This course will explore the cultural, social and artistic significance of television and new media technologies. Beginning with the medium of television, we will examine and analyze developments in the programming, institutional structure, audiences, technological innovation, narrative and style elements, genres, and the cultural impact of TV over time from its broadcast origins to digital streaming on our smartphones. We will also explore the historical development of the internet and other forms of new media and examine the role of the digital revolution in contemporary society. Digital distribution, video games, phone apps, social media, machine learning, algorithms, and virtual reality have dramatically changed how we work, learn, communicate, and access information and entertainment. What is the relationship between digital and new media? How has digital technology and web interactivity transformed the TV and film industries? What is the relationship between binge watching and long form serial narratives produced by content providers from AMC to Netflix?
General topics for the course will likely include TV genres such as the sitcom, police procedurals, and “reality TV”; film and television audiences in the era of Netflix; digital cinema; participatory and fan culture; copyright and free culture; transmedia storytelling; social media; games and gamers; machine learning and personal digital assistants (Alexa, Siri); and the return of analog in the digital era.