Italian television scholar Milly Buonanno has often complained that, in this second Golden Age of TV, academic attention is focused almost exclusively on the United States. Even in a country like Spain, newspapers dutifully recap each episode of American premium-cable and streaming-service series while ignoring their own local productions. Hence, the importance of Buonanno's new collection Television Antiheroines: Women Behaving Badly in Crime and Prison Drama, which tracks its female figures on screens from Italy and France to Australia and Brazil. Smith examines two prominent Spanish language TV shows featuring women in prison and concludes that Buonanno's invaluable book shows it is no longer necessary to ask where the female Tony Sopranos or Walter Whites may be. And, thanks to the compelling examples of Capadocia (HBO Latin America, 2008–12) and Spain's Vis a vis (Antena 3/Fox, 2015–), it is now clear that difficult women can speak Spanish as well as English on global TV screens, even as they are confined within them to the smallest of prison cells.
Screenings: Behaving Badly: Television's Women in Prison
Paul Julian Smith, a Fellow of the British Academy, is Distinguished Professor in the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Program at the Graduate Center, The City University of New York. He is the author of nineteen books including Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodóvar (Verso, 1994), Dramatized Societies: Quality Television in Spain and Mexico (Liverpool University Press, 2016), and the new Queer Mexico: Cinema and Television Since 2000 (Wayne State University Press, 2017). He has served on the juries of the San Sebastián International Film Festival in Spain and the Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico. Follow him on Twitter @pauljuliansmith.
Paul Julian Smith; Screenings: Behaving Badly: Television's Women in Prison. Film Quarterly 1 March 2018; 71 (3): 72–76. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2018.71.3.72
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