Much of modern television is being created with the season and series-run in mind. Think of how Netflix encourages viewership in bulk—watch the entire series of Damages in a weekend, and then move on to something else. The broadcast model for television series’ was to create episodes that were nothing more than enjoyable, stand-alone snippets that drop the viewer into the world and then leave them behind just as quickly (with some exceptions, of course). From a plot perspective, it didn’t really matter if you caught every single episode of I Dream of Jeannie, and few people did because it aired once a week for half an hour and that was it (until syndication). The newer way of telling stories on television involves creating a long-term relationship between the viewer, the content, and the characters, in a media consumption environment that allows for easy repeat viewing (again, think Netflix, DVRs, and torrents). This trend is more obvious in drama, but comedies also create character arcs that we are significantly invested in.
Is it important to know what year it is when you’re watching a television show? Television has a special relationship with time. As a serial mode of storytelling, what year it is at the time of release is more closely associated with television than it is with movies or books. We are used to watching […]
Like, we really need to. Scandal is in the middle of its fifth season, and by all measures, it is a hit. After a very short first season that centered on unraveling one mystery about government-sanctioned (maybe?) murder and cover up, the show hit its stride in its second season. The world of the show expanded […]