Television drama is a broad category that theoretically includes a wide range of sub-genres. Just about any program that doesn't focus on humor as its primary goal can be considered a drama. Dramas can confront practically any type of subject matter. Typically, dramas have a concern for plot, and dramatic stories usually revolved around reasonably well-developed characters. This differentiates them from comedies, which are often willing to include unrealistic situations. They also differ from action programs, which show a preference for physical action over character development.
In a basic sense, dramas prioritize the conflicts and interactions between characters. Storylines set up a conflict and then work toward the resolution of that conflict. Dramatic sub-genres distinguish themselves by the types of conflicts that they create within that broad framework. Romantic dramas involve the conflicts within characters' romantic relationships. Crime dramas are centered on the conflicts between criminals, victims and the law, and medical dramas revolve around characters in healthcare-related settings. Political dramas, social dramas and family dramas examine the conflicts between the characters in the context of social institutions. Horror dramas merge elements of fantasy and the supernatural with the conventions of character-driven drama.
Comedy-drama programs belong to a hybrid genre that combines elements of comedy and drama into a unified storyline. Comedy-dramas tend to be more realistic than purely comedic shows. They are, however, usually willing to use moments of humor to lighten the otherwise serious tone of the plot's dramatic components.
The structure of a typical dramatic program differs significantly from that of a typical comedy. Drama TV shows are usually an hour in length or longer, and they employ complex editing techniques and camera work. Dramas are more likely than situation comedies to be built on story arcs that continue from episode to episode.