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Real to ReelA New Approach to Understanding Realism in Film and TV Fiction$
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Martin Sohn-Rethel

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780993071768

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780993071768.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Realism in TV Drama

Realism in TV Drama

(p.23) 1: Realism in TV Drama
Real to Reel

Martin Sohn-Rethel

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses realism in TV drama. The narrative realism code engaged by the continuing serial narrative of soap operas and resulting in a flow akin to the rhythm of actual life is strongly contrasted by its opposite, narrative disruption. By necessity, the industrial nature of the soap opera production line that has to churn out three, four, or five episodes a week imposes severe constraints on realism. No single storyline can continue its natural lifespan without disappearing, if only temporarily, to make way for others. In any case, this is how soap institutions target different audience segments and guarantee variety. The chapter then looks at The Street (BBC, 2006–9) and Mad Men (AMC, 2007–15).

Keywords:   realism, TV drama, narrative realism, serial narrative, soap operas, narrative disruption, soap opera production, audience segments, The Street, Mad Men

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