Death on the Small Screen

The Psychology of Viewing Violent Television

Not Yet Published


New 2022 Pre-Order

Available for pre-order / backorder

About the Book

Even though mortality remains a taboo topic in much of Western society, death and violence continue to be staples of popular television shows. We can better understand the appeal of violence in popular television by investigating psychological theories surrounding anxiety about death and the defenses we use to manage that anxiety. Through an examination of five recent television series—Game of Thrones,The Punisher, Jessica Jones, Sons of Anarchy and Hannibal—this book examines how fictional characters’ motivations teach viewers valuable lessons about both the constructive and destructive ways we try to deal with our own mortality.
Instead of dismissing violent television as harmless entertainment or completely condemning it as a dangerous trigger of hostile behavior, this book examines its effects on viewers in a more nuanced manner. The book provides a new perspective on the enjoyment of violent television, enhancing fans’ appreciation for the featured shows and sparking ongoing discussions about their value to both the individual and society.

About the Author(s)

Jonathan F. Bassett, PhD is a professor of psychology at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina where he teaches courses on death and dying. His research focuses on the application of existential psychology, especially Terror Management Theory, to the analysis of popular culture in the areas of literature, television, and movies.

Bibliographic Details

Jonathan F. Bassett
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 10 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8801-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4804-0
Imprint: McFarland