The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific

Doubleday. Nov. 2016. 576p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780385540278. $32.50; ebk. ISBN 9780385540285. TV
OrangeReviewStarTV critic and frequent guest host on NPR's Fresh Air Bianculli (Dangerously Funny) has taken on the ambitious project of deciding the platinum age of television (1999 to now with some exceptions before that) and selecting the shows that stand out among the finest. The work divides the best programs into categories such as spies, Westerns, and soap operas and discusses five groundbreaking shows per genre. For instance, highlights of workplace sitcoms include Fawlty Towers, Taxi, Cheers, The Larry Sanders Show, and The Office (both British and American versions). It's a lengthy book, but if you like TV it's a quick, informative read. Bianculli also has an impressive list of interviews he conducted with visionaries such as Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Vince Gilligan of Breaking Bad, and Aaron Sorkin of The West Wing. This extensively researched work really hits the mark. There are so many intriguing new shows to try.
VERDICT Highly recommended for people who love reading about quality TV programming and stories of the entertainment industry.
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