Series - International Journal of TV Serial Narratives https://series.unibo.it/ <span class="journalIntro"><strong>SERIES – ISSN 2421-454X</strong> is an open access and peer reviewed journal specialized in TV seriality. This is a joint project by members of the Universitat Politècnica de València (Escola Politècnica Superior de Gandia/DCADHA) and the Università di Bologna.</span> Dipartimento delle Arti - Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna en-US Series - International Journal of TV Serial Narratives 2421-454X <p>Copyrights and publishing rights of all the texts on this journal belong to the respective authors without restrictions.</p><div><a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/" rel="license"><img src="https://i.creativecommons.org/l/by/3.0/88x31.png" alt="Creative Commons License" /></a></div><p>This journal is licensed under a <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/" rel="license">Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License</a> (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode">full legal code</a>). <br />See also our <a href="/about/editorialPolicies#openAccessPolicy">Open Access Policy</a>.</p> The Day May Come When You Won’t Be Quality TV—The Walking Dead and Viewer Engagement https://series.unibo.it/article/view/12488 <p><em>The Walking Dead</em> (AMC, 2010-) suffered its steepest episode-to-episode decline in viewership following its season seven premiere in October 2016. This article argues that <em>The Walking Dead’s</em> decline in viewership is partially due to the show’s failure to adhere to viewer expectations of quality TV. Referring to previous studies on quality TV (Cardwell 2007, Mittell 2006), this article defines some of the key textual signifiers of this meta-genre (aesthetics, narration, complex characters) and discusses them in relation to viewer engagement. After establishing that viewers turn to quality TV for a “cognitively and affectively challenging entertainment experience” (Schlütz 2016a), the article investigates to what extent <em>The Walking Dead</em> meets viewer expectations of quality TV. Through examining the online discourse on <em>The Walking Dead </em>in relation to a close-textual analysis of the programme, this article finds that later episodes of <em>The Walking Dead</em> have caused frustration among many viewers since they do provide them with the types of cognitive and affective engagement they expect from quality TV.</p> Oliver Kroener Copyright (c) 2021 Oliver Kroener https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0 2021-07-29 2021-07-29 7 1 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/12488 The Kim Wall Murder Serialized: Ethics & Aesthetics in High-Profile True Crime https://series.unibo.it/article/view/12483 <div><span lang="EN-GB">This article investigates the dramaturgical, aesthetical and ethical implications of making television on the back of a high-profile, internationally appealing and very recent murder case: the Kim Wall murder. During a trip in his self-made submarine, Peter Madsen, a known amateur space rocket and submarine builder, abused and murdered Kim Wall, a young Swedish journalist, who was supposed to do an interview with him. Less than three years later, a range of true crime productions had been made about the case, and this article analyses three of them. Preliminary findings suggest that meta-communication is highly important in high-profile true crime productions such as these, and that creators have to walk a thin line. </span></div> Lynge Stegger Gemzøe Copyright (c) 2021 Lynge Stegger Gemzøe https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0 2021-07-29 2021-07-29 7 1 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/12483 The Mecha that therefore we are (not): an eco-phenomenological reading of Neon Genesis Evangelion https://series.unibo.it/article/view/12465 <p>In the late 1960s, the Japanese animation inaugurated a prolific science fiction strand which addressed the topic of mediated experience. In a context of transnational reception and consumption of anime, the “robotic” subgenre (particularly the one that will be called “mecha” in the 1980s, i.e., narratives of giant robots piloted by a human within) occupies a strategic place. By highlighting the peculiar synergy between themes, forms of storytelling and “out-of-joint” consumption, the Japanese robotic animation series thematized and popularized content and perspectives on mediated experience that I define as “eco-phenomenological”: “phenomenological” because (i) it reevaluates the quality of the subjective experience in its historical and biocultural context; “ecological” because (ii) it look at the environment as an intelligent system; and (iii) it proposed a multidisciplinary approach between the human sciences and the life sciences.</p> <p>The article proposes an analysis of the forms of narration and reception of the anime series <em>Neon Genesis Evangelion</em> (1995-1996), in its ability to have intercepted, synthesized and internationally popularized in an innovative and almost unparalleled way, the complexity of the eco-phenomenological perspective. Views and epistemological approaches at the center of the contemporary scientific and cultural debate will be reconstructed, discussed and analyzed through the concepts of body, mind, environment and presence which are promoted in the <em>Evangelion</em> series.