Nothing New on the Cathode Tube

Doru POP


The main research questions of this paper are based on the need to clarify some major issues concerning the changes induced in television production practices by the new technologies of content transmission. Narrowing down the topic, the central question is if the nature of televisuality, of the way television programs are consumed and produced, has been transformed in our contemporary world. The author puts forward concepts like recycled narratives, reused plots and seriality considered to be useful for describing the new types of narrative structures in television films and television series today. By re-interpreting the historical paradigm of the neo-television versus post-television, the author is questioning the classical hypothesis of Jameson about the logic of postmodern production mode. In order to further explore how the new technologies and new media practices have influenced content production, the author uses the concept of “habit loop”, used in market-driven commodities production, to explain the impact of late capitalism of television content production. Following the assumption that we are in a cultural moment when all stories have been told and there are no more creative resources, this inability of storytelling to reinvent itself leads to the dominance of the mechanisms of re-use, re-contextualization and re-focusing. Exploring the traits of post-television, the conclusion of this paper is that televisual productions have now reached the ultimate consequence of the ethos of replay. The author claims that we are beyond the era of the pastiche and we have ushered an era of promiscuous narratives.

Keywords: television, televisuality, promiscuous narratives, storytelling habit loops, replay, new technologies, television series, serials, sitcoms.