Death on TV
Funeralwise periodically conducts studies of how death is portrayed on TV. To view our prior studies, click on one of the links below.
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Popular culture – for our purposes, TV Series – have ways of getting and holding our attention. It’s ok to admit that you talk about characters on TV as though they are real people. You relate to them and their stories. You become involved in their lives. But do you grieve for them if they die on screen? How do you feel when you see death on TV? Does it elicit an emotional response or are you immune to it because it’s just make believe? Does it matter if the dead is a human being or a zombie? Do you notice if the dead are mostly men or women? Do you take note of how they die? Does death on TV make you think about your own mortality? Does violent death on TV contribute to violence in our society?
With 11 shows selected for the study, CBS was the top network in total body counts. The top 2 television series in average body counts, Starz’ Spartacus: Vengeance. and HBO’s Game of Thrones, are both premium cable shows and death is often portrayed very graphically. The CW was the “winner” in a couple categories. The CW’s Nikita was the top in average body counts among the broadcast network shows. CW is also the leader in the non-human category due to the number of “un-dead” bodies shown in The Vampire Diaries.