A-scare-ica: The Rise of Horror in American Television
I have a theory that nightmares are our brain’s way of saying “hey, your life could be worse,” which is why the horror genre is increasingly becoming popular in television. So what if you have crippling debt because of student loans. At least, you don’t have to kill your zombified friends and family. According to this CBC article, that’s why zombies are so popular.
There is no doubting that times are tough. When you find yourself in times of trouble, mother television comes on to make things all better. Since the dawn of primetime, TV has always been an escape from our daily lives. It’s why we never saw our favorite nuclear TV families broken apart by war. Instead of living vicariously through our favorite TV characters like we used to, we’re saying, “hey, my life could be worse”.
True Blood (HBO)
True Blood came out in the height of that whole Twilight fad that some of us don’t like mentioning being part of. I remember girls complaining that True Blood was a blatant rip off of the saga. Aside from having vampires, the protagonist happens to have telepathic abilities, just like a certain sparkly vampire. Except The Southern Vampire Mysteries that inspired the TV show came out before Stephanie Meyer dreamed up Twilight.
The difference between True Blood and any other vampire movie or TV show is that it dealt with current issues. Gay rights to be specific. This is made obvious by the “God hates Fangs” sign in the intro, which is a lovely jab at The Westboro Baptist Church. The show has continued to use vampires as an allegory for the LGBT community. You know, vampires are people too!
Despite airing in the summer, which is usually a death sentence, this show became insanely popular. So popular that HBO has been pushing out more and more TV shows ever since its 2008 debut. Since so many people took time out of their busy summer schedules of doing nothing, it showed that horror is something channels should strive toward.