• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Realism and Television

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Question : Discuss realism by considering a television program that has realistic qualities. In your discussion specifically refer to Chapter 14 of the textbook, 'Documentary and "reality TV"', by Branston and Stafford (2006). Realism plays an important role in the success of a good television program. The ability to relate and appeal to the senses of the target audience is an essential characteristic of any media form. This essay explores how realism is perceived in television today with reference to both reality and documentary genres of television. The remainder of the essay will present a case study of a television program which demonstrates realistic qualities. What is Realism? It has been argued that we are living in a 'postdocumentary' culture, a time of talk shows, reality t.v, game shows and the persuasion of celebrity (Branston, Stafford 2006: 455). When we refer to 'realism' within the context of television it conjures up a multitude of meanings. For example, realism may indicate that the program is 'realistic' because of the subject matter, like that of a documentary. Moreover, a television program could be considered 'realistic' because it features unscripted ordinary people in contrived situations, like Big Brother. One thing is certain, realism, or the illusion of realism, is very prevalent in television today. Reality tv? Distorted Realism... Flick on the television during peak times on a week night and it's pretty difficult to avoid reality television. ...read more.

Middle

The series profiles individuals whose dependency on drugs, alcohol or other compulsive behavior has brought them to an all-time low and estranged them from their family and loved ones. The addicts featured in the series believe they have signed up to participate in a documentary on 'addiction'. Each episode begins with a brief introduction to the subject, and then he or she is followed around by a camera crew. The program ends with a surprise intervention that is staged in which they are confronted with a life-altering choice: rehabilitation or risk losing all contact with the loved ones who instigated the intervention. Often, other tactics are used to persuade the addicted person into treatment, which vary depending on the situation. Interviews with the subject, as well as family members or friends who have agreed to participate, are interspersed throughout. The Intervention falls under the reality tv genre of television and can be described as an 'information programme', as it uses true stories to educate the audience on the subject matter (Branston, Stafford 2006:474). The show has more the feel of a documentary than a reality TV program, although predominately factual there a certain aspects of the program that are clearly constructed. The producers and creators of the program make the rules, they create the setting, they film it according to specific guidelines as to what they think are going to provide good television. ...read more.

Conclusion

The program is filmed in the home of the individual and the intervention, usually takes place at a nearby hotel. The fact that the program could be filmed anywhere is a factor in producing a sense of realism. 5) Not Always a Happy Ending The 'Intervention' program does not always have a happy ending, which contributes in creating a sense of honesty for the audience. In a recent episode of 'Intervention', the featured addict did agree to go to a rehabilitation facility but was kicked out not long after for breaking the rules. Unfortunately he went back to living on the streets and still struggling with his drug addiction and still estranged from his family (Intervention, aired 20/4/2007, 10pm,A&E channel). This program reiterates that sometimes real life is not pretty, and some situations cannot be resolved in a 60 minute episode. Although the 'Intervention' program is a cutting edge and controversial, the fact of the matter is, addiction is a very real issue in today's society. According to the National Drug Strategy, the tangible social costs of drug use in Australia were estimated to be $18.3 billion from in 1998-99. With these statistics like this, addiction should be a matter certainly worthy of attention. (http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/phe/sdua04/sdua04.pdf) In conclusion, it's apparent that there are still some programs on television that are able to give a 'realistic' insight into certain subject matters. After all, the television is our interaction with the outside world, media should continue to focus attention on these social problems to generate awareness and education with this type of programming. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Television section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Television essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Types of documentary

    3 star(s)

    and accustom patients to a central decision-maker authorized to determine what procedures they are and are not allowed to get. Unless every one of these changes comes together, Moore's new system would end up costing an enormous amount of money.'

  2. What is the significance of 'flow' for an understanding of television?.

    Without the ordering of programme material with the use of flow, the viewer would be presented with a schedule of material, unrelated and possibly chaotic. By saying this, I am pointing out that programmes, commercials and trailers are ordered specifically with the use of 'flow' so that they can allow

  1. Sitcom Feature Article

    But in the end they always come together to solve their problem. One episode sees Niles getting married to Daphne away from the family, but they think they should have another ceremony for the family to watch, causing problems. Martin (Niles and Frasier's Dad)

  2. sit-som treatment

    Another rivalling sitcom option would be:- * Two and a half men What makes two and a half men funny is that it is based on a guy called Charlie ( who is played by Charlie sheen a sex addicted)in which is role is a bachelor man who was obsessed

  1. The emergence of television as a mass medium of communication was the key turning ...

    People also started to take more holidays. During the 1960's and 1970's airline industries expanded and started to offer cheap package holidays abroad. The number of people who travelled abroad quadrupled and Spain appeared to be the most popular destination, with approximately half of all British holidaymakers staying there in 1970.

  2. The key developments that have occurred in television since 1970.

    The start of 'BBC News 24' in November 1997 for example, Shortly followed by the introduction of 'BBC Choice' and 'BBC Parliament' in September 1998. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/heritage/story/1970s.shtml), This development drove businesspersons to target channels towards a specific audience, and enabled the rise of subscription-based television channels (Pay-per-view), such as 'Sky'.

  1. In discussing two radio and two television genres with reference to two South African ...

    Animals, which are filmed in the "50/50" program, for example are filmed in their natural environments, rather than in zoos, in order to give the viewer the most realistic experience. As they are based on real occurrences, documentaries, unlike entertainment programmes such as sitcoms, do not focus as much on a specific plot.

  2. In this essay I will discuss three events: 9/11, the riots in Manchester 2011, ...

    One type of media the event was represented was through a newspaper article. In the article it represented the reporter?s point of view on the event. The reporter describes what happened in the event and the impact on the audience.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work