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Review: The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to the Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific by David Bianculli

I was deeply engrossed into this book. I found it to be interesting and I didn’t want to stop reading. The Platinum Age of Television provides a well-researched tale of the evolution of television. The book begins with children’s programs and spends time discussing westerns, sitcoms, and legal dramas and so many other genres.  

The book also includes interviews with prominent television figures such as David E. Kelley, Judd Apatow, and Aaron Sorkin. It was interesting to see what television shows they were influenced by and why they developed the shows that they did.  To prevent overexposure of the individuals rather than the television shows, the author carefully alternated between the two.

There were several individuals and shows that I was not familiar with. For example, Perry Mason or The Shield. I’ve never heard of those shows. However, my lack of knowledge for the shows did not discourage me from reading. The author did a good job of providing a quick summary of what each show was about.

The Platinum Age of Television feels like a textbook. There is a lot of important information within the pages. But unlike some textbooks, it is entertaining. And it also has a clear narration. Everything felt cohesive and correlated.

The book is broken into sections: children’s programs, animation, variety/sketch, soap operas, crime, legal, family sitcoms, workplace sitcoms, splitcoms, single working women sitcoms, sci-fi/fantasy/horror, westerns, spies, general drama, war, miniseries, and topical comedy. It’s a lot of television shows mentioned.

And although there are several topics discussed, never once did I feel overwhelmed with the abundance of information. I actually wanted to go conduct my own research and watch the shows that I was less familiar with.

It would be interesting to see David Bianculli write a follow-up. This book was written in 2016, and already there have been so many new groundbreaking televisions shows that are changing the game.

Final Analysis

The Platinum Age of Television provides an in-depth, entertaining view into the most popular mass medium- television.

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