Just TV

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FAQ on my German Sabbatical

One week from today, I’ll be a (temporary) German resident.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m on sabbatical from Middlebury for the 2011-12 academic year, and I’ll be moving my family to Germany to be on fellowship for a year. I’ve gotten a lot of questions from people about this, both online and face-to-face, so I figured I’d post the answers I’ve been giving for anyone interested in where I’m going & what I’ll be doing.

So where are you going? ... read more »

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Heading to Germany for a Test Run

We’re in the countdown mode preparing for our trip to Germany, leaving Vermont on July 31 to settle in Göttingen for the year. But today I leave for a short trip to Germany to speak at the Storyworlds Across Media conference in Mainz, speaking about how television serials have struggled to find ways to incorporate transmedia storytelling effectively into their narrative strategies. The conference looks great, and I hope to connect with Europeans to network with during my year abroad. ... read more »

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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 »

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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 »

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Sustainable Television: Episode 2

This past spring semester, I taught a course called Sustainable Television: Producing Environmental Media – I’d taught a version of the course back in January 2010 during Middlebury’s intensive Winter Term, and this year I ran it as a full semester course. The concept was the same: spend the term producing a magazine-style television program focused on environmental issues, produced collaboratively by students. ... read more »

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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 »

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The Contexts of an Academic Career

Recently, I’ve read, heard & conversed about a range of issues involving the academic job & publication markets, the relative merits of particular topics & approaches to research, and the risks & rewards of making your work-in-progress public. In thinking & talking through these issues, I’ve referenced a number of personal anecdotes and experiences from my still-short career that I thought might be useful to share here for a wider audience in the name of transparency and making the oft-hidden facets of academic life visible. ... read more »

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Preparing for The End: Metafiction in the Final Seasons of The Wire ...

I’m in New Orleans for the annual conference of the Society for Cinema & Media Studies. I’m actually blogging the conference for the society’s new official website, an experiment in covering a conference from the ground from the perspective of four participants – you need to login to read the blogs, but if you’re not an SCMS member, you can register for a guest account to get short-term access. ... read more »

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Complex Television: Come Discuss My Next Book!

I’m happy to announce the pre-publication of my next book has begun. Complex Television: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Narrative has not yet been written, but the writing and publication process has begun on MediaCommons, where I have posted the book proposal for an open “peer-to-peer review” process, running parallel of the tradition peer review process being coordinated by NYU Press. Please visit and offer any feedback! ... read more »

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Name That Charlie!

I just finished watching the epic & winning Charlie Sheen live interview on TMZ. I’m normally not a big fan of celebrity meltdown stories, but this one has captivated me, mostly because Sheen’s brand of crazy is so fabulously entertaining and there seems to be an endless pipeline of his “Sheenius” ramblings. But is he truly original, or is he channeling madmen of a previous era? ... read more »