Media: MS4- Section A

  • Created by: Nathalieb
  • Created on: 28-05-18 15:56

Types of Crime Dramas

One-off Crime Dramas:

- Tends to focus on the kinds of crime that create the most anxiety e.g. serial killing, murder

- Disitinguished by which aspect of law enforcement they're focused on

Long-running Crime Dramas:

- Have a variety of sub-plots over time that help builds relationships between characters

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Key Elements

- Resolution to a mystery

- Question of morality

- Debates about innocence and guilt

- Versimilitude: Audiences can recognise representations of ordinary people in ordinary environemnts. Will have an affiliation with the character

- Power struggles betwen divisions of the police

- Teamwork and pleasure in success

- Father/son relationship between experienced detctive and sidekick

- Struggles with bureaucracy

- Sacrifices in private lives made by dedicated police

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Sub-genres

- Spy thrillers: Spooks

- Criminal centre stage: Minder, Hustle

- Detective and sidekick: Midsummer murders

- Women investigators: Prime suspect, Rosemary and Thyme

- Cold case: Waking the dead

- Specialist criminologists: Cracker, Silent witness

- Mixture of sub-genres: Jonathon Creek (Comedy)

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Gruesome vs Mystery Solving

- Corruption and betrayal are common in today's crime dramas

- There's an increasing polarisation between the ones that present shocking images, often in the form of strill photography or the reconstruction of the event, with those that focus on the solving of the mystery

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Specific Conventions

- Tend to be male orientated. Especially as they centre around stereotypically male roles such as police, doctors, judges etc.

- Main character tends to have a dark past and a major personality or physical defect and is usually white, male and middle aged. Usually has issues with their family or they're isolated. Usually goes against the law to uphold it. Usually has a sidekick who looks up to them and are more inexperienced however, has some strengths

- Theme of good vs evil. The ethics of a utilitarian (The outcome of any situation will be for the best possible outcome to society as a whole) approach by the police often conflcit with aspects of human rights issues. May reveal counter cultural attitudes within the police team, or tensions concerning methods of policing, where this hegemonic ideology can be seen to be strained. the police are seen to uphold hegemonic values of society where crime should be seen to be outside the law

- Fights between different levels of government

- Serious and dramatic non-diegetic music. Often sombre and brooding in dark moments and fast-paced during action scenes

- Their engaging narratives offer opportunities for debates about policing, criminality, gender, race and social and cultural values

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Specific Conventions

- Two setting types: Well-known city as crime rates tend to be higher here and so it makes it more realistic along with people recognsing these cities better. Or a rural area or countryside as they're associated with isolation and are very secluded so help is harder to get

- Separated into 4 different characters: Criminals, victim's family and friends, victim and crime solvers

- Propp's theory characters: The hero tends to be a police offcer, investigator, detective or someone looking for the victim. The villain tends to the murderer or some involved in causing the crime but others may be presented as the villain to throw off the audience. The princess is usually someone whose gone missing or needs saving from the villain. These characters are changed a lot to keep the show interesting

- Normally split into 4 sections: Equilibrium before the crime happens- Main protagonist has a personal back story which is normally traumatic or life-changing. There's a few hints throughout the series to who it can be- Created puzzles which the audience need to solve. Various suspects involved to keep the show interesting. Finishes with the crime being solved, criminal is caught and punished, and the personal story has been addressed

- Follow Todorov's narrative stages: WHAT ARE THEY?. Idea that if narratives ar esolved, they can have ideological significance

- Make use of iconography e.g. guns, police cars, uniforms

- Usually employ some stereotypical representations and formulas

- Five types of typical representation: Ordinary and usually innocent characters who become victims of crime, police officers + victims + villains tend to have stereotypical characterstics, villains seeking unlawful financial gain or revenge or power or sexual domination and investigators with fallible human characterstics

- Represent current societal responses to crime

- Encode hegemonic values and ideologies

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Specific Conventions

- Follow Todorov's narrative stages: WHAT ARE THEY?. Idea that if narratives ar esolved, they can have ideological significance

- Make use of iconography e.g. guns, police cars, uniforms

- Usually employ some stereotypical representations and formulas

- Five types of typical representation: Ordinary and usually innocent characters who become victims of crime, police officers + victims + villains tend to have stereotypical characterstics, villains seeking unlawful financial gain or revenge or power or sexual domination and investigators with fallible human characterstics

- Represent current societal responses to crime

- Encode hegemonic values and ideologies

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Episode Information

Sherlock:

- Made by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat in 2010

- The Empty Hearse- Directed by Jeremy Lovering in 2014

Breaking Bad:

- Made by Vince Gilligan

- Pilot- Directed by Vince Gilligan in 2008

The Night Manager:

- Episode 1.1- Directed by Susanne Bier in 2016

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Mise-En-Scene

- Location

- Costume

- Lighting

-CGI/Special effects

-Typography

- Props

- Colour

- Character movement and expression

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Laura Mulvey - Male Gaze Theory

-      Visual pleasure and narrative cinema written in 1973, published in 1975

-      Classic Hollywood cinema put the spectator in a masculine role with the women portrayed as objects of desire. Therefore, there were distinct modes of the male gaze. 

