Key GenresO SoapO YouthO FantasyO Issue BasedO CrimeO Medical
Soap OperasO “Never-ending” story lines, which resists coming to a narrative closure. Multiple cliff hangers act as narrative devices to keep audiences interested.O Multiple plots and characters, more characters that feature frequently than usual dramas; whole families for instance. The plots tend to be interwoven and throughout the show tends to switch between plots continuously.O Morality is a big theme in some soaps, where we are invited to make moral judgements about them, relating to difficult issues such as depression, abortion and abuse. Storylines typically revolve around personal and family relationships.
Soap Operas IIO Social and domestic settings, such as homes, hotels, pubs and cafes. This gives potential for unlimited storylines.O Strong female characters are often included, where they are shown as relatively powerful in their professional and domestic settings, in order to relate more to a female audience. Men tend to be portrayed as weaker and more sensitive than in traditional drama.O Simplified characters are key for easy recognition, and make it easy for an audience to feel a basic level of empathy for them. However, there can sometimes be stereotypes.
Soap Operas IIIO Constant illusion of real time, where events happen in the soap at the same time as in real life, for instance Christmas. The scenes also do not skip time and each episode will typically focus on 25 minutes of real time.O Two shots and over the shoulder shots – 90% of the content in a soap is conversations and hence these are a very important type of shot.O Symbolic costumes and set designs – depending on the issues explored in the soap. For instance, very British soaps like Eastenders have traditional décor.
Youth Drama These tend to focus on issues that affect youths, suchas sexuality, body image, and crime. There are a fewcommon features in most youth dramas.O Social issues of concern are prevalent and episodes can revolve around one or many of these. This allows the young audience to relate more to the characters on screen due to a “representational range of recognisable character types”.O Stereotypes of teenagers are also a common feature. The young audience can relate to these easier, and as a result find them more entertaining and interesting.
Youth Drama IIO One of the typical settings in youth dramas is in a school – this is something which the audience should be able to relate to and hence will probably be able to identify with the issues in the programme on a greater level.O Domestic issues and their impact on youths are also explored; for instance divorce and domestic violence. This helps the audience to understand that these are not uncommon and can help some with their own understanding and how they deal with these issues in their own lives.
Hospital Drama Due to the widespread nature of the issues dealt with inthe narrative of this type of drama, they tend to have a verywide audience.O Having a wide range of characters means that these “offer different versions of a number of occupational roles and ideas about the public”. These roles include a variety of hospital staff such as consultants and porters, as well as a wide selection of the public, such as children and religious groups.O Hospital and clinical settings are obviously key in a hospital drama and consequently they must be realistic and be set up in a highly detailed manner.
Hospital Drama IIO There tends to be an illusion of real time in order to create a sense of panic and heightens the tension of the show. Similarly to soap operas, this makes it seem as though multiple things are going on at once, yet allows for different storylines to be shot on different days.O Often there are social and domestic settings, which is usually where the show will start, at the scene of an impending accident. This means that there is no limit to the number of potential story-lines.O Hospital dramas usually focus on some issues of morality, allowing the audience to make a judgment on the characters from this.
Crime Drama Crime dramas have a widespread audience, mainly due tothe variety of settings and storylines available acrossshows.O Murder and serial-killing is a feature in lots of crime dramas because it means that there is an extended period of tension building up. It changes between from show to show, dependent on which part of law enforcement the show focuses on; for example forensic science or detective work.O Numerous sub-plots are common in long running dramas because these sustain the audience’s interest due to the development of relationships between key characters.
Crime Drama IIO Investigations are vital to most crime dramas because it creates mystery and often closure to series. It constantly leaves the audience in suspense and can get them involved in guessing “whodunnit”.O It’s common for crime dramas to only have a select range of characters as it can be hard to follow them in such an already complex narrative.O Gender representation can break gender scripts in having strong female detectives, which represents strong females in a typically male environment. This dynamic often makes the show more interesting.
Fantasy DramaO Mythical creatures are very common in fantasy drama and the entire show tends to revolve around these. This entice an audience due to the way in which they capture one’s imagination. These creatures can include dragons and aliens.O Magic and or witchcraft is often used in the narrative of these dramas. These help the audience immerse themselves in an alternate reality.O Good versus evil is a theme commonly explored by fantasy dramas – for instance, who chooses to abuse their powers and who chooses to use them for the good of others?
Fantasy Drama IIO These dramas tend to be set in different eras, such as medieval times, the future, or even modern times. This can often help the audience immerse themselves in the world on a deeper level.O Superhumans tend to feature in more modern dramas, such as Heroes. These can intrigue viewers because they give them a hope of one day achieving this, no matter how unrealistic that may be, which will more than likely keep them watching the show.
Issue BasedIssue based dramas cover a large range of topics andgenres, and can attract different audiences.O There is more often than not controversy in these dramas, due to the fact that they tackle difficult issues which cover questions of ethics and morality.O Political issues are often explored by issue based dramas because they can attract a more adult audience.O Youth issues similar to those in youth dramas can also be looked at, such as alcohol abuse, relationships and teen pregnancy.
Issue Based IIO Social class divisions are often prevalent. This is because of the fact that the audience is most likely going to be a varied one in terms of wealth, and hence some dramas choose to represent class divisions in different ways.O In these, there tends to be different kinds of gender representation, but due to the predominantly gritty nature, there is often inequality shown and male dominance.O Stereotypical characters can help to portray people in society well, if they are a main character or not.
BibliographyO http://www.godnose.co.uk/downloads/alev el/genre/features%20of%20soap%20opera %20.pdfO OCR Media Studies for AS TextbookImages from various sources on the internet.