</p> Giuseppe Gatti Copyright (c) 2021 Giuseppe Gatti https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0 2021-07-29 2021-07-29 7 1 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/12465 La fiction Doc in onda sul canale francese TF1. Analisi di un evento mediatico https://series.unibo.it/article/view/12392 <p>Between January 6th and February 24th, 2021, TF1, France’s first private channel and Europe’s first channel in terms of ratings, broadcasts the Italian television series Doc every Wednesday evening in prime time, with two episodes per week. A very rare event in France, a popular RAI drama, which is also a non-American medical drama with a subtle italian flavour, finds its audience and manages to keep them interested throughout the eight weeks of broadcasting: through different methodological issues suggested by the vast field of cultural/television/media studies, with the analysis of the contents and conditions of diffusion, reception and transnational circulation of Doc, the article proposes an reading of a media event in the French audiovisual panorama to try to understand if the programming of the Italian TV series on TF1 allows us to believe in positive perspectives for future transalpine productions on French screens, outside the platforms – traditional or new – of SVOD or niche channels.<img /></p> Fabien Landron Copyright (c) 2021 Fabien Landron https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0 2021-07-29 2021-07-29 7 1 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/12392 Creativity and power: A systemic functional multimodal discourse analysis of the co-constructed multimodal creativity-power relation in House M.D. https://series.unibo.it/article/view/12425 <p>Multimodal creativity in popular culture is an area with great potentials for linguistics research, yet the number of analytical frameworks and demonstrations available is very limited. This article adapted a systemic functional multimodal discourse analysis approach to the investigation of the co-constructed multimodal creativity-and-power relation in the American TV medical ‘dramedy’ <em>House M.D.</em> Using a combination of Halliday and Matthiessen’s (2014) systemic functional theory, Bednarek’s (2010) multimodal analysis and Law’s (2020a; 2020b; 2020d) analytical framework for creativity in multimodal texts (AFCMT), the dialogues and videos from two selected scenes were analysed with respect to the interpersonal meanings (i.e., tenor values and speech function), mise-en-scène, nonverbal behaviour and performance at moments of co-constructed verbal repetition/pattern-forming creativity production. This study has found that power equality is construed verbally through the use of pattern-forming creativity and that interpersonal meanings (denoted by tenor values consisting of power, contact and affective involvement) are construed nonverbally through spatial movement and various combinations of facial expression, head movement and body movement. It has also shown that hand/arm gestures and some mise-en-scène elements (e.g., set design, lighting, space, costume, or auditory soundtrack) are unlikely to be correlated to the production of pattern-forming creativity in <em>House M.D</em>.</p> Locky Law Copyright (c) 2021 Locky Law https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0 2021-07-29 2021-07-29 7 1 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/12425 Chernobyl, Chornobyl and Anthropocentric Narrative https://series.unibo.it/article/view/12419 <p>This article examines the representation of animals in the drama series <em>Chernobyl</em> (2019). In doing so it evidences anthropocentric narrative; that is, story-telling in which the prioritisation of the human and human-centred matters are normalised. Drawing on specific examples from the programme, it shows how animals are used as representational resources enabling the series’ human-centred narrative to be told, in particular focusing on the depiction of the death of animals, and the use of animals as metaphor. The article draws on approaches arising from the ‘animal turn’, which aims to decentre human-ness as the only form of experience and to critique speciesist hierarchies. <em>Chernobyl</em> is a useful case study for such an analysis precisely because the historical event it depicts is one that had, and continues to have, significant consequences for non-human beings.