"The Improbable Made Possible": Science Fiction and Social Commentary in The Twilight Zone and American Horror Story Open Access

Baker, Julia Hayes (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/bv73c1009?locale=en


The television shows The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) and American Horror Story (2011-) earned initial acclaim for their controversial nature in the television landscape of their times. The Twilight Zone emerged as creator Rod Serling looked to science fiction as a means to evade stifling corporate censorship that denied him the ability to discuss broader social and political issues pervading 1960s society on television. Five decades later, American Horror Story follows The Twilight Zone's paradigm, taking traditional themes of science fiction and placing them within a modern context. In this project, I will be exploring the ways both shows depict race and gender by examining specific episodes. Through this analysis, I hope to reveal the broader role science fiction television plays in the American cultural landscape as a vehicle for progressive social commentary.

Table of Contents

Introduction. 1

Racial Prejudice and Representation: Aliens, Voodoo and the Other. 15

The Shifting Role of Women: From Robots to Witchcraft. 36

Conclusion. 63

Endnotes. 68

Bibliography. 74

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