Spanish fiction

The Spanish TV fiction

The current Spanish television fiction is the result of the big change experienced from deregulation, consequence of the creation of private channels and the development of autonomous ones, the rise of independent production and the professionalization of the audiovisual sector. By the end of the nineties the search for narrative formats was intensified, aimed to improve aesthetic quality, while genres were broadened with the making of TV series located in professional settings. Genres and formats explored new ways to adapt the preferences of the audience and the multi-drama strategies characteristics of TV seriality. At the same time, the enormous social, economic, cultural and technological changes that Spain is undergoing as it moves from the 20th to the 21st century are bringing about a fundamental change in the modes of representation and consumption.

Thus, the development of the telecommunications infrastructures (the ADSL lines were implemented in Spain in 2000) and the new home equipment (plasma TVs, video game consoles, mobile phones, music players, DVD players, decoders, etc.), made possible new forms of entertainment. These changes indelibly transformed TV consumption and segmented and individualized the wide and standardized audience of previous decades. From that moment on, the dominant massive model of generalist television, opted for a more specific targeting of the audience, by modifying the traditional symbolic references of the collective imagination about Spanish fiction.

Spanish television fiction research

The Professor of the University of Roma-La Sapienza Milly Buonanno and a group of European researchers founded in 1996 EUROFICTION, an observatory dedicated to the comparative study of television fiction produced in Germany, Great Britain, Spain, France and Italy, which was supported by the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO). The founding members of the Spanish team and authors of the different studies on the topic, published by EAO and RAI between 1996 and 2001, were Rosa A. Berciano, Charo Lacalle, Lorenzo Vilches and Carlos Arnanz. The methodology of EUROFICTION inspired OBITEL, an Ibero-American Observatory of Television Fiction funded in 2007 by Rede Globo (Brazil), whose Spanish team is coordinated by Charo Lacalle, also director of the Observatory of Spanish Fiction and New Technologies (OFENT). Like EUROFICTION, OBITEL publishes an annual report (in Spanish, Portuguese and English), which includes the group’s work. Lacalle is also the author of the section on Catalan fiction included in the annual reports of the Catalan Audiovisual Council (CAC) that were published between 2004 and 2010.

After the pioneering initiative of EUROFICTION, the rise of Spanish fiction since the mid-nineties has led to a growing number of studies on the subject. However, the heterogeneity and specificity of the contributions show the need to develop a systematic history of television fiction, in order to help researchers to properly contextualize the object of study.

A large part of the research on Spanish TV fiction adopts a gender perspective or focuses on young characters. Content analysis of representations and reception studies (focus group, interviews, questionnaires and surveys) are the most used methodologies, although the integration of quantitative and qualitative methods remains little practiced. Analysis of characters and stereotypes are the most common approaches, along with historical memory, national identity, health, immigration, family and professional roles, etc. There is also a growing interest on the relationship between television fiction and the Internet.

Thematic blocks

The synthesis by sections of the different contributions of researchers on Spanish television fiction.

The Ibero-American Observatory of Television Fiction (OBITEL) is an international network created in 2005 and formed by research groups from 12 countries (nine Latin Americans, United States, Portugal, and Spain). It aims to analyze television fiction through annual monitoring and comparative analysis (both quantitative and qualitative) of the context, production, programming, and reception. The Observatory publishes a yearbook summarising the results focused on a different topic. These publications have a functional and useful structure for both researchers and practitioners.

The first chapter of the yearbook presents the comparative analysis of the contributions of the different OBITEL members. The second is dedicated to the analysis of fiction in each of the countries. It is structured in the following sections: the audiovisual context, the detailed analysis of annual production and programming, the ten most-watched programmes, audience participation in digital environments, and the highlights of the year. Finally, each member country’s chapter closes with an analysis of the year’s topic.

The Spanish team’s annual contributions to these documents are listed below together with a summary of the different editions’ themes.

The 2009 yearbook highlights the increase of production and competition, declining advertising revenues, and the push for new technologies at the dawn of the new digital age.

  • (2009). Spain: The transition to the new era. In G. Orozco, G. and M. I. Vasallo De Lopes (eds.), OBITEL Yearbook 2009. Television fiction in Ibero-America (pp. 183-218). Editora Globo.

The 2010 yearbook examines the impact of the digital transition on the fragmentation of one of the most competitive television systems in Europe and the impact of digital convergence on the processes of transmediality in television fiction.

  • (2010). Spain: the new age of fiction. In G. Orozco, G. and M. I. Vasallo De Lopes (eds.), OBITEL Yearbook 2010. Convergences and transmediation of television fiction (pp. 214-259). Editora Globo.

The 2011 yearbook highlights a growing trend for serials to join other productions in widescreen format and HD recording. Moreover, it also points out the increase in series set in the past as a sign of more mature domestic fiction production.

  • (2011). Spain: banking on big productions. In Orozco, G. and M. I. Vasallo De Lopes (eds.), OBITEL Yearbook 2011. Quality in television fiction and audiences’ transmedia interactions (pp. 309-348). Editora Globo.

In 2012, the yearbook addressed the expansion of the Spanish fiction market beyond its borders. It highlighted the structural and cultural factors that have made this possible and the enormous absorption capacity of Eastern European countries, and the increase in the adaptation of formats in Europe and America.

  • (2012). Spain: 2011. New strategies, new markets. In Orozco, G. and Vasallo De Lopes, M.I. (eds.), OBITEL Yearbook Transnationalization of Television Fiction in Ibero-American Countries (pp. 311-359). Editora Globo.

The 2013 yearbook explores the trend of Spanish fiction to rethink the past. The increase in period programmes coincides between 2008 and 2011, with a period of momentum in the recovery of historical memory and the economic crisis’s impact.

  • (2013). Spain: fiction resists the crisis. In Orozco, G. and Vasallo De Lopes, M.I. (eds.), OBITEL Yearbook Social Memory and Television Fiction in Ibero-American Countries (pp. 279-320). Editora Globo.

The 2014 yearbook explores the concept of transmediality and its application to designate a strategy of production, content development, and reception based on the use of different media in the environment of media convergence, focusing its attention on the series El tiempo entre costuras (Antena3, 2009).

  • (2014). Spain: the boom of fiction set in the past. In Orozco, G. and Vasallo De Lopes, M.I. (eds.), OBITEL Yearbook Transmedia production strategies in television fiction (pp. 271-312). Editora Sulina.

In the 2015 edition, the yearbook is dedicated to gender relations in fiction. In this respect, it is noted that Spanish fiction follows international trends: the heroines assume the features of a young, beautiful and good woman, whose existence is mainly articulated around sentimental and family relationships.

  • (2015). Spain: the internationalisation of fiction. In Orozco, G. and Vasallo De Lopes, M.I. (eds.), OBITEL Yearbook 2015. Gender relations in television fiction ( 271-312). Editora Sulina.

The 2016 yearbook highlights the diversification of formats (sketches, TV movies, miniseries, serials, web series) and genres (historical, crime, thriller, and horror) of television fiction, emphasising cultural proximity and its desire to satisfy a heterogeneous audience.

  • (2016). Spain: innovation and tradition. In Orozco, G. and Vasallo De Lopes, M.I. (eds.), OBITEL Yearbook 2016. (Re)invention of TV fiction genres and formats ( 295-333). Editora Sulina.

The 2017 yearbook celebrates a decade of OBITEL’s analysis of television fiction. Consequently, the changes and new trends of the last ten years are explored. The increase in fiction set in the past and the consequent revision of history has led to a notable expansion of social themes.

  • (2017). Spain: pay-TV takes off. In Orozco, G. and Vasallo De Lopes, M.I. (eds.), OBITEL Yearbook 2017. One decade of television fiction in Ibero-America: analysis of ten years of Obitel (2007-2016) ( 225-256). Editora Sulina.

The 2018 edition highlights the Internet’s role as the new great ally of television fiction, with the strategy initiated by telecommunications companies of the “quintuple pack” and the popularisation of international streaming platforms in the Spanish market.

  • (2018). Spain: Hybridisation and innovation of genres and formats. In Orozco, G. and Vasallo De Lopes, M.I. (eds.), OBITEL Yearbook 2018. Ibero-American TV Fiction on Video on Demand Platforms (pp. 197-228). Editora Sulina.

The 2019 yearbook analyses internet TV distribution models (players, technologies, strategies), influenced by Spain’s take-off of digital platforms because of the convergence between telecommunications companies and OTT services.

  • (2019). Spain: VoD drives national fiction. In Ch. Lacalle and S. Naravaiza (eds.), OBITEL Yearbook 2019. Television distribution models by the internet: actors, technologies, strategies ( 179-212). Editora Sulina.

