TV Genres: A Handbook and Reference Guide

TV Genres: A Handbook and Reference Guide

TV Genres: A Handbook and Reference Guide

TV Genres: A Handbook and Reference Guide

Synopsis

"This book fills a need. It will be used by scholars and revered by undergraduates doing papers. It is a highly desirable acquisition for libraries of all types." Choice "[an] essential purchase for universityand most college libraries as well as large public libraries." Reference Books Bulletin

Excerpt

Like most popular entertainments, television thrives on a multiplicity of formats, which all seem to coexist in a happy jumble. The older television gets (the medium is now in its fifth decade of commercially supported existence), the more its once rigid genres blend into one another. Situation comedies are now frequently charged with melodramatic undercurrents; the previously somber instincts of daytime serials are often interrupted with dashes of wild humor; police dramas are laced with aspects of hip comedy; and news programs are sometimes indistinguishable from the talk and variety shows that surround them.

Nevertheless, television formats, like the formats of literature and motion pictures, are still usually guided by a few basic principles that are readily understood by producers and public alike. These principles are at the heart of a genre's appeal and play an important role in keeping a genre alive and popular.

But what are the observances and rules that give television formats their distinctive qualities? What separates the TV situation comedy from earlier comedy forms? How does a television detective differ from his literary or film counterparts? Why is the talk show one of television's few genuinely original genres? What principles have reality-based formats been forced to adopt from the entertainment formats that rub up against them during the course of the broadcast day?

This book is an attempt to answer these questions by systematically examining the central elements in a wide variety of television genres. The nineteen formats selected for this volume reflect the medium's astonishing diversity. With the exception of the Western, every one of these programming formulas still constitutes an active part of the TV schedule.

As is obvious from glancing at the chapter titles, television has not really added a significant number of new formats to the existing body of popular entertainment. What it has done is to alter the terms of existing formulas by reshaping them to its specific demands. The medium's relatively small screen . . .

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