“Map of Hell” on National Geographic Channel (May 2016)


“Short of booking Satan himself, the National Geographic Channel could not have found a better celebrity guide than Danny Trejo for its Sunday special, “Map of Hell.” Mr. Trejo is everything you want in an underworld escort: scary, snarly, seeming as if he could reach out of the television set, slash your throat and eat you at any moment.

Credit his persona from the movies, where he tends to play extremely nasty characters. He takes enthusiastic advantage of that image here as he leads a tour of the evolution of ideas about hell, beginning with Virgil and proceeding to early Christianity, Dante, evangelicals and so on, with side trips to things like horror movies. […]”

–Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times, May 13, 2016

See also, Mark Strauss, “The Campaign to Eliminate Hell,” National Geographic, May 13, 2016

Avatar: the Last Airbender

In season two, episode 12, Avatar Aang and his friends Sokka, Katara, and Tof take a refugee couple across a deadly strip of land named “The Serpent’s Pass.” Before they start the path, they come upon an archway with the words “Abandon hope” inscribed on it.


The episode is available to watch here.

Contributed by Alex Sallade (University of Delaware)

Guy Raffa, “Dante and Don”

In celebration of the poet’s 750th birthday, Guy Raffa (University of Texas, Austin) published an essay in the magazine Pop Matters, comparing Dante with fellow Gemini Don Draper:


“Matthew Weiner’s brilliant decision to end the series with, in his words, the ‘greatest commercial ever made‘, meshes beautifully — ‘in perfect harmony’ — with the ending of what many believe to be the greatest poem ever written. The culmination of Dante’s journey through the afterlife is his vision of God. He sees the mystery of the Incarnation, the paradoxical union of complete human and divine natures, the Word made flesh. Don’s Moment of Zen produces an equally paradoxical revelation: the marriage of commerce and community achieved by the famous 1971 TV ad. The Word made cash.

“The comparison appears less strange when we consider that Dante himself has become both a product and an ad man. He has become a hot commodity not just for the spiritually, intellectually, or literarily inclined, and not only in Italy, where Roberto Benigni has electrified audiences — in the piazza and on TV — over the past decade with his TuttoDante performances, brought to North America in 2009.” —- Guy Raffa, “Dante and Don: The Word Made Flesh and the Word Made Cash,” Pop Matters

House, M.D., “Damned If You Do” (2004)

HouseIn Season 1, Episode 5 of House, M.D., two of the show’s main characters refer to the Inferno while complaining about working a shift in a clinic:

House: We are condemned to useless labor.

Wilson: Fourth circle of Hell. Charting goes a lot faster when you eliminate all classic poetry.

House: Writing down what we already know to be read by nobody. I’m pretty sure Dante would agree that qualifies as useless.

Contributed by Stephanie Hotz, University of Texas at Austin

Adventure Time, “Return to the Nightosphere” (2012)

Adventure Time

Season 4, Episode 5 of Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time is set in the hellish “Nightosphere.” It alludes to Dante’s Inferno: its protagonists, Finn and Jake, find themselves there not knowing how they got there; they pass through an imposing gate to meet with the ruler of the Nightosphere; they meet a character rowing a boat over condemned souls.

Watch the full episode here.


Contributed by Allison Kim, University of Texas at Austin

How I Met Your Mother S05E22 (2010)

how-i-met-your-mother-s05e22-dante-ulyssesIn Season 5, Episode 22, the main character Ted wants to add a little class and sophistication to his group of friends, so he starts quoting poetry:

Ted: “Guys, come on, I’m just trying to add a little class to these proceedings.  It’s like that line from Dante’s Inferno…”

Marshall: [pbbbt]

Ted: “Consider your origins; you were not born to live like brutes…”

Lily: [pbbbt]

Ted: “…but to follow virtue and knowledge…”

Barney: [pbbbt]

Ted: “…Or, in the original Italian…”

Friends, groaning: “Nooooo…”

Ted: “…Considerate la vostra semenza…”

Friends: [pbbbbbbbbbbt]

Contributed by Christine Khachiev

Impel Down Prison, One Piece

Impel Down

In the Japanese anime One Piece, there is a prison called “Impel Down” with five levels.

“Impel Down seems to be heavily based on how Hell is described in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Both are level-based, ‘inescapable’ prisons with unique forms of punishment per level, and the lower one traverses, the worse the punishments become.”    —One Piece Wiki

Contributed by Nicholas Hentges

Sabrina the Teenage Witch, “Dante’s Inferno”

Sabrina the Teenage WitchIn a 1997 episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, titled “Dante’s Inferno,” Sabrina goes on a date with Dante, a mischievous witch.

View the full episode here.


Contributed by Stephanie Hotz, University of Texas at Austin

Over the Garden Wall (2014)

Over the Garden WallOver the Garden Wall is a cartoon mini-series on Cartoon Network, based on Patrick McHale’s short animated film Tome of the Unknown. It centers on a young poet, Wirt, and his half-brother Greg, as they travel through a dark forest called “The Unknown”. They are accompanied by a talking bluebird named Beatrice.  The mini-series has ten episodes; the latter nine loosely correspond to the circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno.

Visit this site for a closer look at the correspondences between the Inferno and Over the Garden Wall.

To visit the show’s blog on Cartoon Network, click here.

Contributed by Kate Peterson


Telecom Company Tim produces Dante ads (2012)

Italian Telecom company Tim produced a series of television ads in 2012 featuring Dante, Virgil, Beatrice, and Lucifer as protagonists.

The trailer below gives a glimpse into the entire series:

For links to the full series of videos on Youtube, click here.