Reality and Drama Programming on Television

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Television Drama is limited to the worlds of fiction. The definition of the word `drama', as cited by The Concise Oxford Dictionary of current English is: "3. an exciting or emotional event, set of circumstances, etc." and "4. dramatic quality." It is defined by as "1 b. A serious narrative work or program for television, radio, or the cinema" and "4. A situation or succession of events in real life having the dramatic progression or emotional effect characteristic of a play" and "5. The quality or condition of being dramatic." If one is to base their view according to these definitions of drama then everything is drama. Therefore fictitious and real events are both drama so long as it dramatic, i.e. arresting, powerful or emotive. In short, television drama is not limited to the worlds of fiction. Take, for example the most consumed form of fictitious drama on television: soaps. The soap opera bases its storylines and characters on actual events. They are, of course fictitious and most of the time far-fetched but it is not sci-fi and it contains plausible situations. There are often events in people's lives where they thought only such things happen on television: until it happens to them, that is. And of course it does, because soaps are based on real events. "In Life on Daytime television female characters were found to be slightly under-represented in the U.S. day time television compared with the numbers of women in the actual populations. However, compared with prime-time representation, where the female to male ratio was 1 to 3 at the time of the study, daytime television was more nearly accurate. In the case of black characters of both sexes on the soap operas, the representation w... ... middle of paper ... ... This type of `blockbuster documentary' demands a lot of dramatic content - even more so than usual. It is competing with Hollywood action films for viewers. While this type of film and drama will probably never become as popular as movies and fictional drama, it still has its place in the world. Documentaries are informative and this is the main reason they are made. The subject is chosen because it is of interest to the film maker and, presumably, the film maker feels that the subject is of interest to others as well. Often this interest will lie in emotions - a sympathy with the protagonist of the piece or an identification with an emotional topic. In this emotion is where the drama of documentary lies. So television drama is not limited to the world of fiction. It is most definitely evident in reality television, chat shows, news and documentary alike.
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