Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Wednesday Book Review Club: DIFFICULT MEN, Brett Martin
This was quite an interesting book for me because I am a fan of the shows Mr. Brett looks at here. He makes the case that TV is undergoing a third golden age in terms of the product it is turning out. He is not talking about network shows but rather the sort of shows being produced by cable and premium channels. The Difficult Men he refers to are the characters in these shows and the men who serve as show runners: Vince Gilligan (BREAKING BAD), David Simon (THE WIRE and TREME), David Chase (THE SOPRANOS), Matthew Weiner (MAD MEN).
He begins with the last golden age, the years of Tinker, Bochco, Silverman, etc and movies into comprehensive studies of the recent trends. Networks are no longer willing to experiment and take the sort of risks they did during the HILL STREET BLUES, HOMICIDE era. They can make their profits through reality shows and traditional fare. Cable and premium services produce fewer shows and are able to give these show runners considerable latitude in how they tell their story. And their story is often one that takes at least one and possibly many years to tell. These shows are more about character and place than plot. I am a fan of this approach to TV; many are not.
If the evolution of TV interests you, you will enjoy this book.
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