Quality vs value: the case of The Kettering Incident



Publication Details

Turnbull, S. & McCutcheon, M. (2019). Quality vs value: the case of The Kettering Incident. In F. Collins, J. Landman & S. Bye (Eds.), A companion to Australian cinema (pp. 391-415). Hoboken: Wiley Blackwell.


According to actor Kevin Spacey in his James McTaggart Memorial Lecture delivered at the Edinburgh Festival in 2013, four years before he would be accused of sexual misconduct in the fall out from the notorious Harvey Weinstein affair that rocked the screen industry to its core, if it takes every artistic medium several decades to find 'its footing and be recognised as a legitimate art form', it was only 'in the past decade' that television had finally achieved this status. This claim will immediately raise the eyebrows of television scholars everywhere who have long been involved in debates about 'quality' and 'art' in relation to the history of the medium (Brunsdon 1990; McCabe and Akass 2012; Thompson 2007). In Spacey's opinion, television's elevation to the category of 'art' was largely the result of a number of 'quality' drama television productions created by the recent pioneers of cable TV His select list begins somewhat predictably with the American HBO production of The Sopranos and concluded with House of Cards, a Netflix production in which Spacey was also starring at the time as the Machiavellian politician, Frank Underwood. This performance would subsequently win him a Golden Globe Award in 2015 for best actor in a television series, although his role has since been written out of the series.

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