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Procedural drama

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Title: Procedural drama  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Serial (radio and television), Cold Justice, Police procedural, Mercedes Masohn, The Finder (U.S. TV series)
Collection: Television Genres, Television Terminology, Works About Law Enforcement
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Procedural drama

A procedural drama is a genre of television programming which focuses on how crimes are solved or some other aspect of a law enforcement agency, legislative body, or court of law. Some dramas include a lab or conference room with high-tech or state-of-the-art equipment where the main characters meet to work out the problem. Shows usually have an episodic format that does not require the viewer to have seen previous episodes. Episodes typically have a self-contained, also referred to as stand-alone, plot that is introduced and resolved within the same episode. This format is often referred to as "case-of-the-week".[1] Procedurals are typically contrasted with serial dramas which rely more on story arcs.[1]

The procedural format is popular around the world.[2] In 2011, the director of a TV consultancy said, "The continuing trend is for procedurals because they use a predictable structure."[2] Due to their stand-alone episodic nature, they are more accessible to new viewers than serials. Self-contained episodes also make it easier for viewers to return to a show if they have missed some episodes.[3] In general, procedural dramas can usually be re-run with little concern for episode order.[2]

Procedurals are often criticized for being formulaic.[4][5] Procedurals are also generally less character-driven than serialized shows. However, some procedurals have more character emphasis than is typical of the format.[6][7] Some may occasionally feature a storyline stretching over several episodes.[8]

A popular variant is the police procedural.

Procedural dramas

See also


  1. ^ a b James Poniewozik (2008-12-04). "Tuned In".  
  2. ^ a b c Adler, Tim (June 27, 2011). "Why TV Procedurals Also Rule The World".  
  3. ^ Gerard Gilbert (2009-02-20). "American law... British order".  
  4. ^ a b c Chuck Barney (2009-01-21). "Review: Fox’s "Lie to Me" mostly a formulaic procedural".  
  5. ^ James Hibberd (2009-02-06). "Networks' new pilots favor formula over experiment".  
  6. ^ a b "Duelling sleuths".  
  7. ^ a b Bill Carter (2008-11-16). "No Mystery: Ratings Heat Up for ‘NCIS’".  
  8. ^ Jason Hughes (2009-09-23). "What if House stopped being a procedural?".  
  9. ^ Andy Dehnart (2008-12-02). "‘Mentalist’ follows CBS formula, with a twist".  
  10. ^ Scott Collins (2008-11-17). "'"How does CBS spell success? 'NCIS.  
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