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State of PlayContemporary 'High-end' TV Drama$
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Robin Nelson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780719073106

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719073106.001.0001

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Between global and national

Between global and national

24 and Spooks; Buried and Oz

(p.130) 6 Between global and national
State of Play

Robin Nelson

Manchester University Press

This chapter considers developments in television dramatic form and style in the context of ‘cultural discount’. Any simple binary difference between American and British television cultures is ultimately unsustainable, but the two cultures do betray different tendencies. Where, even in the new circumstances of TV3, ‘high-end’ American television can afford to be more experimental, a strong disposition to be primarily entertaining remains. British TV drama output, in contrast, retains traces of the legacy of British social realism even where, as in Spooks, it strives towards the production values of ‘American Quality TV’. British culture, though influenced by that of the USA, is perhaps still less upbeat and feelgood, more prepared to be reflectively self-critical, but, in TV3, there have been shifts in television culture on both sides of the Atlantic.

Keywords:   cultural discount, 24, Spooks; Buried, Oz, high-end American television, American Quality TV

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