Between Habit and Thought in New TV Serial Drama: Serial Connections is a consideration of some of the key examples of serial television drama available via transnational streaming platforms in recent times. Through the individual works examined, the book exemplifies the ways in which aesthetics, technology, and capitalism weave a complex social fabric around the production of the respective television series, thus presenting this type of serial drama as a finely engineered cultural production. Taking Bernard Stiegler’s notion of an "image warfare" as its starting point, the author critically investigates the strategies deployed by the shows’ producers to navigate this dynamic, shaped by the "new spirit of capitalism". With creativity intrinsic to the process, on the one hand, and a highly efficient drive for capturing and fixing attention driven by algorithm and economic logic, on the other, the author maps the processes at work in the production of high-value serial drama and considers how, despite this tension, they manage to present meaningful insights into the experience of being in this world: A world shaped by trauma, a desire for justice, and a search for systems of belief that can offer a way through the vicissitudes of contemporary life. Framed by a detailed analysis of the multiple processes that shape these works is a sustained analysis of the serials Mr Robot, Billions, The Leftovers, Rectify, and Westworld, and the dynamics of despair and hope that ripple through them. As such, it will appeal to readers of film and television studies, cultural theory, and those interested in furthering a critical aesthetics for our time.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Streaming, Seriality, and Spirit
1. Mr Robot: Eyeing the Apocalypse
2. Billions: Nomadic Flows
3. The Leftovers: Empty Spheres
4. Rectify: Being-in-the-World
5. Westworld: We Live in the Wrong World
Conclusion: Between Habit and Thought
John Lynch is Associate Professor in Film and Media Studies at Karlstad University, Sweden.