Television

Jason Mittell's picture

Best TV of 2011

Being in Germany since August, I feel quite detached from American television, even though that’s what I’m here to write and talk about. I’ve found ways to access the shows that I’m missing, but without the ease of my TiVo and the television schedule matching my timezone, I’m definitely watching less, and therefore more selectively. So as I approach my annual list of top programs, I feel like I’m mirroring critical consensus in large part because I’m only seeking out newer shows that critics I trust recommend, rather than sampling widely and carving my own path. ... read more »

Jason Mittell's picture

The Qualities of Complexity: Aesthetic Evaluation in Contemporary ...

This is a busy week for the Popular Seriality group I’m working with here in Göttingen. First, we took over In Media Res for a series of posts about seriality – my own contribution was on Wednesday, focused on Breaking Bad and how it constructs character interiority through serial memory. Head over and join the conversation! ... read more »

Jason Mittell's picture

Legitimating Television: An Unofficial Book Review

One of the great gifts of sabbatical is having the time to read books that are not immediately required for teaching or manuscript reviews. I’ve taken advantage of that by reading some fiction (and would highly recommend D.B. Weiss’s Lucky Wander Boy if you’re into classic videogames and/or metafiction), as well as some scholarship. ... read more »

Jason Mittell's picture

Serial Orientations

Last week, I traveled to Bochum, an industrial city in northwest Germany, to serve as a keynote speaker at the conference (Dis)Orientations: (dis)orienting media & narrative mazes. I enjoyed my time in Bochum and at the conference, connecting with some interesting European media scholars and exploring another German city and university. ... read more »

kfitz's picture

Sports Night

I started rewatching Sports Night on Netflix this week, and am finding myself amazed, first, at how well the show has held up, not to mention how well Josh Charles ... read more »

Jason Mittell's picture

Louie as Jazz for TV (with fart jokes)

An old college friend posted the following on Facebook yesterday: “So I keep watching the show Louie, which I find to be the most depressingly realistic TV I’ve ever seen. I think it’s a really good show, but it’s about as far from comedy as one can get. Why is it called a comedy? The topics are exceedingly heavy, and handled with a minimum of drama – they are too realistic.” My brief reply to her was that the show could be as funny as anything on TV (citing the episode “Come On, God” about masturbation as an example), but that really it’s a show that transcends genre. ... read more »

Nick_Mirzoeff's picture

“The Condition of England” 2011

It was perhaps inevitable that the 2011 crisis of visuality would returned to its source. With the collapse of social order in England, the authority that visuality seeks to make palpable, necessary and right is in crisis where it was first named. As has become typical over the course of this tumultuous year, present-day events appear to be composed of an amalgam of past and present, to use Thomas Carlyle’s famous tag.

Layer one: the decayed “condition of England” (Carlyle). ... read more »

Jason Mittell's picture

Killing Surprises

I’d been planning on writing up a summary blog post on The Killing‘s first season this week, looking back on what was ultimately a mixed bag of television over its first season. I liked the show overall more than a lot of the critics who’d turned on it midway through the season, as I was often willing to overlook the shoddy plotting and inconsistencies to revel in the visual style (especially in episodes directed by TV veteran Ed Bianchi) and engaging performances.

And then the season finale happened. ... read more »

Jason Mittell's picture

Spoiling Klosterman

I’m usually happy to see thoughtful discussions of media storytelling strategies extend into the popular press, as it gives me hope that there is a broad audience for work that engages issues of television narrative and form as my current research aims to do. But I often read such popular accounts with a mix of interest and frustration, with the latter often overtaking the former. ... read more »

Jason Mittell's picture

The Quality of Complexity

I submitted my spring term grades today, which is particularly sweet this year as it marks the unofficial start to my sabbatical–I won’t have teaching responsibilities for the next 15 months! While I do love teaching, I’m definitely ready for a break to refresh, regroup, and research. ... read more »