Watching Sympathetic Perpetrators on Italian Television

Gomorrah and Beyond

Authors: Renga, Dana

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  • Offers the first in-depth study in any language of the representation and reception of criminality in recent and popular Italian television
  • Provides a clear introduction to contemporary, popular Italian television with a criminal focus, as well as Italian programming and viewing platforms
  • Discusses how Italian television products borrow from and elaborate upon popular examples of American serial television, such as The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, and The Wire, which gives it an international appeal
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eBook $64.99
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-11503-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-11502-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book offers the first comprehensive study of recent, popular Italian television. Building on work in American television studies, audience and reception theory, and masculinity studies, Sympathetic Perpetrators and their Audiences on Italian Television examines how and why viewers are positioned to engage emotionally with—and root for—Italian television antiheroes. Italy’s most popular exported series feature alluring and attractive criminal antiheroes, offer fictionalized accounts of historical events or figures, and highlight the routine violence of daily life in the mafia, the police force, and the political sphere. Renga argues that Italian broadcasters have made an international name for themselves by presenting dark and violent subjects in formats that are visually pleasurable and, for many across the globe, highly addictive. Taken as a whole, this book investigates what recent Italian perpetrator television can teach us about television audiences, and our viewing habits and preferences.

About the authors

Dana Renga is Associate Professor of Italian at The Ohio State University, USA. She is the author of Unfinished Business: Screening the Italian Mafia in the New Millennium (2013), the editor of Mafia Movies: A Reader (2011), and has published extensively on Italian cinema and television. 

Reviews

Dana Renga’s Sympathetic Perpetrators succeeds admirably in leading us on an extraordinary journey through the ins and outs of Italy’s crime series output, which has raised the quality bar and prompted a real renaissance in Italian TV. The book explores titles such as Romanzo Criminale, Gomorrah or Suburra—to name but three of the most internationally renowned—and applies a close textual analysis to laser in on characters who elicit empathetic appeal while raising ethical dilemmas in viewers’ minds. In doing so, it provides pivotal insights not only for understanding a key aspect of Italy’s contemporary popular culture but also more broadly for contextualising the significance of anti-heroes in today’s television drama, which creates a hidden yet strong link from quality US output (from The Sopranos to Breaking Bad and beyond) to the European offerings.” (Massimo Scaglioni, University of Milan, Italy)

 “This ground-breaking work examines the representation of organised crime and its perpetrators on Italian television. Renga’s readings of these problematically attractive ‘sympathetic perpetrators’ are original and convincing: she digs deep into the Italian fascination with glamorous male criminals, bringing in audience responses and industry marketing. This welcome book offers a new take on both series that have had international success (Gomorrah, Romanzo criminale, Suburra), and those that are avidly consumed by audiences at home.” (Catherine O'Rawe, University of Bristol, UK)

“Dana Renga’s authoritative account of criminals, mobsters and corrupt politicians in Italian serial television reveals that her ‘sympathetic perpetrators’ have evolved differently from those on US television. Spoiler: the Italians are bad but beautiful! Renga teases out how viewer sympathy for these attractive antiheros refracts international fascination with Italy's murky recent history—hence the success abroad of Gomorra and other series. This comprehensive account is likely to be the point of reference for some time to come.” (Alan O’Leary, University of Leeds, UK)

Table of contents (9 chapters)

Table of contents (9 chapters)
  • Introduction: Sympathetic Serial Offenders

    Renga, Dana

    Pages 1-37

  • Rai: “Educate While Entertaining—Entertain While Educating” in L’ultimo dei Corleonesi, “Niente di personale,” and Il segreto dell’acqua

    Renga, Dana

    Pages 39-62

  • Mediaset’s Middlebrow Model: Il capo dei capi, L’ultimo padrino, Il clan dei camorristi, and L’onore e il rispetto

    Renga, Dana

    Pages 63-104

  • Sky’s Offer You Can’t Refuse and Romanzo criminale. La serie’s Criminal Payoffs

    Renga, Dana

    Pages 105-139

  • Faccia d’angelo: “The Allure of Evil”

    Renga, Dana

    Pages 141-162

Buy this book

eBook $64.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-11503-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-11502-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Watching Sympathetic Perpetrators on Italian Television
Book Subtitle
Gomorrah and Beyond
Authors
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-11503-6
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-11503-6
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-11502-9
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 334
Number of Illustrations
1 b/w illustrations, 21 illustrations in colour
Topics