Locations in television drama series: Theoretical and methodological approaches

Research output: Research - peer-reviewPaper

I take the popular Scandinavian crime series and the Danish television drama series as the starting point, and reflect analytical, theoretical and methodological approaches to location, setting and landscape in television productions. For example ‘Nordic noir’ has become a trademark for Scandinavian television series and include both stylistic and narrative characteristics, in which the regions’ landscape, climate, nature and provincial culture play a significant role in the series’ plot and cinematic style beside the region’s gender and welfare specific cultures (Jensen & Waade, 2013). In my paper I will emphasize three different but interrelated perspectives: a) How can we theoretically understand locations in drama series, both as aesthetic, economic and praxis elements? b) How can we study the production of locations empirically? And finally c) How can we analyse the significance of locations in relation to e.g. visual, narrative and dramaturgical concepts? I will suggest ‘location studies’ as a new approach to the analyses of television series, both factual and fictional. Location studies represent an interdisciplinary perspective, including media, aesthetics and geography, and reflect the growing academic and business interests, respectively, on places in a global media and consumption culture (Falkheimer & Jansson, 2006). Based on empirical location studies of three crime series, Wallander (Yellow Bird, 2008-2012), The Bridge (SVT1 & DR1, 2011-2013) and Dicte (Misofilm/TV2, 2013-2014), respectively, I will illustrate how location in television production has been undergoing a transformation from ‘location to destination’ - from insignificant ‘non-places’ to significant places with certain production values. E.g. the regions’ landscapes and climate are emphasized in the extra bonus material (Gray, 2010; Waade, 2013), and film tours and film apps become part of the television series’ trans-media franchise (Reijnders, 2011; Thompson, 2007). Location has so far been a practical term describing the place where the series is shot. Ellis (1992) used to see location in television series – in contrast to film - as subordinate to the talking heads. Caldwell is arguing against Ellis in his Televisuality (1995), and during the last decades, the relation between television production and places has been reflected in elaborated ways, e.g. Couldry & McCarthy’s MediaSpace (2004), Falkheimer & Jansson (2006) on media geography, the difference between setting and landscape in the work of Martin Lefebvre (2006, see also Waade, 2011), and more recently Roberts (2012) idea on a specific ‘cinematic geography’ and how film and television series are representing, branding and (re)producing means of places.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year14 Nov 2014
StatePublished - 14 Nov 2014
EventECREA - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 12 Nov 201415 Nov 2014

Conference

ConferenceECREA
CountryPortugal
CityLisbon
Period12/11/201415/11/2014

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