-     Criticised so said about the Female Gaze which doesn’t position the audience as either

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Levi Strauss - Binary Oppositions

- Came from Levi-Strauss’s study of the myths of tribal cultures.

- He examined how stories unconsciously reflect the values, beliefs and myths of a culture.

- These are usually expressed in the form of BINARY OPPOSITIONS

- His research has been adapted by media theorists to reveal underlying themes and symbolic oppositions in media texts

-Basically is the conflict between two qualities or terms.

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Roland Barthes - Narrative Codes

Argued narrative works with 5 different codes which activate the reader to make sense of it

- Texts may be open (unravelled in a lot of different ways) or closed (only one obvious thread to pull on)

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Action (Proairetic) Code

- Any narrative device where resolution is produced through action e.g. chase scene or shoot out

- Contains sequential elements of action in the text

- Proairetic elements add suspense to the text

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Enigma (Hermeneutic) Code

- Narrative device that teases the audience by presenting a puzzle or riddle to be solved

- Works to delay the story’s ending pleasurably

- Refers to mystery within a text. Clues are dropped, but no clear answers are given

- Enigmas within the narrative make the audience want to know more

- Unanswered enigmas tend to frustrate the audience

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Semantic Code

- Refers to parts within the text that suggests or refers to additional meanings

- Elements of the semantic code are called Semes

- The seme has a connotative function in the text. It has an extra layer of meaning in addition to its literal meaning

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Symbolic Code

- About symbolism within the text

- Exercises opposites to show contrast and create greater meaning, creating tension, drama and character development

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Referential Code

- Anything in the text which refers to an external body of knowledge such as scientific, historical and cultural knowledge

- A narrative device which the audience can recognise as being part of a culture (e.g. a ‘made man’ in a gangster film is part of the mafia culture)

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Camera Angles + Meanings

- Wide shot: Any people are very small. Often used as an establishing shot at the beginning to show the setting. Cal also make a person look lonely or vulnerable

- Long shot: A person can be seen from head to foot. You can usually see what they're wearing and get an idea of the sort of person they are but you can also see what's going on around them and what they're doing

- Mid shot: Shows them from waist to head. Now you can recognise them, but you may also be able to see what they're doing with their hands

- Medium close-up: Shows a person from their chest to head

- Close-up: Shows a person's head and shoulders. You can now see the expression on the face, which helps you to know what they're thinking and feeling

- Big close-up: Shows just the face. Use this when expressions and emotions are important

- Extreme close-up: Shows a person from above their eyebrows to just below their mouth, or even closer. Use it to show show strong emotion or make them look powerful or threatening

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Vladimir Propp - Character Theory

Russian Scholar who analysed the basic plot components of Russian folks tales to identify their narrative elements

All characters could be resolved into 8 character types:

1)   Hero: Leads the narrative, usually looking for something or trying to solve something. Sent on a quest

2)   Villain: Conflict with the hero and tries to stop them from succeeding

3)   Donor: Gives the hero something which helps them complete their quest

4)   Princess: A prize or reward for the hero. If the hero is a female, it can be a prince but it’s unusual

5)   Helper: Helps the hero (often known as a sidekick)

6)   The Princess’ Father: Authority figure who offers a reward to the hero for completing their quest

7)   False Hero: Takes credit for the hero’s actions or tries to marry the princess

8)   The dispatcher- Character who makes the villain’s evil known and sends the hero off

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Narrative Structure Theory

- Linear: Beginning - Middle - End

- Open: Audience are left to wonder what happpens and make sense of it themselves

- Closed: Audience are given a definite ending

- Circular: Narrative begins and ends with events (Often the climax). Audience are taken on a journey and end up back where they started (e.g. Pulp Fiction). Today's narratives have become increasingly complex and producers know audiences have a greater sense of media literacy when it comes to making meaning of texts and reading the signs. There are often numerous plot twists and surprises that keep the audience intrigued with carefully spun storylines

- Unrestricted narrative: What the audience are assumed to know (e.g. in a thriller there will be crime so the audience will be expecting it

- Restricted narrative: The information that's withheld from the narrative

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Todorov - Narrative Stages

- Equilibrium

- Disruption

- Recognition of disruption

- Attempt to solve the disruption

- New equilibrium

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