Just TV

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Why has TV storytelling become so complex?: A journalistic take

I was recently invited by The Conversation to write something for their site exploring some of the arguments of my new book for a general audience. I like reading The Conversation to see academics writing in a journalistic voice (something that some are better at than others) and support their embrace of CreativeCommons licensing and open republishing. ... read more »

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Complex TV has arrived!

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D.I.Y. Disciplinarity — (Dis)Assembling LEGO Studies For The Academy

I have two new book chapters out that I want to share. The first is an essay called “Lengthy Interactions with Hideous Men: Walter White and the Serial Poetics of Television Antiheroes,” published in a brand new anthology, Storytelling in the Media Convergence Age: Exploring Screen Narratives, edited by Roberta Pearson and Anthony Smith. ... read more »

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Best Stuff of 2014

This is not an organized or ranked list. This is a collection of the cultural things (mostly TV, but not exclusively) that I most loved in 2014, presented in alphabetical order. There are many things not on this list – they are absent because either I did not love them or I did not consume them. (If it is a movie, it’s probably the latter, as I saw almost no new films this year.) ... read more »

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Taste Privilege and GamerGate

[I know this has been a dormant site for months, and I have a draft post called “Too Busy to Blog” explaining why & what I’ve been up to, but I’ve not had time to finish it! But I just had some thoughts that are TLFT (too long for Twitter) that I wanted to throw out there. So here you go…] ... read more »

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Evaluating Digital Scholarship, or Confessions of an External Reviewer

At the Society for Cinema & Media Studies conference in Seattle, I am part of a workshop on “Making Digital Scholarship Count,” where we are discussing how to frame digital projects for hiring, tenure, and promotion. One of the points that I am making is that external reviewers in the tenure process are important figures in framing a candidate’s digital work as part of a scholar’s portfolio. But until you are asked to do these reviews, you never see examples of the form, and once you do write them, they disappear into a locked black box of internal use only. ... read more »

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True Disappointment

Like many HBO viewers, I was excited for last night’s finale of True Detective. I found much of the season compelling and captivating television, creating a stylized sense of place, a foreboding mystery, innovative narrative techniques, and two engaging characters played by masterful screen actors. I am enthusiastic about the hybrid form of the serial anthology, with short seasons each telling a stand-alone story under a shared creative banner. However, nine hours before the finale aired, I tweeted the following: ... read more »

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A Few Thoughts on Improving the SCMS Conference

Recently, I looked over the preliminary program for the Society for Cinema & Media Studies conference in March, so I could book travel arrangements for Seattle. Normally this would create excitement—I’ve been to most SCMS conferences since 1996, and it’s usually a great event to see old friends, meet new people, and hopefully hear some interesting research. But looking over this program caused flashbacks to last year’s conference, which was probably my least favorite ever. ... read more »

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Gravity and the Power of Narrative Limits

I saw Gravity this weekend, and like many viewers and critics, I loved it. And as a sign of that enjoyment, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. As I always do when I encounter a piece of culture that I love, I’ve been reading about it, looking for critics who can explore some of the ideas I’ve been obsessing about. The review that best captures my feeling about it is Matt Zoller Seitz’s piece, highlighting the juxtaposition of grandiose visual splendor and simple narrative intimacy. ... read more »

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How to Watch Television: Phineas and Ferb

HtWTVI am quite excited to announce the publication of my latest book, How to Watch Television. Of course, in this instance, “my” should really be “our,” as the book was edited by me and my friend Ethan Thompson, and features 40 essays by an all-star line-up of media scholars young and old, familiar faces and new names. ... read more »