Is The Wire better than Breaking Bad? Is Cheers better than Seinfeld? What's the best high school show ever made? Why did Moonlighting really fall apart? Was the Arrested Development Netflix season brilliant or terrible?
For twenty years-since they shared a TV column at Tony Soprano's hometown newspaper-critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz have been debating these questions and many more, but it all ultimately boils down to this:
What's the greatest TV show ever?
That debate reaches an epic conclusion in TV (THE BOOK). Sepinwall and Seitz have identified and ranked the 100 greatest scripted shows in American TV history. Using a complex, obsessively all- encompassing scoring system, they've created a Pantheon of top TV shows, each accompanied by essays delving into what made these shows great. From vintage classics like The Twilight Zone and I Love Lucy to modern masterpieces like Mad Men and Friday Night Lights, from huge hits like All in the Family and ER to short-lived favorites like Firefly and Freaks and Geeks, TV (THE BOOK) will bring the triumphs of the small screen together in one amazing compendium.
Sepinwall and Seitz's argument has ended. Now it's time for yours to begin!
Television today is better than ever. From The Sopranos to Breaking Bad, Sex and the City to Girls, and Modern Family to Louie, never has so much quality programming dominated our screens. Exploring how we got here, acclaimed TV critic David Bianculli traces the evolution of the classic TV genres, among them the sitcom, the crime show, the miniseries, the soap opera, the Western, the animated series, the medical drama, and the variety show. In each genre he selects five key examples of the form to illustrate its continuities and its dramatic departures. Drawing on exclusive and in-depth interviews with many of the most famed auteurs in television history, Bianculli shows how the medium has evolved into the premier form of visual narrative art. Â Includes interviews with: MEL BROOKS, MATT GROENING, DAVID CHASE, KEVIN SPACEY, AMY SCHUMER, VINCE GILLIGAN, AARON SORKIN, MATTHEW WEINER, JUDD APATOW, LOUIS C.K., DAVID MILCH, DAVID E. KELLEY, JAMES L. BROOKS, LARRY DAVID, KEN BURNS, LARRY WILMORE, AND MANY, MANY MORE
Television is a form of media without equal. It has revolutionized the way we learn about and communicate with the world and has reinvented the way we experience ourselves and others. More than just cheap entertainment, TV is an undeniable component of our culture and contains many clues to who we are, what we value, and where we might be headed in the future.
Media historian Gary R. Edgerton follows the technological developments and increasing cultural relevance of TV from its prehistory (before 1947) to the Network Era (1948-1975) and the Cable Era (1976-1994). He begins with the laying of the first telegraph line in 1844, which gave rise to the idea that images and sounds could be transmitted over long distances. He then considers the remodeling of television's look and purpose during World War II; the gender, racial, and ethnic components of its early broadcasts and audiences; its transformation of postwar America; and its function in the political life of the country. He talks of the birth of prime time and cable, the influence of innovators like Sylvester "Pat" Weaver, Roone Arledge, and Ted Turner, as well as television's entrance into the international market, describing the ascent of such programs as Dallas and The Cosby Show, and the impact these exports have had on transmitting American culture abroad.
Edgerton concludes with a discerning look at our current Digital Era (1995-present) and the new forms of instantaneous communication that continue to change America's social, political, and economic landscape. Richly researched and engaging, Edgerton's history tracks television's growth into a convergent technology, a global industry, a social catalyst, a viable art form, and a complex and dynamic reflection of the American mind and character. It took only ten years for television to penetrate thirty-five million households, and by 1983, the average home kept their set on for more than seven hours a day. The Columbia History of American Television illuminates our complex relationship with this singular medium and provides historical and critical knowledge for understanding TV as a technology, an industry, an art form, and an institutional force.
When critics decry the current state of our public discourse, one reliably easy target is television news. Itâs too dumbed-down, they say; itâs no longer news but entertainment, celebrity-obsessed and vapid. Â The critics may be right. But, as Charles L. Ponce de Leon explains in Thatâs the Way It Is, TV news has always walked a fine line between hard news and fluff. The Â familiar story of decline fails to acknowledge real changes in the media and Americansâ news-consuming habits, while also harking back to a golden age that, on closer examination, is revealed to be not so Â golden after all. Ponce de Leon traces the entire history of televised news, from the household names of the late 1940s and early â50s, like Eric Sevareid, Edward R. Murrow, and Walter Cronkite, through the rise of cable, the political power of Fox News, and the satirical punch of Colbert and Stewart. He shows us an industry forever in transition, where newsmagazines and celebrity profiles vie with political news and serious investigations. The need for ratings successÂand the lighter, human interest stories that can help bring itÂPonce de Leon makes clear, has always sat uneasily alongside a real desire to report hard news. Â Highlighting the contradictions and paradoxes at the heart of TV news, and telling a story rich in familiar figures and fascinating anecdotes, Thatâs the Way It Is will be the definitive account of how television has showed us our history as it happens.
