The conclusion examines the gothic conspiracy as a figure for, and vehicle of, interference with free will and, simultaneously, the hidden machinery of history that drives it forward in less-than-providential directions. The conspiracies in the series discussed here mark the failure of masculine autonomy through the power of patriarchy writ large. As an episode title of Lost puts it, "All the Best Cowboys have Daddy Issues": the gothic account of masculinity pits the fantasy of individual masculine power (the hero) against the social reality that only a small elite holds power.
"The Pest House," "Hell House," and "The Murder House"
Julia M. Wright
This chapter traces gothic television’s suspicion of three grounds for the empirical certainty depicted through realism: science, media, and Hollywood itself. In two episodes of Millennium, for instance, scientific profiling fails, and Supernatural’s early seasons return again and again to popular media as a vehicle that produces, rather than represents, the material world. The chapter concludes with the first season of American Horror Story, where the darker history of Hollywood constantly erupts into what is in many respects a conventional narrative of domestic gothic. All of the episodes at the centre of this chapter focus on, or are named for, houses, but as public institutions rather than domestic spaces.
This chapter lays out the history of US gothic television in relation to the study’s concern with masculinity. It begins by challenging the critical emphasis on televisual realism as the test which gothic fails by exploring gothic television’s critiques of realist assumptions. It then turns to a general history of gothic television in terms of an ongoing concern with, and interrogation of, contemporary gender norms.
The horrors of class in Eric Kripke’s Supernatural
Julia M. Wright
This chapter focusses on Supernatural as a series that, in its early seasons, repeatedly calls attention to class and specifically the heroes’ alienation from the norms of televisual realism: a clean and spacious home with an enormous kitchen (somehow available to nearly every tv family this century) that reflects a stable home-life and financial ease. As in an earlier movie by the show’s creator, Eric Kripke, a lower-class background instantiates a deep vulnerability and uncertainty—an alienation from the Leave-It-to-Beaver conventions that televisual realism insists are both "normal" and desirable.
This chapter focusses on three series in which fathers have a larger-than-life impact because of their absence. On the simple level of plot, this often involves a focus on the quest to find the father, but this chapter is more concerned with what the missing father represents—the power of history, of genealogy, of the divine, or of the domestic as the building block of social order. Fathers here are deflections, distracting us from a messy reality with the simplifying force of myth. The conservative domestic ideal in particular is revealed to be a fantastic surface that deflects attention from complicated social problems.
Men with Stakes examines the ways in which the gothic mode is deployed specifically to call into question televisual realism and, with it, conventional depictions of masculinity, especially in relation to agency, power, and legitimated forms of knowledge (science in particular). In this context, it discusses in some depth seven series from the last two decades: American Gothic (CBS, 1995-1996), Millennium (Fox, 1996-1999), Angel (WB, 1999-2004), Carnivàle (HBO, 2003, 2005), Point Pleasant (Fox, 2005-2006), Supernatural (WB, 2005-2006; CW, 2006- ), and American Horror Story (FX, 2011- ). Instead of considering gothic television in terms of its adaptation of gothic literary precedents (another significant thread in gothic film and television studies), this study considers these series in light of gothic studies’ conclusions about the mode itself—from Edmund Burke’s idea of obscurity to the organization of the gothic around different gender questions, and from its allusiveness and challenge to verisimilitude to its emphasis on simulation and fakery.
This chapter looks at the range of adaptations in radio drama including on BBC Woman's Hour and other series. Examples include Roald Dahl adaptations and Picnic at Hanging Rock, Don’t Look Now, the writer Marty Ross and Oliver Emanuel's dramatization of Tim Krabbe's The Vanishing etc.
A detailed analysis of BBC Radio's most famous horror radio show in the 1940s onwards. The most significant and long-running horror series in the history of British radio is Appointment with Fear (1943-55). This series was established following the phenomenal success of the CBS radio series Suspense in the US. The writer John Dickson Carr had played a central role in establishing Suspense and it was his idea to transfer the formula to the UK. Dickson Carr contributed numerous of his own Suspense scripts for Appointment with Fear, but the series also featured some excellent examples of adaptation including dramatizations of fiction by Edgar Allan Poe and others.
A concluding chapter which sums up the effectiveness of audio drama and looks at core themes such as TECHNOLOGY; EVP; MEDICAL; NATURAL WORLD; LOCATION; SPATIAL; SENSORY DEPRIVATION; DREAMS/NIGHTMARES. Techniques such as SUBJECTIVE/OBJECTIVE MEDIATION; the SCREAM and SILENCE are also discussed.