To Be Or Not To Be Horrifying

Horror TV The Vampire DiariesWhat constitutes as horror on television?

It has become more mainstream in recent years with recent television endeavors, yet the definition of horror on television has never been more abstract.

Is it the terrifying alien invasion?

Is it the desolate zombie-riddled wasteland? Is it the poised serial killer living his day-to-day life? Or is it simply the ghost story?

In recent years, several networks have been delving into the depths of the horror genre, unleashing television programs that have either tanked or soared. AMC’s The Walking Dead is an undead three season success, recently picked up by the network for another season.

Horror TV American Horror StoryFX’s American Horror Story has concluded its second season with a renewal for a third season, skyrocketing this horror anthology in popularity.

ABC’s short-lived series 666 Park Avenue and The River didn’t make the cut when it came to viewer ratings.

There seems to be quite the lack of middle ground when it comes to viewers of the genre tuning in to horror television.

But once again, I ask the question: What makes a television series, a horror show? Is it the inclusion of horror elements, such as ghosts, witches, vampires, and werewolves? Is it the psychologically thrilling cases of murder? Is it the fear and uncertainty on the protagonists’ features when faced with impossible odds?

Horror TV True BloodThe definition of horror on television is subjective, much like any defining term.

Many fans of the horror genre will argue endlessly about what constitutes horror on television, experiencing, identifying, and explaining the genre in different ways.

It is definitely a subject of debate, but the very definition of horror can be debated just as fervently. So many subgenres have accumulated over the decades in horror, the definition of the genre is always growing, always changing to acclimate to our ever-changing lives.

Horror TV Being HumanBBC’s Being Human, and its USA predecessor on Syfy, could be considered horror television (and I myself think of it as part of the genre) with its werewolves, vampires, and ghosts (oh my!).

Not only do both the original and the reimagined series include those horror elements, Being Human debates what makes us human and the uncertainty of that label. Without real fears, we would not have the horror genre.

Showtime’s Dexter is about a blood splatter pattern analyst who moonlights as a dark defender, killing fellow serial killers and murderers to quench the thirst of his Dark Passenger. Delving into the psyche of a serial killer, Dexter Morgan lives by a code, killing only those who deserve death because of their own misdeeds against innocent people.

Horror TV DexterPsychologically twisted, Dexter makes light of the darkness within until it overpowers even the most rigorous code of conduct.

Serial killers are a staple of the horror genre, unlike the stereotypical slasher, Dexter Morgan tries to live as normal as he can when seated with a Dark Passenger.

ABC’s short-lived The River told the story about the disappearance of famed explorer Dr. Emmet Cole and the search for him in the Amazon. It was a found footage horror, showcasing the occult on the river in the darkest part of the Amazon. His wife and son head the expedition to find him, bringing them closer to this mysterious “Source” located somewhere on the river.

And the horror genre’s presence is growing on our small screens, finding its niche on television with other new and upcoming programs, such as FOX’s The Following, NBC’s Hannibal, The CW’s Cult, NBC’s Do No Harm, A&E’s Bates Motel, and NBC’s Dracula.

~ by nicmarray on February 6, 2013.

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