81584 - Forms of Contemporary TV Seriality (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will gain in-depth knowledge of serial TV production, also by expanding their horizons looking into non-scripted shows; they will also consider current analysis methods and instruments, that allow the viewer to expand on contemporary TV seriality; students will be able to link said information to the history of serial TV production, and to apply theories and concepts in order to understand production, distribution and consumption of serial TV programmes.

Course contents

The course is divided in two parts. In the first one, lectures will be aimed at defining contemporary TV seriality and providing tools to deepen their analysis. The notions of “quality tv”, “prestige tv”, “complex tv” e “peak tv” will be explained, and a systemic overview will be observed, where serial products will be placed into broader dynamics in terms of production, distribution, promotion and consumption.

The second part of the course will then propose thematic paths among contemporary TV series. In this case, sitcoms (as well as contemporary US television comedies) and original production by on-demand platforms (as Netflix and Amazon Prime) will be analysed.


For the first part of the course, students must choose a reading among the following:
- Jason Mittell, Complex tv. Teoria e tecnica dello storytelling delle serie tv, minimum fax, Roma 2017.
- Amanda D. Lotz, Post Network. La rivoluzione della tv, minimum fax, Roma 2017.

Per la seconda parte, il testo di riferimento è:
- Luca Barra, La sitcom. Genere, evoluzione e prospettive, Carocci, Roma 2020.

Teaching methods

Due to the restrictions imposed by the current health emergency, teaching will be carried out with traditional methods: the professor will always be in the designated classroom, students will alternate in attendance according to a schedule of shifts being defined (more detailed information on the shifts and how to access the face-to-face lesson will be provided later). It will always be possible to connect remotely and follow live lessons via the Teams platform.

Traditional lessons supported by slides, audiovisual and digital materials, shared with students. The course will also host seminaries with experts in the TV and media industry.

ATTENTION: Given the fluidity of the emergency situation and since this program is published in July 2021, the teaching methods may change in the coming months. In this case, timely communication will be given through an update of this program, as through appropriate notices published on the institutional channels, i.e. on the professor's page, on the CITEM website and on the official CITEM Facebook page. All students are encouraged to consult these resources periodically.

Assessment methods

The exam is different for attending and non-attending students. Students who have attended at least 80% of the lessons (12 lessons out of 15) will be considered attending students.

Attending students will present a ppt / pdf presentation (max. 15 slides) orally, in dedicated sessions, starting from a single case study, related to the course and previously agreed with the lecturer, completing the exam with questions regarding topics addressed in class and in the readings (parts indicated in class). Non-attending students will face a written computer-based test with 6 open questions, aimed at evaluating the appropriate study of the bibliography.

The achievement of an organic vision of the themes, the use of specific language, the ability to show knowledge of contemporary television series, as well as the ability to link single productions and the media, social and cultural context will be evaluated with excellent grades. Knowledge that is too much based on the readings, a non-articulated ability to synthetize or analyse, or a correct but not always appropriate language, like a school domain of the discipline, lead to average evaluations. Gaps in knowledge or inappropriate language, such as a lack of knowledge of readings and contexts, allow the student to obtain grades on the threshold of sufficiency. Knowledge gaps, inappropriate language, lack of familiarity with the bibliography and inability to analyze are evaluated negatively.

To take the exam it is necessary to register via AlmaEsami. The exam for non-attending students is held in equipped computer rooms: in order to rationalize their use, it is necessary that the students, if they decide not to show up, cancel themselves from the exam list. Please note that it is necessary to show up for the session with UniBo credentials and to have an ID on you.

Teaching tools

Presentations, audiovisual material, videos, links and online resources, meetings with TV and media professionals.

Office hours

See the website of Luca Barra