Media Theory Revision Guide

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All A level theorists covered alongside revision summaries and exam practise exercises.





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No Offense

Three act ideals


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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.

Todorvian narrative arc

A story that follows Todorov's ideal narrative formula: equilibrium followed by disequilibrium and finally a new equilibrium.

Media terminology used


A flexible storytelling style used by television script writers in which a number of story strands are simultaneously narrated. Some story arcs may conclude in a single episode while other overarching narratives might take an entire season or more to resolve.

In media res

A story that starts with disequilibrium or an inciting incident. In media res sequences provide a hook or a moment of instant gratification for their audiences. In media res challenges Todorov's assertion that narratives outline moments of equilibrium at their outset.

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Media Theory for A Level
The Essential Revision Guide