Australian International Television: History, Adaptation and Genre in Prestige Television Drama
Since the early 2000s television production, programming and transmission has been dramatically altered by an increase in quality, high-end content and the emergence of new technologies for distribution and exhibition. The response from audiences has been unparalleled levels of participation, not only as viewers but through online fan forums, recapping culture and the rise in prominence of the television critic. In Australia, globalising practices have seen new players enter the domestic market, reducing the reliance on traditional broadcast networks and bringing additional opportunities and audiences for content creators. To compete in this new global market, practitioners need to develop high-impact original programming with mass audience appeal. This thesis explores what local television writers and producers can learn from internationally produced programs, in order to determine development strategies that will increase the quality and complexity of local productions. The focus will be on one-hour prestige dramas that adapt an historical context into their story world. The primary case studies will be two critically acclaimed dramas produced in the United States: AMC’s Mad Men (2007-2015) and HBO’s Deadwood (2004-2006). It will contrast local and international productions as a way to rethink how Australian television dramas could approach “doing history”.