</p> Brett Mills Copyright (c) 2021 Brett Mills https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0 2021-07-29 2021-07-29 7 1 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/12419 Introduction: Dialogues with Technology https://series.unibo.it/article/view/12054 Luca Barra Oswaldo García Crespo Copyright (c) 2020 Luca Barra , Oswaldo García Crespo https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0 2020-12-31 2020-12-31 7 1 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/12054 Textual Agency: Quentin Skinner and Popular Media https://series.unibo.it/article/view/11539 <span>This paper makes a case for how scholarship on popular film and television can potentially be inspired by the methodological writings of intellectual historian Quentin Skinner. While Skinner’s approach is canonical in the field of intellectual history, his thoughts on textual analysis have rarely been applied to material other than philosophical treatises and that article shows that Skinner’s thoughts on texts are applicable to studying television serials. The paper further suggests that intellectual historian Mikkel Thorup’s work is useful for pondering the challenges of contextualist readings of television serials and that Skinner and Thorup’s work provide useful ways of analyzing how politically charged television serials like those of David Simon take issue with discursive and social realities in an American context.</span> Mikkel Jensen Copyright (c) 2021 Mikkel Jensen https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0 2021-07-29 2021-07-29 7 1 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/11539 The Deutschland83 miniseries. Technological representation of the Cold War between Ostalgie, vintage mood and Vergangenheitsbewältigung https://series.unibo.it/article/view/11511 <p>The article analyzes the German television series <em>Deutschland83</em> on air, not only in Germany, since 2015. The author wants to demonstrate how the use of representation in the eight episodes of the series of numerous technological objects from the Cold War period represents a way to tell in Germany's recent past before reunification to a new generation audience. From a methodological point of view, the article leans on semiotic and cultural studies themes, analyzing for each episode which type of technological object is highlighted by the plot and why. In the article neither the historical reconstruction nor the summary of the eight episodes of the series are left out.</p> <p>The vintage technological objects present in the Deutschland83 series can be divided into objects of common use and objects not of common use: in the first case, the objects have the task of historically contextualizing the series, in the second case, the objects not of common use they have the task of influencing the whole plot centered on the espionage activities of the protagonist Martin / Mortiz and his attempt to thwart nuclear war.</p> Francesca Di Tonno Copyright (c) 2020 Francesca Di Tonno https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0 2020-12-31 2020-12-31 7 1 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/11511 Against interactivity. Phenomenological notes on Black Mirror: Bandersnatch https://series.unibo.it/article/view/11410 <p>Interactive cinema is one of the most interesting areas of experimentation with storytelling form. <em>Black Mirror: Bandersnatch </em>(2018), a stand-alone episode of the acclaimed British television series available on Netflix, has restarted the debate around this genre. This article offers a discussion of several critical elements inherent to the experience of viewing <em>Bandersnatch</em>, specifically those related to its interactive, meta-reflexive, and ludic character. The tension between interactive and interpretative cooperation, between actuality and virtuality, between self-reflexivity and self-referentiality, between free choice and control, between co-authorship and authority, and between gaming and gambling, bring out the contradictions of a product characteristic of the current transmedial landscape.</p> Adriano D'Aloia Copyright (c) 2020 Adriano D'Aloia https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0 2020-12-31 2020-12-31 7 1 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/11410 Putting the serial in context: Comparing the storytelling processes of contemporary primetime Kuwaiti television dramas with American network dramas https://series.unibo.it/article/view/11240 <p>Strictly designed with distinct narrative characteristics to accommodate the thirty day schedule of the holy month of Ramadan, Kuwaiti television dramas broadcast in a proliferated television landscape confined by the Arabic language and consists of television institutions operating from various Arab countries that compete for the vast pan-Arab audience. These unique broadcasting conditions inform the programme-making practices that shape the construction of narratives across the pan-Arab region. Like American network dramas, Kuwaiti dramas depend on advertising and syndication to generate revenue but the pan-Arab region’s technological adaptation transformed the production conditions and the commissioning processes of these dramas. By comparing the commissioning process of Kuwaiti television dramas with American network dramas, this article examines the development of the storytelling practices involved in shaping their narrative conventions and illuminates the manifestation of their industrial specificities in their narrative designs. The analyses of primary interviews with writers and representative dramas suggest that the unique shared broadcasting conditions of the pan-Arab region, accompanied by the particular operations of a television industry within the region, contribute to the commissioning process and designs of television dramas, and the challenges of this competitive language-confined environment underpins the prominent and intense implementation of serialized elements in Kuwaiti television dramas.