Television soap opera and drama series in the 1980s

2473 Words10 Pages
In the 1980s, American Television underwent many changes. The rise of the cable and satellite television offered the audience a huge access to various channels and therefore a wide range of different television programmes. This expansion of channel capacity caused increasingly competition between the networks. The cable channels began to 'develop specialist niches', (Graham, 2007, p.111) such as comedy-, sport- or music-channels. But as they had relatively small financial budgets at their beginnings, it were the major networks ABS, NBC and CBS that had the advantage to produce more high quality shows. Serials like Dallas or Dynasty, which were aired on CBS and ABC, differed in many ways from average daily soap operas broadcast up to then. Having another standard and a broader viewership, these two serials were one of the first ones, which were aired not at daytime but at primetime. Thus, the genre of serials were modified. Soap operas now subdivided into two classes: the daytime and the primetime soaps. That means that both differed from each others by means of certain features, which I will put on view during my essay. However, not only the genre of the soap opera but also the genre of drama series underwent revolutionary changes in this remarkable era of television. The criteria of a certain genre seemed not to be strongly determined any more. Many producers innovated different kinds of style or narrative forms in their shows to attract the attention of the audience and to raise therefore the viewing figures. Hill Street Blues as well as Cagney and Lacey were considered as the pioneers of this genre-breaking remodelling in the 1980s. The purpose of my essay will be to show how the soap opera and the drama series move away from their traditional definition in the 1980s and which new attributes they both developed. I will particularly focus on Dallas as model
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