Television's 'True Stories': paratexts and the promotion of HBO's Band of Brothers and The Pacific
InMedia : the French Journal of Media and Media Representations in the English-Speaking World
Center for Research on the English-Speaking World (CREW)
World War II’s long and enduring history on television is illustrated by the continued circulation of documentaries such as The World at War (Thames Television, 1973). While documentaries such as these can be considered a collection of memories, my interest in this article is to consider what happens when such a collection is positioned by televisual marketing strategies as more than either documentary or drama. I examine two ‘docudramas’ - Band of Brothers (2001) and The Pacific (2010), co-productions of HBO, Playtone and DreamWorks SKG – and their paratextual networks. I expose the industrial interests underlying HBO’s marketing strategies and move beyond the moment of broadcast to examine how the paratextual network generated via DVD and Blu-Ray posits the two series as authoritative histories. My goal is to demonstrate that the category of ‘docudrama’ may be inadequate for understanding how the series’ paratextual network identifies and situates them within larger historical representations of World War II. Ultimately, I seek to answer the following question: how do paratextual networks of promotion and representation inflect our understanding of the relationship between television, history, and documentary?
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available at http://inmedia.revues.org/720