Post Modern Theory

Post Modern Theory

Many Films and Television Programmes exhibit postmodern traits. Descriptions of the most significant Postmodern themes in Television and Films are below:

Pastiche - Means to combine, multiple elements. In postmodernist media this can be an homage to or a parody of past styles. It can often reference pop culture as part of the narrative.

Spectacle – Television creates spectacle from time to time to grab attention and keep audiences coming back for more.

Faux TV – Mockumentaries, television shows about television shows and fake news.

Magical Realism – is where the magic, the supernatural or ultra advanced technologies are often presented in real world mundane settings.

Anti-Hero – Postmodern productions often blur the lines between good and evil, light and dark, for both characters and viewers.

Examples of Post Modernism in Television


Life on Mars – Set 25 years before production, homage to British 1970’s cop shows.

The Simpsons – US TV’s longest running sitcom, often uses popular culture references


The Jeremy Kyle Show – Sets up hapless/ uneducated guests to embarrass themselves in trashy situations and to fight each other.

Big Brother – Postmodern game show, mixes reality TV with dystopian novel 1984. Housemates, bitch, plot and scheme to win a cash prize.

Faux TV

The Office – Mockumentary sitcom parodying reality TV documentaries set in work places such as The Call Centre and The Airport

Modern Family – Mockumentary sitcom of a large extended family made up of stero-typical characters

Magical Realism

Humans – Drama set in modern world where life like androids are used as servants by the human population.

Game of Thrones – Medieval set fantasy where dragons mix with political intrigue and ancient mythologies.


Breaking Bad – Chemistry teacher Walt evolves throughout the series progression into drug lord. This driven by his terminal cancer and wish to cement a legacy.

Sons of Anarchy – Jax Teller rises to become leader of a motorcycle gang who use drug money to control the town in which they live.

Key Theorists

Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007) was a French sociologist, cultural theorist, author, political commentator. His best known theories involve hyperreality and simulation. Baudrillard described hyperreality as "the generation by models of a real without origin or reality”.

Hyperreality is an inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in advanced postmodern societies. Hyperreality is seen as a condition of what is real and what is fiction are blended together so there is no clear distinction to where one ends and the other begins.

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