In teaching my course on The Wire last year, I had my students do collaborative research & writing projects on various “contexts” that the show engages with, such as urban education, the drug war, and Baltimore history. This year, I’ve decided not to use that assignment – in part because the old projects are still online, and because I’ve thought of other assignments to try.
But I am having them read the first contextual essay from last year, one that I wrote about the relationship of the show to 21st century television. It’s nothing that warrants publication in more formal academic outlets, but I thought it would be useful pedagogically for other people teaching the show or just for a basic background for fans who might stumble upon my blog. So beneath the fold, I’m “reprinting” it here from my course site. As always, I welcome feedback and comments to improve the material. ... read more »
Last summer, I was invited as a keynote presenter for a conference on serial form at the University of Zurich – I blogged previously about the conference and my presentation. Now the conference organizers are publishing the proceedings, translating all of the English papers into German. Since I spoke off an outline, I needed to write up the whole essay, which involved a lot of updating and rethinking in light of my recent Lost rewatch, taking most of my non-grading work time in December and early January. Below is a draft of the essay, entitled “Serial Boxes: The Cultural Values of Long-Form American Television” – as always, any feedback is welcome!
It’s been an odd fall for this blog – despite a tremendous surge in page views (prompted by my posts on running a faculty search at Middlebury), I’ve had virtually nothing to say about television (or much else, due to the time spent on that search and other administrative & teaching tasks). Hopefully the next couple of weeks will rectify that, as I join the throng of TV critics posting Best Of lists for both the year and decade, spread out over a few posts. ... read more »
First, I should indulge in self-promotion to link to this well-done profile of me and the Film & Media Culture program at Middlebury, from the local free weekly, Seven Days. Aside from reminding me of my rapidly graying hair, I’m quite happy with how it turned out! ... read more »
As is typical for me at the end of the school year, my to-do list has a pile of publishing projects that I’ve put off to the last minute. So I’ve spent the last month knocking things off the list with general success – I revised an essay on Lostpedia that will be coming out in the next issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, and contributed a short piece to a roundtable on genre for Mediascape.
But my main writing has been focused on an essay for an anthology called Intermediality & Storytelling co-edited by Marie-Laure Ryan and Marina Grishakova. I proposed to adapt my presentation given at last summer’s Society for the Cognitive Study of the Moving Image conference; as I blogged last year, my presentation explored how American prime time television copes with the challenges of cuing viewers’ long-term memories, which often catalog years of story material. Alas my presentation was oral/slide only, so I spent the past couple of weeks converting it to essay form.
Beneath the fold I’ve included the entire essay, and would appreciate any comments, as I’ll have a chance to revise before publication. I’m particularly interested if my examples, which include moments from Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Six Feet Under, Veronica Mars, Arrested Development, The Wire, and many more shows, make any sense to readers who haven’t seen the relevant programs. And as it’s written for an international anthology not primarily focused on television, I’ve included a bit of industrial and technological context that will might be fairly redundant for anyone reading a blog called Just TV. ... read more »
by Tim Anderson — Old Dominion University
May 18, 2009 – 19:28
My interview with Jason Mittell is up and I wanted to give you all a few links. First, his terrific blog. It’s littered with observations about narrative and television. More extensive writings are here. His syllabus for Watching the Wire is very interesting and worth your attention.
Like many, I’ve spent the last couple of days watching and thinking about the Battlestar Galactica finale – my spoiling thoughts are below the fold, both on the finale and some ties between the series and my research on television narrative. ... read more »