Th ere is television that gets watched and there is television that gets discussed: the two do not necessarily coincide. Th is edition of Critical Studies in Television aims to highlight, explore and off er ways of thinking about those television programmes, which, despite being long- running and consistently garnering high audience ratings, are repeatedly ignored by the vast majority of academic work. It argues that this means there is a wealth of television that is invisible to what we do as academics; that is, there are programmes that exist, but seem not to be seen.
Th e reasons for this invisibility are various, and are explored in this article as well as others in this issue. Th is analysis assumes that the fact that some television is invisible matters, because how television is talked about and the programmes that are analysed, discussed and taught, lead to a normalised understanding of what television is, what it is constituted of, what it does, who it is for and what is done with it. In all, then, this issue of Critical Studies in Television intends to constitute a signifi cant intervention into our activities and the ways we defi ne and justify the things that we do as researchers, as scholars, as teachers and as a community.
And by highlighting that which is invisible it hopes to off er alternative directions for the development of television studies as a whole. Th e term ‘invisibility’ has been chosen carefully. Ratings show that these series are not invisible to signifi cant proportions of the population. ‘Invisibility’, then, aims to capture the notion that this is broadcasting which appears to go unseen within academia; it is simply overlooked or looked through as though it were not there. It suggests that, to survey the fi eld of television studies as a whole, is to overlook many programmes that constitute a considerable amount of television consumption. It also suggests that, in some ways, this invisibility is not conscious or motivated; it is instead a consequence of the contexts within which we work and the activities which make up our labour.
Th at said, this issue clearly calls for a reassessment of some of our practices, and questions why it is that the fi eld of television studies is so oft en misaligned with the everyday experiences many people have of the medium we examine.