In this course we study film and TV series from Louis Feuillade’s Fantomas (1913) and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks (1990-1991), Edgar Reitz’s Heimat (1981-2006) to contemporary American post-network series such as The Wire (2002-2009), Mr Robot (2015-2017) and Narcos (2015-2017). We will read essays on the conventions of the instalment novel and on the narrative strategies of classic genres such as the police procedural, melodrama, the sitcom and the western. The second part of the course will focus on the emergence of contemporary forms of ‘complex’ storytelling in TV series, and the new cultural practices that they invite, such as binge-watching and the writing of fan fiction. Special attention will be paid to new forms of academic TV criticism which seek to understand the relations between narrative forms and ideological, political-economical and technological developments. We will read essays by Umberto Eco, Tania Modleski, Jason Mittell, Fredric Jameson, en Mark Fisher.
On completion of the course, students will
Have an overview of the history of serial forms of storytelling in cinema and television;
Are familiar with the major serial genres and their narrative conventions;
Have learned how to analyze complex narrative texts;
Have reflected on the relation between popular narrative forms and the political, economic and cultural contexts in which they are produced and consumed;
Have learned how to write a paper and to give a classroom presentation.
The timetable is available on the website
Mode of instruction
Lectures: 26 Hours
Course Preparation: 254 Hours
Assessment and weighing
Midtermpaper (35 %)
Final paper (55 %)
A resit is possible for non-passing grades. Papers will be returned with comments
Blackboard will be used to make readings available, to post assignments, reading questions, and to archive powerpoint presentations.
Readings will be made available on Blackboard.
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the teacher Dhr. Dr. Y.Horsman.
For more information please check the website of the study program Film and Literature Studies.