Character-centered storytelling helped High Maintenance take off as a web series and become one of the most celebrated shows currently airing on HBO. But the series’ success across both platforms raises the question: what is the difference between a web series and a television series? Between 2012 and 2015, the High Maintenance web series adopted an innovative approach to serial storytelling by privileging contiguity over continuity, accumulation over connection. The web series comprises nineteen short episodes, each a single vignette allowing a brief glimpse into the life of one protagonist or social group. The series facilitated an additive model of episodic narration that fit its narrative premise and its vision of Brooklyn, even though it never quite realized the diversity its model allowed for.
What It Means to Be High Maintenance
Caetlin Benson-Allott is Provost's Distinguished Associate Professor of English and Film & Media Studies at Georgetown University and editor of Cinema Journal. She is also the author of Killer Tapes and Shattered Screens: Video Spectatorship from VHS to File Sharing (2013) and Remote Control (2015).
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Caetlin Benson-Allott; What It Means to Be High Maintenance. Film Quarterly 1 June 2018; 71 (4): 52–57. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2018.71.4.52
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