Contemporary Television

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
14 February 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA P565 Film and Journalism,
BA P566 Film and Journalism (Including Foundation Year),
BA P567 Film and Journalism (including Placement Year),
BA P568 Film and Journalism(including Year Abroad)

Module description

This module aims to introduce students to a range of critical approaches for analysing contemporary television.

Looking at television from the US and the UK from the last 30 years, students will gain an understanding into the ways in which scholars have investigated and interrogated these texts through key theoretical and conceptual frameworks. The module will consider our understanding of television through key issues in production, distribution, consumption, reception and representation. The module is broken into four parts. Part one examines television as text, particularly considering the role of broadcasters, networks and platforms in creating this text. Part two examines key genres in television, such as the police procedural and the sitcom. Part three examines the ways in which ideologies, for example, gender, race, sexuality and class, are taken up in contemporary television. Finally, part four examines the future of television, considering key issues which are challenging television as a form, such as convergence culture and transmedia storytelling.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

1. To introduce students to key critical approaches to television from television studies.
2. To critically apply these approaches to key televisual texts from the US and the UK over the last 30 years.
3. To give students an understanding of the significant changes occurring in the medium of television, including production, consumption and representation.
4. To critically analyse the changing nature of television as a medium.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the modules, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the key issues relating to television and television studies.
2. Demonstrate an ability to interrogate issues pertaining to television through various theoretical and contextual frameworks.
3. Demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate the changing nature of television over the last 30 years.
4. Present academic material through a class presentation with appropriate visual aids.
5. Submit written material for an assessment in line with departmental standards for academic work.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Anticipated teaching delivery: Weekly 1-hour lecture and 1-hour seminar


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Participation mark    5% 
Coursework   Television Case Study (1,000 words)   24/11/2023  15% 
Coursework   Essay (1,500 words)   12/01/2024  35% 
Coursework   Essay Proposal (500 words)   22/03/2024  5% 
Coursework   Online Portfolio - REASSESSMENT WITHOUT ATTENDANCE  13/05/2024   
Coursework   Essay (2,000 words)   15/05/2024  40% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Sarah Smyth, email:
Dr Dan O'Brien (AU), Dr Sarah Smyth (SP)



External examiner

Dr Andrew Birtwistle
Canterbury Christ Church University
Reader in Film and Sound
Available via Moodle
Of 27 hours, 27 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

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