From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Serial" is a term, originating in literature, for a format by which a story is told in contiguous installments in sequential issues of a single periodical publication. More generally, "serial" is applied in library and information science to materials "in any medium issued under the same title in a succession of discrete parts, usually numbered (or dated) and appearing at regular or irregular intervals with no predetermined conclusion." By extension, "serial" also came to apply to a film issued in the same installment manner over a period of sequential weeks at a single movie house.
In recent times, the term has been used for a radio or television production with a continuously evolving, unified plot and set of characters, spread over multiple episodes and sometimes years (see, e.g., "soap opera"). Unity of plot and contiguity across numerous episodes distinguishes a radio or television serial from a radio or television series. In British television, "serial" is also synonymous with the American term "miniseries" — a short-run series in which a single overarching story is told across several episodes and concludes in the final installment.
Art and literature
- Serial, a format by which a story is told in installments
- Serial (film), films released in chapters for viewing in cinemas, particularly in the 1930s and 1940s
- Serial (radio and television), serialised fiction in the television and radio media
- Miniseries, a production that tells a story in a limited number of episodes
- Serial (literature), serialised fiction in print
- Webserial, serialised written fiction on the Internet
- Serialism, in music
- Serial art