"Informative and insightful, this book takes the convincing stance that TV's good old days are really today". -- Publishers Weekly
"Fans of "quality TV drama series" will have a field day with Syracuse University professor Thompson's multidisciplinary examination of "the return of the serious, literary, writer-based drama" over the past 15 years. Allotting full chapters to breakthrough series Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere, Thompson reviews a bit more briefly the histories of 1980s classics Cagney & Lacey, Moonlighting, L.A. Law, thirtysomething, and China Beach, and their "quirky" 1990s successors Twin Peaks, Northern Exposure, and Picket Fences. "The Future of Quality" chapter describes the networks' retreat from writer-based drama in the early 1990s and the return to it in series like NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Homicide: Life on the Street, Chicago Hope, and the number one hit, ER. This survey will appeal to several audiences: People readers will relish the gossip; Fortune readers will zero in on the economics of quality versus junk-food television; and readers monitoring media transmogrifications will find Thompson's analysis of TV's institutionalization of quality drama fascinating. --Mary Carroll"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Thompson (coauthor of Prime Time, Prime Movers) argues that TV's so-called Golden Age of the 1950s does not equal television of the '80s and early '90s. He gives a short history of every decade and shows how government and social climate affected the programs aired, as for example under the Kennedy administration, networks were scrutinized by the FCC. He believes the renaissance of the '80s began when NBC was "stuck in third place and fresh out of ideas [and that] critical acclaim might be their quickest way to commercial success." When Grant Tinker became NBC president in 1981, he made a commitment to produce good shows from Mary Tyler Moore Enterprises (which he had led) that would radically change TV. Under his aegis, Hill Street Blues was first to emphasize writing and character. Its success was followed with St. Elsewhere ("Hill Street Blues in a hospital"). Thompson also takes an intimate look at Cagney & Lacey; the rise and fall of Moonlighting; and thirtysomething, a show about "yuppie angst." He explains as well how a program could have a success without getting a major audience share. Informative and insightful, this book takes the convincing stance that TV's good old days are really today. Photos not seen by PW. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
-- United States
-- History and criticism.
|| New York :Continuum,1996.
220 pages, 6 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages -209) and indexes.
||0826409016 (hardcover : alk. paper)