chapter  5
13 Pages

Bingeing on box-sets: the national and the digital in television crime drama


Graeme Turner and Jinna Tay have recently asked whether it is possible ‘any longer’ to ‘claim a characteristic socio-cultural function for the medium [television] at all?’1 They ask this question in the introduction to a book in which they successfully problematize what they characterize as an oversimple ‘end of broadcasting/rise of broadband narrative’ (2009: 8), partly through the straightforward method of extending the discussion of what is happening to television beyond the US/Europe context which has been formative for television studies. This leads them to argue that ‘[n]otwithstanding the internationalization of the media industries, these days the answer to the question, “What is television?” very much depends on where you are’ (2009: 8). So while in the US a television scholar can comment in 2006 that ‘the materially based distribution of television on DVD seems nearly antiquated in comparison with the internet-based developments of recent months’,2 in Britain (just to stay with the Anglophone axis), as my first epigraph shows, it is only in 2009 that a national newspaper has begun to review DVD box-sets.