At the Mercy of Monsters: Essays on the Rise of Supernatural Procedural Dramas [Contracted with McFarland Publishers]

deadline for submissions: 
March 18, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Ashley Szanter and Jessica K. Richards

Project Overview

Editors Szanter and Richards seek original essays for an edited collection on Supernatural Procedural Dramas on television. While the crime procedural still remains one of the most recognizable genres on television, post-millennial incarnations of the genre often include considerations of the supernatural in tandem with crime solving and justice. Long running shows, such as The X-Files, as well as newer iterations of this phenomena, like Lucifer, present crime solving as an action best done by, or in cooperation with, supernatural beings. This collection aims to explore how this new, evolution of the crime drama reflects potential dismay about the nature of the criminal justice system and/or its on screen interpretations. This collection is under contract with McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers.

Chapters in the proposed collection can focus on one or more of the following categories:

  • Explorations of why the criminal procedural genre needed (wanted?) to incorporate supernatural elements? The traditional criminal procedural can clearly stand on its own, so why modify it in this way now? How does supernaturalism impact the crime genre’s conventions?
  • Analyze how particular shows incorporate or discuss “isms.” We welcome chapters tackling how specific supernatural crime dramas deal with Feminism, Marxism, Queer studies, and Masculinity studies, among others. Of particular interest to the editors are non-binary gender and sexuality, feminism, race, “passing,” and non-traditional/deconstructed families or relationships
  • Do a theoretical analysis on any of the following TV shows: Lucifer, iZombie, Sleepy Hollow, Grimm, Fringe, The X-Files, Twin Peaks, Medium, Warehouse 13, Tru Calling, Forever, The Dresden Files, New Amsterdam, The Gates, Pushing Daisies, Forever Knight, and Special Unit 2.
  • Modern monster theory as an important element of pop cultural study and relevance in an era of growing interest in popular depictions of law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
  • How have shows like Lucifer and Grimm evolved out of shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, Torchwood, and Angel? While not specifically coded as criminal procedurals, these older series combine practices of detection and justice with conceptions of the supernatural as a given in their story worlds.
  • How do shows like Sherlock, True Lies, Eureka, and Psych play with the line between supernaturalism and criminal justice? Though not inherently supernatural in nature, these shows present a new interpretation of the criminal procedural as dependent on or modified by a particular individual’s “powers” or talents? How do these shows walk this line without truly being supernatural?
  • Attempts to address how superhero narratives fit into this will also be considered. How do shows like Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, or Daredevil fit into this burgeoning supernatural crime drama genre? While often showcasing vigilante justice over and above law enforcement, how do superhero shows present characters who work around the system with their individual “powers”?
  • Why do some series, like Sleepy Hollow or Grimm, retain long term public interest whereas other series, such as Moonlight, Forever, New Amsterdam, get canceled after one season? What is the difference in staying power?
  • Examinations of the place/function of romance in supernatural crime dramas. Relationships often crop up between supernatural characters and humans. Are these relationships more/less present in supernatural crime than in traditional crime procedurals?
  • How is this burgeoning new supernatural procedural genre perhaps just an extension of the Gothic? Does this simply resurrect Gothic tendencies towards supernaturalism and detection? Discuss patterns of detection or Gothic elements in these shows/series. Does the supernatural procedural drama continue in that same tradition?


Abstract Due Dates

Preference will be given to abstracts received before March 18, 2017. Abstracts should be no longer than 350 words and be accompanied by a current CV.

Contact us and send abstracts to Ashley and Jessica at or visit our website at