In 2020, the yearbook focused on the renewal of melodrama in the times of Video On Demand, characterised by the hybridisation of genres and the setting in different periods and marked female protagonism.

  • (2020). Spain: premiere fiction increases competitiveness. In G. Gómez Rodríguez (eds.), OBITEL Yearbook 2020. Melodrama in times of streaming ( 149-182). Editora Sulina.

The EUROFICTION observatory, founded in 1996 and dedicated to the comparative study of television fiction produced in Germany, Great Britain, Spain, France, and Italy, gained sufficient relevance in the European academic sphere to be supported by the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO). The following is a list of the group’s publications and a summary of each of them. The list is separated by blocks, as some references are part of the same publication but in different languages.

This chapter’s central theme is to explore the different ways in which the contents and formats of the national productions are connected to new media contexts, such as global cultural change.

  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. (1997). The National Production of Fiction in the Spanish National Context. En Bechelloni, G. Y Buonano, M. (eds.), Televisión Fiction and Identities ( 81-97). Ipermedium.

The first EUROFICTION report presents annual data (1996) on original television fiction in each of the member countries of the group: volume of premiere fiction (titles, episodes), formats (cinema-tv, series, serials), genres, broadcasting schedules, audience results and main cultural indicators (time setting, location, protagonist).

  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. (1997). La fiction televisiva spagnola nel 1996. En Buonano, M. (a cura di), Eurofiction 1997. Primo rapporto sulla fiction televisiva europea ( 115-131). RAI-ERI.
  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L.“Familienkomödien und Hausärzte“, en Buonano, M. (HRSG), Eurofiction 1. Fiktionale fernsehsendungen in Europa, Colonia, Halem, 1998, pp. 134-153.
  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. “Family Comedy, Family Doctor. Spanish Television Fiction in 1996”, en Buonano, M. (ed.) Imaginary Dreamscapes. Television Fiction in Europe, Londres, John Libbey, 1998, pp. 67-80.

The 1997 report highlights the changing nature of audiovisual landscapes in European countries. The publication, therefore, explores the relationships between the old and the new and how these factors influence each other, suggesting the need for an analysis of the social history of communication to recall the dialectics between continuity and change.

  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. “Format d’esportazine. La fiction tv spagnola nel 1997”, en Buonano, M. (a cura di), Eurofiction 1998. Secondo rapporto de la fiction televisiva europea, Roma, RAI-ERI, 1998, VQPT n. 160, pp. 157-178.
  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. “Domestic Fiction/Export Fiction. Spanish TV Fiction in 1997, en M.Buonano (a cura di), en M. Buonano, Television Fiction in Europe, Estrasburgo, European Audiovisual Observatory, 1998, pp. 88-106.
  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. “Domestic Fiction/Export Fiction. Spanish TV Fiction in 1997, en M.Buonano (a cura di), Shifting Landscapes. Television Fiction in Europe, Londres, J. Libbey, 1999, pp. 81-96.

The third EUROFICTION report focuses on the 5,095 hours of first-run fiction broadcast in 1998 (up 7% in 1997) on the five member countries’ main channels, focusing on productions from Denmark, Russia, and Switzerland. The researchers outlined the complexity of TV fiction production due to technological innovation, social and cultural differentiation, and growing competition.

  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. “Playing is Safe. Spanish Television Fiction in 1998”, en M. Buonano, (comp.), Television Fiction in Europe. Report 1999, Estrasburgo, European Audiovisual Observatory, 1999, pp. 106-123.
  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. “Scomettere sul sicuro. La fiction TV spagnola nel 1998”, en M. Buonano (a cura di), Eurofiction 1999. Terzo Rapporto sulla fiction televisiva in Europa, Roma, RAI-ERI, VQPT n. 171, 1999, pp. 153-173.

Thanks to the EUROFICTION team’s five years of experience, the following study provides, for the first time, economic data on the audiovisual production sector in Europe.

  • LANGE, A., & JÉZEQUEL, J. P. (coord). Economy of European TV Fiction. Market Value and Producers-Broadcasters Relations, Estrasburgo, European Audiovisual Observatory, 2000, 144 p.

The following report examines the impact of increased TV fiction production and its expansion into prime time, the rising production costs, and an emphasis on family-oriented programming.

  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. “Playing it Safe. Spanish Fiction in 1998”, en M. Buonando (ed.), Continuity and Change. Television Fiction in Europe, Luton, University of Luton, 2000.

The 1999 report deals with the gradual abandonment of the set by productions and their move to the street to discover the natural landscapes and the professional world. New genres, new scenarios, more realistic topics, and bigger creative and economic risks are introduced. In this context, the transition from the family comedy to the boom in the police genre takes place.

  • “Meno famiglia e più polizia”. La fiction spagnola nel 1999”, en M. Buonano (comp.), Eurofiction 2000. Quarto rapporto sulla fiction televisiva in Europa, Roma, RAI-ERI, VQPT n. 179, 2000, pp. 149-170.
  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. “Less Family and More Police. Spanish TV Fiction en 1999”, en M. Buonano, (comp.), Television Fiction in Europe. Report 2000, Estrasburgo, European Audiovisual Observatory, 2000, pp. 111-129.
  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. “Informe Eurofiction Más familia y menos policía, en Zer. Revista de estudios de comunicación, n. 9, noviembre 2000, pp. 35-60.
  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. “Less Family and More Police. Spanish TV Fiction in 1999”, en M. Buonano (comp.), Eurofiction, Napoli, Luguori, 2002.

According to the beginning of the industrial take-off of fiction in Spain, the report on the year 2000 highlights the innovation in production and the trend to deal with more realistic topics.

  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. “Tra innovazione e conformismo. La fiction tv spagnola nel 2000”, en M. Buonano (comp), Eurofiction 2001. Quinto rapporto sulla fiction televisiva in Europa, Roma, RAI-ERI, VQPT n. 185, 2002, pp. 155-174.
  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. “Between Innovation and Conformism. Spanish TV Fiction in 2000”, en M. Buonano, (comp.), Television Fiction in Europe. Report 2001, Estrasburgo, European Audiovisual Observatory, 2001, pp. 115-131.
  • ÁLVAREZ, R.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. “Informe Eurofiction España 2000. Entre innovación y conformismo, en Revista de estudios de comunicación, n. 11, noviembre 2001, pp. 35-60.

The two following articles analyses the representation of the past in Temps de silenci and Cuéntame Cómo pasó, along with the review of the 2001 Spanish TV fiction. The issue also addresses the lack of diversification of genres and formats in the Spanish market and the low level of investment in production compared to other European countries.

  • LACALLE, Ch. “Éxitos y fracasos. Análisis de caso: Temps de silenci y Cuéntame cómo pasó”, en en Grupo EUROFICTION, La producción de ficción televisiva en España, Barcelona, Quaderns del CAC, número extraordinario noviembre 2002, pp. 37-49.
  • LACALLE, Ch. “Las producciones de 2001”, en Grupo EUROFICTION, La produccinó de ficción televisiva en Espanya, Barcelona, en Quaderns del CAC, número extraordinario noviembre 2002, pp. 51-80.

Despite the boom in reality shows in 2002, autonomic fiction stands out in Spain thanks to the support of their respective governments (more political than financial), the effort to produce quality programmes at low cost, and the closeness to the everyday life of the stores, introduces a cultural diversification that differs notably from national productions.

  • ARNANZ, C.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. “Il tempo de la fiction locale. La fiction TV spagnola nel 2001 », en M. Buonano (comp.), Sesto rapporto sulla fiction televisiva in Europa, Roma, RAI-ERI, VQPT n. 191, 2003, pp. 131-147.
  • ARNANZ, C.; LACALLE, Ch.; VILCHES, L. “The Moment of Local Fiction. Spanish TV Fiction in 2001”, en Television Fiction in Europe. Report 2002, Estrasburgo, European Audiovisual Observatory, 2002, pp. 83-97.

Using the same structure and methodology as the yearbook reports, the following publication identifies forms of concentration and measures independent production share in each Eurofiction countries’ market. It also distinguishes between the cyclical evolution and the more structural characteristics of European fiction production.

  • Eurofiction Économie. Économie de la fiction télévisuelle en Europe, París, INA, 2003. 158 p.

