REMEDIATE REVOLUTION IN AUDIOVISUAL MEDIA Characteristics and Production Methods of "Quality TV Series"

Twelve years ago, the pay-TV broadcaster HBO heralded a new era in audio-visual entertainment with the broadcast of its acclaimed and groundbreaking series ‘OZ’. Subsequently, innovative series such as ‘The Sopranos’, ‘West Wing’, ‘Deadwood’, ‘The Wire’, ‘In Treatment’ and ‘Mad Men’ also went on to break the traditional boundaries between cinema and television. All of these shows exhibit a number of characteristics which had only been used sporadically before:

Creators of programs have control over all aspects of the script and its production. Their style moulds an entire 50, 60 or even 70-hour series. Nonetheless, they work with whole teams of writers. The co-operation between the creator and the writer of a program as well as the relationship between the producers and the creative team now adhere to different sets of rules than have been traditionally applied. This new style of television production grants everyone involved more leeway than was the case during the ‘network era’.

A new kind of quality TV has been established, which is tantamount to an audio-visual revolution. Digitalization creates new viewing habits. DVD and the Internet are superseding cinema and traditional television. All this can be seen as part of an ongoing “remedialization” in the area of audio-visual products.

Over the course of three days, the symposium will focus on these and other aspects of Quality TV, a subject matter which has yet to be thoroughly explored, especially in Germany. Film theorists and academics from Germany, Austria and the U.S. will address the following related themes: authorship and new forms of co-operation in TV series productions, concurrence of long, medium and short plotlines, the importance of language and the creation of languages, different ways of reflecting on politics, and references to books and literature in TV series.
Furthermore, there will be opportunity to find out from creators, writers, producers and actors of such acclaimed shows as ‘Deadwood’, ‘The Wire’ and ‘Oz’ about their methods, work processes and collaborations whilst creating, conceptualizing and producing their programs.