Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling

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NYU Press, Apr 10, 2015 - Literary Criticism - 391 pages

Over the past two decades, new technologies, changing viewer practices, and the proliferation of genres and channels has transformed American television. One of the most notable impacts of these shifts is the emergence of highly complex and elaborate forms of serial narrative, resulting in a robust period of formal experimentation and risky programming rarely seen in a medium that is typically viewed as formulaic and convention bound.





Complex TV offers a sustained analysis of the poetics of television narrative, focusing on how storytelling has changed in recent years and how viewers make sense of these innovations. Through close analyses of key programs, including The Wire, Lost, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Veronica Mars, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Mad Men the book traces the emergence of this narrative mode, focusing on issues such as viewer comprehension, transmedia storytelling, serial authorship, character change, and cultural evaluation. Developing a television-specific set of narrative theories, Complex TV argues that television is the most vital and important storytelling medium of our time.

 

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Contents

Complexity in Context
17
Beginnings
55
Authorship
86
Characters
118
Comprehension
164
Evaluation
206
Serial Melodrama
233
Orienting Paratexts
261
Transmedia Storytelling
292
Ends
319
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

Jason Mittell is Professor of Film & Media Culture at Middlebury College. His books include Genre & Television: From Cop Shows to Cartoons in American Culture, Television & American Culture, and Complex Television: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling, and Narrative Theory and Adaptation. He is project manager for [in]Transition: Journal of Videographic Film & Moving Image Studies, and author of numerous video essays.

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