Just TV

Homeland, Emotional Plausibility, and the Tethered Triangle

My favorite show currently airing is Homeland, which I have found far less problematic in its second season than many critics seem to. [Note: I’ll be vague & unspoilerly for the first part of this post, clearly marking when I dive into specific plot points at length beneath the fold.] Part of my reaction is because I’ve watched it at the same time as rewatching season 1 as part of the screening for my Television & American Culture course (and as an aside, it’s worked wonderfully for teaching!). ... read more »

Caption Mining at the Crossroads of Digital Humanities & Media ...

Lately I’ve become more and more intrigued by Digital Humanities as a subfield/movement/trend/etc. within academia, in large part because the people who are actively driving much of DH are super engaging & welcoming via social networks like Twitter and various blogs. As I am committed to open access publishing, public-facing scholarship, and innovative modes of academic engagement, Digital Humanists feel like fellow travelers. ... read more »

Talking about Teaching TV at Flow

For anyone keeping track, this blog’s hiatus is a sad signal that it’s been a busy couple of months for me re-entering to real life in Vermont, what with teaching, chairing my department, taking care of lots of personal projects, and obsessing over the election. (And thankfully, Super Storm Sandy had little personal impact on us here, and my family & friends seem to be in fine shape.) ... read more »

Back to the Classroom

Summer is over (even though it remains in the 80s in Vermont this week), which means my sabbatical is completely over. It was a great one, with a wonderful fellowship in Germany, a lot of writing, travel for lectures & conferences, and lots of quality family time. But yesterday, I returned to the Middlebury classroom for the first time in 16 months, officially marking the return to normal professional life (and a reminder of how exhausting a day of teaching can be!). ... read more »

Thoughts on teaching theory to undergrads

Recently, my friend Annie Petersen took advantage of one of Twitter’s best functions for academics: crowdsourcing syllabus recommendations. Annie was looking for readings that provide a good introduction to semiotics, but are not impenetrable to novice students. ... read more »

Tarantula Boy and Surprise Memory

Last night’s Breaking Bad episode, “Dead Freight,” offers an interesting example of a phenomenon I’ve termed “surprise memory,” or the narrative effect of being surprised by something you know but have forgotten (or more accurately, allowed to be archived from your working memory). ... read more »

Skyler’s Story

One part of Breaking Bad‘s new season 5 that I’m finding most impressive is Skyler’s development. This is by no means a consensus opinion, as Skyler has long been the target of many Breaking Bad fans’ ire. ... read more »

Complex TV: Comprehension

It’s been a dormant month of July on the book-writing/publishing front, as I’ve been busy returning from my year abroad in Germany, settling back in Vermont, and having some family vacation time. I do hope to resume writing and pre-publication, as I have only a few more chapters left to go before I’ve got a full draft of Complex TV ready to submit to NYU Press. So I’ll start out August by posting the next chapter, focused on issues of narrative comprehension. ... read more »

NBC’s Primetime Olympics Coverage is Not Sportscasting

Like millions of others, I’ve had the Olympics on quite often over the past few days and will continue to care about sports that I know little about for another 11 days. And like thousands of others, I’ve enjoyed making fun of NBC’s erratic coverage, tape-delays, ethnocentrism, weak commentary, and inexplicable employment of Ryan Seacrest using the Twitter hashtag #NBCFail. ... read more »

Pre-publication and publicity

It’s been a quiet month on the blogging and writing front, as I’ve taken a break from Complex TV to undertake the big move from Germany back to Vermont, and take some time for family vacation. But I hope to return to the book later this week to respond to comments, post new chapters, and finish writing the manuscript over the rest of the summer before the pressures of teaching & chairing (and the continual parenting priorities) take over my time. ... read more »