Monday, October 14, 2013

How Much Do Americans Love the Supernatural?

On many occasions in the last few decades, people have pointed out that at some point football surpassed baseball as America's professional sport of choice. However, it seems to me that another national pastime has cornered the market in this country. People are now more interested in fictional accounts of the supernatural than they are in sports, or almost anything else for that matter. Zombies are the new shortstops, vampires our new quarterbacks.

According to The New Tork Times, AMC's "The Walking Dead" drew 16.1 million viewers last night, the largest audience for any show this season. Until last night's episode, every top-rated program so far this season had been an NFL game. Most startling to me was the fact that "The Walking Dead" attracted almost 6 million more viewers than the series finale of "Breaking Bad." That's right: A zombie show blew out a show that many critics consider one of the best ever.

I watched the first three episodes of "The Walking Dead," and I didn't really understand the big draw. Apparently, I'm in a small minority of TV watchers there.

And the success of "The Walking Dead" is not the only recent triumph for the supernatural in this country. Edward, Bella, & Friends have been captivating impressionable teenage minds for years, bare vampire breasts have been flashed for six seasons and counting on HBO's "True Blood," and "Game of Thrones" features hideous characters called "White Walkers." Even Brad Pitt got in on the action with World War Z.

White Walker 2x10
Kavanaugh's better-looking cousin.
Legends about supernatural beings have abounded throughout human history, from Dracula to the Wolfman. But modern America is in a golden age of infatuation with shows about the dying, the undead, and the partially-dead. I guess I'm one of the few that doesn't feel more alive from watching such programs.

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