In September 2006, the traditional film du dimanche soir was deposed on the first two hertziennes French channels by three TV series. These three TV series are American ones: CSI (Les Experts), Without a Trace (FBI, portés disparus) and ER (Emergency Room, Urgences). After having being seen as a stop gap by main French channels, the TV series are now broadcasted at an hour of grande écoute. It is economic realities that have convinced channels to schedule TV series. American TV series strongly dominate this French TV series market. This domination can be seen not only in France but also in TV channels from all over the world; American TV series have such a thing as monopoly in the production of TV series. My work is going to present the American TV series as an entertainment product. TV series are an entertainment product because they give pleasure to their audience. But TV series are also part of the entertainment industry in the sense that TV series are not only produced to relax the audience but also to make a business. TV series as an entertainment industry or business involves many commercial issues such as the cost of advertising during a successful TV series.
[...] All the main productions are linked with the big Hollywood studios such as Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox or Sony pictures. If these traditional networks have experienced a Golden Age during the first thirty years of TV, things have changed with the starting of independent channels. Regarding independent channels, that is to say, cable networks, the best example seems to be HBO. This channel is said to produce the “Rolls- Royce” of TV series. HBO has a strong brand image linked with the fact that it has a very specific strategy. [...]
[...] After these several notes about the environment in which American TV series are being produced, a presentation of the technical details is very useful to understand the way an American TV series is made. Each year, at the very beginning of the year, networks invest millions of dollars for the “development” of a series. This process has a very precise calendar. Production companies made scenario suggestions to the networks: this is the first step. Then, a is realized. A pitch is a very short synopsis. [...]
[...] As a consequence the American TV series are anchored to reality. Elements from daily life have an entire role to play in a TV series. A good series is a one that uses daily elements and that refers to social, political and personal reality. The heart of a fiction is of course the story or the plot. Characters are also fundamental elements. In an American TV series a character, often has a very specific personality. A character is an icon of a generation or of a precise group of people. [...]
[...] In fact, as the Cinema is said to be in crisis in terms of creativity, TV series seem to be a new source for Cinema productions. As a consequence, many TV series have been adapted to the Cinema. Most of the time these adaptations are failures. It is for examples, the case of the following TV series which the adaptations were disappointing: - Impossible Mission - Ma sorcière Bien aimée - Wild, Wild West - Arsène Lupin All these series have been translated to Cinema and they have been disasters! [...]
[...] With this first part, one has a general overview of the way an American TV series is produced. Then, a study of the American TV series content has to be developed. Contents of American TV series In the two first books of his trilogy related to American TV series, Martin Winckler makes a relevant typology of the American TV series. American TV series are a popular art. To understand why American people are fond of their TV series one has to take into account many cultural differences. [...]
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