This course studies TV series from traditional soap, sitcoms and sci-fi (such as Seinfeld, Friends, Dark) to contemporary post-network series (such as I May Destroy You, The Handmaid’s Tale and Chernobyl). Our focus will be on the emergence of contemporary forms of ‘complex’ storytelling in TV series and the new cultural practices they invite, such as binge watching and the writing of fan fiction. In addition, we will look at new forms of comedy (Fleabag, Sex Education), superhero genre (Watchmen, Jessica Jones) and contemporary series that question the boundary between film and TV (Small Axe, Twin Peaks). Special attention will be paid to new forms of academic TV criticism, which seeks to understand the relations between narrative forms and ideological, political, economic and technological developments, such as representations of race and gender, crime, trauma and the ethics of historical representation, and new forms of online TV criticism. Part one of our course is devoted to the discussion of narrative patterns and generic conventions that are typical of contemporary long narratives. We will concentrate on the narrative conventions of classic series (Soap, Sitcom, Prime Time Serial, SF). Part two is devoted to the analysis of specific contemporary TV series. In this part you will be asked to give a group presentation on a specific series.
On completion of the course, students will
have acquired knowledege on the history of serial forms of storytelling in television;
have gained insight into the major serial genres and their narrative conventions;
be able to describe and analyze complex narrative texts;
be able to identify, describe and interpret the relationship between popular narrative forms and the political, economic and cultural contexts in which they are produced and consumed;
be able to reflect on the above in a comprehensive manner in writing, presentations and discussions
The timetables are available through My Timetable.
Mode of instruction
Lecture and Seminar
Group Presentation (x2)
Final Paper (x1)
Group Presentation 1 – pass/fail (10%)
Workshop Presentation – 20%
Final Paper – 70%
The resit will involve the same subtest as the first opportunity.
Inspection and feedback
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.
Literature will be announced on Brightspace before the beginning of the course. Texts will be made available on Brightspace. Literature should be studied before each class.
Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs
For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.
For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal