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Crime TV’s undercover Halloween

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In order to interrogate patterns of seasonal television, this article looks at Halloween themed episodes of long-running American crime television programmes such as CSI (2000−2015), Bones (2005−) and, in particular, Criminal Minds (2005−). It argues that Halloween on crime TV is predictably transgressive – offering conventional fantasies of masquerade and consumption, rather than subversive challenges to the genre’s status quo. On crime television, Halloween has harnessed the logic of the urban legend to present nostalgic visions of a festival that has become fundamentally televisual in nature. The thematic underpinnings of this televisual holiday are anxieties around children in public space and the ritual re-imagining of the risks they face when celebrating Halloween.
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Keywords: Halloween; crime television; hyperreality; nostalgia; seasonal television; serial killer; urban legend

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Oxford Brookes University

Publication date: April 1, 2017

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