Back in the Days: dal Nostalgia Film alla Nostalgic Television Series = Back in the Days: from Nostalgia Film to Nostalgic Television Series


One of the most effective insights of postmodern theory of narrative was the “nostalgia for the present” defined by Jameson in Postmodernism. The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. In the narrative arts there was a trend of works based on “list of stereotypes, of ideas of facts and historical realities”; in the field of cinematographic productions, Jameson called this kind of movie “nostalgia film”, citing American Graffiti and Chinatown as exemplary cases of movies set in another era, as historical films, but that cannot be confused with them because the “nostalgia film” focuses on “imaginary style of real past”. In this trend there were also movies which connect past and present (Body Heat, Blue Velvet, Something Wild), showing “a collective unconscious in the process of trying to identify its own present at the same time that they illuminate the failure of this attempt, which seems to reduce itself to the recombination of various stereotypes of the past”. More than two decades away from these insights we start again to talk about nostalgia as the hallmark of many contemporary narrative works, especially in the field of television series in which some scholars actually find a strong trend towards the nostalgic. Katherina Niemeyer and Daniela Wentz assert this kind of nostalgia consists of: “reconstructing and reimagining the past visually, discursively and historically by portraying and referring to the key political, social, economic and aesthetic elements of former times”. We can find examples of that sort both in American and European series such as Stranger Things, Mad Men, Narcos, Boardwalk Empire, Downton Abbey, Deutschland 83, Aquarius, 1992, The Get-Down and many others.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22840753n8p149

Keywords: tv series; nostalgia; narrative theory; postmodernism; media studies; historical period drama

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