This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book investigates the institutional context for the emergence and expansion of complex serial dramas on American cable television, its two case study shows being HBO's Oz and The Sopranos. It also investigates the ways in which complex serials deviate from longstanding narrative tendencies for American hour-long drama, along with the key strategies through which these serials construct and achieve narrative complexity. The book compares 'American Quality Drama', a paradigm that originated and developed on American broadcast TV, with complex serial drama. It explores the discourses of authorship that have been applied to complex serial dramas, of which a notable feature has been the valorization of individual creator-showrunners. The book examines how the aesthetic traditions and stylistic tendencies of high-end TV drama are deployed in complex serials and incorporates a case study of Netflix's Stranger Things.