CONVENTIONS IN TV
By Nathan Francis, Ollie, Sophie and Beth.
TV drama mainly looks at four aspects of life. These are
crime drama, medical drama, costume drama and soap
A category of artistic composition, as in music or
literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter.
A sub-genre is a sub category in a particular genre, for example, in
TV crime-dramas, the genre would be drama and the sub-genre would
In most TV soap operas there are certain aspects of them that are the same, for
example, A British soap opera almost always features the following conventions:
It is a serialized drama that usually runs week-in, week-out, all year round.
It features continuous storylines dealing with domestic themes and personal or family
It generally has a well-known theme tune.
Small cast, allows more screen time for each character.
The plots are open-ended and usually many storylines are featured or even interlinked
in an episode.
They are often set around a small, central area such as a square (as in EastEnders).
Soaps often have special episodes for events in the real world such as Christmas or
British soaps most often feature common, ordinary, working class
characters, reflecting the preferences of the target audience.
As a rule, British soaps are realistic or, at least, aim for realism.
Soap operas usually end on a cliff hanger with a close up reaction shot of someone's
face and the next episode will usually begin on this shot too. Todorovs theory does not
apply to soap operas as he says that the end end of the episode there will be equilibrium.
Three, four or even five storylines will be in progress during any one episode, with the
action switching between them. As one narrative is resolved, another completely different
one with different characters will already be underway.
CONVENTIONS OF COSTUME:
Costume/period drama’s are often adaptations of a famous 'classic'
novel or play but can also be original works.
They dramatize different points in history and can be quite different
from contemporary dramas.
This type of drama is normally part of a series.
These drama’s are old fashion/can be set in tutor times and traditional.
A typical period drama is set in a large country mansion house.
CONVENTIONS OF TV
A TV crime drama will be identified and portrayed in a certain way, so that
the viewer will immediately recognize the category in which this TV drama
falls into (crime). The conventions that are essential in creating a convincing
crime drama are: Character types, Setting, Narrative, Style, Themes.
Crime dramas can focus on many different people within or outside of the
law. For example Police, lawyers, criminals, a team of detectives, or even a
TV CRIME DRAMAS
Long drawn out TV crime drama will likely have many sub-plots, in which
characters will from friendships or become enemy’s.
Here are some of the key elements to a crime Drama:
A mystery/problem that needs to be solved
The resolution to a mystery/problem
Question or morality
Debates about innocence and guilt
Conflict between modes of policing
Different characteristics of villainy
MEDICAL TV DRAMA
Medical dramas can also be similar to crime dramas as often
doctors get police involved as they realize an accident is always quite
an accident or they realize the reason someone is in hospital is
because of their own dodgy mistakes.
Medical TV Dramas always hold emotional or life changing
moments to a doctor or patients life e.g. a patient dying.
MEDICAL TV DRAMA
Conventions of a Medical TV Drama:
Usually set in a hospital or a doctors which is the point of interaction
(where everything happens).
The characters often witness horrific events, due to it being set in a hospital
there is usually a lot of blood and gore.
Similar to a Soap Opera but a Medical TV Drama is believed to be more
educational by using more medical terms and showing what it is like to work in
a hospital in a way, but it is more dramatized. (It relates to soap operas in the
way that there are usually 2 doctors that fall in love and there are usually
tensions and arguments between doctors.)
Vladimir Propp says that there will always be a hero and a villain in
soap operas. His theory is that there will be a struggle between the
two but in the end, the hero will overcome this villain, for
example, during the present Eastenders storyline, Carl White is the
villain while Phil Mitchell is being seen as the hero because he is
fighting back against him.
TV crime drama follows Todorov’s theory. He believed that the formula for
most dramas/story’s started with little action at the equilibrium, then comes
the disruption of the equilibrium by some action. Next he believed there
needed to be recognition of the disruption and after this an attempt to repair
the disruption. Finally a reinstatement of the equilibrium.
However as often can be seen in TV Crime dramas, you can be left on a cliff
hanger which goes against Todorov’s theory.