Monday, 23 July 2007

Observer's Future TV glossary - definitions of new TV speak!

Appointment television (n) Programmes watched on purpose at a particular time, rather than by accident. The holy grail for producers, and likely to become increasingly rare in a digital age.

Bitcom (n) Brief, sitcom-style video, accessed from the internet.

Cot potato (n) Square-eyed baby or toddler.

Dramality (n) Show or series that combines drama and reality elements. Rarely works as well as those who commissioned it imagine it will.

Dramedy (n) A show that tries to be both drama and comedy. Recent examples include Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters.

Fanfic (n) Fan Fiction. When viewers contribute ideas to programme storylines. The prospect of getting your fanfic used is a carrot to get viewers on to programme websites. Channel 4’s teen drama Skins allegedly incorporated fanfic.

Frankenbite (n) The art of switching around contestants’ comments in reality TV shows to create a supposedly seamless narrative. Commonly used in Big Brother to stitch people up.

Glurge (n) Mawkishly sentimental story with facts fabricated to tug on the heart strings. Onomatopoeic word capturing the reaction to blatantly embellished cable TV documentaries.

Irritainment (n) Annoying but compulsive show, eg Gordon Ramsay’s The F-Word.

Hammock (n) Time slot between two popular programmes, often used to introduce new shows.

Hathos (n) Feelings of pleasure derived from hating someone or something, eg Apprentice contestants, Gordon Ramsay, cf Irritainment.

Lifecasting (v) Broadcasting a person’s life 24/7.

Metal Mickey (n) Camera used in reality TV, remotely controlled, fully submersible in water, with nightvision and 360-degree capability. Contestants cannot escape the Metal Mickey.

Mobisode (n) Two-minute soap-opera episodes, or edited highlights of a programme, created for watching on mobile phones. Early mobisodes include 24 and Prison Break.

Newszak (n) Programme resembling a news broadcast but consisting of fluff pieces and gossip,
eg E! News.

OTF (n) Abbreviation for ‘on the fly’. Interview recorded by hand-held camera immediately after a significant event. Supposed to capture emotions and unbridled attitudes.

Pre-cap (n) Interview of a reality show contestant before the show kicks off. Captures the excitement of the participant, and is commonly used as juxtaposition with inevitible humiliation / breakdown.

Plothole (n) Blatantly missing plotpoint. It used to be considered an aberration, now it’s often the basis of an entire series, eg Lost.

Pop dope (n) Popular dope. A programme so addictive you cannot stop yourself watching it and find yourself desperate for the next hit, ie episode, eg the first series of 24.

Retrophilia (n) Strong attraction towards things of the past. Pervasive spirit of telly.

Sequester (v) The decision to quarantine reality TV contestants or documentary subjects in a hotel room, before or after a programme, for reasons of secrecy.

Shockumentary (n) Grisly documentary targeting teen male audiences, eg When Animals Attack, World’s Scariest Police Shootouts.

Shouting head (n) Loud-mouthed pundit. Often applied to US TV shock-jocks, but Paxman and Clarkson are beginning to qualify.

Slackcom (n) Sitcom starring slackers, eg Spaced, Green Wing.

Slivercasting (n, v) Programming aimed at a small audience.

Sweeps (n) Three months of US TV analysed to determine advertising rates. To charge a lot they need high ratings, so season specials, guest stars, violence, sex are all packed into the sweeps.

TiNo (v) From the digital recorder TiVo. Programme recorded for later viewing but never

Very special episodes (n) Moments (usually on American dramas) when all caution is thrown out of the window in the search for ratings, leading to coma babies, deaths of favourite characters, kidney transplants, closet exiting and important lessons about life, love and sex are learned by all.

Viewser (n) Combination of viewer and user. A person who watches video content online or on a computer, or who combines regular TV watching with related digital content.

Warm prop (n) Person in the background of a show, eg Jools Holland, Chris Evans’ shows.

Zitcom (n) Comedy aimed mainly at teenagers.

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