(Not So) Complex TV. Framing Seriality as a Practice via Contemporary Models of Italian Television Fiction

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In recent years, television series have become an important object of scrutiny for Media and Television Studies. The aim of this article is to develop and illustrate an holistic approach to TV serial narratives, a perspective that could account for the complexity of factors that define them. Indeed, TV series have been analyzed in different ways and from various points of view. First of all, TV serials and series form a large corpus of products – both nationally and internationally produced and distributed – that has been investigated respectively in relation to its aesthetics, its representation of social and cultural issues, its relationship with politics, and its forms of consumption and fandom. Second, specific attention has been devoted to the textual mechanism of serial narration, as well as to its capacity to build vast and elaborate story-worlds that expand beyond the boundaries of texts and media. By framing seriality as a practice, I aim to show the structural connections that link (and cross) industrial strategies and production cultures with viewing tactics and consumption cultures, as well as the ways in which these connections are negotiated through texts, their extensions, and their social and cultural circulation. My testing ground for this approach will be the case of contemporary Italian TV fiction, which presents three different models according to the corresponding goals and needs of public service broadcasting, commercial television, and pay TV. With recourse to an articulated study of the editorial policies, production/distribution/promotion strategies, consumption figures and viewing practices of Italian pay-TV series, this discussion will illustrate the “trial and error” process that has led to the birth of a new model of long seriality that is capable of generating innovative narratives such as, for example, the franchises Romanzo Criminale. La serie, Gomorra. La serie and 1992. Finally, I will demonstrate that though this new model is partially different from the traditional, national ones and instead closer to the fully industrialized American one, the pay TV operator Sky Italia has nevertheless failed, so far, to adopt comprehensively a “complex TV” serial design, such as a multi-season production, that could rapidly and fully exploit a successful TV franchise.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)8-20
Numero di pagine13
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2016


  • Italian Tv fiction
  • Pay Tv Mode
  • Television Studies
  • Tv Series
  • Tv narratives


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