TV Noir: Dark Drama on the Small Screen

Abrams. Sept. 2019. 256p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781590201671. $40; ebk. ISBN 9781683357575. TV
Film and TV historian and former Paley Center for Media curator Glover spent more than 15 years on this terrific tome, and his devotion manifests in the comprehensive bibliography, which noir fans will devour; the knowledgeable, occasionally florid descriptions, which perfectly complement the plentiful photos; the depth of analysis and research; and the connections he makes among the television shows, noir films, and concurrent events. Glover begins with a brief history of TV’s ascent in the 1940s. “Live Noir” discusses the first live television dramas. “A Classic Cycle” records the rise of “telefilms” often made at Hollywood “B” studios, then covers 1950s–60s shows such as Dragnet, Peter Gunn, and 77 Sunset Strip. “Neo Noir” dissects paranoid 1960s–70s thrillers including The Fugitive, The Invaders, and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. “Closing Scenes” draws parallels between older black-and-white TV and movie fare and modern noir shows such as Breaking Bad, Twin Peaks, and The X-Files.
VERDICT Each section could be a stand-alone show at a media museum or, better yet, a series at a dimly lit revival house. Essential for noir lovers, especially those who have exhausted the film canon and are hungry for more.
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