Cinephile: Reevaluating Television (9.1)

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The University of British Columbia, Department of Theatre and FIlm Studies
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Cinephile 9.1, Reevaluating Television

Deadline for draft submissions: March 1, 2013
Since the early 2000s, with the onset of The Sopranos and Sex and the City, serialized television has captured the attention of viewers and scholars alike. The popularity of shows such as Six Feet Under,Lost, The Wire, Deadwood, Battlestar Galactica, Mad Men, Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones suggests that these complex shows are by no means restricted to a specific genre.

'Puzzling' narrative structures, intricate plotlines, engaging characters, predetermined endings and higher production costs are some of the features that most of these shows share. While these features appeal to sophisticated TV audiences, they also counter many established television norms. For example, the TV procedural, a production-line format that has been adopted by countless sitcoms and cop shows over the years while maintaining its label as the industry standard, favours so called 'stand-alone' or 'case of the week episodes' over complex multi-season story arcs and character development. Modern shows have also been praised for adopting a 'cinematic' style. Does this indicate that the distinctions once separating cinema from television have been blurred?

Today viewers are better able to control the method in which they access their content, leading to an increase in television 'marathoning'. This, combined with a fan's ability to participate in the show's livelihood via the social media sphere, is forcing us to consider the significance of television reception more than ever before.

Our spring 2013 issue aims to ignite a discussion regarding the current state of modern serial television while paying careful consideration to the future of a medium that was once considered restrictive and subpar to film. We would like to welcome papers that explore themes such as the 'cinema-zation' of dramatic serial television, narrative forms in television, the complexity of modern TV protagonists, and viewer engagement.
Sample topics and starting points might include (but are not limited to):

- Some shows to consider: Breaking Bad, The Wire, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire,The Sopranos, Friday Night Lights, Luck, Dexter, Deadwood, Lost, The Walking Dead, Justified
- The ability for old shows to have cultish comebacks long after ended or being cancelled (Arrested Development, Futurama, Degrassi)
- The cinema-zation of modern television dramas (Consider for example HBO's slogan "It's not TV. It's HBO.")
- Identifying with the anti-hero in modern dramatic television shows
- The television marathon consumption model: How DVRs, Netflix, online streaming and DVD boxsets have altered the ways we engage with content
- The advantages/disadvantages of the serialization of dramatic narratives
- Authorship: The role and control of writers and showrunners in modern television
- Questions of value: Does complexity imply quality?
- Puzzling narrative devices (teasers, flashbacks, flashforwards, dream sequences, cold opens and cliffhangers)

We encourage submissions from graduate and doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty.Papers should be between 2000-3500 words, follow MLA guidelines, and include a detailed works cited page, a short biography of the author as well as a brief 300 word abstract. Submissions and inquiries should be directed to:
Cinephile is the University of British Columbia's film journal, published with the continued support of the Centre for Cinema Studies. Previous issues have featured original essays by such noted scholars as Sarah Kozloff, K.J. Donnelly, Barry Keith Grant, Matt Hills, Ivone Margulies, Murray Pomerance, Paul Wells, and Slavoj Žižek. Since 2009, the journal has adopted a blind peer-review process and has moved to biannual publication. It is available both online and in print via subscription.