Crossing the Western Borders: Women of Son
Keywords:Turkish television, drama exports, scripted formats, quality programming
AbstractWhile Turkish television shows have been quite popular in the Middle East, the Balkans, and South America, Turkish producers have been less successful in exporting content to the Western European and North American markets. After receiving moderate ratings in Turkey, Son (2012) was the first Turkish show to be sold to Western Europe when the Swedish public television stv2 purchased the rights to air it with subtitles. While the American adaptation, Runner, did not make it on air on ABC despite the pilot order, the Dutch and the Spanish adaptations were filmed in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Son (The End) remains the only success story among other attempts to introduce Turkish shows into these new markets. In this article, I argue that Son’s two opposing female characters offer a reflexive discussion of Turkey’s identity, and that this allegorical representation, which anchors the story in the current geopolitical climate—mirroring Turkey’s role as an east-west bridge—enables the show to challenge the existing borders of travel for Turkish TV shows.
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