Television Fiction Series Targeted at Young Audience: Plots and Conflicts Portrayed in a Teen Series
Keywords:Young people, teen series, television fiction, characters, content analysis, audience, adolescents
This paper presents the main findings of a research project on teen series, which are television fiction series featuring teenagers and specifically targeted at a young audience. The analysis of the portrayal of young people in television fictional series specifically targeted at a young audience has a meaningful value both for television production and for audience reception. In fact, the potential consumers of the teen series –the teenagers– find themselves at a key moment in the construction of their identities. First, the article presents a review of the background literature on young people’s portrayal in television fiction series. Secondly, it discusses the concept of teen series and their relationship with youth consumption. Finally, the article presents a case study that consisted of a content analysis of the North American teen drama Dawson’s Creek. Content analysis was conducted on a representative sample of three seasons of the show, in order to analyse two groups of variables: the variables of the characters’ personalities and those of plot and story characteristics. The article discusses the results of the second group of variables, focusing on the main characteristics of the plots and on the characters’ roles in the development and resolution of the conflicts. Acceptance of one’s personal identity, love and friendship have been identified as the most highly recurring themes. In addition, the importance of social relationships among the characters in the development of plots and conflicts has been highlighted..