Loss is Part of the Deal: Love, Fear and Mourning in TV Horror

  • Stacey Abbott


Long believed to be incompatible bedfellows, in the twenty-first century TV and the horror genre have increasingly and openly been thrust together. While Lorna Jowett and I have argued that horror has been a consistent presence on television since the 1950s, the genre has become more visible in the current broadcast climate across a wide range of channels, networks, pay TV and streaming services in the UK and the US, with new series, such as In the Flesh (BBC3, 2013–14), Hannibal (NBC, 2013–15), Hemlock Grove (Netflix, 2013–) and The Originals (CW, 2013–), continuing to emerge (see Jowett and Abbott). One argument for the increasing visibility of horror on television is that the relaxation of censorship across the multi-channel landscape has allowed for more mainstream genres to adopt many of the graphic, corporeal conventions associated with horror, particularly focusing upon the body in disarray. Shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS, 2000–15), House (Fox, 2004–12), Bones (Fox, 2005–), and The Following (Fox, 2013–), each offering their own variation on the hospital, detective drama and police procedural, regularly include graphic depictions of body traumas, decomposing or damaged remains, and bloody crime scenes. This has meant that many examples of TV Horror have had to increase their quotient of blood, gore and corporeal mayhem to fully exploit the genre’s visceral characteristics and stand out as horror.


Dead Body Streaming Service Twin Peak Improvise Explosive Device Funeral Ritual 
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© Stacey Abbott 2016

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  • Stacey Abbott

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