Russian Television Today: Primetime Drama and Comedy (Hardback) book cover

Russian Television Today

Primetime Drama and Comedy

By David MacFadyen

© 2008 – Routledge

254 pages | 18 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415491761
pub: 2011-03-24
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pub: 2007-07-17
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Examining the role of dramatized narratives in Russian television, this book stresses the ways in which the Russian government under Putin use primetime television to express a new understanding of what it means to be Russian, answering key questions of national identity for modern Russians in dealing with their recent history: ‘What really happened to us?’ and, accordingly, ‘Why?’

The book covers important issues in Russian television today, including:

  • the reworking of new ‘national’ on-screen heroes
  • its relationship with classic literature
  • the revisionist portrayal of a romantic portrait of life in the Soviet era
  • the role of thematic elements such as love, fidelity, humour and irony
  • the particularly pressing problem of crime and its representation on screen as Mafia or police adventure, and its political usage by the Putin administration.

This book provides a detailed account of the critical issues in contemporary Russian television, relating them to broader social and political developments in Russian society.


'A serious piece of original research, his book can be recommended as a course reader for postgraduate students of contemporary Russian fi lm and culture, as well as a good introduction for members of the general public keen to know more about Russian televized drama and the complexities of the new sense of nationhood emerging in post-Soviet Russian society.' - Slavonica, November 2008

'The book is somewhat an encyclopedia of television dramas and comedies in Putin's Russia…There are ten chapters in the book including the conclusion. Six of them discuss television programmes by genre…All this makes the book a very useful resource for Russian Studies students, academics and the general public interested in television and culture in Putin's Russia' - Natasha Rylyova, University of Birmingham, Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema

'The topic is a compelling one, potentially of interest to scholars working in related spheres of popular culture.' - Lyndall Morgan, Australian Slavonic and East European Studies

"This book is a comprehensive and detailed study of prime-time fictional televison that manages to incorporate without distortion the richness of pre-Soviet (and in some cases, Soviet) literature as the primary formative stratum of contemporary television. But this study is far more than an account of the literary themes in today's fictional televison programs. True, the author recounts the plots and filming information about an enormous number of movies and television series of all genres. It might have been overwhelming for the reader, but for the author's felicitous style, thorough knowledge and the constant motion traveling across time and type of art form, with political events neither absent nor unduly stressed." - Ellen Mickiewicz, Slavic Review, Vol. 68 No. 4 (Winter 2009)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Sweeping Statements and Broad Horizons 1. Action Heroes: Don Quixote or James Bond? 2. Adaptations: TV Drama vs. Literary Prestige 3. Soaps: The Influence of Latin America 4. Costume Drama: "Life as It Really Is" 5. Melodrama: Little People in the Big City 6. Heroines: Airports, Planes and Wedding Trains 7. Comedy: Nervous Giggling and its Serious Object 8. Law and Order: Making Sense of Something 9. Criminal Series: Soviet Traditions Come Home. Conclusion: Fighting the Good Fight. Filmography

About the Author

David MacFadyen is Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA. He is the author of numerous books on many aspects of Russian literature and culture, including the poetry of Joseph Brodsky, classic Soviet prose, popular song across the twentieth century, comedic cinema, and animated film.

About the Series

Routledge Contemporary Russia and Eastern Europe Series

The aim of this series is to publish original, high-quality work by both new and established scholars on all aspects of Russian and East European Studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Europe / Russia & the Former Soviet Union
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies