In this course we study film and TV series from Louis Feuillade’s Fantomas (1913) and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks (1990-1991), Edgar Reitz’s Heimat (1981-2006) to contemporary American post-network series such as The Wire (2002-2009), Mr Robot (2015-2017) and Narcos (2015-20170. We will read essays on the conventions of the instalment novel and on the narrative strategies of classic genres such as the police procedural, melodrama, the sitcom and the western. The second part of the course will focus on the emergence of contemporary forms of ‘complex’ storytelling in TV series, and the new cultural practices that they invite, such as binge-watching and the writing of fan fiction. Special attention will be paid to new forms of academic TV criticism which seek to understand the relations between narrative forms and ideological, political-economical and technological developments. We will read essays by Umberto Eco, Tania Modleski, Jason Mittell, Fredric Jameson, en Mark Fisher.
On completion of the course, students will
Have an overview of the history of serial forms of storytelling in cinema and television;
Are familiar with the major serial genres and their narrative conventions;
Have learned how to analyze complex narrative texts;
Have reflected on the relation between popular narrative forms and the political, economic and cultural contexts in which they are produced and consumed;
Have learned how to write a paper and to give a classroom presentation.
The timetable is available on the website
Mode of instruction
Paper (80 %)
Class Presentation (20%)
Inspection and feedback
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply
Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs
For more information please check the website of the study program Film and Literature Studies.