 

Medrano, Aierbe, and Onejudo (2009) argue that the main differences in reception occur in external aspects such as parental control, which is more rigid in the case of girls. Lacalle (2010a) includes a brief synthesis of Spanish television fiction research in her historical overview of studies focused on effects. Aran (2010) outlines the high level of understanding of television discourses among teenagers and points out that they tend to be very critical concerning the social representation of gender in fiction. Ramajo et al. (2008) confirm this and point out that interviewees consider female characters’ portrayal to be stereotypical and unrealistic. Fedele and García (2010) analyze the studies on youth reception and television fiction carried out in the period 1980-2009 and divide them into five main blocks: cultivation effect, the analysis of motivations, appropriation of meanings by young people, construction of identities, and consumption and uses of series. Chicharro (2011) studies the active role of viewers in the reception process of the telenovela Amar en tiempos revueltos and observes their ability to define and interpret the messages according to their personal and social characteristics. The research by López, Medina de la Viña and González (2011) reveals that fiction is one of the most highly valued television genres, a symptom of the change in entertainment consumption, particularly of TV contents. Diego, Etayo and Pardo (2011) study audience reception in contrast with the perception of quality of professionals in Los Serrano, Cuéntame cómo pasó and La familia Mata.

Lacalle evidence the role of fiction in the transmission of social values. She warns of the possible impact of neoliberal models of consumption and leisure on young people (Lacalle, 2012 and 2016a) and women (Lacalle, 2013). The work of Fernández and Aguado (2013) explores the staging in traditional comedy of acid humor, away from stereotypical characters and conventional moralism, through the analysis of the pioneering series Larry David and its influence on Spanish production ¿Qué fue de Alejandro Sanz?.  Simelio, Ortega and Medina (2013) demonstrate the need to introduce greater diversity in the construction of characters to cater to a viewer who demands a fictional product more representative of nowadays’ society. The purpose of the article by Diego and Etayo (2013) is to explore the effects that the viewer’s circumstances may have on preferences for fiction series. Chicharro (2014) explores the relationship between the younger generations and the consumption of television fiction and video games, intending to construct a situation map of the products preferred by this group, their motivations, and how they select the formats to be consumed. Along the same lines, Gómez and López (2014) examine young Spaniards’ television reception and highlight their interest in fiction and multiscreen consumption. In another study carried out a year later, both authors observed a trend for viewers to participate in the network and react to audiovisual content during the period closest to their television viewing (Gómez and López, 2015). The distributive audience research carried out by Barrientos (2014) allows the author to investigate the evolution of Aguila Roja from its premiere in February 2009 to January 2012, the Globomedia series broadcast by the Spanish national public television channel TVE, which has become an audience phenomenon in Spain. The study by Aran, Medina and Rodrigo (2015) explores the ways that Spanish youth audiences respond to representations of gender and sexual identity in fictional love relationships.

Through the content analysis of the four seasons of ‘Hospital Central,’ Mancebo and Ramos (2015) highlight the scarce presence of older people, the preference for giving visibility to younger adult characters, or the notable differences by gender, protagonism, and role, among others. Lacalle and Pujol’s (2016) study on the impact of gender and generation on reception confirms the influence of the generation gap on viewers’ preferences and their different ways of watching television. However, it also reveals that the solidarity established among women to maintain and prolong viewing pleasure mitigates the aforementioned digital divide between older and younger women. González and Quintas (2016) analyse the linear, social and time-shifted viewing behaviour of Spanish fiction series and conclude that success in the former does not ensure superiority in social reception. The results of Rodríguez’s (2016) work, focused on the determining factors for the success of historical fictions such as ‘La Señora,’ show the importance of economic factors in the production design, together with the subordination of historical elements to dramatic ones. Menéndez’s (2017) analysis reveals that fiction’s role as a constructor of youth identity has more influence on the female audience. Chicharro (2017) analyses students’ reception trends of the Audiovisual Communication Degree in Spain to configure a map of their consumption strategies and the discourses they articulate around them. The study by Fedele, Masanet and Ventura (2019) on the representation of affective relationships and gender roles in television fiction shows young university students’ preference for “amor ludens,” based on enjoyment and the present moment. 

García de Castro (2007) analyses the loss of hegemony of linear television due to the arrival of second screens and explores the new media acclaimed by the younger generations: the Internet and IP television. Galán and del Pino (2010) examine the commercial strategies of web 3.0 and El Internado used by Antena3 to attract young viewers. Herrero and Diego’s (2010) article analyses the process of content creation by the user and its exploitation on television – through a journey through the origin – production and distribution of online series in Spain. The same authors (2010) review and classify the supply of serialised fiction on the web, distinguishing the different content distributors and highlighting commercial channels’ strategies.

González and López (2011) identify young people’s preferences for the internet or mobile phones for watching television content, as well as the most interactive and participatory formats. Along the same lines, Morales and Hernández (2012) study the Spanish production of web series in 2010 and predict a growth that, for the moment, does not translate into relevance concerning television fiction. The young Spaniards surveyed by López, González and Medina (2011) prefer online viewing in order to be able to build their own à la carte grill, a result confirmed by Navarro, González, Massana, et. al. (2012) as well as for Lacalle (2012). This researcher concludes that people in this age group consume more fiction online than the rest of the population and combine viewing with comments on the programmes in forums and social networks. Ramos, Lozano and Hernández-Santolalla (2012) examine the advertising strategy of television series based on the fan phenomenon and find that fandom groups’ creations positively promote the programmes and give them a high degree of virality. Simelio and Ruiz (2013) address the treatment of television fiction series on the web 2.0 and viewers’ active involvement by creating fanfiction and participation in forums and social networks. The study by Hernández, Ruiz and Simelio (2013) makes a methodological proposal to analyze the mechanisms and strategies for the dissemination and promotion of fiction products carried out by Spanish television channels via the Internet. The research by López, Medina de la Viña and González (2013) shows that the reception of audiovisual products by the new generations tends to be one-to-one, individualistic and quick consumption.

Mayor (2013) approaches the phenomenon of transmedia narrative expansion through the analysis of four Antena3 series, comparing the network’s strategies with those of other North American series. The research on transmediality in Spanish fiction, carried out by OFENT (Lacalle, 2013), reconstructs the transmedia Spanish Fiction map and analyses the different areas of debate in the forums and social networks dedicated to the programmes. Alonso (2015) analyses crossmedia storytelling developed by Mediaset and Atresmedia’s programs and drama television series, using a non-experimental qualitative method, to translate an integrated multimedia message. Other OFENT studies focus on the relationship between Spanish television fiction and female viewers. Muñoz (2016) demonstrates that despite the need to puncture the cultural bubble of the television series, the criticism of its possible artistic condition has sinned as being essentialist in its attempt to separate or differentiate art from what belongs to the field of culture and entertainment. Thus, Lacalle and Castro’s (2016) analysis of the promotion of fiction in these spaces shows that, despite the programs’ enormous activity, the channels do not sufficiently exploit transmedia resources. Coronado and Rueda (2016) argue that a nationalist framework has influenced the transmedia practices generated around the series El Ministerio del Tiempo (TVE1: 2015) and that the fan community’s responses have not questioned the hegemonic meanings proposed by the original story. Fuente, Cortés, and Martínez (2016) explore the transmedia activity of ‘Víctor Ros,’ the series that represented the introduction of a new broadcasting model in Spain, based on transmedia narration in which social media participate in the plot. The work of Korres and Elexpuru (2016) shows that adolescents value the humor and personality of television fiction characters and their healthy relationship with family and friends, and both boys and girls prefer male characters older than themselves. Rodríguez, Tur,  and Mora (2016) analyze the traffic generated on YouTube around Spanish television series to characterize both the strategies used by television networks and their efforts in the construction of a transmedia narrative universe.Cascajosa and Molina (2017) study the narrative transmedia strategies of this television series and describe the variety of media used (audio fiction, web series, virtual reality chapter, novelisation). Chamorro (2017) focuses on users’ relationships through digital text on online platforms on the historical memory of Spain and Chile, intending to understand the meaning of memory from users by exploring the conditions and elements of social significance.The work of Lacalle and Pujol (2017) points out that users’ interactions reveal their desire to express and share feelings and emotions resulting from the interrelation between the programmes and their daily lives. Pousa and Fornasari (2017) explore the Italian and Portuguese adaptation of ‘Cuéntame cómo pasó’ to understand the type of historical representation from the concept of transsexuality and identity that underlies these new patrimonial fictions. In his analysis of the production company ‘El Deseo,’ Zurián (2017) addresses the production of the fiction series ‘Mujeres’ and the effort it requires from the company due to its innovation in reflecting different modes of representation of Spanish society and women in particular. Chamorro (2018) studies the messages related to historical memory on some Chilean and Spanish series online platforms. Meanwhile, it shows the main networks that host the largest number of discussions around historical memory. The results of the analysis by Gutiérrez and García (2018) from ‘La chica de ayer,’ based on the British series Live on Mars, highlights that cultural traits must permeate the deepest layers of the narrative, as well as the story, in the adaptations of scripted television formats. Lacalle and Castro (2018) argue, in their analysis of fans’ discourses, that the internet confirms the potential of television fiction to stimulate reflection on the construction of users’ identities. Cascajosa (2018) explores the arrival of video on demand (VOD) services and relates the changes in television consumption to a gradual reconfiguration of fiction produced in Spain. Codina (2018) analyzes the characteristics of systematic and systematized bibliographic reviews and outlines their possibilities of application to academic works in the field of Human and Social Sciences. In their study of the representation of Latin Americans in Spanish series, Romero et al. (2018) highlight a greater presence of negative connotations, exalting the stereotyped anti-values of this community in Spain. The study by Quintas, Vázquez and González (2019) analyse the official media and platforms that make up the transmedia universe of the series Si fueras tú (RTVE, 2017) and notes the impossibility of quantifying its audience in a standardised way. García’s (2020) research reflects how the diegetic music choices in ‘Cuéntame cómo pasó’, made from the perspective of the 21st century, draw through the musical landscape the dichotomies of Spain in the 70s. Hidalgo and Segarra-Saavedra (2020) analyse the promotion of Spanish fiction, using this same series, Si fueras tú, to demonstrate the interactive and loyalty-building capacity of a transmedia strategy in the promotion and dissemination of fiction content. Lacalle and Sánchez (2020) indicate that the format, the television genre, and the setting of the programme determine the interventions of the social audience and demonstrate that the digital discourses of fans open up new spaces for public debate.

