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Tom 24 Nr 4 (2020): The New Frontiers of Television

On the back burner: Depictions of fascism in contemporary TV drama

12 stycznia 2021


The article seeks to describe and examine one of the possible (and arguably increasingly popular) approaches to the subject of fascism in contemporary TV drama: a narrative strategy that is defined by its willingness to go beyond the depiction of fascism as the absolute political Other, but nonetheless aims to produce a compelling and thorough critique of fascism. This is largely achieved by turning the subject of fascism into an ostensibly non-central element of the plot. By examining a number of contemporary TV series (The Crown, The Man in the High Castle, Peaky Blinders, Pennyworth and The Knick), and drawing certain analogies to Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones, I aim to showcase the narrative effectiveness of a thus defined “back-burner” strategy — while linking this effectiveness to the formal possibilities opened up by contemporary TV drama.