Talk About Television

Vocabulary
I’ve already posted before about discussing movies and books but sometimes you need some extra vocabulary to talk about television.

Genres

Some different kinds of television show are:

  • News
  • The weather forecast/report
  • Current affairs programme
  • Like the news but more detailed and with discussion between experts.

  • Documentary
  • Documentaries are often about current affairs, too, but only one topic for the whole show.

  • Reality show
  • Reality shows are not actually ‘real’ but are usually shows following a celebrity or a group of people and the television company set up situations so that the people behave in an interesting or terrible way.

  • Serial drama
  • This could be something like Doctor Who or 24. Basically it is a drama that runs regularly for a season.

  • Soap opera
  • Soap operas are special serial dramas and they don’t usually end at the end of a season but keep running. They usually feature families or small communities.

  • Variety show
  • A variety show is usually light entertainment such as song, comedy and dancing.

  • Daytime show
  • This has a wide range of features from cooking, family problems and ordinary people’s experiences.

  • Panel discussion
  • A group of people discussing topics, usually in the news but sometimes celebrities.

  • Talk show
  • People talking, usually a host and a celebrity but sometimes ordinary people.

  • Comedy show
  • Sometimes different skits and sketches (like Saturday Night Live), sometimes…

  • Sitcom
  • This is a comedy where the same characters are in the same situation each week. It’s like a funny drama. Friends was a popular sitcom.

  • Panel quiz
  • Usually people answer questions about a theme and sometimes give funny answers. A lot of comedians are guests on panel quizzes.

  • Game show
  • A game show is different to a panel quiz because it is very competitive and people can win money.

  • Talent contest
  • Sport
  • Cooking show
  • Home improvement show
  • Infomercial
  • This is an advertisement that looks like a real television programme.

Channels

The channel is owned by a broadcasting company. Some popular channels worldwide are BBC World, ESPN, Eurosport and Nickelodeon.

Time slot

Usually people ask “What time is it on?” to talk about a programme’s time slot.

Example:

“What time is Newsnight on?”
“It’s on at ten o’clock on BBC Two.”