Change in Texts, Genre and a Medium: Mini-series, Micro-series and Television’s Shifting Representations of Brazil

Niall Patrick Brennan


Brazilian television is known worldwide. The telenovela is as popular in Brazil as its export to other countries, relying on enduring formulaic and narrative devices such as famous casts, elite Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo settings, topical social issues and storylines incorporating viewer feedback. Brazilian television drama is not limited to the telenovela, however, nor does the form wholly embody Brazilian television’s representations of the nation. This paper identifies another important form of Brazilian television drama; looks at how Brazil has been represented through it; examines how these representations substantiate textual and social-cultural change; and gauges how this occurs through institutional and public perspectives. I discuss the Brazilian television mini-series and how this genre is changing its own formulaic techniques and constructs of social-cultural representation. This occurs in part by introducing independent forms of cultural production and unconventional techniques, which have come to replace literary adaptations and political-historical epics, resulting in more ‘realistic’ representations of Brazil, namely of its historically underrepresented. Finally, by relating the textual features of newer mini-series to concepts of hybridity, I argue for how this changing form challenges its dramatic predecessors with the realism of confronting and negotiating urban geographical, racial and gendered conflict, and with implications for understanding how more contemporary texts of a television genres are changing the conventions of representing Brazil.


Brazil; television; mini-series; micro-series; representation; hybridity

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