TV has changed drastically in the past decade. Yet we still use the same names for TV genres that we always did: soap, sitcom, drama, cop show, hospital show. Or else we just use derivatives from movies: Western, horror, noir, etc.
It’s time for a re-vamping! Here are some suggestions for new genres. I’d love to hear others. Some shows fall under more than one genre – they’re a mix!
The Sincerity Razz – Shows that mockingly portray a group of people treating something with far more seriousness than it deserves. Often includes one or two characters who know not to take it so seriously. These seem to be derived from the Christopher Guest improv movie comedies, such as A Mighty Wind, Best In Show, Waiting For Guffman. Examples: Parks and Recreation, both British and American versions of The Office, Extras.
The I, Claudius – Shows that involve a twisted family or families headed by a figure of moral ambiguity. Endless subplots and digressions. Examples: Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad. A subgenre or variant is the Kinder, Gentler Claudius: same exact thing but family headed by figure or figures of near moral perfection: Downton Abbey, Justified, Friday Night Lights.
The Absurdist Workplace – This genre is as old as the hills, but it seems notably the case that the absurdist stripe of humor is particularly paired with places of employment. Examples: Fawlty Towers, Are You Being Served?, Taxi, NewsRadio, both versions of The Office, Better Off Ted, 30 Rock.
The Confessional Comedy: Sitcoms that figure out some way to include direct camera addresses by characters. Sometimes, but not always, a mockumentary. I’m not entirely sure why this technique has failed to make an equally prominent entry into dramas. Examples: both versions of The Office, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Better Off Ted, Malcolm in the Middle.
The Revisionary Genre: Trying to add new respectability to a genre that has fallen from elite favor. Examples: The Walking Dead, Deadwood, Game of Thrones. I am absolutely dying for someone to do this with the rich-person-soap! Well, okay. I guess I got that with Downton Abbey. But present day rich person soap!
The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: cop shows that have the best of both worlds. They are both episodic dramas and have story arcs that last over the entire season and series. Examples: Luther, Justified, Sherlock.
Any amendments, additions, other examples, counterexamples,or other thoughts?