Inspired by Woman’s Domestic Fiction of the
19th Century—Jane Austin/Emily Bronte
The Events of Every Day Life Elevated to an Operatic
Considered a “woman’s” genre—situated on the low
rung of the culture hierarchy
Relationships/Romance /Family—Central Focus
Love Triangles, Weddings, Far-Fetched (Back from
When a plot threatens to become
too absorbing, it is interrupted by
another storyline resuming or a
These shows also engage in
repetitive and monotonous
storytelling to present the
viewers with the ability to
maintain an adequate
comprehension of storylines and
The Guiding Light (1937)
began as radio drama
transferred to television.
Soap Operas reached
their peak in the 1980’s.
Luke and Laura’s
Wedding on General
Hospital still remains
highest rated episode of
In 1981, General Hospital’ s “ICE
PRINCESS” storyline generated a
large number of male viewers with
it’s action/adventure/sci-fi plot
Since the mid-90’s, the show has
become mob-centric with Sonny
Corinthos (A Tony-Soprano type
character) as its central character.
The show incorporates
action/violence in attempts to draw
a male audience. However, the
traditional soap elements override
and fail to shed the daytime soap
Prime-Time Soap Operas
prevailed in the 80’s with
Knots Landing, Dallas,
Dynasty, and Falcon Crest
becoming long-running rating
Utilized elements of the
traditional soap opera.
In the 90’s traditional soaps
displaced themselves into the
teen soap-Beverly Hills 90210,
HILL STREET BLUES (1981-1987)
Combined the elements of a serialized
soap opera with the police procedural
Each episode featured intertwined
storylines—some self-contained, some
Intertwined urban action/violence
elements(masculine driven) with
exploration of personal lives, romantic
interests, other forms of melodrama
(traditional soap opera)
Utilizes the Elements of
The Sopranos (The
24 (Die Hard/Clear and
Present Danger/Air Force
The Shield (Dirty Harry)
Hill Street Blues/NYPD Blue
(French Connection/In The
Heat of the Night)
Serialized—Follows criteria of complex
Protagonist exudes ultra-masculinity,
Fleeting Moments of Sensitivity
many consume excessive amounts of alcohol or
are in recovery (ex Andy Sipowicz-alcoholic/Jack
Occupations are male-dominated
Densely plotted--generally opposes the
repetitive and slow paced storytelling of the
traditional soap opera
Hyper-sexuality and male bonding overrides
Unlike the traditional daytime soap opera-these
shows are generally respected by critics –many
are multiple Emmy-winners (NYPD BLUE/THE
Prior to 1998, NBC’s Hill Street Blues and
ABC’s NYPD Blue were the most successful
male soap operas.
Cable is responsible for the influx of a new
wave of male soap operas.
In 1997, HBO launched OZ, a year later-The
Sopranos—followed by The Wire, Deadwood,
FX- The Shield, Rescue Me, Sons of Anarchy.
Network-24, The West Wing, Prison Break,
Life on Mars
Subgenre—geek soap opera—Smallville,
LOST, Supernatural, Heroes, Chuck
Oz (Prison Drama)
drama focused on amoral sex
The Sopranos (Mob-centric)
The Wire (crime drama)
With Male Soap Operas and
prominence, ABC decided to
reboot the traditional
prime time soap format in
2004 with an 18-34 year-old
Desperate Housewives and
(later in the season) Grey’s
Anatomy to commercial
and critical success.
Did the male soap opera
help give the female soap
Aired on FX March 12, 2002-
November 25, 2008 (7 Seasons)
Michael Chiklis (Best Actor 2002)
The series revolves around an
experimental division of the LAPD
set up in the fictional Farmington
district (quot;the Farmquot;) of L.A.
Converted church (quot;the Barnquot;) serves
as the police station.
Strike Team (Vic Mackey, Shane
Vendrell, Curtis Lemansky (Lem),
and Ronnie Gardocki)
Cross legal and moral boundaries to
maintain justice on the streets of Los
Rogue Police Detective—Can Be
Both Good and Bad (referred to
as “Al Capone with a Badge.”)
Rude, Sexists, Obnoxious,
Adulterer, Murderer, Liar,
Divorced (3 Children-son and
daughter diagnosed with
autism)-pursues illegal money to
support his family.
In pilot episode, Vic shot fellow
cop, Terry Crowley, point blank in
the face, because Crowley was
assigned to bust Vic for being a
dirty cop. This event became the
impetus for the show’s
enormously complex series arc.
When Vic discovered that Julien, one of the
cops in the squad, was gay, he threatened to
reveal the man‘s secret unless the cop decided
to give false witness in a case to protect Vic
and another dirty cop who stole some
cocaine confiscated during a drug bust.
Vic can be a good cop like -he gives a
prostitute money to get off the street for the
night and go home to see her kid. He also
protects his Strike Team (as long as his
interests are fulfilled)
Vic has a troubled marriage with his
wife, Corrine. They have a son who is autistic.
For romance outside the home, Vic carries on
an affair with fellow police officer Danielle
Penultimate Episode of Season
Internal Affairs Lt .Kavanaugh (Forrest Whitaker) is determined to bring
down Vic for his crimes.
Vic and Kavanaugh have been playing game of cat and mouse
throughout the season.
As a result of Kavanaugh turning one of Vic's informants, IAD became
aware of Lem stealing heroin which he never turned in.
Having found the heroin, IAD is capable of arresting Lem, but
Kavanaugh wants him to incriminate the whole team .
Lem remains loyal to Mackey-he looks to him as a surrogate father.
Vic is worried that if Lem goes to prison, that he will be killed by one of
Vic’s nemesis—Antwon Mitchell.
Prior to this episode, Kavanuagh tried but eventually withheld from
raping Vic’s ex-wife.
Vic realizes Kavanaugh’s ex-wife is his achilles heel.
Subplot—recurring investigation into a
series of hate crimes against the
Romance is displaced by the
father/brother relationship Vic
possesses with his strike team.
Dialogue is extremely coarse, sexually
Sexual objectification of Kavanaugh’s
Danielle “Danny” is carrying Vic’s baby
Julien’s denial of his homosexuality-
extends through the entire run of the