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Brief History of TV Series in Russia
September 25, 2012 13:02

Seventeen Moments of Spring (1973)

In spite of the rapid development of television in the USSR, at that time boasting the technical base and staff that were among the best ones in the world, there were few TV serials produced in this country. Soviet TV serials can be counted on one’s fingers: Seventeen Moments of Spring (1973), Day after Day (1971-1972), Eternal Call (1973-1983), Born by Revolution, Shadows Disappear at Noon, Investigation is Held by Experts, Frontier (1980-1988), Life of Klim Samgin (1986), etc. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson (1979-1986) by Igor Maslennikov is considered to be the best well-known Russian serial in the world.

TV channels also broadcasted foreign serial films, however, produced in socialist countries, as a rule. The Polish film novel Four Tank-men and a Dog enjoyed special popularity among Soviet TV viewers. This was the situation in the USSR, whereas at the same time TV companies in the USA, Canada, Western Europe, and Latin America competed in attracting the audience by releasing soap operas and TV series one after another.
The first sign of the upcoming influx of foreign soap operas on Russian TV was the Brazilian series Slave Isaura (1976): 60 series were showed for 2 years. Then there was an attempt to show the "best" American series Dallas and Beverly Hills, 90210, but they had to wait for 8 years before their complete release on STS. The Central TV which was transformed and extended in 1990-1992 indulged in Mexican soap operas, such as The Rich Also Cry, Simply Maria, You or No One.
Gradually TV series started forcing out art and political broadcasting on all the channels. Latin American serials consisted of around 250 episodes each, which seemed fantastic and unreal; we called them "infinite" until the RTR TV channel started broadcasting the American Santa Barbara
By the mid 1990s the TV serial upsurge fell down, though lots of series kept up high ratings, especially at the regional level.
In the 2000s the total number of foreign TV series and soap operas was sharply reduced in favor of Russian adaptations or original products, such as Carmelita, Doomed to Become a Star, Beauty is not Happiness, etc.  
Along with soap operas, criminal series, such as the Street of Broken Lamps, Gangster Petersburg, Glukhar, Destructive Power, Truckers, National Security Agent and others have been especially popular in Russia. Promptly, Sergei Ursuliak’s series Liquidation (2007) about Soviet agents struggling against bandits gained the rank of a cult movie and was followed by the popular series Isayev (2009) by the same film director.
In 2001 the artist Oleg Kuvaev uploaded in Internet his independent popular cartoon serial Masyanya, which he created in Flash and sounded himself. Among the most popular Russian children's cartoon serials one should mention Masha and the Bear, Kikoriki, and The Adventures of Luntik.

Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: TV Series Television    

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