Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Carl Gustav Jung and Joseph Campbell both believe that a living mythology is a necessary factor in a viable civilization. According to these two scholars it is the self-actualized individual who is the key element in a healthy society. The purpose of a mythology for Jung and Campbell is to provide the individual with a set of symbols that will assist him in the process of self-realization. Jung believed that the major source of mythology in today's world is dreams, but he acknowledged the fact that anything which provided the unconscious mind with the appropriate symbols could function on a mythological level. With the myths of yore no longer valid in the light of twentieth-century technology which has rendered many of the ancient symbols meaningless, it is conjectured that modern mythology is inherent in the storytelling medium most prevalent in today's society--television. Using the theories of Jung and Campbell, two television series, Star Trek and Doctor Who, were analyzed for symbolic and mythopoeic elements. These two shows were selected because of their large, active cult followings. It is maintained that the reason for their phenomenal success is at least partly due to the mythological function these programs fulfill in the lives of a few of their more ardent fans. After introducing the relevant theories of Jung and Campbell, the study presents a brief overview of science fiction fandom in general before moving into the specifics of Star Trek and Doctor Who. The symbols found in each of these series tend to support the general hypothesis, but each series seems to be operating on a different level of development with Star Trek geared toward maturing adults and Doctor Who aimed at adolescents just emerging from the unconscious state of youth.
Olivier, Gwendolyn Marie, "A Critical Examination of the Mythological and Symbolic Elements of Two Modern Science Fiction Series: "Star Trek" and "Doctor Who"." (1987). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 4373.