Is TV Scared of Horror?

Twin Peaks had its scary moments

Twin Peaks had its scary moments

On the Guardian’s TV blog, Gareth McLean asks why is TV so scared of the horror genre.

The problem with this question is that it’s not even true. It’s a “When did you stop beating your wife?” type question. He’s interpreting Supernatural as “fantasy” in the same vein as Heroes – which only seems to confirm that he hasn’t watched at least one of them.

Here is a list.

  • Supernatural: fighting demons/monsters
  • Buffy/Angel: more demons, including vampires, werewolves, zombies, possession, transformation
  • The X Files: monsters, psychopaths, abducted children
  • Ghost Whisperer: Ghosts, and, y’know, hauntings
  • Dexter: psychopaths and sociopaths
  • Reaper: Devil? Souls? Sold to?
  • Twin Peaks: Father, pillar of the community, abuses, murders, daughter in guise of scary alter-ego, “Bob”.

It seems to me that television isn’t very frightened of horror at all; that a lot of these shows aren’t very scary is beside the point: nor are most horror films. You might not get slasher stuff in TV movies, but slasher stuff is just buckets o’ blood and doesn’t really get at the root of what scares people. These are all TV shows about ghosts, ghouls and demons, which is not exactly any other genre.