New Television and Cultural Change - 2018

To enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into a course from the provider. Read before you start
This unit contains mature content including Adult Themes, Drug use, Nudity, Sex / Sexual References and Violence and may not be suitable for some students.
Any student under the age of 16 who would like to enrol in this unit must first complete a Parental Consent Form.

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Postgraduate
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: Sess 1 , Sess 3
  • Availability for 2018: Sess 1 , Sess 3
  • Assessment: Essay 1 (40%) , Essay 2 (50%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2018 Fees
Domestic 2,437.00
International 2,687.00

New Television and Cultural Change will analyze and research the emergence of quality television, the watershed development of the last fifteen years in Screen Media. Quality television is characterised by a number of key indicators, including narrative and character complexity, cinematic production values, challenging themes, resonant images, rich mise-en-scene, and refined textual practices, all of which extend the scope of television beyond standardised mass media formats and into the more specific market space of cable television. Quality television occupies this emerging market space, providing viewers with an experience at times closer to film, yet distinctly televisual at the same time. This unit will explore the industrial and technological mechanisms that have led to the growth of quality television, and analyze the deployment of refined textual practices that make these shows so addictive.

Programs to be examined include the American drama series Mad Men and Breaking Bad, and European high quality drama such as The Killing and The Bridge. Students will have an opportunity to research these programs as well as a range of other drama, comedy and docu-drama programs for the UK, America, Australia and other countries.

At the completion of this unit you will be able to:

  1. Conduct analysis of the technical codes, textual practices and aesthetic styles of quality television programs.
  2. Undertake research into the modes of production of quality television programs, within industrial, economic and technologically defined media contexts.
  3. Undertake critical reflection on the storytelling of quality television programs in terms of how they produce meaning in cultural, social and historical contexts.
  4. Write an analytical report that includes a comprehensive descriptive diagram of the technical codes of a television program.
  5. Write a research essay on a specific television program.

Specific skills and knowledge gained are as follows:

  1. Ability to identify the technical, textual and aesthetic codes of quality television as a distinct televisual style
  2. Ability to analyse television programs as texts produced by television industry practices
  3. Skills in undertaking research into the mode of production of quality television
  4. Ability to critically examine television programs in their capacity to represent the contemporary world
  5. Broader knowledge of approaches to television and media studies informed by recent theories of television aesthetics
  6. Read, comprehend and write within an appropriately accredited format (the analytical report, the research essay)
  • Essay 1 (40%)
  • Essay 2 (50%)
  • Online Discussion (10%)

Mandatory conditional prerequisites

You must either have successfully completed the following unit(s) before starting this unit, or currently be enrolled in the following unit(s) in a prior study period; or enrol in the following unit(s) to study prior to this unit:

Please note that your enrolment in this unit is conditional on successful completion of these prerequisite unit(s). If you study the prerequisite unit(s) in the study period immediately prior to studying this unit, your result for the prerequisite unit(s) will not be finalised prior to the close of enrolment. In this situation, should you not complete your prerequisite unit(s) successfully you should not continue with your enrolment in this unit. If you are currently enrolled in the prerequisite unit(s) and believe you may not complete these all successfully, it is your responsibility to reschedule your study of this unit to give you time to re-attempt the prerequisite unit(s).

If you have completed equivalent study at another university, please contact a Student Advisor for advice.

In order to enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into one of the following courses:

Please visit the course details page and read the Requirements tab for more information about eligibility.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Introduction: What is quality television?
2Basic concepts
3Analysis 1
4Analysis 2
6Complex television
7The HBO aesthetic
8Nordic Noir and its influences
10Serial melodram
11Realism and its subversions

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Online Assessment
  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

Enquire online

Need to ask a question that's best put down in words?
Make an online enquiry.

Enquire now

Ready to enrol?

Start studying this unit now.


Got a question?

Get an answer from one of our friendly Student Advisors.