Seriality in Narrative
October 11th 2008 @ 1:32 pm Bordwell,Uncategorized

We’ve talked a lot about how the viewer is considered active in Bordwell’s model. They use schemata to evaluate the information provided by syuzhet and style to construct fabula. The viewer makes assumption, inferences and hyptheses, which are then proved or disproved when the narrative provides more depth, range and communicativeness. And now that I’ve gone through all the buzz words …

Watching one episode of The Singing Detective per week has meant that we’ve roughly followed the mode by which it would have shown on television. The narrative seems to be deliberately designed to make use of the time between viewings, in fact, in some ways it requires this time of reflection and hypothesis testing. It is only when I thought back on the deluge of fabula moments that I could make the connections necessary to realize the same actor was playing different characters, or the slight changes made in a scene during it’s second enactment (or recounted enactment). My comprehension of the show largely depended on these rest periods. 

In this sense, watching two episodes back to back this past week felt slightly disruptive. I didn’t have enough time to properly process the information in the previous episode, and ended up being slightly confused on Thursday. On some level it might be considered easier to keep the details of a show straight if it is watched on DVD, instead of it’s intended medium. It seems few television shows these days are really designed for the television format, and, in fact, are better when consumed like a very long film. 24 and Lost come to mind in this regard. But, for me anyway, The Singing Detective is best viewed as it was intended to be viewed: with the week long break between screenings.

-Leslie Stonebraker
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