The ABCs of TV
Lost in translation with some of the terms being used with television? Learn the lingo and never get confused again…
If you’ve ever come across a term that’s left you scratching your head in confusion, don’t worry – you’re not alone! The tvplus team often need to explain them to each other too, like how we differentiate between lifestyle and reality shows. We’ve had a couple of enquiries from readers and decided to explain all the language we use in our articles and try clear things up a bit…
Action: everything from crime-solving shows with explosions (like MacGyver, 2016- current) to procedural cop series like Chicago PD (2014- current) and The Blacklist (2013- cirreent) fall in here.
Binge-viewing: ever watched three or more episodes of a specific show in one sitting? Congratulations – you’ve binge-watched! And thanks to videoon-demand (see below), it’s become the most popular way to watch entire seasons of your favourite shows.
Comedy: 30-minute sitcoms (like Big Bang Theory, 2007- current, and American Housewife, 2016- current; see p55) as well as animations like The Simpsons (1989- current) are classed as comedy.
Drama: got a serious storyline running across a season? It’s drama, like This Is Us (2016- current, see p7, Vikings (2013current, see p65), House Of Cards (2013current; see p31) and other thrillers.
Dramedy: tvplus doesn’t group shows in this genre as it’s too niché, but we do refer to series like This Is Us and Orange Is The New Black (2013- current) as dramedies as they have comedy elements mixed into the dramatic plots.
Fantasy: this grouping includes shows set in a make-believe ancient worlds, like Game Of Thrones (2011- current), where catapults and plumbing are “technologically advanced”.
Focus page: these are found between the soapies and TV guides and can be single pages or a two-page spread.
Lifestyle: while it’s similar to reality, the lifestyle section includes kitchen shows (Cooking With Siba, 2015- current), talkshows, series about specific topics like cars (Top Gear, 2002- current) and other doccie-style shows.
Pay-per-view: this a term used only for WWE (see p39). Viewers in the US have to specially order the event (like WrestleMania or SummerSlam) over the phone or online and pay with their credit card before they can watch it. Luckily in SA, e.tv’s rights agreement lets WWE fans watch for free.
Reality: anything with a competition element (like Survivor, 2000- current) falls under the reality genre, as well as series that follow people around in their day-to- day lives, like Keeping Up With The Kardashians (2007- current).
Sci-fi: if it’s fictional with a twist of technology (like the upcoming Star Trek Discovery) or set in the modern world (like American Gods, 2017- current), it falls into the science fiction grouping.
Sidebar: read our TV guides (p42- 65) and wonder what the columns on the far right are? Those are sidebars and they let us run soap stories that there wasn’t place for upfront, give readers a preview of a show starting that doesn’t feature on a focus page or even just an interesting read about a programme or actor.
Video-on-demand: online streaming services (like Showmax, see p9) make entire seasons of shows and movies available at once, allowing viewers to binge-watch (see above) or browse to specific episodes immediately.
WHO’S WHO ON THE TV SET
Director: they’re on set and direct the actors and crew to film a certain way.
Executive producer: a more executive title that’s handed to show creators, lead actors who helped bring in finance or anyone else who played a part in the show being made.
Producer: they oversee the production of a show or season, including casting, finance, editing and overall direction.
Publicist: the person who represents the show, sends out press releases and puts the media/public in contact with the show’s production team/actors.
Showrunner: usually the headwriter or lead executive producer.
• Still confused about words we use regularly or the different jobs? Drop us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Daenerys Targaryen and her Game Of Thrones dragons could be sci-fi… but we class them as fantasy.