Sean O'Sullivan


This essay continues an investigation into the deep history of seriality by considering the relationship between classical epic and television serials, arguing that the key narrative elements of The Odyssey in particular provide the material practices and operations for serial storytelling. Two episodes of The Sopranos—“College” from the first season and “Commendatori” from the second—represent contrasting positions of innovation and belatedness that mimic the anxiously belated relationship between Virgil’s Aeneid and its Homeric predecessors. The trope of the road trip episode in each case mimics motifs of home and away from the epic tradition.