Narrative Complexity, By Jason Mittell Essay

1486 Words Sep 27th, 2016 6 Pages
For the past two decades, there has been a growing trend of television shows that don’t conform to narrative storytelling norms. Jason Mittell’s conceptualization of “narrative complexity” analyzes the mechanics behind shows such as Game of Thrones; their unconventional storytelling becoming more of the norm for contemporary television. Within narrative complexity, Mittell explores television shows’ operational aesthetics, which are seen in Game of Thrones’ unorthodox plot structure. The economic decisions behind Game of Thrones storytelling techniques are also critiqued along with analyzing how the show found success through complex plots and character arcs. Through Mittell’s concepts, this case study of operational aesthetics and narrative complexity within Game of Thrones will shine light on how narrative complexity has changed the way contemporary TV operates. Mittell’s “Complexity in Context” defines “narrative complexity” and “operational aesthetic.” Mittell identifies narrative complexity as a new model of storytelling that is an alternative to conventional episodic and serial forms (Mittell, 17). He further states that narrative complexity “redefines episodic forms under the influence of serial narration” (Mittell, 18). Mittell gives examples of narratively complex shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Seinfeld, noting how they have the ability to fluctuate between long-term arcs and stand alone episodes (Mittell, 19). Mittell recognizes how nonlinear…

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