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New Perspectives on Irish TV Series

Identity and Nostalgia on the Small Screen


Flore Coulouma

Within the growing field of television studies, little work has yet been done on the Irish context. This volume aims to fill this gap by offering new and compelling studies of contemporary Irish TV series. Fictional TV series, which constitute an autonomous genre within the broader cultural phenomenon of TV broadcasting, are explored here as paradigmatic representations of Irish popular culture. This book investigates the vast number of series produced in Ireland over the past two decades, focusing on their cultural impact at a time when American and British dominance have led many critics and viewers to underestimate the significance of Irish programming. The essays collected here reveal a distinctly Irish culture of TV fiction series, in both the Irish and English languages, and examine some of its finest examples, from Father Ted to Love/Hate and Sin Scéal Eile.
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In the steadily growing field of television series studies worldwide, little solid research has been conducted specifically on series set in Ireland or created by Irish writers, producers and directors for Irish audiences. Most English-language television series from Ireland are broadcast to Irish and British audiences, but also, in some instances, to much broader audiences (Neil Jordan’s The Borgias is a good example of this latter phenomenon). On the other hand, Irish-language television series production, despite regularly garnering critical acclaim for its creativity and originality, is only accessible to a limited audience, although most pre-recorded Irish-language programmes carry onscreen subtitles. This significant corpus of work has yet to be fully addressed in academic circles outside Ireland. While the different genres of Irish television series meet the international canon of conventional categories (sitcoms, social-commentary soap operas, police dramas, historical narratives, etc.), they do so against a distinctive and unique background. The goal of this book is to open the field of television series studies to the Irish corpus.

This book is the result of a 2014 conference on these questions that was held at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre, which brought together scholars from Ireland, the UK and France, and from different perspectives and disciplines: history, cultural studies, media studies and literature. It was the first event of its kind in France, where television series studies are mostly focused on American productions of the past thirty years. It was timely that Irish studies should engage seriously with...

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