Form, Agency, Innovation
Investigating the leading drama genres of different television eras in both Britain and the US, this book traces the evolution of television drama from the 'high culture' aspirations and technical limitations of its early days to the intense commercial competition that informs the creation of television drama today.
Television Drama: Form, Agency, Innovation examines developments in British and American TV drama from television's broadcast-only era to its current multi-platform, convergent age. Rather than attempting a comprehensive history of American or British TV drama through this period, Trisha Dunleavy uses iconic or influential programmes within a variety of genres as vehicles through which to examine broader tendencies in TV drama's creation, form, style and institutional role. Alongside the analysis of individual programmes, she considers key institutional conditions from which TV drama has gained or lost creative opportunities and as a result of which some programme forms have prevailed over others. Recognizing the dominance of series and serial programming within all TV drama output, this book profiles the hour-long series, the high-budget serial, primetime soap opera and situation comedy, as dominant generic categories whose unusual allure, popularity and endurance have ensured their continuing centrality to debates about TV drama.
Introduction TV Drama Forms and Contexts Dominant Narrative Forms: the Series and Serial Movements in Style: Naturalism, Realism and Modernism Serial Melodrama: The Soap Opera Narrative Complexity in Post-1980s Series and Serials Tradition and Innovation in Situation Comedy Drama and 'TVIII': Innovations at the 'High-End' Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index