Journal Article

Renegotiating Quality TV in the Swedish Press: American Serial Television and Sweden's Post-Monopoly Television Landscape

Publication

Author
Joel Frykholm

Abstract

In this article, I explore the reception of American “quality” serial television in Sweden from 1999 to the mid-2010s. My analysis includes how cultural critics and journalists writing for Sweden's leading newspapers conceptualised American serial television as “quality TV” and as legitimate “art”, and it charts the ways in which these discourses relate to the reconfiguration of Swedish television from public service monopoly to niche-oriented multichannel system. The analysis uncovers a process of cultural consecration that was based on comparisons with already consecrated art forms, applications of authorship discourses that promote certain individuals as genius television auteurs, and deployment of critical protocols borrowed from literary criticism – all in service of pre-established cultural hierarchy and “good taste”. This article also highlights the ubiquity of American quality serial television across the Swedish television landscape, which suggests that such programmes represent both a niche product and a mass phenomenon with extensive reach and multidimensional appeal.

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About the Author

Joel Frykholm

I'm Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Section for Cinema Studies, Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University. My primary research interest is early American cinema, including issues of industrial and cultural change, historic reception... Read more

Reference

Frykholm, J. (2021). Renegotiating Quality TV in the Swedish Press: American Serial Television and Sweden's Post-Monopoly Television Landscape. Nordicom Review, 42(1), pp. 59-78. Available at: https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/nor/42/1/article-p59.xml [Accessed 19 Jun. 2021]. doi: https://doi.org/10.2478/nor-2021-0012 .