Warning! This unit contains mature content 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.

Subject details

At the completion of this subject 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)
    • Introduction: What is quality television?
    • Basic concepts
    • Analysis 1
    • Analysis 2
    • Revision
    • Complex television
    • The HBO aesthetic
    • Nordic Noir and its influences
    • Comedy
    • Serial melodram
    • Realism and its subversions
    • Revision
    • Revision
  • Study resources

    • Instructional methods

      • Discussion forum/Discussion Board
      • Online assignment submission
      • Standard Media
      • Web links
    • Online materials

      • Resources and Links
      • Online Assessment

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

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

Special requirements

No special requirements

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 subject 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.

  • Essay 1 (40%)
  • Essay 2 (50%)
  • Online Discussion (10%)

Textbook information is pending.

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