In the film and TV sector, a genre is the type of media that is being consumed. It gives the audience an idea of what to expect and it makes it easier to find a programme or film. Without the use of genres, it would be very difficult to find a film or TV show as each one would be in the same list and it would be impossible to know what kind of content was included. In today’s world there are many different genres that allow consumers to discover the films or programmes they are interested in. Sci – Fi, Comedy, Action and Horror are just a handful of many genres that have evolved over time to help the audience know what is to be expected from a film or TV show.

Genre Expectations

Over time the expectations of a genre have developed and adapted to how film and TV has changed. This is very important as the expectations of a genre are what the public/consumers expect to be watching. Genre expectations tell the audience what kind of content is roughly going to be shown and how it is going to be presented.

For example Sci – Fi is traditionally known to be futuristic, and different from what consumers would deem to be every day life. In most Sci – Fi films there is a theme around aliens, technology and the unknown. Also most films and TV shows are connected to space, although some are related more than others. Stories of the Sci – Fi genre are often based around the idea of protecting what is ‘normal’.

Western films and TV shows are also a very traditional with regards to genre expectations. The western genre is heavily based around the Cowboy era and is normally set between 1860 – 1900. As it is connected to the cowboy era, there are many aspects of the culture that have to be implemented such as the use of horses, Stetson hats, guns, and the traditional tumbleweed. There are many iconic films that have followed these expectations.

Films and TV shows of the thriller genre are often confused with horror as they are closely related, however there is a difference that helps define one from the other. Thriller films and TV shows have more of a story behind them and have more of a plot twist. Also the thriller genre relies more on the location to be one of the more suspenseful aspects of a story. This is because the location is normally a recognizable place such as a house which is a reason to suggest that thrillers imply the fear of the normal, different from horror which is much more suspenseful and intentionally surprises the audience.

How To Analyse?

Analyzing a genre is the process of finding out what you are looking for. Another term for this is Mise – En – Scene; an originally French phrase used to describe how things like props, characters and any other artificial enhancements are put into a scene. For example in a Sci – Fi film or TV show it would have a very futuristic feel to it and would have many alien like characters and props that would be a rare thing to see in any other genre.

Iconography is similar to Mise – En – Scene as it is also the process of evaluating a shot, however it also takes into consideration how we associate it with different genres. Any aspect of a shot will give an indication of what the genre is such as a stetson hat would be linked with a Western film or TV show, or a alien space ship would be linked with something of a Sci – Fi genre. Another way that an audience can figure out the Iconography of a shot could be to pay close attention to how the story is told. Anything such as a voice over, idents, or use of technology in terms of lighting, sound and special effects can all give an indicator as to what a genre is and how it will portray a story to an audience.

Film Noir 

Film Noir was a genre that was most active between early 1940 and late 1950. It is most famous for its use of Venetian blinds and its unique lighting techniques. The reason why the lighting aspects of the Film Noir films was so impressive is because there was a huge shortage for lighting equipment, particularly light bulbs. This made it extremely difficult to light sets which is why a lot of the shots had minimal lighting. Another reason why the Film Noir genre was so impressive is because of how fast the films were made. During the time, the government ordered that new films were to be made and had to be done fast. With a shortage of time and equipment the production team of a Film Noir movie, had no choice but to record a shot and move onto the next, despite only having minimal lighting. Films such as The Maltese Falcon and Gilda used the traditional techniques that made the genre so iconic and instantly recognizable. The lighting in the Film Noir genre was a huge part of how the story was told and how the characters were portrayed. This meant that it was used to create a variety of different effects such as suspense and uncertainty.


Genre is a big part of the film and TV industry. It allows consumers to easily find what they want to watch and what kind of story is told. Not only does it benefit the public, but the film and TV profession becomes a much larger variety and creates a huge amount of jobs to accommodate for the huge variation of different films and shows that can be made.