</p> Ahmad Hayat Copyright (c) 2020 Ahmad Hayat https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0 2020-12-31 2020-12-31 7 1 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/11240 Victim-naming in the murder mystery TV series Twin Peaks: a corpus-stylistic study https://series.unibo.it/article/view/11218 <em><em></em></em><p>Corpus linguistics is advancing rapidly in the study of a wide variety of genres, but is still at its infancy in the study of TV series, a genre daily consumed by millions of viewers. Murder mystery series are one of the most popular and proliferous, but no studies, to date, have used corpus-stylistics methodologies in the analysis of the pivotal character of the victim in the whole narrative. This paper applied this methodology hoping to shed some light on the quantitative and qualitative relationship between the participation roles of the characters, and the frequency and distribution of victim-naming choices in the dialogue of the two first seasons of the acclaimed TV series <em>Twin Peaks.</em> The analysis proved that textual reference to the victim in the dialogues is a central genre-cohesive device which may serve as a waymark to guide the audience throughout the many subplots of the series.</p> Carmen Gregori Signes Copyright (c) 2020 Carmen Gregori Signes https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0 2020-12-31 2020-12-31 7 1 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/11218 Emotion: The Commander of the Remote Control? A psychophysiological approach to predict decline in TV ratings https://series.unibo.it/article/view/11205 <p>Emotional arousal has long been thought vital for maintaining viewers in long-form serial fictions, but the dynamic nature of audience emotional arousal has made it difficult to examine and relate to viewer ratings and channel hopping. This study provides a method for comparing moments of affect with TV ratings during exposure and explores the role of arousal for TV ratings by analyzing the Danish public service fiction series <em>Bankerot (Bankrupt)</em> (2014-2015). The method applied is an innovative mixed-method strategy, combining self-reports, TV ratings and psychophysiological measurements, SCL (Skin Conductance Level). Results indicate a correlation between periods of low emotional arousal and fall in TV ratings, suggesting that viewer engagement is decreased without the presence of emotional peaks, which may cause some viewers to change TV channel. This study was able to find only two considerable declines in ratings, and while this provides limited empirical evidence, it indicates that arousal is likely to play a larger role in maintaining viewer engagement than previously assumed within television studies.<strong></strong></p> Lene Heiselberg Morten Thomsen Rens Vliegenthart Copyright (c) 2021 Lene Heiselberg, Morten Thomsen https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0 2021-07-29 2021-07-29 7 1 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/11205 ‘The Second What’: Science, Tragedy and Mental Abyss in Forensic Files https://series.unibo.it/article/view/10583 <p> </p><p> </p><p>ABSTRACT</p><p>Millions of readers and viewers are fascinated by stories about crimes that have actually been committed. In later years there has been an excess of access to true crime novels, movies, TV series, podcasts and blogs, spanning a wide range of formats and subgenres. This article explores some episodes in the series <em>Forensic Files</em> (1996-) in order to explain connections between mind reading, the tragic and true crime. The tragic as concept and mindreading challenges are used to enlighten the role given to science in the series. <em>Forensic Files</em> is a homage to science and forensics, but other evident aspects of the retold crimes are disregarded. A crime has fundamental psychological and mental aspects which are far more difficult to grasp than the outer events and hard facts. The article problematizes the role of thoughts, feelings and intentions in extremely serious crimes as presented in <em>Forensic Files</em>. A significant blank in the process of understanding and judging the perpetrator is named ‘the second what’, a factor which demonstrates a connection between true crime cases and our ability to read minds.</p> Helge Ridderstrom Copyright (c) 2020 Helge Ridderstrom 2020-07-23 2020-07-23 7 1 17 27 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/10583 Italian Fiction as Seen from a Distance. Anomalies in the Correlation between National and Regional Success https://series.unibo.it/article/view/10499 <p>The article aims at analyzing the regional consumption of mainstream Italian seriality covering a period of four years (2016-2019). It underlines the great heterogeneity of “fiction” consumption throughout Italy, and demonstrates how the correlation between national and regional success is often subject to the influence of factors that can produce anomalies. The most important factors responsible for anomalies appear to be the regions where the series are set, and the broadcasting channels. The article also tries to compare and quantify such phenomena, in order to understand how the national success of Italian fiction can benefit from the polarization of consumption happening in the various regions of the Country.