SCMS 2015 - TV: Complexity, Form and Format

full name / name of organization: 
Branden Buehler (University of Southern California), George Carstocea (University of Southern California)

CFP for Panel - Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) Conference, March 25-29, 2015 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

As evidenced by the increasing amount of television scholarship dealing with transmedia storytelling, paratexts, and narrative complexity, there is a general consensus that the TV medium's formal attributes have evolved along with new industrial and technological practices, as well as new modes of viewership. However, this scholarship has yet to offer any consistent methodology for approaching the stylistic shifts in contemporary television, including their conceptual and technological determinants. Moreover, much of this current scholarship has tended to focus on certain formats to the exclusion of others, at times ignoring the experimentation and formal hypertrophy within sports television, sitcoms and animated television, reality TV, etc. This panel consequently calls for renewed attention to television style, particularly the stylistics of formats usually overlooked in the "Quality TV" discussion. We are particularly interested in emerging methodologies ready-made for the new formal regimes of television, as well as established methodologies updated to take advantage of contemporary technological advances or refitted to the formal demands of contemporary televisual complexity.

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Onscreen representations of technological mediation
  • Formal reflexivity and meta-televisual commentary
  • Onscreen display of statistical information, online feeds, visualized data, spatial analysis, etc.
  • Updated methods for structural analysis of visual, sound, or narrative form -- including digital humanities approaches that supplement (or fruitfully diverge from) traditional approaches to formal analysis
  • Comparison of formal shifts/formally innovative choices across TV formats (for example, slow-motion in sitcoms vs cable dramas vs sports programming)
  • Visuals/sounds catered to multi-screen viewing
  • Audiovisual techniques unique to transmedia properties
  • Intersections between "Complex TV" and formal innovation
  • The aesthetic impact of interactive media on traditionally non-interactive formats

Please submit a paper title, an abstract no longer 2500 characters, a 3-5 item bibliography, and a brief author bio (no more than 500 characters) to Branden Buehler ( and George Carstocea ( by August 5. Successful submissions will be notified by August 10.