Navigation items and banners
The project focuses on the television series as a paradigmatic format of the medium of television, and a telling indicator of the recent functional and aesthetic transformations of television in relation to changes in its reception. These recent developments are exemplified in American television series, which since the late 1990s have been at the center of a transformative process that encompasses aesthetic innovations as well as technological and institutional changes.
Subproject 1: Aesthetic and Institutional Transformations of the Television Series
(Dr. Thomas Morsch, Assistant Professor, and Dr. Simon Rothöhler)
This sub-project looks at the changes in aesthetic forms and modes of experience associated especially (though not exclusively) with the serial productions of so-called “quality TV”, which constitute the paradigmatic core of a larger transformation within the medium of television. The guiding hypothesis is that the series in question should be analyzed not merely for their aesthetic features. What is equally important is to study the changing contexts of broadcasting, distribution, and reception, as well as the modular and technical differentiation that characterizes current serial aesthetics. The phenomena to be investigated include derivative paratextual forms, strategies of polymorphous and/or reflexive address (“narrative special effects”), fan base communication, and televised vs. playback viewing.
Subproject 2: Serial Aesthetics of Social Space
(Lukas Foerster, M.A. and Nikolaus Perneczky, M.A.)
This sub-project studies how contemporary American television series are related to their political and historical objects. The sub-project seeks to vindicate the thesis that American television series have become a privileged medium of social communication and reflection, a means of processing social and political reality. To this end, the sub-project looks at exemplary instances of contemporary TV series in order to find out how social meanings and realities are articulated in them, and – relatedly – in what way the problem of realism arises for the format of televised serial fiction. In addressing these questions, it is useful for methodological reasons to focus the analysis on a particular genre. The project’s particular focus will be on police series. The epistemological moment that is a structural element of this genre allows for an investigation of television as a medium in which both current and historical political imaginaries are negotiated and reflected in an exemplary fashion.