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Derided as simple, dismissed as inferior to film, famously characterized as a vast wasteland, television nonetheless exerts an undeniable, apparently inescapable power in our culture. The secret of television's success may well lie in the narrative complexities underlying its seeming simplicity, complexities Kristin Thompson unmasks in this analysis of the narrative workings of television and film. After first looking at the narrative techniques the two media share, Thompson focuses on the specific challenges that series television presents and the tactics writers have devised to meet them-tactics that sustain interest and maintain sense across multiple plots and subplots and in spite of frequent interruptions as well as weeklong and seasonal breaks. Beyond adapting the techniques of film, Thompson argues, television has wrought its own changes in traditional narrative form.