Time in Television Narrative: Exploring Temporality in Twenty-First-Century Programming

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Melissa Ames
Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2012 - Performing Arts - 324 pages

This collection analyzes twenty-first-century American television programs that rely upon temporal and narrative experimentation. These shows play with time, slowing it down to unfold the narrative through time retardation and compression. They disrupt the chronological flow of time itself, using flashbacks and insisting that viewers be able to situate themselves in both the present and the past narrative threads. Although temporal play has existed on the small screen prior to the new millennium, never before has narrative time been so freely adapted in mainstream television. The essayists offer explanations for not only the frequency of time play in contemporary programming, but the implications of its sometimes disorienting presence.

Drawing upon the fields of cultural studies, television scholarship, and literary studies, as well as overarching theories concerning postmodernity and narratology, Time in Television Narrative offers some critical suggestions. The increasing number of of television programs concerned with time may stem from any and all of the following: recent scientific approaches to quantum physics and temporality; new conceptions of history and posthistory; or trends in late-capitalistic production and consumption, in the new culture of instantaneity, or in the recent trauma culture amplified after the September 11 attacks. In short, these televisual time experiments may very well be an aesthetic response to the climate from which they derive. These essays analyze both ends of this continuum and also attend to another crucial variable: the television viewer watching this new temporal play.

 

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Contents

Television Studies in the TwentyFirst Century
3
The Industry Changes and Technological Advancements That Paved the Way to New Television Ventures
25
How the Cultural Climate Impacts Temporal Manipulation on the Small Screen
95
Analyzing the Effects of Nonnormative Narrative Structures
151
Reimagining Genres and Formats
203
The Role Time Plays in Fan Fiction online Communities and Audience Studies
271
About the Contributors
310
Index
315
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Melissa Ames is assistant professor of English at Eastern Illinois University. She is coeditor of Women and Language: Essays on Gendered Communication across Media.

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