On Boundaries, Part III: The Serial

What’s the appeal of the serial?

Wall Street Journal: The Return of the Serial Novel, April 2013

Serialized fiction, an all-but-lost art form that was practiced by such literary giants as Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy and Joseph Conrad, is rebounding in the digital era. The growing use of tablets, smartphones and e-ink devices has created a vibrant new market for short fiction as readers flock to stories they can digest in one sitting. […] “The Charles Dickens model actually fits better now than ever because people want bite-sized content,” says writer Sean Platt, who has co-authored six digital serial novels.

PBS NewsHour: The Power of Telenovelas, January 2012

[U]nlike U.S. soap operas, which ran for decades, telenovelas have a contained story arc, ending after a few seasons. This makes them highly marketable and exportable, says Diana Rios, associate professor of communication sciences at University of Connecticut. They air every day, making them highly profitable to advertisers.
[…] For Latinos, watching telenovelas is often a way to keep in touch with their friends and family, especially those who have emigrated. “It’s a conversation piece,” said Rios…

NYT Book Review: Are the New ‘Golden Age’ TV Shows the New Novels?

And over the last few years, it’s become common to hear variations on the idea that quality cable TV shows are the new novels. Thomas Doherty, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, called the new genre “Arc TV” — because its stories follow long, complex arcs of development — and insisted that “at its best, the world of Arc TV is as exquisitely calibrated as the social matrix of a Henry James novel.”

BONUS: Success and ‘Serial’ Backlash, Digg, November 2014

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