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“A Stretch of Time”

“A Stretch of Time”

Extended Distribution and Narrative Accumulation in Prison Break

(p.43) 2 “A Stretch of Time”
Time in Television Narrative
J. P. Kelly
University Press of Mississippi

A number of series, such as 24, bear the hallmarks of so-called “network time,” namely acceleration and real-time. Although scholars maintain that “network time” is the dominant temporality of the twenty-first century, this chapter argues that the flexibility of distribution in contemporary television has resulted in multiple narrative temporalities. It uses Prison Break to challenge many of the assumptions made by “network time” scholarship. Taking an industrial-textual approach, the chapter highlights the interdependent relationship between narrative and distribution, while also revealing key differences between the seriality of shows such as Prison Break (which uses “serialized seasons”) versus series such as 24 (which uses “episodic seasons”).

Keywords:   television programs, television series, 24, network time, narrative temporalities

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