The Representation of Youth and the Twenty-Something Serial

Sarah Cardwell

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:
The Representation of Youth and the Twenty-Something Serial

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This chapter posits a television genre or category that is not yet officially recognised: the twenty-something serial. This is achieved by exploring the connections and developments visible in three of its most notable examples: This Life (BBC2, 1996–1997), Queer as Folk (Ch4, 1999–2000) and Teachers (Ch4, 2001–2005). It argues that the twenty-something television serial is one that can be defined by its possessing a combination of textual features — thematic, stylistic and tonal — as well as by its intended and actual audience of ‘twenty-somethings’. Interestingly, these programmes seem to address not just a twentysomething audience but a particular generation of them: Generation X. Beginning in the mid-1990s with This Life, and moving through Queer as Folk to the recent Teachers, one can sense formal developments and related shifts in tone. Such changes suggest not just the growth of the genre but also a maturing audience — one whose average age mirrors that of the central characters.

Keywords: twenty-something serial; twenty-somethings; This Life; Teachers; Queer as Folk; Generation X; television genre; television serial

Chapter.  7208 words. 

Subjects: Television

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