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Jack Holland

Have you ever had to kill people because they had already killed your friends and were coming for you next? Have you ever done things that made you feel afraid of yourself afterward? Have you ever been covered in so much blood that you didn’t know if it was yours or walkers’ or your friends’? Huh? Michonne 1 Look at the flowers, Lizzie. Carol 2 Introduction This chapter uses the vehicle of AMC’s The Walking Dead to explore one of the most fundamental questions we can ask as a species: what does it mean to be human? The implications

in Fictional television and American Politics
A Rendering of True Monstrosity
Angela Tenga
Elizabeth Zimmerman

Many vampires in popular fiction have developed a conscience that mitigates their monstrosity and makes them objects of human love and admiration. With the advent of the reformed vampire, Western culture has, perhaps, lost an icon of true horror. As the vampire has become increasingly humanized and sympathetic, the zombie has stepped up to take its place. Zombies remind us that we will soon be decomposing flesh; the zombie horde embodies fear of loss of self and individuality; zombies expose the dark side of mass consumer culture; and zombies highlight the fragility of human identity in an advanced, globalised society.

Gothic Studies
Living pictures in The Walking Dead
Christa van Raalte

The popular AMC television serial The Walking Dead (2010–present) 1 could be dismissed simply as a trashy TV adaptation of trashy source material (a black-and-white comic book dealing with the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse); an exercise in violence, horror and gore that relies too much on shock tactics, doing so at the expense of story development and characterisation. Whilst some of these may be valid criticisms (and some are simply features of the genre to which the programme belongs

in Sound / image
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Moments in television

In television scholarship, sound and image have been attended to in different ways, but image has historically dominated. The chapters gathered here attend to both: they weigh the impact and significance of specific choices of sound and image, explore their interactions, and assess their roles in establishing meaning and style. The contributors address a wide range of technical and stylistic elements relating to the television image. They consider production design choices, the spatial organisation of the television frame and how camera movements position and reposition parts of the visible world. They explore mise-en-scène, landscapes and backgrounds, settings and scenery, and costumes and props. They attend to details of actors’ performances, as well as lighting design and patterns of colour and scale. As regards sound, each chapter distinguishes different components on a soundtrack, delineating diegetic from non-diegetic sound, and evaluating the roles of elements such as music, dialogue, voice-over, bodily sounds, performed and non-performed sounds. Attending to sound design, contributors address motifs, repetition and rhythm in both music and non-musical sound. Consideration is also given to the significance of quietness, the absence of sounds, and silence. Programmes studied comprise The Twilight Zone, Inspector Morse, Children of the Stones, Dancing on the Edge, Road, Twin Peaks: The Return, Bodyguard, The Walking Dead and Mad Men. Sound and image are evaluated across these examples from a wide range of television forms, formats and genres, which includes series, serial and one-off dramas, children’s programmes, science fiction, thrillers and detective shows.

From 9/11 to Donald Trump

American television was about to be revolutionised by the advent of video on demand in 2007, when Netflix, having delivered over one billion DVDs, introduced streaming. This book explores the role that fictional television has played in the world politics of the US in the twenty-first century. It focuses on the second golden age of television, which has coincided with the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald J. Trump. The book is structured in three parts. Part I considers what is at stake in rethinking the act of watching television as a political and academic enterprise. Part II considers fictional television shows dealing explicitly with the subject matter of formal politics. It explores discourses of realpolitik in House of Cards and Game of Thrones, arguing that the shows reinforce dominant assumptions that power and strategy inevitably trump ethical considerations. It also analyses constructions of counterterrorism in Homeland, The West Wing, and 24, exploring the ways in which dominant narratives have been contested and reinforced since the onset of the War on Terror. Part III considers television shows dealing only implicitly with political themes, exploring three shows that make profound interventions into the political underpinnings of American life: The Wire, The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. Finally, the book explores the legacies of The Sopranos and Mad Men, as well as the theme of resistance in The Handmaid's Tale.

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Zombies and the spectre of cultural decline
Matthew Pangborn

North Sea, and in the late 2000s through the practice known as ‘fracking’. The threat embodied by those creatures referred to in the television series The Walking Dead (AMC) as ‘walkers’ thus appears tied to the ready supply of cheap gasoline: when that supply is great, zombies are comedic figures; but when that supply dips, zombies again confront

in The Gothic and death
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Neoliberal gothic
Linnie Blake
Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet

. Carey’s The Girl with All the Gifts ( 2014 ). In terms of television programming, The Walking Dead (AMC, 2010–) has become the most popular programme on US television, its Season 4 premiere attracting an audience of over 20 million people (see Biebel, 2013 ). As the zombie has grown in popularity, moreover, it has moved across media and genres: films have become

in Neoliberal Gothic
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Sound / image
Jonathan Bignell
Sarah Cardwell
, and
Lucy Fife Donaldson

studies. At one end of a spectrum of analytical positions, Logan engages in a sustained stylistic and evaluative criticism of a recent US ‘quality’ serial, Mad Men (AMC, 2007–15), clearly writing from the standpoint of television aesthetics. In Garrett's chapter on The Walking Dead (AMC, 2010–present) and Helmers and van Raalte's on Bodyguard (BBC, 2018) particular attentiveness to tone, atmosphere and pace demonstrates a stylistic focus that similarly chimes with an aesthetic perspective. Other contributors take approaches more in line with long

in Sound / image
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Jack Holland

how The Wire addresses the reality, ethics, and structure of social and economic inequality. The chapter argues that television can urge viewers to confront the morality of systematic deprivation vis-à-vis their own socio-economic position. Chapter 9 analyses The Walking Dead , asking a fundamental philosophical and political question: what does it mean to be human, and what does that identity do ? Chapter 10 analyses the portrayal of personal life as political life in Breaking Bad . We see how television can encourage viewers to consider the ethics of a

in Fictional television and American Politics
Les Revenants as metaphysical drama
Alberto N. García

). What is the essential nature of Camille, perceived by her parents and sister as the girl they knew and nurtured, before the deadly accident? If substance refers to the essential nature of something, what Les Revenants precisely explores is substance: specifically, the substance of being alive (and that of being dead), a recurring trope in gothic and zombie narratives. This is clearly stated in relation to the vastly popular The Walking Dead (AMC, 2010–present), in which some zombies retain an ominous similarity to other humans, especially when the undead are

in Substance / style