Chapter

The Lack of Influence of <i>thirtysomething</i>

Jane Feuer

in The Contemporary Television Series

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780748619009
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671168 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748619009.003.0003
The Lack of Influence of thirtysomething

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The term ‘prime-time serial drama’ is no longer specific enough to account for the range of programmes that have populated the television screens in the United States over the years since thirtysomething went off the air in 1991. ‘Prime-time serial drama’ is the most authored form of American television and each authorial franchise has put its particular stamp on the stream of shows produced. Not only do the television shows take on individual voices, but also the term itself is now too general to have much meaning. Nearly everything on U.S. prime-time television, from Will and Grace to Survivor, is now ‘serialised’ in the sense of having at least some continuing story arcs. The distinction between ‘serialised’ and ‘series’ television that once defined the difference between daytime and prime-time television formats no longer really exists. This chapter makes a distinction between two strands active in prime-time serial television in the 1980s, 1990s and beyond: ‘prime-time melodrama’ and ‘quality drama’.

Keywords: thirtysomething; television shows; United States; quality drama; prime-time melodrama; series television; prime-time serial drama; prime-time television

Chapter.  4672 words. 

Subjects: Television

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