Anikó Imre is Associate Professor and Chair of Critical Studies in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Identity Games: Globalization and the Transformation of Media Cultures in the New Europe.
Chapter 2 examines educational TV in its most didactic and straightforward manifestation: the various School TV initiatives that set out to teach people directly about a variety of subjects, privileging science and art but gradually extending to incorporate virtually all areas of work and life, creating educational “niche” programming for various social groups. The chapter follows the history of this expansion from early European efforts at televised mass education through the development of specialized programming clustered around politics, taste, science, and family. It lingers on the close analysis of the popular Hungarian series Family Circle, a program that developed an effective and successful formula for tele-education by integrating dramatizations and expert discussions, by inviting viewers to participate, and by broaching topics of general interest that were silenced or censored in other areas of public life.