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The Contemporary Television Series$
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Michael Hammond and Lucy Mazdon

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748619009

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748619009.001.0001

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The Lack of Influence of thirtysomething

The Lack of Influence of thirtysomething

(p.27) Chapter 2 The Lack of Influence of thirtysomething
The Contemporary Television Series

Jane Feuer

Edinburgh University Press

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

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