A TV Buff’s Guide to the Different TV Genres

A TV Buff's Guide to the Different TV Genres

Crime and medical dramas make up over 50% of the favorite TV genres watched on American TV.

But why are they so popular? And what other kinds of genres are there on TV.

If you want to become a TV buff, then have a look at our short guide to some of the most popular TV genres on our screens. Read on to see if they match your idea of a good night in front of the TV.


Drama is by far the most diverse genre of TV Show. We can break it down into lots of different subcategories or different styles of drama.

At its core, a drama depicts fictional stories that follow a set theme or are set in a particular location. Sometimes they are true stories, although they are rarely accurate portrayals.

The Ancient Greeks referred to drama to mean something that was not pure comedy or tragedy; it sat somewhere in the middle with a mix of both. You can get more laughs in the comedy-drama subgenre with shows like The Gilmore Girls, The Good Place, and Master of None.

Other subgenres might include Medical Dramas, Teen Dramas, Romantic Dramas, Family Dramas or Legal Dramas. If the dramatic retelling takes a turn for the more realistic, then it becomes a Docudrama, where the actors reenact the actions of real people.

TV Serials

For a drama to become a TV serial, it must unfold its story sequentially, episode by episode. TV Serials are often long-running, with multiple character arcs and plotlines lasting for an entire season or more.

Binge-watching is a key feature of the TV Serial, with many people waiting until an entire season is on release so they can watch it all in one go. Game of Thrones is a good example of one of these types of TV shows.

TV Serials were a prevalent form of entertainment post-war when westerns were the flavor of the moment. Check this article if you want to relive some of the best western shows from the 50s and 60s.


Situational Comedies are designed to make you laugh. They are often filmed in front of a live audience, or a laughter track is added later to highlight the jokes and set pieces.

They are often focused on a group of characters in normal situations that get out of hand and become somewhat farcical. Good examples of this genre would be Friends, The Big Bang Theory, and Frasier.


This has become one of the most popular TV genres since the early 2000s. It involves putting real people in different situations, like survival or romantic adventures, and seeing how they react.

Participants are filmed 24/7 with no respite from the cameras. Their every move is tracked and reported back to the eager viewers at home. Most are completely unscripted, but some are becoming more so, with producers ever hungry for that next big reality-show hit.

Find Your Favorite TV Genres

We have really only scratched the surface of the many different types of TV genres that are available. With thousands of channels to fill, the production companies are always looking to invent new, popular TV genres.

What will the next big genre be? You will have to keep watching to find out!

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