Television Serial Fiction in Spain: Between Deregulation and the Analogue Switch-off (1990–2010)

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This article examines the transformation of television serial fiction in Spain from deregulation and the early stages of private television to the dawn of the digital era (1990–2010). The adaptation of Latin-American telenovelas and English-speaking soap operas to the local context brought traditional Spanish costumbrismo in television fiction up to date. Using this as a starting point, the study identifies four stages of the long-running serial format in Spain that demonstrate its capacity to adapt to a double logic of transnationalization maintaining proximity to regional markets alongside a process of gradual adjustment to the changing social, cultural and economic context. The consolidation of democracy in Spain and successive Socialist administrations (1982–1990) favoured the renewal of themes from classical melodrama with the inclusion of issues until then barely addressed, including women’s liberation, sexuality and the recovery of historical memory: topics that have become the mainstay of Spanish television serial fiction in the twenty-first century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1273-1288
Number of pages16
JournalBulletin of Spanish Studies
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2019


  • Costumbrismo
  • History of television
  • Melodrama
  • Soap operas
  • Spanish television
  • Telenovelas
  • TV serial format


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