revised_tv_crime_article_jan_2016_002_.doc

The centrality of montage to action from the chase

Info icon This preview shows pages 10–12. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
not the connection to action aesthetics which I foreground here. The centrality of montage to action – from the chase films of early cinema to the scenes of pursuit in crime shows such as Miami Vice – is fundamental to the genre and the thrills/sensation it produces. While in a well-known essay Jason Mittell (2006) explores the spectacular qualities of narrative complexity at work in shows such as Lost , I foreground here the sensational qualities of mainstream action crime drama which combine elements of narrative and spectacle in intriguing ways. Tom Gunning’s (1986) essay on the cinema of attractions is well known in historical film studies and the concept of attraction has been used by commentators 10
Image of page 10

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
in relation to a range of different media forms including television and journalism; yet postulating a television of attractions risks underplaying the ways in which narrative is so clearly at stake in crime television’s sensation scenes. The investigative narrative structures crime television which works towards uncovering motive and resolving mystery. It is the visceral, sensational way that is delivered in action/crime that suggests a productive connection with the figure of “attraction”. Tom Gunning’s argument points to the early cinema’s “harnessing of visibility” (1986, 63) for pleasure, an analysis which seeks to understand the context of exhibition and to avoid overemphasising narrative as the most significant dimension of media experience. Gunning cites Fernand Léger’s observation that the new medium’s power and potential was “a matter of making images seen ,” and invokes Marinetti’s praise for variety theatre as a form that encouraged active spectators as well as deploying “aesthetics of astonishment and stimulation” (1986, 63, 66). At least two aspects of this modernist moment strike me as of interest for the consideration of postmodern crime television in the action mode. Firstly, an aesthetic of abstraction, the spectacular/visual qualities of images which provide stimulation for audiences immersed in an intensely mediated culture. Secondly, the importance of speed, or at least movement – drawing in sensation and attraction as terms, allows us to think about the action sequence and the action aesthetic as more than the physical chase, just as likely to consist of the rapid flow of data as of people. The emergence of NCIS as a franchise in its own right speaks to the normalisation of forensic imagery and the centrality of the sensations it provides within crime television. Police series of the 1980s and 1990s such as NYPD Blue referred to over-burdened laboratories and pressured labs, an imagery displaced by the efficient and resource-rich mobilisation of science in shows such as Bones and CSI . That contrast is explicitly referenced in an NCIS episode which has a stretched civilian doctor, having failed to detect a murder later picked up by Ducky during a demonstration autopsy, bemoan the fact that for her work DNA testing takes six months to process (“Identity Crisis” season 5). Forensic work in NCIS operates
Image of page 11
Image of page 12
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern