Wednesday, 28 October 2015

TV Drama and Representation

BETWEEN - 7 Key Areas and HOW they're represented...

'Between' is a series, original to Netflix that was released just this year. There is 1 season and just 6 episodes to the hit show so far, however so much has happened in such a little time frame. The show was created by Michael McGowan and the genre of the show is sci-fi / fantasy. The storyline itself is about survivors of a town that have to fend for themselves as the government have put quarantines on them because, after a mysterious disease kills every resident over the age of 22, things become very strange and frightening for the members of the town named as 'Pretty Lake'.

I follow the first episode with the 7 key areas of representation; analysing them in order from the start of the episode to the end, starting with AGE and finishing with REGIONAL IDENTITY.


  • As the show begins there is already a limit put onto the age range of the characters in the show. The fact that all the characters over the age of  22 are slowly being killed off by a deadly virus in the first couple of episodes, prove that the children are going to suffer as the authority and control in the town is going to be lost.

This is the first episode of 'Between'. In this episode we see ALOT of representation of the 7 key areas going on. AGE is represented in the first 2/3 minutes of the episode. A scene between Wiley and Adam prove that age is over exaggerated by stereotypes used.

1.18 minutes - Non - diegetic sound of music starts to play as it is marks the begging of the episode. The music is pretty upbeat and grabs attention for the audience. There is some diegetic sound at the start (the characters can hear this), and this is the school bell that rings. This already sets a time and a place of where the majority or at least a few of the characters have to work. This gives the audience information already, that there will be some school scenes. The realisation that school scenes will appear, already indicate to the audience some scene will be less in control than others. For example, a public meeting involving adults will have a more authoritative atmosphere than say, a classroom full of teenagers and youths.

We then get a close-up of Wiley's baby bump. The audience can make their mind up here, however the producers have taken on an intentional view and are creating a dominant ideology of a 'troubled teenager'. The creators of the show have represented a student at the school as a typical, stereotype who has failed her exams and has a lack of knowledge for safe sex. The fact that the baby bump is shown to us through a zoomed close up and then the camera moves slowly up Wiley's body, suggests she is being judged already for being pregnant. It is almost like when a pair of eyes looks you up or down; this was the same with our first impression  of Wiley. She was also eating a burger quite aggressively. This proves that her character is laid back and carefree. She doesn't mind she is eating a burger for breakfast and the camera keeps a shallow focus on her eating, because nothing else is important in the scene apart from Wiley and her movement. Adding to the mise en scene, Wiley is walking through a corridor in what looks like a school as students with bags on and lockers are surrounding her. The scene, whilst she is walking - is in deep focus to give the audience a view on what environment she is actually in.

1.23 minutes we are introduced to the second character (Adam). He approaches Wiley (the pregnant teenager, eating junk food) and says: 'Hey Wiley'. The camera movement then moves to a two shot in medium angle and the focus becomes shallow again, mainly for the fact that the only thing important is the conversation Adam and Wiley are about to have.


  • Gender is represented in this episode at 3.26 minutes when we see the character of Chuck racing down the road in a red racing car. The car comes in with an establishing shot and we automatically get the impression the person driving the car is dominant and in power as he is going at a high speed down a clear, country road. The red colour of the car shows power and strength and also a male dominant ideology of 'the best'. Then we get a close up of Chuck in the car, his facial expression stubborn and fierce. This goes to the stereotype of the male gaze and the fact men have to be the most powerful characters in a TV Drama. Comparing him to the previous character (Wiley), who was pregnant and had a lot on her mind - Chuck has no worries in the world and prefers to be free. We get his the most from the mise en scene, with the car and the facial expression and body language in the car from Chuck.


  • After Chuck has finished displaying the typical male ideology, he crashes his car into Pat and Ronnie's truck. Pat and Ronnie are another two characters in the show and they're actually brothers. We see the aftermath around 4 minutes after the crash scene takes place and Pat goes to confront the family of higher class.

