TV show name (Years of release), Name of SVOD, major production companies, followed if necessary by ‘et al.’, nation of origin.
e.g. Orange is the New Black (2013-9), Netflix, Tilted Productions/Lionsgate Television, US.
Only Murders in the Building (2021- present), Hulu, 20th Productions et al., US.
This is only for SVOD originally commissioned programming. Programming made by a broadcaster in one territory but exclusively distributed by SVOD in another should refer to the original broadcast context. Years of release refers to years when new episodes were being produced and released on SVOD.
SVOD in text
TV show name (years of release) e.g. Orange is the New Black (2013-9), Only Murders in the Building (2021- present)
After the References, please add a paragraph of biography using about 80 words which are not included in the word count of the review.
When you have submitted your review, the Reviews Editor, will edit it and return it to you with any suggestions for changes or amendments. When copyediting, we
- format the review to our standard format and check basic facts,
- read for structure, persuasiveness and objectivity and
- undertake the first proofread.
This editing process can take a bit of time but we aim to help you shape your review so that it will speak effectively to our readers. Once this process has been completed and you have agreed any changes you will be sent a final copy. It will then be some months before you receive will be the final proof, copy edited by the publishers, for you to check. This needs to be sent back to us really quickly.
When you are submitting a review, please check that you have done the following
- Provided details of the book following the format outlined above
- Put your own name and institutions (if applicable) under these details
- Indicated how the book fits into current literature on its topic
- Given an indication of the structure and scope of the book
- Outlined the main arguments being made
- Commented on any particular strengths and weaknesses you find in the book
- Given an indication of how the book is written and presented
- Have provided references for all books and television programmes referred to in the article using the formats above
- Provided a brief biographical statement
Rationale: The key qualities of a CST book review
An Expert Perspective
We try to send books to appropriately qualified, interested reviewers who we feel will engage with the work open-mindedly, enthusiastically and critically. Each review should situate the new publication within its appropriate context, which might be Television Studies as a whole, or a sub-field, and offer an appreciation of its contribution to that context. Where appropriate, do make references to what has come before since this helps our readers to situate the book in its field but don’t make too many references since this can take up words which might be better used on the book itself. If a book is genuinely innovative or idiosyncratic, do note this.
We aim to publish a range of different voices and approaches, incorporating reviews from long-established experts, early-career researchers, postgraduates and reviewers who have valuable industry experience. You should aim your review at a reader who is knowledgeable about television studies but may not have read much about the particular aspect you are covering in your review. We are happy for you to adopt your own voice so long as you aim for clarity and avoid jargon and too much specialist detail.
Objectivity And Fairness
CST is looking for reviews of books, not opinion pieces. The review is about the book under scrutiny and, while your own point of view is important, you should seek to inform the reader about the book’s structure, arguments and methods. Beware, in particular, of criticism of what the book has ‘left out’. If you find that the book’s own argument is incoherent/weakened because it omits x, clearly that should be said. But criticism along the lines of ‘the book hasn’t undertaken the project I would have done, and/or hasn’t mentioned the theorists I would have preferred’ is illegitimate. If you really do feel that the book is not worth reviewing, then please get back to Caitriona about that.
Of course, we are not necessarily expecting overwhelmingly positive reviews, though if that happens it’s fine. Negative comments should be included but they can be couched sensitively and should always be proffered in the context of whether the book has developed its central thesis, used appropriate methods and given evidence for its arguments. It is helpful if you indicate whether the book is suitable for students at a particular level or has a more specialist academic appeal.
Many thanks! We really appreciate your work.