There has been a proliferation of television series/serials such as ER, Six Feet Under, Twenty Four and The X Files, shows which, whilst distinctive in many ways, share the label of quality which sets them apart. A significant number of these shows originate in the United States and are then sold and screened in countries across the globe. Others, however, are conceived and produced in the United Kingdom. It is striking that these series/serials and a whole host of others should have emerged during the last ten years or so, a period throughout which many commentators have identified the gradual dumbing down of television. Critics in Britain and the United States have decried the battle for ratings, the proliferation of reality television and the demise of serious television journalism and documentary. It is in this very context that these much-praised series/serials have emerged. Television drama played and continues to play a vital role in establishing television as a medium and an aesthetic form in its own right and in attracting audiences to the ever increasing programmes on offer.
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