At the start of the scene, (7:44 minutes), Pat looks confused and makes his way around the house as he follow the dialogue he hears faintly in the background, as it gets louder Pat becomes more aware of their wealth as the house seems to get bigger and the garden and patio/balcony is on front show.

We can asses the difference between Chuck's family and Pat, because of the mise en scene portrayed in the clip.

  1. Dirty clothing.
  2. Posture is hunched, 'farmer like'.
  3. Poor.
  4. Pathetic looking.
  5. Muscle around the arms (manual worker / poorly paid).
Chuck and his family:
  1. Shirt, tie and formal clothing.
  2. Clean.
  3. Smiles.
  4. Stubborn, upright body posture.
  5. Well groomed.
The clothing shows a clear difference on where people come and how much money they own to their name. Judging on their clothing, it is probably the case the family don't like him and are judging him back. The time when the stereotypical social division, the character Pat goes against it when he says: 'Your son is a liar'. Pat must have felt brave to say this, or stupid; because as soon as this happens, the character of Chuck's dad makes sure he knows his place and threatens him. The dominant, most powerful man stud in front of his family to protect them - whereas Pat has nothing to go against Chuck's dad which shows again, the amount that the rich have against the poor.

  •  Ethnicity is represented in this episode, when we see the character of Gord and his family for the first time.
8:55 minutes - A black man appears on scene. He is milking a cow in a stable and is crouching at a low level. The camera angle is tilting down on Gord and therefore metaphorically proving he is useless and not as good as the other characters who have all bee pictured at a mid shot level or long shot. The fact that Gord is doing one of the manual jobs in the programme, means he is obviously lower class than the others and this isn't the producers being racist, but stereotyping the black ethnicity of being lower class and not as rich as some other white families who have maybe got their money from inheritance. Like the character of Pat - Gord's mise en scene proves he is of lower class, because of the colour of his skin. He is dressed in dirty, labour working clothes and he is wearing big working men's boots. The way he is reacting with what is around him suggests he is hard working. When Gord's family come into the stable (his Granddad and Dad) at around 9:15, they ask Gord whether or not to take the cow to the vet and he replies with: 'vet is going to charge loads with the same stuff I'm managing to do'. The family are so low on money they must tribute what their money get's spent on - this dialogue that breaks the representation of Gord also is supported by the low camera angle still being implied to Gord and the scene.


  • Later on in the programme, there is a scene involving Chuck's family again, but this time AFTER their mother has died. The aftermath is shocking when talked about in front of Amanda (Chuck's disabled sister).
At 20:00 minutes a conversation between Chuck's family becomes very heated when Amanda realises what everyone is talking about. Lana (Chuck's younger sister) says to her Dad: 'people are dying, we can't just ignore that!' and Amanda reacts and says: 'are we going to die?' in a very innocent and scared manner. Suddenly, the camera angle moves to a close up of her and then focuses on everyone's guilty faces. Lana's Dad says: 'she doesn't need this - not right now', meaning she doesn't need to know the truth, because she is disabled and although she is an adult - she gets treated like a child. Chuck's body language then reflects the sympathy we should have as an audience fro Amanda, because she is confused and frightened as to what might happen to her and her family. Chuck places his arm around her and says that it will all be alright. Everyone else in the scene huddles around Amanda to make sure she is okay, because she is disabled. Before all this happened, Amanda was being spoken to down from her sister. Her sister was standing up and looking down at Amanda sitting on the sofa, showing her sister Lana has more power. This representation of a disabled person (Amanda), really reflects the stereotyped view of a disabled character in a TV drama and it backs up Paul Hunt's theory on how disabled people are viewed and treated in not only TV dramas, but also the media as a general whole.

Sexuality is represented here when Ronnie (the boy to the right), is placing his hand upon Wiley's shoulder. It is a two shot and Ronnie is towering over Ronnie a little. It represents the female gaze and the fact that there is only one thing on his mind, that the target audience probably understand all too well. The facial expression held on Wiley's face prove she isn't all for the idea and therefore clutching her hands as protection and moving away. We can tell just from this one screenshot that something will happen between them good or bad.

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