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This chapter focuses on a quintessential genre of popular socialist fictional television in its first two decades: the historical adventure series. The argument is centered on two popular serials that exemplify broader aesthetic, social, and media policy trends of the 1960s and 1970s: the Hungarian A Tenkes kapitánya (The captain of the Tenkes, 1964) and the Polish Janosik (1974). Their success with audiences and the effectiveness of their political messages are rooted in three interrelated factors, all of which identify television entertainment as a key terrain for sustaining nationalisms and, simultaneously, for visualizing the contradictions at the core of these...

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