Why Do We Love Cult TV?

Um…cuz we’re hopeless misfits? Sounds logical to us, but here’s what some other folks have to say:

BuffyCastExperts Discuss the Psychology of Cult TV Shows
by Alan Kistler

…At WonderCon 2014, a group of psychologists, and one psychologist-in-training, held a panel to discuss why cult TV shows really speak to us geeks. The panel included licensed therapist Josué Cardona (GeekTherapy.com), psychology professor Dr. Travis Langley(Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight), clinical psychologist and scientist Dr. Janina Scarlet (The Superhero Manual), and Elizabeth Ann (NerdLush.com). The panel had a packed room, with nearly two dozen con-goers occupying standing room in the back due to the lack of seats.

A little background info: Cardona and Scarlet use comics and pop culture with their patients to help address various issues. Dr. Langley teaches college courses where he uses pop culture and comic book stories to teach his students. Elizabeth Ann is working towards her clinical forensics doctorate, has a masters in forensics psychology and a specialty in sex offender treatment.

Dr. Scarlet opened up the discussion by asking the panel what they considered to be the value of TV shows. Elizabeth Ann pointed out this depended on the TV show, remarking, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians, I’m sorry, is a waste of time.” She added, “I think that TV is a way of observing yourself from another perspective. Because you may not be able to see something in yourself that you may connect to via a character . . . Especially with genre or cult TV . . . So many of my friends, my colleagues, we’re here because of fandom. We connected . . . Bless social media.”

“Even the bad TV, you get to learn some things in terms of what not to do,” Langley joked. “I like stories. Reality TV, which we all know is not reality . . . I see greater truth in fiction than in that false reality . . . A criticism against television is you’re not using your imagination because it’s handing it all to you. Oh, really? How often do you keep thinking about this stuff later on, imagining where else the story might have gone or where it’s going? . . . You’re imagining the subsequent seasons of Firefly.

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