Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Complexity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 31-31
  3. Kinship

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 117-117
  4. Epilogue

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 205-205
    2. Sofia Bull
      Pages 207-219
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 221-239

About this book


This book examines the complex ways in which television articulates ideas about DNA in the early 21st century. Considering television’s distinct aesthetic and narrative forms, as well as its specific cultural roles, it identifies TV as a key site for the genetic imaginary. The book addresses the key themes of complexity and kinship, which function as nodes around which older essentialist notions about the human genome clash with newly emergent post-genomic sensibilities. Analysing a wide range of US and UK programmes, from science documentaries, science fiction serials and crime procedurals, to family history programmes, sitcoms and reality shows, Television and the Genetic Imaginary illustrates the extent to which molecular frameworks of understanding now permeate popular culture.  


DNA narrative TV kinship USA documentary science fiction crime procedural reality television genome science medical humanities

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

About the authors

Sofia Bull is a lecturer in film and television studies at the University of Southampton, UK.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Television and the Genetic Imaginary
  • Authors Sofia Bull
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in Science and Popular Culture
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in Science and Popular Culture
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Literature, Cultural and Media Studies Literature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-54846-7
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-349-71475-9
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-137-54847-4
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XII, 239
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Screen Studies
    Human Genetics
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Reading the book Television and the Genetic Imaginary was a great pleasure because it is well-written, concise and informative. … a must-read for anyone interested in the public understanding of genetics, as it provides a nice overview of the genetic imaginary in television.” (New Genetics and Society, April 21, 2020)