FT2PTG-Popular Television Genres

Module Provider: Film, Theatre and TV
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:5
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites: FT1IFI Introduction to Film or FT1ITV Introduction to Television
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Simone Knox

Email: s.knox@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
The module will normally examine a selection of popular television genres or formats, and has as a central aim the construction of critical and contextual frameworks within which to consider the evolution of the genres/forms. Students will be expected to develop a critical understanding of characteristic conventions of the selected genres as they develop during the periods on which the module will focus; to become familiar with and to be able to apply modes of analysis which characterise recent theoretical and critical approaches to popular genres; and to be able to compare and contrast various ways in which generic conventions have been inflected.

Aims:
The module will normally examine a selection of popular television genres or formats, and has as a central aim the construction of critical and contextual frameworks within which to consider the evolution of the genres/forms. Students will be expected to develop a critical understanding of characteristic conventions of the selected genres as they develop during the periods on which the module will focus; to become familiar with and to be able to apply modes of analysis which characterise recent theoretical and critical approaches to popular genres; and to be able to compare and contrast various ways in which generic conventions have been inflected.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
•demonstrate an informed critical understanding of genre, format, authorship, industry and institution as analytical approaches to the selected genre or format;
•give evidence of a detailed sense of the historical placement of the genre or format as it developed, and be able to confidently relate its themes to a wider social/cultural/political context;
•demonstrate through detailed textual analysis the significance of particular and relatable sequences, as well as of specific aesthetic and narrative modes;
•demonstrate developed understanding of differences and similarities in the conventions of the selected genres, within both national and transnational contexts as appropriate

Additional outcomes:
The module plays a significant role in the continuing development of other skills and competencies which are central to the course. It is expected that the level of skills and competencies achieved in the following will be appropriate to the level of study: oral communication and argument in group situations; deployment of research using printed and electronic resources; critical analysis and coherent argument; undertaking self-directed, independent work; presentation of written work using IT; identifying and addressing problems in the analysis of television.

Outline content:
The module will normally examine a selection of popular television genres or formats. Examples could include: the sitcom, television science-fiction, costume drama/literary adaptation, reality TV, documentary, melodrama, crime drama, medical drama, telefantasy. The following example is purely indicative: The module will follow a tripartite structure, exploring lifestyle and makeover television, telefantasy programming and situation comedy as the major case studies. The lifestyle and makeover television section of the module will examine the pleasures and dangers of lifestyle television’s blend of instruction, advice, spectacle and ‘reality’ woven into a familiar and highly structured narrative. The key critical issues explored will include the aesthetics of lifestyle television, the makeover narrative, audience and address, lifestyle experts, ordinary people, and norms of age, gender, class, sexuality and race. The telefantasy section of the module will investigate science fiction, fantasy and/or horror programming, comparing and contrasting historical and contemporary texts. The main focus of investigation will rest on long-running British and US cult franchises, as well as shorter authored ‘serious’ dramatic forms, and the ways in which socio-cultural themes and concerns are worked through via the use of audio-visual forms. The situation comedy section of the module will consider this genre in terms of its aesthetic and narrative developments, its ideological significance and audience address, as well as changing production contexts. With a focus on contemporary British and US sitcoms, critical issues to be considered will include humour theory, style and experimentation, authorship, style and performance, and the politics of representation.

Global context:
The module focuses mainly on genres within the context of Anglophone (especially US and UK) production, and within this frame pays further attention to the global broadcasting landscape. Programming from non-Anglophone contexts may be brought in as points for comparison where relevant.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The normal teaching pattern will be one lecture and one seminar per week, plus two screenings, but may also include some longer interactive sessions. Lectures will be used to establish contexts and to introduce issues for discussion and debate. Seminars will concentrate mainly on the close analysis of extracts from television texts and the weekly reading.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 9
Seminars 13.5
Supervised time in studio/workshop 36
Guided independent study 141.5
       
Total hours by term 200.00
       
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:
The typical assessment consists of 2 essays of 3,000 words, one in the Autumn and one in the Spring Term. However, alternative assessment methods of equivalent weight (for example, presentation) may be used.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    N/A

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Resubmission of failed coursework.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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