WiSe 14/15: It's not TV! - In the laboratory of the American serial drama
Hinweise für Studierende
The first session on October 14 is a double session and runs from 2 - 7 p.m.
Since the turn of the century, the long neglected (and often despised) format of the television series has seen an unprecedented creative renewal. Contemporary TV series are loved by audiences, ... Lesen Sie weiter
Since the turn of the century, the long neglected (and often despised) format of the television series has seen an unprecedented creative renewal. Contemporary TV series are loved by audiences, critics and academia alike. While 21st century Hollywood cinema is by and large running short on ideas, spectators and revenue, American television series are international bestsellers: Programs from the US are reigning supreme, setting standards in production values and formal experimentation, while at the same time the US is importing and remaking the best in international TV production from Israel, the UK and Scandinavia. So, what is the secret behind this success story?
In this course, we are going to have a close look at the contemporary serial drama: a specific form of TV series relying heavily on long-term story arcs. We will examine how for the last twenty years this particular format has been serving as a laboratory for creative experimentation on all levels: content, narrative form, language, filmic approach, production values, modes of reception.
Following a broad overview of the history (and prehistory) of serialized TV narratives, we will focus on formal aspects of serialization: serial temporalities, multi-linear storytelling, character configurations, serial continuity, the construction of fictional universes. Other aspects will include: American TV serials and the "fantastic" (Todorov); the role of dialogue and language in series; series and gender; the contemporary genre of political drama; rewriting, adapting, remaking.
All these topics will be extensively illustrated by examples from seminal 20th and 21st century serials such as Twin Peaks, The X-Files, My So-Called Life, The Sopranos, The West Wing, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The Wire, Deadwood, Lost, Damages, Mad Men, Breaking Bad etc.
In order to provide us with a common basis for discussion, students should be familiar with at least the first two seasons of The Wire (HBO, 2002-2008).