Serial Killers in Contemporary Television : Familiar Monsters in Post-9/11 Culture book cover
1st Edition

Serial Killers in Contemporary Television
Familiar Monsters in Post-9/11 Culture

ISBN 9781032202501
Published June 14, 2022 by Routledge
230 Pages

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Book Description

This volume examines the significant increase in representations of serial killers as central characters in popular television over the last two decades. Via critical analyses of the philosophical and existential themes presented to viewers and their place in the cultural landscape of contemporary America, the authors ask: What is it about serial killers that incited such a boom in these types of narratives in popular television post-9/11?

Looking past the serial format of television programming as uniquely suited for the presentation of the serial killer’s actions, the chapters delve into deeper reasons as to why TV has proven to be such a fertile ground for serial killer narratives in contemporary popular culture. An international team of authors question: What is it about serial killers that makes these characters deeply enlightening representations of the human condition that, although horrifically deviant, reflect complex elements of the human psyche? Why are serial killers intellectually fascinating to audiences? How do these characters so deeply affect us?

Shedding new light on a contemporary phenomenon, this book will be a fascinating read for all those at the intersection of television studies, film studies, psychology, popular culture, media studies, philosophy, genre studies, and horror studies.

Table of Contents

From the Shadows to Our Living Rooms: Serial Killers on Popular TV After 9/11
Brett A.B. Robinson

Section I
A Dark Empathy: Identification with Killer Characters

1. When the Monsters are Real (and They Understand Us): The Horror of Hannibal
Andrew M. Winters

2. Born in Blood: 9/11, Trauma, Selfhood, and Dexter
Brett A.B. Robinson

3. ‘Too Much History, Too Much Remembering’: National Trauma and Individual Trauma in The Fall
Philip L. Simpson

4. From Villains to Clowns: Adapting Serial Killers to Internet Memes
Devaleena Kundu

Section II
Death and Sex: Gendered Bodies in Serial Killer Narratives

5. ‘He is a Murderer’: You, Fandom, and the Romanticized Male Killer
Jake Pitre

6. The Killing Characters of Penny Dreadful
Stephanie Green

7. The Subversive Powers of Killing Eve
Paul Emmett

8. Better the Devil You Know: Nostalgia for the Captured Killer in Netflix’s Conversations with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
Stella Gaynor

Section III
Unknown Killers: The Ambiguity of Post-9/11 Culture

9. Dropping the Mask of Sanity: How Mindhunter Deconstructs the Profiling Procedural
Ashley R. Smith

10. True Detective and the Post-Serial Killer Text
Rodney Taveira

11. Unthinkable Crimes: Representation, Knowledge, Mindhunter
Dan McFadden

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Brett A.B. Robinson holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Brock University, Canada. His primary research interests are in the areas of popular culture, film and television studies, and philosophy. He has completed research on the complex intersections between selfhood and performance as well as material affect’s influence on identity.

Christine Daigle is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Posthumanism Research Institute, Brock University. She has published extensively in continental philosophy. Her current research, funded by Canadian federal agencies and supported by a fellowship at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, pertains to the concept of posthuman vulnerability and its ethical potential.