Complex TV: Ends

Jason Mittell's picture

I am filled with joy, relief, and many other emotions in posting the link to the final chapter of Complex TV. Not accidentally, the chapter is called Ends, and it focuses on conclusions, as well as serving as one for the book. Here’s the abstract:

American commercial television differs from much of the world in how it privileges a narrative model where a successful series never ends, with final episodes regarded as signs of commercial failure and/or creative exhaustion, and often shows end by abrupt cancellation more than planned conclusion. In the last decade, more series have planned their conclusions, creating a set of precedents for serial endings that variously embrace ambiguity, circularity, reflexivity, and finality. This chapter looks at the concluding seasons and episodes of Lost, The Wire, and The Sopranos as exemplars of both narrative strategies and the divergent viewer and critic reactions triggered by various finales. It also concludes the book by discussing notions of “ends” in terms of the goals of serial criticism using case studies from Homeland and Breaking Bad, infusing some questions of politics back into the book’s poetic approach. Finally, it reflects on the book’s own seriality in its online pre-publication.

This chapter draws upon a few previously published posts, including an SCMS presentation on finales, my Göttingen talk on the Ends of Serial Criticism, and various blog entries on the series that I’m discussing.

Now that the entire book is available to be read freely online, you have absolutely no excuse for not reading & commenting on the MediaCommons site. Although I hope to submit the full manuscript (revised based on many comments that some of you have already left) soon, there is still time for more revision before the book gets finalized by the press. So feedback in all forms is welcome!

Thanks for reading…

Filed under: Academia, Books, Complex TV, Media Politics, MediaCommons, Narrative, Open Access, Publishing, Television, TV Shows Tagged: breaking bad, finales, Homeland, Lost, The Sopranos, The Wire

Jason Mittell

Publication date (from feed): 

Wed, 31 Jul 2013 18:15:00 +0000