The Dramatic Content and Social Messages Delivered by the Television Series


Yean Tsai


The purpose of this study was to investigate the dramatic content and social messages delivered by the three television networks’ drama series in Taiwan. Television messages were considered in this study as a production manufactured by the mainstream cultural industries with strong ideological implication from the dominant class. These messages were also treated here as the major source of the social cognition and value systems for the general public.

Phenomenology and content analysis were used in this study to explore the con text of 36 episodes broadcasted on the three commercial channels in Taiwan in April, 1993 for a purpose to, first, find out the frame and social values contained in these drama series, and second, interpretate and reconstruct the way of life revealed in these episodes.

It was found that the sociological pheonomenon presented in these episodes was not necessarily a good reflection of the essence of the society. Many characters and plots were stereotyped, and therefore unable to maintain any dramatic effect. The fictional world depicted in the television drama, on the other hand, continued to show traditional Chinese values such as coordination, harmony, obedience, chastity, and left out with little effort, if ever, to explain.