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 convention is a consistent aspect of a certain type of
program, For example, it could be that in TV dramas, all soap operas
have a standard meeting point, like Eastenders, Coronation street and
pretty much all other soaps have their central meeting point as a pub.
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
It generally has a well-known theme tune.
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) and have a standardized
meeting point like a pub.
Soaps often have special episodes for events in the real world such as Christmas or the Millennium.
British soaps most often feature common, ordinary, working class characters.
Soap operas usually end on a cliff hanger.
Three, four or even five storylines will be in progress during any one episode, with the action switching
EXAMPLES OF SOAP
CONVENTIONS OF COSTUME:
Costume/period drama’s are often adaptations of a famous 'classic' novel or play but
can also be original works.
They show a specific part of history. For example life in war.
This type of drama is normally part of a series.
These drama’s use costume clothing to show a certain period of time.
A typical period drama is set in a large country mansion house is for the point of
Normally involves romance between two characters.
Example of costume drama’s are: Down town abbey, the Tudors, Arabian
nights, Oliver twist and Vikings.
EXAMPLES OF COSTUME
CONVENTIONS OF TV
Can be set in many different locations. Usually a city.
However most have a three part structure. Beginning (discovery of the crime), middle (solving the crime), end (usually
making a arrest).
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 of morality
Debates about innocence and guilt
Conflict between modes of policing
Different characteristics of villainy
The hero usually defeats the villain
The hero often has a sidekick in order to let the audience see the hero’s thoughts.
EXAMPLES OF TV CRIME
MEDICAL TV DRAMA
Conventions of a Medical TV Drama:
set in a hospital or a doctors which is the point of interaction
The characters often witness horrific events,
Similar to a Soap Opera but a Medical TV Drama is believed to be more
educational by using more medical terms
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.
Medical dramas can also be similar to crime dramas as often doctors get police
Medical TV Dramas always hold emotional or life changing moments to a doctor
or patients life e.g. a patient dying.
Medical TV Dramas tend to follow Todorovs theory
Full of Mis-En-Scène, props, stethoscope, scrubs, blood and gore
EXAMPLES OF MEDICAL
Call the Midwife
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.