Introduction: Towards a Narratology of TV Series

  • Gaby Allrath
  • Marion Gymnich
  • Carola Surkamp


As ‘the principal storyteller in contemporary American society’ (Kozloff 1992: 67) — as well as in many other contemporary societies — television is replete with narrative forms and genres. It is not only ‘the sitcom, the action series, the cartoon, the soap opera, the miniseries, the made-for-TV movie’ (ibid.: 68) that clearly show narrative traits. Even types of programmes which appear to be far less likely as narratives — such as advertisements, music videos or nature documentaries — often tell a story, though these stories admittedly vary considerably in terms of how elaborate they are:

A commercial for pain relievers may rely on comparison and argument, or an ad for a car may be abstract and descriptive, but a vast number of advertisements offer a compressed narrative exemplifying the products’ beneficial effects. Music videos often enact the storyline of the song’s lyrics. Nature documentaries tend to follow the story of the animal’s life cycle or of the seasonal progression in a geographical area. (Ibid.: 68–9)


Soap Opera Fictional World Star Trek Individual Episode Audiovisual Medium 
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© Gaby Allrath, Marion Gymnich and Carola Surkamp 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gaby Allrath
  • Marion Gymnich
  • Carola Surkamp

There are no affiliations available

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