Torrado and Castelo (2005) underline the keys to the success of nationally produced fiction series that achieved a priority space on the television grid in the early 2000s, displacing first-run films or American series in the process. Rueda (2006) approaches fiction in the late Francoism framework and describes the formal components, the phenomena of reception, and the socio-cultural context in which the television phenomenon is historically inscribed. Galán (2007b) highlights the influence of the social context in reconstructing the past carried out by fiction. Chicharro and Rueda (2008) show that the narrative approach of the serial Amar en tiempos revueltos increases the viewer’s involvement with the message. Furthermore, Chicharro (2009) delves into the socialising function of television through the study of the telenovela La Señora and, in this way, confirms the frequent use of emotional strategies to explain more effectively to the audience the Spanish society of the past. Corbalán, A. (2009) analyze the reconstruction of the historical past in ‘Cuéntame cómo pasó’ and points out that the series establishes a retrospective and critical look at recent Spanish history through a nostalgic perception of the past. In this line, Rueda and Guerra (2009) argue that the evocation of the past in current Spanish television fiction seeks audience recognition and empathy through the appeal to nostalgia and cultural adaptation of the stories to the present.

Rueda (2009) rethinks the role of historical fiction in Spanish national television and describes its functions to define the characteristics of the genre and the production of cultural and historical meanings. Rueda and Coronado (2009) propose an integrated perspective on immediate history and its translation into multiple productions: fictional series and miniseries, soap operas, TVmovies, montage documentaries, investigative journalistic proposals, news pieces, or commemorative reports. The research by Rueda and Martín (2010) highlights the fact that documentary and fictional accounts of the end of the dictatorship in Spain have developed a tactic of rearranging the initial, restrictive, and ‘domesticated’ official imaginary of Franco’s death, tending to establish a parallel simplified reading of the historical memory of the period. Palacio and Ciller’s (2010) review of Spanish fiction programming set in the past highlights the desire for the cohesion of the idea of the nation-state that characterises these programmes. Rueda and Coronado (2010) examine two examples of narrative evocation of television, set in the 1960s and 1970s, and note the importance of television as an active factor in the popular culture of this historical period. Rueda’s work (2011) analyses the content and historical evocation of the miniseries Adolfo Suárez, el Presidente and Felipe y Letizia, deber y querer to contrast the use of different meanings about the monarchy by Spanish fiction. The same author (2011) identifies some features that define historical spaces as a category of memory and argues that representing this type of scenario should not be considered a mere inclusion of sets or backgrounds in historical fiction. Castillo, Simelio, and Ruiz (2012) relate the audience success of fiction set in the past with the need to submit the issues addressed to public discussion. Gutiérrez and Diego (2012) analyse the strategies of dramatic representation of war consciousness in the TVE 1 television series La Señora and 14 de Abril. La República. Cascajosa (2012) shows that the approach to the past in La chica de Ayer (Antena 3, 2009) responds to a clearly ideologised vision, which presents an attenuated and idealised image of the process of the Spanish transition to democracy.

Chicharro (2012) addresses the role of fiction as a tool to explain Spanish society in the present and the past by studying the soap opera 14 de abril, la República. González de Garay’s (2012) research approaches the historical and cultural context of the TVE series Brigada Central, and highlights the spirit of disenchantment with the Spanish democratic transition. Galán and Rueda (2013) show that the fiction on generalist channels set in the Spanish Civil War (Temps de silenci, Amar en tiempos revueltos, and Plaza de España) is directly linked to spatio-temporal coordinates from which a look at the past is offered in terms of the present. Pintor et al. (2012) confirm that medical students are attracted to medical-themed series, concluding that teachers must stimulate a critical vision of their medical-scientific content. Rey, Valdivieso, and Arija (2012) demonstrate the existence of covert tobacco advertising in television series broadcast on networks, an almost common presence, despite the anti-smoking law that prohibits it. Guerrero’s (2014)  article investigates the complexity of transmedia narrative and fan productions from a perspective that combines semiotics and virtualized ethnography, highlighting a novel proposal of roles played by users in their interaction with television websites. Pao’s (2014) comparison between the ‘Aída’ series and the film ‘Una palabra tuya’ (González-Sinde, 2008) highlights that the latter opens up new narrative paths for the working class, focused on physical conditions and labor, aestheticization and non-idealization of working life, and the consciousness of a multiple we expressed through the narrator’s self. In his research, Rey (2014) tries to draw an assessment of the collective memory processes in post-Franco Spain reflected in ‘Cuéntame cómo pasó’ throughout its thirteen years of broadcast. Belmonte (2015) makes a critical analysis of the programme Curso del 63 (Antena 3, 2009) as the asymptomatic text of the post-television culture in Spain and connects it with various cultural fictions around the politics of the (dis)historical memory of the Francoist past in Spain. Galán and Rueda (2014) analyse the historical and memory representations of the miniseries La Duquesa and Alfonso through three framing frameworks: trivial nationalism, the symbolic evocation of the elites, and that of ordinary people.

Coronado, C. (2015) examines the representation of Franco in television fiction ’20-N’. ‘Los últimos días de Franco’ (Antena 3, 2008), where he shows his most private dimension by focusing on the dictator’s death. Brémard (2015) studies the representations of the Spanish democratic transition proposed by television in Spain from 1995 to the present day and finds the permanence of conflicting memories, taboo issues, and the absence of a consensual and serene collective imaginary about the period. Coronado, C. and Galán, E. (2015) analyze the image that series, such as ‘Cuéntame cómo pasó’ or ‘La chica de ayer’ and how these have portrayed the feminist movements and women in the transition periodRuiz (2016) argues that the success of the historical fiction series Isabel and El Ministerio del Tiempo is related to the strategy of transmitting history in a close and natural way to the viewer, using historical characters as a key to open the doors of the past and shaping the historical truth to make it interesting. Santana (2015) explores the interest in historical memory and analyzes some of the most salient features of ‘Temps de silenci’ and ‘Cuéntame cómo pasó,’ arguing that the appeal of the past in contemporary Spanish culture is linked to the crisis of national identities. Chamorro (2017) focuses on users’ relationships through digital text on online platforms on the historical memory of Spain and Chile, intending to understand the meaning of memory from users by exploring the conditions and elements of social significance. Gómez (2017) shows that the evolution of the genre of family television comedy in Spain is marked by the political, social, economic, and cultural changes experienced by Spanish society in recent years and the audiovisual maturity of viewers. Chamorro (2018) studies the messages related to historical memory on some Chilean and Spanish series online platforms. Meanwhile, it shows the main networks that host the largest number of discussions around historical memory. Sanz (2017) explores the feelings of LGBTQ people in a rural region of Spain regarding their representations in television series in English-speaking countries, showing that the leading cause of rejection is the inaccuracy of the conceptualizations used in the narratives. Codina (2018) analyzes the characteristics of systematic and systematized bibliographic reviews and outlines their possibilities of application to academic works in the field of Human and Social Sciences. Lacalle (2018) analyses Spanish fiction in the 1980s and highlights the role of miniseries set in the past to recover historical memory and points out the contribution of drama and crime fiction to realistically represent the democratic society that emerged from the Transition.  Menéndez (2020) analyses the representation of crime journalism in the 1960s through the protagonists of the series El Caso (TVE, 2016). Gonçalves (2020) examines the adaptations of Cuéntame cómo pasó, particularly that of the Portuguese channel RTP1, and highlights the construction of an inoffensive and anachronistic account of the dictatorial past full of nostalgia, of “Saudade.” Cascajosa (2020) addresses the representation of the last part of the transition to democracy in El Ministerio del Tiempo and concludes that the representation of this period is marked by nostalgia and ambiguity about the results of the Transition. De la Cuadra De Colmenares (2020) analyses the presence of archive images in historical productions, the integrity of these elements, and their role in the narrative of fiction, concluding that not all images that may appear to be historical documents really are. De Caso, E.; González de Garay, B. and Marcos, M. (2020) analyze the current state of gender representation in prime-time television series in Spanish broadcast by the main channels and conclude, among other things, that there is an under-representation of women, while sexual dissent is underrepresented. Lacalle (2020) explores the role of Arde Madrid‘s paratext (Movistar+, 2018) in interpreting the series, whose location in an extratextual time and space makes it a referent of the social memory of the Madrid of the early 1960s that it recalls. In another study on Arde Madrid, Lacalle (2021) shows that the revision of the symbols of Spanishness associated with Francoism and Madrid’s social representation in the sixties make the series a symbolic place of collective memory. 

