2023 Battle of the Genres: Why watch our faves?

Our writers give us the lowdown of the genre showdown

Castor Chan
26th April 2023
Image credit: Pixabay (clapperboard, laptop, TV, TV remote), OpenClipArt (Apple TV remote, camera, curtains, trophy VHS tape)

Comedy - Imogen Smillie

Whether you actively seek a comedy show or just stick it on for fun, you have to admit that having a laugh is the best way to relax when settling down with the remote.

For me, watching TV is a source of comfort and a way to destress, so why not choose the genre that will also put a smile on my face? You will always find me binging the latest US sitcom, either as background noise or obsessing over the next Jim Halpert type. So choose bears and beets but I’ll be avoiding Battle Star Galactica.

Competition Shows - Castor Chan

As someone who has gone through numerous competition reality series like Next in Fashion, Blown Away, and even The American Barbeque Showdown, it's safe to say I'm a fan.

Of course, I can't turn down amazing storylines, heartwarming characters, and the dramatic villain, but when you think about it, competition shows have it all. The unpredictability of humans when faced with a challenge makes for a truly interesting - and always funny - watch, and all of the above is why competition shows will always have a soft spot in my heart.

Crime Drama - Kirsty Dow

In crime drama, the possibilities are endless.  

Gripping and intricate storylines, set to the backdrop of rural countryside or deep within city life, follow our amateur sleuth or heroic police detective with their trusted sidekick(s). Often paired with story arcs of hidden pasts, tortured souls, romance, and humour, we root for our protagonist, and sometimes, the antagonist too.  It’s a winning formula, keeping the audience in suspense until order is satisfyingly restored.

These elements make the genre so versatile, and whether you’re a fan of London's Luther or our very own Vera, crime drama has something for everyone. 

Documentary - Arthur Ferridge

It isn’t the most exciting choice, granted, but hear me out. You can keep your Better Call Saul, your Friends, your The Last of Us. Give me a night in with Planet Earth over any melodramatic sitcom any day of the week. I have spent many a night trawling Wikipedia articles on topics I can no longer remember, and a good docuseries allows me to do that without the effort of actually having to read. What more could you want?

Documentaries show you the world from the comfort of your living room, giving you experiences that would otherwise be unattainable. The Andy Warhol Diaries took me through 1970s New York’s underground art scene. Drive to Survive gave me an inside look at Formula One, one of the world’s most exclusive sporting communities. Sharks showed me sharks, believe it or not.

The documentary allows its viewer to encounter the ancient, the foreign, and the exotic without leaving bed. There’s a documentary for everyone, from Clarkson’s Farm to The Vietnam War. A truly diverse genre with so much to learn, what’s not to like?

Horror - Olivia Carter

Horror television has always had a rightful place at the helm of the genre table, but in recent years it has really taken off as one of the more popular go-tos.

With series such as American Horror Story (2011 - present) and The Haunting of Hill House (2018) providing larger-than-life scares, the horror genre has really come full circle. Not only does it provide a level of fear that many crave, it also genre-bends fantastically, leaning into the realms of drama, comedy, and even shows of a more light-hearted nature. The horror world needs all the representation it can get, and with many scary films taking the box office high road, the genre is in much need of some TV TLC. 

Period Drama- Lizzie Yockney

Seeing as though I was practically raised on the TV show adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, it makes a lot of sense that I am a big fan of period dramas.

From Bridgerton to Peaky Blinders, period dramas encompass a wide range of topics and settings. If you’re not already an avid fan like me (especially the romance ones), expect beautiful costumes, dramatic fight scenes, and confessing your undying love for someone in the rain. I love period dramas for the escapism, as you can immerse yourself in a different, albeit still ‘real world’, setting. And obviously, I live for the drama. So, dearest reader, choose period dramas!

Political Drama - Jessica McKeown

For me, the best genre of TV is the political drama. Set at the heart of power, political dramas centre around the most powerful people in the country, their relationships, dramas, and tough decisions.

The idealistic The West Wing, which mastered the 'walk-and-talk', is arguably one of the greatest TV series ever. Meanwhile, the likes of House of Cards follows more scheming power-hungry politicians with a more cynical outlook. Designated Survivor presents an underdog who is thrust from a lowly cabinet position to the most powerful office in the country and is accompanied by a thrilling FBI storyline uncovering a conspiracy. Political dramas can have so much variety in who they focus on and the plot lines they want to introduce.

Romance - Amana Khan

When it comes to TV, nothing beats a show that centres around romance. I have watched my fair share of shows, and I can convincingly state that a plot involving enemies/friends to lovers or a slow-burn love story will never let me down.

Take Derek and Meredith from Grey’s Anatomy, Hailey and Nathan from One Tree Hill, and Klaus and Caroline from The Vampire Diaries. All these shows had a big plot line involving the romance between these characters and each week I would tune in waiting for them to confess their undying love for each other. The storylines behind these characters would very much ensure that I would continue watching the show.

Maybe I was just trying to find comfort in these shows, but there is no denying that everyone has a soft spot for shows that let your favourite characters end up together.

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