- Fantasy television
Fantasy television is a genre of
televisionfeaturing elements of the fantastic, often including magic, supernaturalforces, or exotic fantasy worlds. Fantasy television programs are often based on tales from mythologyand folklore, or are adapted from fantasy stories in other media. There is no clear definition of the underlying literary genre, however, and as such the boundaries of fantasy television are also subject to interpretation. In particular, the genre often overlaps with Science Fictionand Horror.
Genre and subgenres
Similar to the difficulty faced by scholars of
fantasy film, classifying a television program as fantasy can be somewhat problematic given the fluid boundaries of the genre. Not all programs with fantastic elements may qualify as fantasy. Children's programs in particular often feature fantastic elements that do not qualify the program as fantasy, such as the giant talking avian Big Birdof the popular PBSseries " Sesame Street". Nevertheless, some critics classify certain children's programs that feature traditional fantasy elements such as barbariancharacters, wizards, and magic swords as part of the genre. See, for example, " He-Man and the Masters of the Universe".
Programs for general audiences may also be difficult to classify. The program "The Twilight Zone" presented a series of unrelated stories, some of which were works of science fiction and some of which were tales of fantasy. The more generic term "
speculative fiction" might be appropriate for such shows. Other series blend the fantasy and horror genres, such as the fan favorites "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel". And still other programs feature dream sequences or other surreal elements, yet would not be considered fantasy shows by most fans or critics. Some of these programs serve as examples of the magical realismgenre rather than fantasy, such as HBO's "Six Feet Under", which featured a realistic setting except for occasional scenes in which living and dead characters interact. In the United Kingdom, the term "telefantasy" is used as an umbrella term to collectively describe all types of programs that feature elements of the fantastic.
Some critics consider
Superheroprograms to be works of fantasy ("Superhero fantasy"), but others classify them as science fiction and still others consider them to be their own genre of programming. See, for example " Wonder Woman (TV series)" and " Lois & Clark". Proper classification is similarly ambiguous for the Tokusatsusuperhero programs from Japan, such as " Magical Squadron Magic Ranger".
A wide variety of
fantasy subgenreshave been represented on television, both as original series and as television broadcasts of fantasy films. Typical examples of original programming in various subgenres include:
Bangsian fantasy: " Dead Like Me", " Spawn (TV series)"
Comic fantasy: " Bewitched", " I Dream of Jeannie"
Contemporary fantasy: "Buffy", " Fantasy Island", " Twin Peaks"
High fantasy: The Sci-Fi Channel's "Earthsea" miniseries
Historical fantasy: TNT's adaptation of "The Mists of Avalon"
* "Lost World" stories: "Land of the Lost"
Romantic fantasy: The CBSseries Beauty and the Beast"
Sword and sorcery: ', ', Wizards and Warriors (TV series)
List of fantasy television programs
Science fiction on television
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