Del Pino (2006) studies the application and 12-year evolution of the advertising format “brand placement” in six Spanish series, intending to classify and categorize the 2,047 cases of brand presence, each treated under six different dimensions. Galán (2007) studies the construction of gender and the stereotypes used in Spanish television fiction in two highly successful series and proposes a model of analysis aimed at recognising and categorising these representations. Belmonte and Guillamón (2008) argue that gender stereotypes act as models of inequality in constructing young people’s identity. Medina and Rodrigo (2009) examine the narrative structures of love discourse in Los Serrano and Porca Misèria, revealing the relationship between fictional representations and social change. Menéndez (2010) analyses the series Mujeres, a Spanish production that addresses and dignifies the everyday life of women, and compares it with Desperate Housewives to understand how the Spanish telenovela (re)elaborates the most salient elements of American fiction. The gender perspective is also the approach used by González de Garay (2011) to analyse the container programme El destino en sus manos, where viewers could decide the direction of the series Mar de dudas. Capdevila, Araüna, and Tortajada (2011) analyse the Spanish adaptation of the Colombian soap opera Sin tetas no hay paraíso and denounce the persistence of the traditional patriarchal model in the representation of women and sexuality. Sánchez Aranda et al. (2011) identify the presence of new female stereotypes, such as “la choni,” in the fictions they analyse and the presence of a “masculinised woman,” whose role as wife and mother adapts to the new family canons that present the single-parent model as predominant.

García, Fedele, and Gómez (2012) show the unequal representation of male and female occupational roles in fiction in this genre of broadcast by national general channels during the 2009/2010 season. Ortega and Simelio (2012) compare the male and female characters in the 16 Spanish series with the highest ratings and conclude that there is no gender equality. Similarly, Tous, Meso, and Simelio (2013) analyse women’s image in six Spanish television dramas and find a higher volume of male characters in the leading roles and maintenance of female stereotypes. Lacalle (2014) examines the pros and cons of gender representations in Spanish television fiction and shows that, despite the reiteration of stereotypes and commonplaces, female characters’ characterization displays its didactic potential in relation to social issues (disability, lesbianism, etc.). Menéndez (2014) studies the representation of gender in Mujeres and Con dos tacones based on the contributions of feminist epistemology and finds that the former is an excellent example of female empowerment, while the latter ridicule female subjectivity. Aran et al. (2014) analyse the Catalan series Porca misèria and confirm the presence of four models of masculinity (dialogic, narcissistic, affectionate, and donjuanista), which implies a distancing from cliché representations to approach new social realities. The socio-semiotic analysis of the mother’s representations in Spanish television fiction allows Lacalle and Sánchez (2015) to classify them according to the different roles they play. Galán (2015) examines the image of women and feminist movements in the historical fiction series Cuéntame cómo pasó and La chica de ayer. The analysis of Los protegidos and El barco allows Masanet, Medina-Bravo, and Aran-Ramspott (2016) to determine the survival of romantic love in modern stories, linked to the perpetuation of myths and stereotypes of a dominant masculinity and a submissive femininity.

The study by Lacalle and Gómez (2016) focuses on the representation of working women and underlines that stereotypes linked to traditional representations of women’s jobs (related to customer service and caring for people) coexist with other highly skilled professions.  Lacalle and Castro (2017) study representations of female sexuality and conclude that young women identify empowerment with sexual assertiveness and control, although Spanish fiction tends to present social relationships as the “natural” outcome of romantic and seductive relationships. Chicharro (2018) argues that Amar en tiempos revueltos and La Señora and 14 de abril. La República articulates a connected representation of social change in Spain, granting a leadership role to women. Medina-Bravo, Masanet, and Ferrés (2018) analyse Spanish fans’ comments on the protagonist couple of the series Los protegidos and find that the audience justifies the male character’s aggressive behaviour towards the female character, blaming her for his mistreatment. Research on gender representation in Spanish fiction by Cerezo, González de Garay, and Marcos (2019) found underrepresentation of female characters (and their association with low-skilled occupations) and an excessive overrepresentation of heterosexual native characters. Along the same lines, the results of the study by Portillo, González de Garay, and Marcos (2019) indicate that contemporary Spanish prime-time television series hypersexualise their female characters and socialise them in male contexts.

Masanet and Dhaenens (2019) explore the meaning of the representation of gender violence in the series Física o Química and conclude that, although adolescents have internalised a series of stereotypes and myths about romantic love that can be dangerous because they justify this violence, the series induces them to question these myths and roles. Fedele and Masanet (2019) study show that Spanish teenage fiction constructs a feminine sphere linked to responsibility, sensitivity, and a masculine, rebellious and virile one. Pichel, Gómez-Puertas, and Medina (2019) confirm that, despite the growing diversity in the representation of masculinities in Fontealba (TVG, 2016) and Serramoura (TVG, 2014), the patriarchal model continues to be hegemonic. Bonavitta and De Garay (2019) analyze, from a Critical Analysis of the Discourse based on the feminist methodology, the constructions of women in three TV Spanish series, focused on the social representations of gender that are produced and materialized in the new commitment of the cultural industry. The analysis by Gómez, González de Garay, and Marcos (2020) of the female characters in the TV series Entre Visillos (TVE1, 1974) shows that most of the main characters are upper-class women who, despite spending a lot of time talking about their romantic relationships, never change partners. The analysis of gender representation by De Caso Bausela, González de Garay, and Marcos (2020) also highlights the under-representation of female characters, their less skilled professional occupations, and the scarce diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity. Arcila, Marcos, and González de Garay (2020) create a diversity index by analysing gender roles, sexual orientation, nationality, and age and conclude that, in general, the diversity shown in Spanish audiovisual fiction is very low.  Lacalle (2021) explores once more the representations of motherhood in Spanish television fiction, although this time she focuses on Thrillers with the goal of examining the difficulty of integrating the complexity of the working life of police woman with their motherhood. Barrios, González de Garay, and Marcos (2021) identify the persistence of gender stereotypes in the content analysis on streaming platforms in a total of 760 characters from 33 series on Movistar +, HBO, Amazon Prime, Atresplayer Premium, and Netflix.

González de Garay (2009) studies the differences in the representation of the lesbian issue between television content produced for the Internet and for linear TV in Spain and notes the heteronormativity of the latter in contrast to the greater diversity and thematic variety presented in online series. González de Garay and Alfeo (2010) analyse the representation of homosexuality in the television context of the reform of the Civil Code that legalised same-sex marriage in Spain in 2005 by comparing two models of fiction: the queer model, represented by series such as Queer as Folk or The L World, and the integrated model of Aquí no hay quien viva and Hospital Central. González de Garay’s research (2012) reveals that Spanish television fiction has predominantly opted to offer an integrated image of lesbianism, although the discourse has evolved throughout history, giving rise to different modes of representation (hidden, marginalising, vindicatory and integrated). Mayor (2014) confirms that transmedia storytelling is taking its first steps in Spain and describes the transmedia strategies of the Antena3 network in different productions, comparing them with other North American series.

Francisco et al. (2016) confirm the preponderance of the traditional model of attraction over other more egalitarian alternative models by studying the construction and interpretation of the myth of romantic love in the lesbian relationship in the series Tierra de lobos. Alfeo and González de Garay (2017) analyse diachronically the representation of homosexuality in cinema and television during Franco’s dictatorship and identify three ways of circumventing the censorship of the time (concealment, caricature, and appropriation). Scolari and Establés (2017) joint work highlights the importance of the transmedia strategies of ‘El Ministerio del Tiempo,’ one of the most exciting examples produced in Spain. Marcos, González de Garay, and Sánchez (2019) review lesbian protagonists in Spanish fiction in their relationship with motherhood and note their evolution both in the way of accessing motherhood and in the characterisation of the characters themselves. Considering the relevance of social and political changes on the emergence of lesbian representation, Calvo And Escudero (2009) studies the ways in which the prime time TV series Hospital Central unravels as a vehicle for the normalization of lesbian relationships and families as addressed to a mostly heterosexual audience. 

Perales and Pérez-Chica (2008) analyse child stereotypes in television fiction aimed at children and young people and observe that the audiovisual market’s interests condition the portrait of minors in television stories. Guarinos (2009) compares adolescents’ representation in Spanish and American fiction and concludes that domestic fiction representations are more transgressive and progressive than the American ones, particularly concerning sexuality. Lacalle’s (2010) study of the representations of young people in television fiction shows the frequent association of this social group with sex and leisure, although most of the contributions also recognise the educational aspect of the programmes. Fedele and García’s (2011) analysis of youth television fiction identifies some elements that characterize its content and presence in the television programming: the adolescent target at which they are aimed and their relationship with generic teen TV.

Chicharro (2012) reflects on television fiction’s capacity to represent both youth groups and their relationship with the adult environment in the Antena3 series Física o Química. OFENT’s research (Lacalle, 2013) on young characters (15-29 years old) in Spanish fiction broadcasts between 2010 and 2011 reveals the programs’ didactic potential. Fedele (2014) highlights the perpetuation of patriarchal and heteronormative gender stereotypes in the representation of young people in teenage series. Although he qualifies the psychological characteristics, plots and storylines offer a more egalitarian gender representation. The study by García, Fedele, and Prado (2014) analyses adolescent consumption of fiction with the double aim of providing indications to television programmers and to institutions in the design of communication education policies. Belmonte (2017) reviews the origin and evolution of youth mutant characters, defined within the framework of the superheroes narrative genre, in comics, film, and television fiction, and critically examines their character as a metaphor for youth. The following year (2018), the author analyses the social, educational, and television discourses on youth and education in Spanish fiction and proposes a convergence between the channel’s ideology and the representations.

Lacalle (2005) examines the evolution of the representation of AIDS patients between 1995 and 2004 and highlights the didactic nature of Spanish fiction on the subject. In another study on medical fiction broadcast on Spanish television (Lacalle, 2008b), the author identifies the archetypes and tropes that have most influenced current productions. The study by Masanet, Medina, and Ferrés (2012) shows that affective relationships (amorous and sexual) are a fundamental part of series aimed at young people. Costa and Piñeiro (2013) study the case of three successful Spanish series (Águila Roja, El Barco y Amar en tiempos revueltos) and the narrative strategies implemented to create a transmedia product capable of reaching a larger audience through more channels. Pérez-López (2013) examines the image of physical education in the series Compañeros, Física o Química and El Internado, and demonstrates the use of an oversimplified vision of this discipline that is far removed from reality. Pérez-Lopez and Trigueros  (2014) show that physical education subject is socially undervalued, anchored in a mechanistic approach. The article by Martins and Ferré (2015) analyzes the treatment of the same-sex parenting family in fiction series in Brazil and Spain, confirming the potential of television when it comes to consolidating new affective-loving portrayal and showing representations that articulate desire and tradition in relationships.González de Garay, Frutos, and Del Arco (2016) analyse the representation of illnesses in Hospital Central (Telecinco, 2000-2012) and conclude that neither these nor the sick characters’ profile the series correspond to the statistical incidence data for the period and place of broadcasting. The study of Lacalle and Gómez (2018) on disease, disability, and consumption of toxic substances by the female characters of the Spanish television fiction, shows the low importance of problems related to women’s health and the widespread disregard for the promotion of healthy habits. Palenzuela, Marcos, and González de Garay (2019) note that the small number of representations of characters with functional diversity in Spanish fiction tends to overlook their autonomy as individuals, both in the sphere of their daily activities and that they rarely hold leading roles.

Ruiz et al. (2006) focus on five prototypical narratives in which immigrant characters usually appear in Spanish television series and reflect on the possible effects of these recurrent narrative frames in constructing a public image of immigration. The analysis of immigrants’ representations in El Comisario and Hospital Central allows Galán (2006) to confirm the massive use of negative stereotypes assigned to this social figure. Lacalle’s (2008a) exhaustive analysis of the representation of immigration in the fictions broadcast between 1999 and 2007 reveals the didactic nature of Spanish television fiction concerning the different periods of the productions and evidences the evolution in the representations. On the contrary, Igartua et al. (2011) argue that the construction of the immigrant-foreigner in prime-time television fiction is biased and stereotyped. The article by Ruiz et al. (2011) presents a qualitative and quantitative analysis method of semiotic narrative, applied to a case study on the image projected by immigrants in Spanish television series. The study by Igartua et al. in 2013 observes apparent differences in the representation of foreign/immigrant and national/native characters depending on their demographic variables (such as level of education and occupation) and their psycho-social configuration (violent behaviour, victimisation, and cognitive efficacy). Biscarrat and Meléndez (2014) found that the representation of immigration in Aída is subject to ethno-racial stereotypes, a fact linked to the sitcom genre that imbues the characters with limited and almost always caricatured defining features. The work by Marcos (2014) evaluates the treatment received by immigrants, the relationships they establish with native characters, and the methods used to construct them in television fiction representations. Along the same lines, the study by Marcos and Igartua (2014) reveals that immigrant characters are emotionally limited and that their interactions take place primarily in work environments that do not allow for sentimental development.  Salvador’s (2016)  study analyzes the paradigmatic exercise of ‘historical fiction’ carried out by the Isabel series (TVE, 2012-2014), which preserves the historical rigor without neglecting the entertainment tone typical of a television dramaturgy.

The study by Igartua et al. (2014) confirms the under-representation of immigrant characters and their largely negative image, reflecting on the role that television fiction could play in reducing prejudices through mediated intergroup contact. The scriptwriters interviewed by Marcos (2014) explain the process of creating and incorporating immigrant characters in the main Spanish series and films. Likewise, the content analysis of more than 2,000 characters and more than 100 programmes carried out by Marcos et al. (2014) concludes that there is an under-representation of immigrant characters and that their construction is based on stereotypes. Igartua and Marcos (2015) argue that the immigrant figure is assigned a lower identification potential, influencing personality traits and narrative importance. González de Garay (2019) studies the psycho-social characterisation of immigrant characters in Spanish prime time television series and concludes that autochthonous characters present a greater tendency towards violent behaviour, while immigrants/foreigners are more likely to use drugs and are often characterised as unfair, seductive or perverse. Along these lines, Portillo, Marcos, and González de Garay (2019) confirm the underrepresentation of immigration versus the overrepresentation of Spanish emigration and note that foreign characters come mainly from Europe, Africa, and the United States, predominantly occupy background narrative roles and are characterised by their higher university education and their greater presence of criminal and police/military activities.

Cascajosa (2007) notes the influence of American series on Spanish fiction contents, as does Canovaca (2011). Diego and Grandío (2009) examine the influence of Friends (NBC: 1994-2004) on 7 vidas (Tele5: 1999-2006). Castelló (2010) attributes the proximity fiction’s success to the process of cultural adaptation of American fiction. In another 2011 study, Diego and Grandío review some of the adaptations of TVE and the commercial channels Antena3 and Tele5, a research line that they recover the following year intending to provide an overview of the most significant television adaptations in Spain between 1956 and 2012. Díaz-Maroto, Puebla, and Iñigo (2012) study the differences between the novel Crematorio (Rafael Chirbes, 2007) and the television series of the same name directed by Jorge Sánchez (Canal Plus, 2011), especially concerning the construction and representation of the characters.

