38. The American Dream/The American Nightmare: American Gothic on the Small Screen

  1. Charles L. Crow
  1. Carol Margaret Davison

Published Online: 13 SEP 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118608395.ch38

A Companion to American Gothic

A Companion to American Gothic

How to Cite

Davison, C. M. (2013) The American Dream/The American Nightmare: American Gothic on the Small Screen, in A Companion to American Gothic (ed C. L. Crow), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118608395.ch38

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 SEP 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 NOV 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470671870

Online ISBN: 9781118608395

SEARCH

Keywords:

  • Television;
  • Comic Gothic;
  • Southern Gothic;
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents;
  • Dark Shadows;
  • Twin Peaks;
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer;
  • The X-Files;
  • Six Feet Under;
  • True Blood

Summary

A domain of scholarly enquiry that remains contentious although under-theorized, American Gothic on the small screen has flourished, albeit with mixed results, over the course of more than half a century, tapping contradictions at the heart of the national psyche relating to gender, race, class, sex, religion, and national identity politics. Born of unique interfacings between the Gothic and such television genres as the soap opera, the family melodrama, and the situation comedy (sitcom), its bizarre progeny range from Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1965) and Dark Shadows (1966–71), to more recent shows like The X-Files (1993–2002) and True Blood (2008–). Regardless of its regional setting, American Gothic television has proven to be an extremely popular, fruitful, and lucrative form that, in its most powerful and successful manifestations, is provocative, nationally self-reflexive, and increasingly capable of bringing American dreams and nightmares into sharper, darker, and more sensational relief.