By Beth, Nathan, Ollie and
Genre: the category of a program which is defined by its
characteristics (e.g.- arguments – TV drama)
Sub-genre: What the genre incorporates (e.g.- within a hospital-
Medical TV drama)
Convention: A way in which something is usually done.
There are four main sub genres within the genre of TV drama:
• Crime TV Drama
• Medical TV Drama
• Costume TV Drama
• Soap Opera TV Drama
Narrative: the story line.
There are to main narrative theorists, Todorov and Propp’s.
• Todorov: Believes stories begin with an
equilibrium, (happiness, normality) then there is a disequilibrium (a
change in normality, a problem), then it ends with an equilibrium (the
problem is solved and the story goes back to happiness and
normality (or new normality)). In a more advanced order he believes
it goes like this:
2. Disruption of equilibrium (disequilibrium)
3. Recognition of disruption (disequilibrium)
4. Attempt to repair disruption (disequilibrium)
5. A reinstatement of equilibrium.
Propp’s: This theory is more of a character theory, believing there
is a label for all characters.
• The villain (struggles against the hero)
• The donor (prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical
object) The (magical) helper (helps the hero in the quest)
• The princess (person the hero marries, often sought for during
• The false hero (perceived as good character in beginning but
emerges as evil)
• The dispatcher (character who makes the lack known and sends
the hero off)
• The hero or victim/seeker hero, reacts to the donor, weds the
MEDICAL TV DRAMA
Conventions of a Medical TV Drama:
• set in a hospital or a doctors which is the point of
• The characters often witness horrific events,
• Similar to a Soap Opera but a Medical TV Drama is
believed to be more technical by using more medical
• 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 a doctor and nurse.
• Medical dramas can also be similar to crime dramas as
often doctors get police involved
• Medical TV Dramas always hold emotional or life
changing moments to a doctor or patients life e.g. a
• Medical TV Dramas tend to follow Todorovs
theory, someone is usually affected.
• Usually a lot of blood and gore
• Full of props you would find in a hospital
EXAMPLES OF MEDICAL TV DRAMAS
• Holby City
• Call The Midwife
COSTUME TV DRAMA
• Costume/period dramas are often adaptions
of a famous classic novel or play but can be
• They dramatize different points in history
and can be quite different from
• This type of drama is normally part of a
• 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.
• The costume drama follows Propp’s theory
usually as it is more like a soap and follows
a set of characters.
• Involves romance
EXAMPLES OF COSTUME TV DRAMAS
• Downton Abbey
• Arabian Nights
• Return To Cranford
• The Tudors
SOAP OPERA TV DRAMA
• 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 between
EXAMPLES OF SOAP OPERA TV DRAMAS
• Coronation Street
CRIME TV 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
• Crime TV Dramas follow Todorovs theory
as there is always an equilibrium
reinstated at the end, ready for a new
disequilibrium in the next episode.
• Many sub plots
EXAMPLES OF CRIME TV DRAMAS
• The Bill
• Midsomer Murders
• Inspector Morse
• Top Boy
• Miss Marple
• The Walking Dead