Derided as simple, dismissed as inferior to film, famously characterized as a vast wasteland, television nonetheless exerts an undeniable, apparently inescapable power in our culture. The secret of television's success may well lie in the remarkable narrative complexities underlying its seeming simplicity, complexities Kristin Thompson unmasks in this analysis of the narrative workings of television and film. After first looking at the narrative techniques the two media share, Thompson focuses on the specific challenges that series television presents and the tactics writers have devised to meet them - tactics that sustain interest and maintain sense across multiple plots and sub-plots and in spite of frequent interruptions as well as week-long and seasonal breaks. Beyond adapting the techniques of film, Thompson argues, television has wrought its own changes in traditional narrative form. Drawing on classics of film and television, as well as more contemporary series like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "The Sopranos" and "The Simpsons", she shows how adaptations, sequels, series and sagas have altered long-standing notions of closure and single authorship.
And in a comparison of David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" and "Twin Peaks", she asks whether there can be an "art television" comparable to the more familiar "art cinema".
Buy Storytelling in Film and Television book by Kristin Thompson from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(210mm x 140mm x 14mm)
Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Country of Publication:
Author Biography - Kristin Thompson
Kristin Thompson is an honorary fellow in the Communication Arts Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.