Media Theory Revision Guide
All A level theorists covered alongside revision summaries and exam practise exercises.
Three act ideals
No Offense simultaneously applies and adapts Todorov’s ideal narrative formula. The opening sequence of season two offers us a compressed sense of equilibrium - reintroducing the audience to the main characters of the narrative and their individual quirks.
Lead hero, Viv, is identified immediately with secondary team members (Dinah and Joy) positioned as her Proppian helpers. The pre-funeral explosion however presents a brief moment of compressed equilibrium - outlining the dysfunctional nature of the team via Joy’s indiscretion in the surveillance van whilst Viv’s exposed fashion label reinforces the hero’s lack of traditional femininity.
Equilibrium, however, quickly gives way to in media res: the terrorist explosion producing a quick hook for a contemporary audience who demand instant narrative gratification, whilst also engaging viewer loyalty by setting up a narrative arc that is only resolved if the entire season is watched. No Offense, in this sense, is best defined as a flexi-narrative.
Todorov's narrative ideal
A story that follows Todorov's equilibrium, disequilibrium and new equilibrium narrative formula. Todorovian narratives tend to work as single character quests and progress chronologically.
Media terminology used
A storytelling structure in which a number of story strands are simultaneously narrated. Some story arcs may conclude in a single episode while others might take a season or more to resolve.
In media res
A story that starts with disequilibrium or an inciting incident. In media res sequences provide am instant hook or a moment of immediate gratification for audiences.