Complex TV

9780814771358: Hardback
Release Date: 10th April 2015

9780814769607: Paperback
Release Date: 10th April 2015

9780814744963: PDF
Release Date: 10th April 2015

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 416

NYU Press

Complex TV

The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling

Hardback / £77.00
Paperback / £21.99
PDF / £28.00

Over the past two decades, new technologies, changing viewer practices, and the proliferation of genres and channels has transformed American television. One of the most notable impacts of these shifts is the emergence of highly complex and elaborate forms of serial narrative, resulting in a robust period of formal experimentation and risky programming rarely seen in a medium that is typically viewed as formulaic and convention bound.



Complex TV offers a sustained analysis of the poetics of television narrative, focusing on how storytelling has changed in recent years and how viewers make sense of these innovations. Through close analyses of key programs, including The Wire, Lost, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Veronica Mars, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Mad Men the book traces the emergence of this narrative mode, focusing on issues such as viewer comprehension, transmedia storytelling, serial authorship, character change, and cultural evaluation. Developing a television-specific set of narrative theories, Complex TV argues that television is the most vital and important storytelling medium of our time.

Jason Mittell is Professor of Film & Media Culture at Middlebury College. His books include Genre & Television: From Cop Shows to Cartoons in American Culture, Television & American Culture, and Complex Television: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling, and Narrative Theory and Adaptation. He is project manager for [in]Transition: Journal of Videographic Film & Moving Image Studies, and author of numerous video essays.

"This volume is essential for those exploring the relationship between medium and storytelling, especially for those interested in television."--International Journal of Communication

Complex TVis one of the most exciting books I have ever read.Each chapter contains useful and well-defined terms to put to work in formal analysis, and every argument is backed up with lively, detailed, and entertaining readings of familiar TV texts.The result is a rich and thorough piece of scholarship that will do for television studies what David Bordwells historical poetics has famously done for film.

Robyn Warhol,co-editor of Narrative Theory Unbound: Queer and Feminist Interventions

A lucid and provocative exploration of modern television, from the inside out.

Emily Nussbaum,television critic at the New Yorker

[]Mittels compelling arguments about topics such as anti-heroes and melodrama help us see the bigger picture when it comes to the small screen.

Seven Days

Mittell cleverly explores Complex TV on its own terms, favouring a formal analysis investigating the poetics of television series over discussing their cultural impact or interpretation of content. Looking at how television tells stories Mittell shows the contribution of technology, reception, and industry in changing television into a & lived cultural experience where different forms of & cultural engagement, are key to understanding the textuality of Complex TV.

European Journal of Media Studies