Getting attached to a serial killer: Audience relations to the main character of TV-show ‘Dexter’

A qualitative content analysis

Projektleitung: Dr. Daniela Schlütz
Beteiligte (Hilfskräfte/ Studierende): Yvonne Stock
Jonas Walkenbach
Maik Zehrfeld
Projektlaufzeit: Dezember 2009 – Januar 2010
Projektinhalte: Dexter, an Emmy and Golden Globe nominated Showtime-series, goes beyond the scope of the classical “good guy – bad guy”. One reason for the tremendous success of the show may be the main character of Dexter Morgan. Although he is a serial killer one begins to care about him while following the narrative. Research on media entertainment defines affective disposition or empathy as the most important aspect of entertainment as media effect: “Character development is effective, generally speaking, because respondents bring empathy and, more important, moral considerations to the screen.” (Bryant & Zillmann, 2002, p. 568) This notion makes one wonder about the show’s success and especially the success of Dexter Morgan as its main character. To address this discrepancy and to learn more about audience relations towards Dexter we analyzed German and US-American discussion forums dealing with the subject. Results show that several fans do report para-social relationships with Dexter Morgan letting moral considerations aside.
Publikationen: Schlütz, D., Stock, Y., Walkenbach, J. & Zehrfeld, M. (2010, Januar). Getting attached to a serial killer: Audience relations to the main character of TV-show ‘Dexter’. Vortrag im Rahmen der International Conference Contemporary Serial Culture: Quality TV Series in a New Media Environment, 14.-16. Januar 2010, Potsdam-Babelsberg.
Schlütz, D., Stock, Y., Walkenbach, J. & Zehrfeld, M. (in Druck). Mein Freund, der Serienkiller: Fan-Beziehungen zum Hauptcharakter der TV-Serie Dexter. In S. Eichner, L. Mikos & R.Winter (Hrsg.), Transnationale Serienkultur: Theorie, Ästhetik, Narration und Rezeption neuer Fernsehserien. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
Schlütz, D., Stock, Y., Walkenbach, J. & Zehrfeld, M. (2010). Mein Freund, der Serienkiller: Zuschauerbeziehung zum Hauptcharakter der TV-Serie Dexter. tv diskurs, 14 (4), 73-77.
Projektnummer: 2009_DMS_B
Kontakt: info@ijk.hmtm-hannover.de
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