MGM's hit show Vikings on the History Channel has drawn millions of viewers into the fascinating and bloody world of legendary Norse hero Ragnar Lothbrok, who led Viking warriors to the British Isles and France. Covering the first three seasons of the series, this official companion book delves into the real history as well as the behind-the-scenes stories. Viking historian Justin Pollard explains shipbuilding and navigation, Norse culture and religion, and the first encounters between Viking warriors and the kings of England and France. Interviews with cast and crew reveal the process of dramatizing this gripping story, from reviving the Old Norse language to choreographing battle scenes and building ancient temples for human sacrifice. This spectacular package is a must for fans of the show and history buffs alike.
As one of the most critically acclaimed shows of all time, Breaking Bad explored the life and crimes of a high school chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin of the American Southwest. As Walter White and his former student Jesse Pinkman become deeply entwined in the drug world, their narrative leaves a trail of bodies strewn across the showâs five seasonsâa story that resulted in more than 15 Emmy awards.
In Breaking Bad: A Cultural History, Lara C. Stache offers an engaging analysis of the program, focusing on the showâs fascinating characters and complex story lines. Stachegives the show its due reverence, but also suggests new ways of understanding and critiquing the series as a part of the larger culture in which it exists. The author looks at how the program challenges viewers to think about the choices made in the narrative, analyzes what did and did not work, and determines the programâs cultural significance, particularly its place in twenty-first century America.
The author also explores how Breaking Bad grapples with themes of morality, legality, and anti-drug rhetoric and looks at how the marketing of the series influenced the ways in which television shows are now promoted. Breaking Bad: A Cultural History captures the spirit of the series and examines how the show had an impact on viewers like no other program. This book will be of interest to fans of the show as well as to scholars and students of television, media, and American popular culture.
Painstakingly produced, superbly illustrated, Star Warsâ¢ Year By Year: A Visual History, Updated Edition presents a unique Star Wars timelineâthe full history of the amazing Star Wars phenomenon as you've never seen it before.
This updated edition includes a whole new chapter covering Star Wars: The Force Awakensâ¢ as well as the ongoing animated TV series Star Wars Rebelsâ¢ and new Star Warsâthemed lands coming to Walt Disney World Florida and Disneyland California.
Produced in full collaboration with Lucasfilm and written by renowned Star Wars experts, Star Wars Year By Year: A Visual History, Updated Edition provides a unique timeline of every facet of Star Wars history, as well as the saga's impact on popular culture and world events.
The most beloved, most groundbreaking, and most entertaining TV comedies of all time are celebrated in words and picturesâmany of them rareâby the award-winning authors of Broadway Musicals.
In 101 lively chapters and lots of special features, the authors of Broadway Musicals explore our favorite form of popular entertainmentâthe TV situation comedy. Of the many hundreds of shows that have debuted over TV's 60-year history, the authors have carefully selected the most influential, popular, and enduring ones, from Gilligan's Island to Seinfeld, I Love Lucy to Will and Grace, creating a history of the medium that goes beyond stats and trivia to reveal all that goes into the creation of classic television, from the writing and all-important casting to the directing and, of course, the acting.
Each chapter of Sitcoms features numerous photos, many rare and behind-the-scenes, along with cast lists, artists' biographies, "off-set" tidbits, critical commentary, and all of the relevant statistics. Special features cover such topics as famous unseen characters, sitcom pets, spin-offs, sitcoms made from movies, and many more. It's a visual and informative feast for TV lovers, from nostalgia buffs to the TV Land generation.
Selected for "100 Biographies & Memoirs to Read in a Lifetime" - AmazonÂ includes THE LAST LONE INVENTOR on its all-time best list.
In a story that is both of its time and timeless, Evan I. Schwartz tells a tale of genius versus greed, innocence versus deceit, and independent brilliance versus corporate arrogance. Many men have laid claim to the title "father of television," but Philo T. Farnsworth is the true genius behind what may be the most influential invention of our time. Driven by his obsession to demonstrate his idea,by the age of twenty Farnsworth was operating his own laboratory above a garage in San Francisco and filing for patents. The resulting publicity caught the attention of RCA tycoon David Sarnoff, who became determined to control television in the same way he monopolized radio. Based on original research, including interviews with Farnsworth family members, The Last Lone Inventor is the story of the epic struggle between two equally passionate adversaries whose clash symbolized a turning point in the culture of creativity.
In less than a century, the flickering blue-gray light of the television screen has become a cultural icon. What do the images transmitted by that screen tell us about power, authority, gender stereotypes, and ideology in the United States? Television, History, and American Culture addresses this question by illuminating how television both reflects and influences American culture and identity. The essays collected here focus on women in front of, behind, and on the TV screen, as producers, viewers, and characters. Using feminist and historical criticism, the contributors investigate how television has shaped our understanding of gender, power, race, ethnicity, and sexuality from the 1950s to the present. The topics range from the role that women broadcasters played in radio and early television to the attempts of Desilu Productions to present acceptable images of Hispanic identity, from the impact of TV talk shows on public discourse and the politics of offering viewers positive images of fat women to the negotiation of civil rights, feminism, and abortion rights on news programs and shows such as I Spy and Peyton Place. Innovative and accessible, this book will appeal to those interested in womenâs studies, American studies, and popular culture and the critical study of television.
Contributors. Julie DâAcci, Mary Desjardins, Jane Feuer, Mary Beth Haralovich, Michele Hilmes, Moya Luckett, Lauren Rabinovitz, Jane M. Shattuc, Mark Williams