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Useful Notes / Television

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"Television tastes funny."

All about the medium of television, its sub-categories, and TV-specific tropes that cross those divisions.

Television "TV" is traditionally viewed on a television set, after the early 2000's people can catch up on their favorite programs via computer and mobile devices. Commercially available since the 1920s (though television as we know it today dates from 1936, as the result of the invention of a key component by Vladimir Zworykin of RCA and Philo T. Farnsworth)note , but only really catching on in the 1950s. Home televisions were black & white, analog, heavy, and at 4:3 Aspect Ratio; gained color in the 60s; and after the Turn of the Millennium became digital, lighter, and wider with a 16:9 aspect-ratio and HD.

Television is what the TV in our name stands fornote . But you probably already knew that.

See also Camera Tricks and Formats.


  • Ad Bumpers - Short clips used for station identification
  • Ad-Break Double-Take - Having a scene appearing at the break repeated after the commercial
  • Adored by the Network - A show given special treatment or attention
  • American Television Stations - How the United States got television
  • ANSI Standard Broadcast TV Schedule - What US stations typically broadcast
  • Appointment Television - A TV show so good you reschedule your life around it
  • Automobile Opening - Show opening involves someone driving
  • Beer Commercials - There's something unusual about beer commercials
  • Boring Broadcaster - When a broadcaster or program specializes in intellectual or otherwise boring subjects.
  • Broadcast Live: How most of TV used to be broadcast, and how sports and news programs still are
  • Cable/Satellite Mudslinging: How TV providers get and keep customers, and why TV provider options for any given area are so limited
  • Cancellation - When a network chooses to stop funding further shows
  • Channel Hop - A show moves from one network to another or from one local station to another
  • Clip Show - A show made up of clips from other shows, news footage, home videos, etc, often with voiceover narration and/or interspersed host segments.
  • Color Wash - Strange changes to the color pallette
  • Continuity Announcement — "This is TV Tropes"
  • Direct to Video - When a movie skips the theaters and goes directly to video (VHS, DVD, Bluray, etc.)
  • Directed by Cast Member - A member of the cast decides to get their feet wet by directing an episode of the show
  • Drawing Board Hiatus - Taken off the air for a retool
  • Edited for Syndication - Changes made when a network show or motion picture is placed in syndicated distribution
  • Emergency Broadcast - means of providing serious warnings to the public
  • Excuse Question - A test or skill question used to prevent a contest from being declared a lottery
  • Fake Video Camera View - View of what supposedly is someone video recording something
  • First-Run Syndication - New episodes of a series sold to individual stations as apposed to being premiered on a network.
  • Five Year Plan - Length of time after which a show can be sold in syndication
  • Friday Night Death Slot - An undesirable scheduling spot
  • Long-Runners - Shows running 10 years or longer
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover - The initial cast of a show is completely different from the one it ends with
  • Marathon Running - Multiple episodes run back-to-back
  • Network Death - When a channel goes off the air and ceases to exist entirely or is replaced.
  • Network Decay - Networks whose supposed purpose was a certain type of show, that have started to add unrelated material
  • Network Finale - A network about to go off the air goes out with a bang.
  • Network Sign Off - When a channel goes off air for the night.
  • New Content Countdown Clock - Onscreen clock to advise viewers of the start of some special or new program
  • No-Hoper Repeat - Show put in as a sacrifice against some extremely popular program on a different network
  • Not Screened for Critics - a movie that was not advance shown to critics; often a red flag that it's not very good
  • Once a Season - A concept that is repeated every season of the show
  • Once per Episode - A kind of Running Gag that is repeated in every episode
  • Only Barely Renewed - Show that is just barely important enough for the network to renew it, but usually isn't important enough to stick around long after
  • Out of Order - Showing a series in a different order than it was written
  • PEG Channel - a channel used for public or community productions, educational content, or government content.
  • Prime Time - The most important part of a network schedule
  • Quietly Cancelled - A show is cancelled without any sort of official announcement.
  • Ratings - How many viewers a show has
  • Ratings Stunt - Unusual event intended to increase ratings
  • Real Life Writes the Plot - When what happens behind the scenes affects what happens on the set
  • Renewed Before Premiere - When the network considers a new show so important, it renews it before it even starts airing.
  • Rerun - a rebroadcast of a program
  • Revival - an updated remake or reboot of a series that has long since ended
  • Saga Sell (Opening Narration) - Short monologue at beginning of show that explains what is happening
  • Safe Harbor - removal of broadcast content restrictions between 10pm and 6am
  • Screwed by the Network - intentional sabotage of a series
  • Second Season Downfall - shows that don't have anything left by the second season
  • Short Run in Peru - Some shows are run earlier in countries other than the one they are made for
  • Short-Runners - Shows that were cancelled really quickly, sometimes after 1 episode
  • Sweeps - The period when ratings set advertising rates
  • Syndication - Shows sold directly to individual stations
  • Timeshift Channel - Supplementary channel run one or more hours later than the regular program feed
  • Un-Canceled - a show is cancelled, then something happens and it's restored to the schedule
  • Watershed - Time in the evening when it's okay to run content which is targeted more towards adult audiences
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties — When something goes wrong, but a channel is still able to broadcast.
  • Web Video - Television made available over the Internet
  • Welcome Titles - When original footage is used in the title sequence, usually to explore the show's world. More common in animated series as its rather expensive to do it in live action series.
  • TV Strikes - When the TV writers strike, the quality of television suffers.
  • Wrap It Up - A miniseries or movie intended to tie up the loose ends if a series is cancelled
  • Your Television Hates You - An In-Universe trope about television, where a character tries to get their mind off their troubles by watching television, but every show and commercial they see somehow has something to do with their current problem.