Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Characters in Search of God: Crises of Faith in Vikings, The Americans, and Hannibal

The Americans
Most of the ostensibly religious practices shown on television have no intended religious meaning to them whatsoever. This is evident in the fact that whatever practice being portrayed in one episode (even if the practice in question is a funeral) almost never has any bearing on the characters in the next episode. Perhaps then it was only with the rise of serialized television and season-long story arcs that the portrayal of religious practices could actually involve religious meaning. In other words, religion cannot have any weight in a world with a reset button.

To watch television more recently is to see a decidedly different portrayal of religion. Now, if a character is to be found in a church, it's not merely because it's a setting common to American life, but because the character is having a crisis of faith. Indeed, more and more today television shows are becoming centred around characters experiencing spiritual crises.

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