Media and film studies

Box Set TV: Contemporary Serial Television

Module code: P5050
Level 5
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

In the twenty-first century, serial television has enjoyed an unparalleled level of critical prestige, with the press celebrating a new ‘golden age’ of quality programming. At the same time, digital streaming and portable screens have transformed the viewing experience, with audiences able to access on-demand content anytime, anywhere.

On this module, we’ll take a critical look at these industrial, technological, and cultural changes and explore the themes, narratives, and aesthetics of contemporary long-form television. You will be introduced to key conceptual approaches to serial television as an artform and a production practice, examining seriality and long-form storytelling; notions of complexity; discourses of quality, taste, and cultural value; questions of authorship; innovations in visual style and sound design; the rise of streaming services such as Netflix; new viewing practices and habits (such as ‘binge-viewing’); and issues of gender equality and ethnic diversity on- and off-screen.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of contemporary serial television and its industrial, technological, and cultural contexts
  • Analyse television texts in ways attentive to their forms and contexts
  • Apply critical approaches encountered on the module to an extended case
  • Demonstrate appropriate capacity for individual research and skills in written communication