Serial TV, Digital Accumulation and Distracted Audiences
Dennis Broe’new book Birth of the Binge: Serial TV and The End of Leisure is an attempt to alter the way serial television is viewed by, instead of starting with the shows themselves or with serial fandom, first integrating the form, which began at the opening of the neoliberal era in the early 1980s, into ongoing processes of the digital economy. The book views serial television as a part of what Bernard Stiegler terms hyperindustrialism, seeing the form and the delivery system which is part of its development as adapting itself to more harried workers on the go and utilizing both technological and narrative devices which foster addictive viewing and participate in the validation of a new corporate autistic personality.
Streaming television is seen not as a revolutionary break, as many media critics describe it, but as a continuation, often by the same multinationals, of the old network processes in different and sometimes more predatory forms. The form has also spawned series that critique both this process and the offline forms of extraction that are growing more and more deadly. Broe’s talk on the book will also encompass new developments in resistant cinema, particularly in the case of Italian cinema which, like serial television series, operates in a constrained and dangerous atmosphere in truthtelling and which must then find ever more ingenious ways of deniability of the truth it is unfolding. This will be discussed in the context of the Yellow-Green of the far-right League and the Populist Five Star Parties.
Dennis Broe, who has taught in the Television Studies Master’s Program at the Sorbonne, is also the author of Maverick: Or How the West Was Lost; Class Crime and International Film Noir: Globalizing America’s Dark Art; Film Noir, American Workers and Postwar Hollywood and Cold War Expressionism: Perverting the Politics of Perception. His television series: TV on TV is on Art District TV in Paris and he is a critic for Arts Express on the Pacifica Radio Network.