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Title: Serial engagements : viewer allegiance and contemporary crime television
Authors: Mani, Saravanan
Keywords: Humanities::Literature::English
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Mani, S. (2020). Serial engagements : viewer allegiance and contemporary crime television. Doctoral thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: What is the “good” of watching TV? Despite the many technological advancements, formal experiments, and narrative innovations over the past 70 years, TV texts are still treated collectively as passive, distracting, and distracted entertainment that bears little value for their viewers. Cultural studies scholars positioned TV as mass media in the 1970s, without differentiating the individual texts and their narrative constructions. Since TV studies emerged from cultural studies, its methods continue to relegate the textual dimensions of TV in favor of technological and sociological aspects. In my thesis, I offer a text-focused approach that accounts for the viewers’ serial engagement with longform TV. Drawing from literary criticism, TV studies, and image theory, my project examines the textual and ethical value of the viewers’ relationship with TV texts. By analyzing three longform TV crime dramas from the 2000s—The Wire, The Shield, and Breaking Bad—this study examines how TV texts build on their generic expectations and engage with contemporary social crises. It argues that the “good” of TV lies in the viewer-text relationship informed by TV’s serial conventions which elicit responses beyond narrative engagement. It examines historical debates in TV studies and positions a textual perspective based on Derek Attridge’s model of creative reading. This study offers a close textual analysis of antiheroic protagonists to examine the significance of viewer allegiance to aberrant behavior on screen. Then, it evaluates viewer engagement with law and order narratives. It attends to the basis of police power offered by narrative shows and examines the distortion and representation of police procedure. It studies how a critical and reflective response arises from the viewers’ contrasting narrative and ethical priorities. Thus, the study uses a literary approach to produce a model for understanding the ethical dimension of the viewer-TV relationship.
DOI: 10.32657/10356/143087
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Theses

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