Nicola:'Do you watch a lot of television?'
Jason:'I used to watch a lot of television, but now I don't watch a lot. I work a lot now, so I don't have a lot of time to watch it. Also, for me there are too many commercials on TV than there used to be. The advertisements on television when companies try to sell you their products.'
Nicola:'I don't like commercials either, but what type of shows/programs do you like to watch? Do you prefer factual shows/programmes like the news, chat shows, documentaries, or fictional shows/programmes like films, dramas, comedies etc...'
Jason:'I like both. I watch the news and I watch fictional shows as well.'
Nicola:'What type of fictional shows/programs do you prefer to watch, dramas or comedies?'
Jason:'I know that comedies are a type of TV shows that make people laugh, but what does dramas mean?'
Nicola:'Dramas are fictional television shows whose stories are about serious subjects/issues like love, conflict, emotions etc... Dramas are basically any type of fictional shows/programs that aren't written/created to make people laugh (like comedies).'
Jason:'So programmes like House or Downton Abbey are dramas and programmes like the Simpsons or Friends are comedies?'
Jason:'But I've heard people call House a medical drama and Downton Abbey a period drama. What's the difference?'
Nicola:'Medical dramas and period dramas are two different types or genres of dramas. Television shows are normally described by what type of story they are. For example, TV shows which are fictional and their main/principal story is about hospitals or medicine are called 'medical dramas' and a 'period drama' is where the story of the TV show is in the distant past. This is what genres are. Genres are used to help people find and watch TV shows/programmes which they are interested in.'
Jason:'I like medical dramas, like Grey's Anatomy and House. I remember one episode of House where they travel to England and have to save a woman with the plague.'
Nicola:'So, what is your favourite TV series? Is it House?'
Jason:'What's the difference between a TV series and a TV show?'
Nicola:'A TV series is a type of TV show/programme which has different episodes/parts where each of the episodes continues with the same or similar story as the episode before it.'
Jason:'So, is the news a TV series?'
Nicola:'No, it's a type of TV show/program, but it's not a TV series. Normally, a TV series only has between 6 to 25 episodes/parts in a year and one episode is shown/broadcast once a week. A television series can be either fictional or factual. Some TV series only last for one year, while others can continue and make new episodes for many years. If a TV series lasts for many years, all the episodes it shows in a year is called a season. For example, House is a TV series that has 7 seasons. And each season has about 20 episodes.
The last episode in a fictional TV season is normally called the season finale. Some TV series also have extra episodes which are shown at special times of the year or the episode is very different to other normal episodes. These extra episodes are called specials. These specials are sometimes made to be shown at Christmas or Halloween (e.g. the Simpsons' Halloween specials) and sometimes when they do something special in the episode (like doing a tour, going on holiday, e.g. Top Gear specials).'
Jason:'So, what is a mini-series then?'
Nicola:'A mini-series is a type of series which only lasts for one season, no more. Normally, a mini-series only has between 3 to 10 episodes and in the final episode, the story ends. Band of Brothers and Planet Earth are both examples of mini-series.'
Jason:'I watched Band of Brothers this year, it was broadcast on channel 5. I like channel 5, but for me, my favourite channel or station is BBC1. It broadcasts/shows some of my favourite television shows.'
Nicola:'This year channel 5 showed a rerun of Band of Brothers, it was the second time they had broadcast the mini-series. They broadcast the mini-series last year as well.'