The Ambiguous Perspective on Life

This volume traverses the distance from the realism of Dragnet and Naked City through the existentialism of Miami Vice and the nihilism of The Sopranos to the realms of darkness and the unknown of The X-Files and Millennium. In the end, the noir way of looking at things translates into a way of being in the world, and as such it implies, at the very least, vulnerability if not actual jeopardy. The philosopher and film theorist Irving Singer writes, "The price one pays for the ambiguous perspective on life is a lack of security, recurrent doubt about one's mettle and the goodness of what one has achieved."33 The ability of producers, writers, directors, and the rest to create the noir television series that the essays in this volume address almost certainly reflects their awareness of this ambiguous view of the human condition.

It would be folly to attempt to predict the future of TV noir. But its pervasiveness and the tenacity of its hold on the imagination suggest the vitality of what might be called the noir dimension of human experience and the relevance of that dimension to questions of who we are and how we are to live.

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