ISSN: 2241-6692

Modernizing Tradition: Love, Friendship, Family and De-Urbanization in Greek TV Fiction (1993-2018)

Vassilis Vamvakas


This paper explores the thematic and cultural frames present in the narratives of the most popular Greek television fiction since the 1990s, after public TV lost broadcasting monopoly. The examination of the most successful series of Greek television of the last thirty years reveals important social, ideological, and cultural features of the post-modern semiosphere in Greece. A thematic categorization of the 30 most popular TV series between 1993-2018 – according to AGB Nielsen ratings – based on their plot descriptions, their protagonists, and the critique of journalists or nostalgic fansites, reveals four important frames of interest: a) paradoxical love, b) multidimensional friendship, c) family crisis, d) juxtaposition between rural and urban culture. In methodological terms, frame and thematic analysis are applied, focusing especially on the most popular examples of each category in order to decode a stable element in their narration: the modernization of tradition either in terms of its identity and hermeneutic aspects, or in the satirical deconstruction of its authority and normative role.

Keywords: Greek TV series, ideology, modernity, popular TV culture, tradition