production chain in many respects. Forces in other areas of television
pull in other directions and some cheap programming has to be made in some
contexts to offset the costs of the expensive “high end”. I would ultimately want to
put the argument no more strongly than to say that today’s production circumstances, highly commercialised as they are, ironically appear to have yielded a context facilitating creativity and distinctive product, indeed “qualitytelevision”, at
the “high end” of the industry, in TV drama. But such terms as “qualityTV” and
The Vampire Diaries began life as a series of novels before being adapted into a television series screened on the CW channel in the US and ITV2 in the UK. This article explores how the show contributes to debates over genre and authorship within the context of the TV vampire via its status as a teen horror text. It also investigates how the show intersects with debates over quality television via the involvement of teen-TV auteur Kevin Williamson. In exploring genre and authorship, the article considers how The Vampire Diaries functions as a teen drama and a TV vampire/horror text.
, drawing on a range of illustrative examples, and Chapter 7 revisits questions of quality and the cultural implications
of “qualityTV”. In the final chapter, some instances of a sustained singularity in
British TV drama are discussed to reflect upon how traditions may successfully
adapt to new circumstances without altogether abandoning cultural heritage.
“Quality”, of course, is a highly contested term. Currently, very bold claims
are being made in some quarters about “American QualityTelevision”. With texts
such as The Sopranos and Buffy the Vampire Slayer in mind
In this final chapter, we look at just one aspect that might mark GoT as qualityTV: its unpredictability. In part, this has been prompted by the marketing and transmedia activities in the lead up to the TV show's finale, which we discuss in our Postscript and by Gierzynksi's prognosticating article in the Chicago Tribune , in which he stated:
I'm hoping ‘Game of Thrones’ has an unhappy ending because, sadly, unhappy endings mimic reality. I recognize the need to occasionally escape from the
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Cult British TV comedy
‘alternative’ and ‘post-alternative’ comedy on TV can be seen as
both categories of ‘qualityTV’ (niche-oriented, requiring some
kind of cultural capital) and cult TV (positioned in relation to an
increasingly slippery ‘mainstream’).
Roger Wilmut, writing before alternative comedy had really
impacted on television, identifies three waves of British
comedians in the twentieth century. The first, dominant up to
the Second World War but still a significant TV presence well
· imbued with a public service ethos: downbeat, reflective and engaged with
social and political issues
For some quick comparative examples to establish this opening gambit, I invite readers to:
think NYPD Blue
think The Bill
think Cold Feet
In the late 1990s and early noughties, critical discourse on “quality” TV drama
has been dominated by the celebration of “American QualityTV”. Even before
film buff Peter Kramer remarked, as noted, that ‘American fictional television is
now better than the movies’ (in
money or the ‘quality’ status of their majority audience. The issues of whether there is more or less ‘qualitytelevision’ than there was, and the standards of taste and decency in television, have mostly been left to popular and journalistic opinion, industry reports and regulatory discourses.
Inasmuch as Television Studies involves the relationships between television and society, these problems may return on to the agenda. One aspect of this on which we think there will be much more work is in the evaluation and theorisation of performance (see Caughie 2000 for
racial difference. The sixth series included an episode
for Christmas 2016 shot in South Africa.
Cometh The Hour
Where Call the Midwife has frequently been dismissed as cosy, Sunday
evening heritage programming, The Hour was greeted as ‘quality’ television with episode-by-episode review blogs appearing on the Guardian
site and elsewhere. This can perhaps be explained by the fact that The
Hour’s concerns are more macro than Call the Midwife’s focus on the
quotidian and the soapy nature of its serialisation. The serial plots of
The Hour’s two series address broad
This book updates and develops the arguments of TV drama in transition (1997). It sets its analysis of the aesthetics and compositional principles of texts within a broad conceptual framework (technologies, institutions, economics, cultural trends). Tracing ‘the great value shift from conduit to content’ (Todreas, 1999), the book's view is relatively optimistic about the future quality of TV drama in a global market-place. But, characteristically taking up questions of worth where others have avoided them, it recognises that certain types of ‘quality’ are privileged for viewers able to pay, possibly at the expense of viewer preference worldwide for ‘local’ resonances in television. The mix of arts and cultural studies methodologies makes for an unusual approach.
The TV debut of Vic Reeves Big Night Out on Channel 4 in 1990 is often seen as marking a turning point for British TV Comedy, ushering in what is often characterised as the ‘post-alternative’ era. The 1990s would produce acclaimed series such as Father Ted, The League of Gentlemen and The Fast Show, while the new century would produce such notable shows as The Mighty Boosh, The Office and Psychoville. However, while these shows enjoy the status of ‘cult classics’, comparatively few of them have received scholarly attention. This book is the first sustained critical analysis of the ‘post-alternative’ era, from 1990 to the present day. It examines post-alternative comedy as a form of both ‘Cult’ and ‘Quality’ TV, programmes that mostly target niche audiences and possess a subcultural aura – in the early 90s, comedy was famously declared ‘the new rock’n’roll’. It places these developments within a variety of cultural and institutional contexts and examines a range of comic forms, from sitcom to sketch shows and ‘mock TV’ formats. It includes case studies of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer and the sitcom writer Graham LInehan. It examines developments in sketch shows and the emergence of ‘dark’ and ‘cringe’ comedy, and considers the politics of ‘offence’ during a period in which Brass Eye, ‘Sachsgate’ and Frankie Boyle provoked different kinds of media outrage. Cult British TV Comedy will be of interest to both students and fans of modern TV comedy.