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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 Representation of Youth and the Twenty-Something Serial

The Representation of Youth and the Twenty-Something Serial

(p.123) Chapter 7 The Representation of Youth and the Twenty-Something Serial
The Contemporary Television Series

Sarah Cardwell

Edinburgh University Press

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

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