Chicharro (2011) notes the institutionalisation of the telenovela “formula” in what he calls “culebrón nacional”. Canovaca (2013) highlights the “mimetic” character of the Spanish adaptations, although he points out that the dialogues include his references. The article by Pousa (2015) explores the projection of the country that ‘Cuéntame cómo pasó’ creates around Argentina in the framework of Operation Spain in 1969, and around Portugal, through the Carnation Revolution of 1974. Lacalle (2016b) analyses the intersemiotic translation carried out by Adolfo Aristarian in Las aventuras de Pepe Carvallho, based on the scripts by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán and Domènech Font. Tous (2017) compares the different adaptations for the big and small screen of Manuel de Pedrolo’s novel Mecanoscrit del segon origen. Diego and Grandío (2018) work reflects on the keys to adapting Spanish television productions abroad. It focuses on The Mysteries of Laura (TVE1), adapted in 2014 by NBC in the United States. The work of Ivars and Zaragoza (2018) explores the use of the transmedia narrative of the fiction contents of Lab RTVE in 2015 and 2016 and elaborates a rubric with the elements that condition the transmediality of an audiovisual product.

Diego and Pardo (2008) examine the concept, product, and export of family dramedies, while Diego and Herrero (2009) focus on Médico de familia. Chicharro (2009) explores the capacity of television to reflect some of the dynamics of social change affecting Spanish society, especially those related to the family’s institution. Medina (2009) analyses the economic exploitation of family series, and Cortés (2008) analyses programming. The research conducted by Lacalle’s group (2013) on the representations of Spanish premiere fiction broadcast between 2011 and 2012 analyses the narrative construction of family relationships and problems. Guerra’s (2015)  work deals with the representation of Franco’s private image, from the cinematographic to television series, and shows that the recreation of the historical past manages to humanize the character given the average spectator. Lacalle and Gómez (2016) study women’s representation in the family context of Spanish fiction, and Lacalle and Hidalgo (2016) analyses its evolution. Lacalle and Sánchez (2016) explore motherhood’s representation and conclude that the construction of the female subject is fundamentally based on sentimental plots and sexuality. The maternal role is situated more on the margins of the stories. Hidalgo (2017) examines female characters’ family and professional aspects to determine women’s role in the longest-running series with the highest ratings. The same author (2018) makes a taxonomy of the standard around which the family sitcom has been configured in Spain by analyzing 47 family sitcoms broadcast from 1990 to 2010. Tous, Hidalgo, and Morales (2019) examine the representation of family models in Spanish television family comedy, confirming that its representations alternate between hyperrealism and conservatism. De la Cuadra and Hidalgo (2020) study the family’s representation in television series on generalist channels broadcast between 1990 and 2010 and confirms a greater tendency towards the destructuring of families in sitcoms. Hidalgo and Palomares (2020) carry out a qualitative comparison of three Spanish and three American series to determine whether the representation of motherhood receives a narrative innovation beyond the traditional and patriarchal perspective.

Diego (2005) analyses the television fiction producer’s figure, which he considers key to the process. Lacalle (2011) interviews 18 Spanish television fiction professionals on issues such as the construction of stereotypes and verisimilitude, the use of language, etc., and finds some significant differences concerning the type of channel and the age of the people interviewed. Simelio and Forga (2014) show that the number of women behind the cameras is still much lower than that of men. The study by García and Diego (2014) defines the different professional profiles involved in buying and selling and producing cross-cultural remakes of fiction series to understand this phenomenon on a global scale. Cascajosa and Martínez (2016) argue that, in the process of vindicating the figure of women in the audiovisual sector, most attention has been paid to the field of film directing compared to areas where there is a higher proportion, such as television scriptwriting.

Cascajosa’s research (2017) addresses the need to study the professional work of women creators in the audiovisual field beyond the hegemonic category of film directing and, to do so, focuses on the television work of the screenwriter and novelist Virginia Yagüe, creator of La Señora and 14 de Abril. La República. In another study, the same author (2018) addresses the television career of Pau Freixas, screenwriter, director, and producer of the series Polseres vermelles (2012-13), Cites (2013-16) and Sé quién eres (2017), and highlights the embodiment in his figure of three changes in the industry: the international emergence of the showrunner, his unique career in television and his springboard in Catalan public television that would lead him to international success. Cascajosa (2019) also analyses the professional career of Spanish screenwriter and director Mar Coll (Barcelona, 1981), with a particular focus on what is so far her only television series, Matar al Padre (2018). Likewise, the author (2020) focuses on the professional work carried out by Blanca Álvarez in Televisión Española to define the situation of women in the television medium from the dictatorship to democracy and to show the processes of their access and professional advancement. The national scriptwriters interviewed by Marcos (2020) reflect on the generalist profile and the costumbrist nature of television fiction, the recurrence of stereotypes in the construction of the characters, and the relationship between the representations and the production company’s way of working.

 

Castelló’s (2004) comparison regarding the serials of the regional channels relates the differential cultural aspects with the success of the productions’ audience. Rueda and Chicharro (2006) examine the differential elements of reception in Spain, from the Franco era to the beginning of the 21st century. Castelló (2006) analyses Catalan fiction’s production and argues that the national construction in the series is mainly based on territorial and linguistic elements above other historical, political, and social representations. Likewise, Castelló (2007) studies the role of television fiction in the construction of national identity, a subject related to the existence of interpretative dissonances between Spanish and Catalan speakers identified by Martínez Gandía, Castelló, and López (2007). The cultural construction of Catalanness is highlighted in the discursive analysis of the serial Ventdelplà (TV3) by Lacalle (2010) and the analysis of the reception of the sitcom Plats Bruts (TV3) by Martínez Gandía (2009). Puebla and Iñigo (2009) confirm, through the analysis of 7 vidas (Tele 5: 1999-2006) and Aquí no hay quien viva (Antena 3: 2003-2006), that the stories of Spanish fiction are close and represent everyday situations, but without forgetting the most relevant aspects of current socio-political events. Rueda, Coronado, and Sánchez (2009) study television’s approach to history through different elements of analysis, such as the traditions inherited from cinema, the adaptations of the story to suit the dominant discursive logics, or the historiographical category of popular television. Castelló (2010) attributes the success of local fiction to the process of adaptation of North American fiction to the place where it is produced and consumed. Gómez-Puertas, Besalú, and Sánchez-Sánchez (2019) carry out a qualitative analysis of the most-watched home-produced fiction series on Spanish television during the period 2008-2015 and explore the values of neoliberalism through the characters that occupy the role traditionally destined to the hero or heroine. Lacalle (2021) analyses the cinematic reconstruction of Arde Madrid based on references to American blockbusters shot in Spain in the early 1960s and the cultural construction of Americanness in Spanish cinema in the 1950s.

Álvarez-Monzoncillo and López (1999) note that, despite the fact that investment in fiction has doubled in the last five years, the production sector shows serious weaknesses derived from its extreme dependence on the networks, and they hope that the arrival of the new cable and digital terrestrial television offers might strength the financial and industrial structures of the production companies. Gómez (2005) carries out a historical-critical review of works on fiction with the aim of synthesising the state of research, especially the study of Catalan serials. Cascajosa’s (2008) study analyses Spanish serial Seis hermanas (2015-2017) as an example of the renewal process that local television fiction has undergone since the economic crisis of 2008. Pardo and Diego (2008) carry out a historical review of the industry and the fiction production market in Spain to highlight the trends adopted by national series. Cascajosa (2009) provides an overview of the research activity carried out in the field of Spanish narrative fiction. Diego (2010) summarises the first fifty years of television in Spain from the point of view of the production of fictional content. The same author (2010) studies the state of the national fiction market in the context of the creation of the Cuatro and La Sexta channels.

