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Temporality and Trauma in American Sci-Fi Television

Temporality and Trauma in American Sci-Fi Television

Chapter:
(p.97) 6 Temporality and Trauma in American Sci-Fi Television
Source:
Time in Television Narrative
Author(s):
Aris Mousoutzanis
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781617032936.003.0007

This chapter approaches the experimentation of temporality in recent American Sci-Fi TV shows, such as Lost, FlashForward, Fringe, and The Event, in terms of their preoccupation with the topic of psychological trauma. It argues that trauma sci-fi television should be seen as a very self-conscious, “metatextual” television genre that reflects on certain aspects of the nature, function, and history of the medium of television itself. These shows illustrate three aspects of the relationship between television, temporality, and trauma: first, the structural equivalences between trauma and the new media, whose ability to challenge conventional perceptions of time and space has been seen as similar to the structure of traumatic temporality; second, the history of the medium of television itself, which is often theorized in terms conceptually similar to that of trauma, such as “discontinuity,” “rupture,” and “conflict” between older and new media; and third, the fact that television serves by now as the major site where collective tragedy and historical trauma are witnessed, experienced, or even registered as traumatic in the first place.

Keywords:   television shows, science fiction, sci-fi tv shows, psychological trauma

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