Are TV series the new soap opera? An overview

Daniela Cardini

Abstract


Until a few years ago, television seriality was a secondary topic in the academic research, above all in Italy, whereas today, tv series have turned into the main interest of a lively scholarship, mostly belonging to disciplines traditionally not interested in the study of serial forms.

Mutatis mutandis, today the central role of tv series is similar to the relevance of the soap opera in the critical debate in the Eighties and Nineties. From being neglected as an irrelevant part of television schedules, in a few years the soap opera turned into the symbol of a rich and polysemic textuality which quickly became the central topic of the newly-born fields of television studies and women studies.

Obviously, the parallel between the soap opera and the new tv series cannot be drawn upon narrative or aesthetic dimensions, but (in the maybe provocative perspective proposed by this paper) both formulas demonstrate a basic assumption of seriality: serial forms are  shaped by the mediascape they stem from.

Therefore, as it happened to the soap opera, today’s academical interest for tv series shows many great opportunities and some deep contradictions, including the old matter of cultural hegemony which seems to appear once again in the evaluative attitude of some critical approaches.


Keywords


TV series; television seriality; television; narration

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/2106

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-17859

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