In this Book

The Philosophy of TV Noir
summary

Film noir reflects the fatalistic themes and visual style of hard-boiled novelists and many émigré filmmakers in 1940s and 1950s America, emphasizing crime, alienation, and moral ambiguity. In The Philosophy of TV Noir, Steven M. Sanders and Aeon J. Skoble argue that the legacy of film noir classics such as The Maltese Falcon, Kiss Me Deadly, and The Big Sleep is also found in episodic television from the mid-1950s to the present.

In this first-of-its-kind collection, contributors from philosophy, film studies, and literature raise fundamental questions about the human predicament, giving this unique volume its moral resonance and demonstrating why television noir deserves our attention. The introduction traces the development of TV noir and provides an overview and evaluation of the book's thirteen essays, each of which discusses an exemplary TV noir series.

Realism, relativism, and integrity are discussed in essays on Dragnet, Naked City, The Fugitive, and Secret Agent. Existentialist themes of authenticity, nihilism, and the search for life's meaning are addressed in essays on Miami Vice, The Sopranos, Carnivale, and 24. The methods of crime scene investigation in The X-Files and CSI are examined, followed by an exploration of autonomy, selfhood, and interpretation in The Prisoner, Twin Peaks, The X-Files, and Millennium.

With this focus on the philosophical dimensions of crime, espionage, and science fiction series, The Philosophy of TV Noir draws out the full implications of film noir and establishes TV noir as an art form in its own right.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
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  1. Preface and Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. An Introduction to the Philosophy of TV Noir
  2. Steven M. Sanders
  3. pp. 1-30
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  1. Part 1: Realism, Relativism, and Moral Ambiguity
  2. pp. 31-32
  1. Dragnet, Film Noir, and Postwar Realism
  2. R. Barton Palmer
  3. pp. 33-48
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  1. Naked City: The Relativist Turn in TV Noir
  2. Robert E. Fitzgibbons
  3. pp. 49-68
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  1. John Drake in Greeneland: Noir Themes in Secret Agent
  2. Sander Lee
  3. pp. 69-82
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  1. Action and Integrity in The Fugitive
  2. Aeon J. Skoble
  3. pp. 83-92
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  1. Part 2: Existentialism, Nihilism, and the Meaning of Life
  2. pp. 93-94
  1. Noir et Blanc in Color: Existentialism and Miami Vice
  2. Steven M. Sanders
  3. pp. 95-114
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  1. 24 and the Existential Man of Revolt
  2. Jennifer L. McMahon
  3. pp. 115-130
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  1. Carnivale Knowledge: Give Me That Old-time Noir Religion
  2. Eric Bronson
  3. pp. 131-142
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  1. The Sopranos, Film Noir, and Nihilism
  2. Kevin L. Stoehr
  3. pp. 143-158
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  1. Part 3: Crime Scene Investigation and the Logic of Detection
  2. pp. 159-160
  1. CSI and the Art of Forensic Detection
  2. Deborah Knight, George McKnight
  3. pp. 161-178
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  1. Detection and the Logic of Abduction in The X-Files
  2. Jerold J. Abrams, Elizabeth F. Cooke
  3. pp. 179-200
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  1. Part 4: Autonomy, Selfhood, and Interpretation
  2. pp. 201-202
  1. Kingdom of Darkness: Autonomy and Conspiracy in The X-Files and Millennium
  2. Michael Valdez Moses
  3. pp. 203-228
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  1. The Prisoner and Self-Imprisonment
  2. Shai Biderman, William j . Devlin
  3. pp. 229-246
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  1. Twin Peaks, Noir, and Open Interpretation
  2. Jason Holt
  3. pp. 247-260
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  1. List of Contributors
  2. pp. 261-264
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 265-274
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