Chicharro (2011) attempts to make the study of television fiction visible, pointing out the most relevant lines of study, as well as the difficulties faced by this area of research. Marcos (2013) analyses the role of fiction in TVE based on Águila Roja and Cuéntame cómo pasó. The same author (2013) explores the emergence of national serialised fiction, which has managed to oust from the television schedules established formats as foreign fiction, quiz shows, and reality programmes. Molina, Simelio, and Ibarz (2013) present a method of analysis experimented with film, television, and advertising products as an alternative to analyses based on general perceptions of content. Tur and Rodríguez (2014) explore the points of contact of ‘Pulseras rojas’ with narration from a transmedia perspective ‘Pulseras rojas’ and identify seven modalities: expanded access, adapted content, extended content, branded products, related activities, social interaction, and interactivity. Etayo (2015) focuses on the drama set in the past Velve. It identifies the affective reactions of viewers likely to influence their assessment of a fiction and studies the differences between viewers’ preferences based on some sociodemographic characteristics. García de Castro and Caffarel (2016) review the consequences of the economic crisis on the production and creation of fiction, responsible for the decline in content quality and consumption habits. Paul Julian Smith (2017) offers a comparative study of television fiction productions in Spain and Mexico, two countries in which television has displaced cinema as a creative medium that shapes the national narrative through an avalanche of productions that turns both countries into dramatised societies. The same author (2017) explores Spanish film and television, highlighting the strength of the remarkably influential and vibrant cultural industry, which constitutes a fertile field for innovation in the production of “transmedia” works aimed at bridging different narrative forms. Diego, Canós, and Rodríguez (2018) study the evolution of the first fictional television programmes produced by TVE from their origins in 1956 to 1975. Lacalle and Sánchez’s (2019) analysis of the different modes of fiction production highlights the paradoxical nature of a sector whose growing specialisation and vertical concentration coexists with the atomisation of independent production companies. Cascajosa (2019) sets out to x-ray the Spanish television industry and offer a diagnosis of the current situation to find ways to move forward in the immediate future. Lacalle and Simelio (2019) conclude that the consolidation of democracy in Spain and the successive socialist governments (1982-1990) favoured the renewal of the themes of classic melodrama with the inclusion of issues hitherto scarcely addressed, such as women’s liberation, sexuality, and the recovery of historical memory. In their analysis and comparison of podcasts on television series, Olmedo and López (2019) conclude that the sound acquires a new dimension in its adaptation in the television format as an independent unit in the US. Meanwhile, in Spain, it enjoys quality and a projection that foreshadows its rediscovery, even if it complements the transmedia universe. Morales, Tous, and Hidalgo (2020) make a comparison between national and Latin American telenovelas, highlighting similarities in the overlapping structure of plots and the use of dramaturgy, while differences include the design of characters and the preference for certain themes and settings related to the cultural spaces in which the stories take place. Mateos Pérez (2021) assesses academic articles published about Spanish fictional television series in scientific journals indexed in multidisciplinary databases: Web of Science (WoS), Scopus and Dialnet between 1998 and 2020.

Lacalle (2005) highlights the growing importance of television formats, both from an economic and sociological perspective, and explores the interest of semiotics in the format as a privileged instrument for converting the processes of construction of meaning in television programmes into actual industrial processes of cultural production. P.J. Smith (2006) studies the general conceptualization of the historical series Cuéntame cómo pasó, as well as an episode of it, as an example of a new approach to Spanish television in general and, more specifically, to Spanish drama, aimed at reflecting current changes in its popularity and quality. The study by Moreno et al. (2007) covers the production of TVE miniseries between 1956 and 1990 and examines production features and standards. P.J. Smith (2007) analyzes the two most important Spanish crime dramas of the 1990s and 2000s: Policías en el corazón de la calle (2000-2003) and El comisario (1999-2009) and he argues that both series exemplify two different extremes of possibility within the current range of generic definitions. García de Castro’s (2008) analysis of the values and characteristics of national television fiction, as well as other aspects of the latest evolution of the genre, reveals the hegemony of this format in Spanish generalist television programming. Pacheco (2009) investigates the keys to the success of ‘Cuéntame cómo pasó’ and attributes it to the mix between existing problems in the society of the 70s, in which the series is set, and the continuous references to the current situation of the country in the XXI century. Diego and Grandío (2011) systematise the production of television comedy in Spain between 2000 and 2010 in order to identify the most popular international formats (sitcoms, dramedies, and sketches) and the most significant characteristics of the genre.

Chicharro (2011) focuses on the evolution of the telenovela as a formula of institutionalised presence in Spanish television schedules, from broadcasting Latin American telenovelas to its redefinition as its own national model. Castillo, Simelio, and Ruiz (2012) analyze the reconstruction of the dictatorial past of Chile and Spain through the analysis of four historical fiction series with great audience success: ‘Los 80’ (Channel 13, Chile), ‘Los archivos del Cardenal’ (TVN, Chile), ‘Amar en tiempos revueltos’ (TVE1, Spain) and ‘Cuéntame cómo pasó’ (TVE1, Spain).Rueda et al.’s (2013) research explore the similarities and differences of productions set in the past and the polarisation of perspectives on contemporary Iberian dictatorships. Marcos (2013) explores two ways of representing the noir and crime genre on Spanish television by analysing Los Misterios de Laura and Homicidios. Grandío and Diego (2014) review the comedies produced by TVE and highlight the main production characteristics with the aim of recovering the memory of the playwright Jaime de Armiñán, considered the first television scriptwriter. Formoso’s (2015) analysis shows that fiction programs generate transmedia content that allows them to keep the viewer aware and maintains that their evolution indicates that interaction with the viewer is important to achieve this goal.  Rodríguez  and Hernández (2015) carry out a conceptual review of social television and transmedia narrative in their analysis of the audiences and reuse the audiovisual heritage of the series El Ministerio del Tiempo.Cascajosa (2016) investigates the successful process of the emergence of television series within the cultural space. Cascajosa (2018) analyses the success of El Príncipe (Telecinco: 2014-2016), Bajo sospecha (2015-2016), and Vis a Vis (2015-2016; Fox: 2018) and highlights their innovative formula in terms of narrative, style, and representation, strategies that have been paving the way for the genre to become an important trend in drama production in Spain. In this sense, the same author (2018) highlights the crime fiction series El Príncipe, Mar de plástico (Antena 3: 2015-2016) and Perdóname, Señor (Telecinco: 2017), which she considers examples of a renewal process in terms of production, narrative, themes, and aesthetics to gain a foothold in international markets.

Ferrer and Hidalgo (2018) explore the standards and characteristics of Spanish television comedy to understand the foundations of the genre through a qualitative study of 30 comedies broadcast since television deregulation and during the five years that followed (1990-1995). P.J. Smith (2017) examines a unique case of format translation in quality television: Mexican free-to-air broadcaster Televisa’s remake in 2015–2016 of a period romance-cum-mystery series originally shown by the Spanish private network Antena3, in order to demonstrate that the Mexican version of the format is at once more politicized and more romantic than the Spanish original. P.J. Smith (2018) analyzes two recent television versions of Picasso in the USA and Spain and argues that National Geographic’s Genius: Picasso (2018) offers an individualist view of artistic creation, in which the personal takes precedence over the political, while RTVE’s El Ministerio del Tiempo (2015–2017) integrates the aesthetic object and its creator into the lived experience of the nation and its viewers. Tous’s (2019) analysis of the contents of the audiovisual production of crime fiction broadcast in Spain between 1990 and 2010 reveals the persistence of an androcentric perspective which, in some cases, undergoes an involution over time, with some series from the 1990s being more progressive. Along the same lines, Tous, Hidalgo, and Morales (2020) highlight the sophistication in the use of narrative and visual resources, as well as a clear influence of foreign productions that determine the evolution of the genre and which is seen in the hybridisation of genre, format and the forensic sub-genre. Tous (2020), moreover, discovers that one of the leitmotifs of contemporary serial crime fiction on television and on the new audiovisual platforms, the female victim, arises from the thematic and mythical recurrence (the sacrificial princess).  Gómez (2020) analyses the critical or conservative meanings of Spanish television comedy over the last 30 years, focusing mainly on introducing current issues and problems that connect with the audience’s concerns and their respective narrative treatment.

Igartua et al. (2001) analyse the levels of violence in fictional television programming in order to construct a violence index based on different parameters evaluated in the programmes analysed. Diego (2004) compiles and analyses the 25 most-watched national fiction series’ audience ratings between 1992 and 2002. The work by Medina and Ortega (2013) studies the representation of diversity in the series Aída, El barco, Cuéntame cómo pasó and El clon, and confirms the conservative nature of these productions, as well as the continued use of stereotypes in their narratives. The analysis of the websites of the main link providers in Spain, carried out by Aguilar, Pérez-Montoro and Sánchez (2016) after the entry into force on 1 January 2015 of the Texto Refundido de la Ley de propiedad intelectual (Trlpi), reveals that the new legislation has not reduced the size of the piracy ecosystem in Spain. Anderson (2016) examines the role of culinary nostalgia and the possibility it provides for a critique of the gender ideology of Francoism, both in the television series Cuéntame cómo pasó and in El Cuaderno de Mercedes (2004), the cookbook that accompanies the series, and it shows the importance of making culinary nostalgia visible in the recovery of an aspect of the past that had remained invisible until now. Collado, S. and Carrillo, J. (2016) analyze the different ways in which Santiago Ramón y Cajal had been represented in literature, film, and television. Rodríguez (2016) analyzes the reception of ‘La Señora’ to determine the weight that viewers give to the historical elements of the plot, concluding that the audience leaves them aside and focuses their attention on the love triangle. Vacas (2018) reveals the strategies by which the series Águila Roja told the story to viewers while hiding it from its main characters. 

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