</p> Giorgio Avezzù Copyright (c) 2020 Giorgio Avezzù 2020-07-23 2020-07-23 7 1 91 106 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/10499 Shonda Rhimes’s TGIT: Representation of Womanhood and Blackness https://series.unibo.it/article/view/10454 <p>For the first time in television history, Shonda Rhimes, a Black female showrunner obtained an entire prime time programming block on American broadcast television. She has been recognized as one of the most successful and influential TV showrunners and her shows are celebrated for promoting a strong feminist agenda that tends towards equality regardless of gender, race, class, religious belief or sexual orientation. Concentrating on ABC’s prime time night "Thank God It's Thursday", our analysis focuses on <em>Grey's Anatomy </em>(ABC, 2005-), <em>How to Get Away with Murder </em>(ABC, 2014-) and <em>Scandal</em> (ABC, 2012-2018), respectively a medical, a legal and a political drama. The main goal of the paper is to propose a hybrid methodology, that moves at the intersection of several approaches to investigate which aesthetics, identities and relationships of race and womanhood are represented in these three case studies.</p> Marta Rocchi Elisa Farinacci Copyright (c) 2020 Marta Rocchi, Elisa Farinacci 2020-07-23 2020-07-23 7 1 29 41 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/10454 System and Culture in Format Adaptation https://series.unibo.it/article/view/10460 <p>This article explores strengths and weaknesses of common methods and frameworks in studying format adaptation, primarily in television series, but with some findings applicable for television entertainment formats as well. The article problematises how work on transnational remakes of television series as well as studies of format adaptation in general predominately focuses on either using text-based readings of cultural similarities and differences or explanations rooted in the media system such as, for example, a new channel’s profile or norms and traditions in the programming interface of a particular channel or country. The article examines the dominant literature and theories on the subject, illustrating that there is an ongoing debate among researchers as to which framework is more powerful and precise in accounting for format adaptation. It becomes apparent that studies favouring the one approach greatly over the other are often comparing apples and oranges. Finally, the article aims to show how existing research most often compares original and remake in their final forms, overlooking the creation process, the dilemmas of the creatives behind the transformations, and the effect their preconceptions have on the finished results.</p> Lynge Stegger Gemzøe Copyright (c) 2020 Lynge Stegger Gemzøe 2020-07-23 2020-07-23 7 1 107 119 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/10460 The Streaming Wars in the Global Periphery: A Glimpse from Brazil https://series.unibo.it/article/view/10457 <p>Considering the current proliferation of video streaming platforms as a worldwide phenomenon, this article analyzes how countries in the global periphery are adapting to this effervescent scenario, characterized by the expression “streaming wars.” This research offers a glimpse of Brazil’s audiovisual industry and tries to understand how American streaming companies are penetrating this market, which is currently the sixth-largest in the world, and how the local media conglomerates are reacting. In order to maintain their dominance in the region, free-to-air networks, pay-tv networks, and Brazilian telecommunication companies are using different strategies, either creating their own platforms or partnering with pre-established ones in favor of strengthening themselves. Given Brazil’s particular television organization, based largely on a few broadcast networks, local media conglomerates have fostered a mutualistic relationship with their streaming platforms. The largest national streaming company, <em>Globoplay</em>, has stood out in the local market: not only making TV Globo’s productions available but also producing original content and offering foreign series exclusively. Because traditional television consumption is deeply rooted in the country, several different strategies are required if TV Globo aims to transform viewers into <em>Globoplay</em> subscribers. The Brazilian case study, therefore, reveals nuances and strategies from media industries in the global periphery.</p> Melina Meimaridis Daniela Mazur Daniel Rios Copyright (c) 2020 Melina Meimaridis, Daniela Mazur, Daniel Rios 2020-07-23 2020-07-23 7 1 65 76 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/10457