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Television: History and Future


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor: Eleni Liarou (subject to change)
  • Assessment: four essays of 1000-1500 words each (25% each)

Module description

What is television? And is Netflix TV? Are we witnessing the end of television or is television more widespread than ever before? These are some key questions this module explores by introducing a historically informed understanding of concepts, debates and methods for the study of the medium of television in the Anglophone world, and by encouraging a multi-methodological approach to the material viewed and read. You will explore, as appropriate, the implications of equalities issues such as class, 'race', gender, sexual orientation, age and disability in relation to the material viewed and read.

The module is divided into four key thematic sections: televisuality (televisual aesthetics and formats); entertainment and the influence of major TV genres on storytelling practices across media (soap opera, sitcom, music, natural history and the arts on TV); institutions, industry, media audiences; and social issues in TV drama (race/gender/sexuality).

We focus on certain case studies of specific genres and formats, such as:

  • 'Live' TV and the legacy of 'TV liveness' for social media and streaming platforms
  • Sitcom/Comedy
  • Soap opera
  • News and documentary
  • Reality television
  • Game TV shows
  • Pop music, natural history and arts TV shows
  • Social drama

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of the significance and distinctiveness of studying television
  • demonstrate knowledge of contemporary debates on media convergence and changing models of digital TV production, distribution and consumption
  • apply the concepts and debates covered to various case studies of British and US television, as well as some European TV examples.