Against All Odds: The Survival of Quebec’s téléromans as proximity series

Stéfany Boisvert

Abstract


Quebec is a prime example of a province with a strong attachment to proximity series. Top-rated TV shows in Quebec are almost always of local provenance, and some productions even set world records for market penetration. Moreover, many long-running serialized dramas called téléromans still garner some of the highest ratings in the province. And yet, almost nothing has been written about these contemporary téléromans, since most studies now focus on shorter high-budget TV series—the most legitimated fictions that may appeal to global audiences. In this paper, I provide a textual analysis of L’échappée (TVA, 2016-) and District 31 (Ici Radio-Canada Télé, 2016-), two TV serials that attract some of the highest ratings every week. I shall determine the themes and “local elements” (Dhoest 2013) that may have contributed to their success with local audiences. The pervasive popularity of téléromans in Quebec seems to contradict—or, at the very least, complicate—the general assumption that due to the transnational circulation and digitization of “high end” TV dramas (Nelson 2007), people have lost interest in local/regional productions, and that TV series have therefore ceased to foster local/national forms of identification in smaller communities.

Keywords


Quebec; téléromans; TV serial dramas; gender; urban and rural identities

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References


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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/8397

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