Time in Television Narrative

See, kids, sometimes there’s a benefit to watching too much TV!

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

August 1st from University of Mississippi Press * Melissa Ames, Editor

From the Publisher: “This collection analyzes twenty-first-century American television programs that employ temporal and narrative experimentation. These shows play with time, slowing it down to unfold 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 also the implications of its sometimes disorienting presence.” (UP MS)

I cannot wait to get my hands on this book and read it! I’m so excited to check out the chapters, especially those about Glee, How I Met Your Mother, Arrested Development and Mad Men.  There’s also a lot about Lost. I might have to get with the program (ha) and watch that show.

The book is divided into five main sections:

  1. Promoting the Future of Experimental TV: The Industry Changes and Technological Advancements that Paved the Way to “New” Television Ventures
  2. Historicizing the Moment: How Cultural Climate Impacts Temporal Manipulation on the Small Screen
  3. The Functions of Time: Analyzing the Effect(s) of Nonnormative Narrative Structures
  4. Moving Beyond the Televisual Restraints of the Past: Reimagining Genres and Formats
  5. Playing Outside of the Box: The Role Time Plays in Fan Fiction, Online Communities, and Audience Studies

You can check out previews at Google Books and Amazon.com.

“‘New Beginnings Only Lead to Painful Ends’: ‘Undeading’ and Fear of Consequences in Pushing Daisies”:

“Also focusing on this popular motif of the do-over, Kasey Butcher’s essay analyzes the ways in which Pushing Daisies, the story of a man who can bring the dead back to life with the touch of his fingertip, mirrored the political discourses surrounding the 2008 presidential election and interacted with the 2007-2008 Writers’ Guild of America strike. “‘New Beginnings Only Lead to Painful Ends’: ‘Undeading’ and Fear of Consequences in Pushing Daisies” claims that, on the surface, the show is a candy-colored fairytale romance mixed with a fast-talking crime-drama, but the major tension of the series is a push-pull between the optimism of Charlotte Charles and the pessimism of the Pie Maker, Ned–the program’s two main characters. By taking ideologies about transmedia, intertextuality, and genre convention into account, this chapter argues that the larger-than-life world of Daisies can be understood as reflecting similar anxieties in the culture of its viewing audience, who were faced with a contentious election and a looming economic crisis.” (Ames 14).

Taking part in this collection was such a fantastic process. Melissa Ames was a wonderful editor and I learned so much from the research and writing process. Although I notice new details and think new thoughts every time I re-watch Pushing Daisies, I am really happy with the chapter I produced.

More about the book to come when I get my copy.

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