Fresh Air's TV critic rounds up the hottest and the hottest of the year that was. Worth watching? A BBC America import about a choir director teaching people to sing. Jersey Shore? Makes Bianculli want to shower.
Lewis Gould is a professor of American History at the University of Texas at Austin. Heâs edited the new book, âWatching Television Come of Ageâ (University of Texas Press) a collection of the New York Times reviews by his father, Jack Gould who covered TV for the Times from 1947 until 1972. Jack Gould died in 1993.
Literary editor of The Nation and television critic for New York Magazine John Leonard (and former Fresh Air book critic). His new book is a collection of essays, "Smoke and Mirrors: Violence, Television, and other American Cultures."
Fresh Air's TV critic, David Bianculli. His new book is "The Dictionary of Teleliteracy: Television's 500 Biggest Hits, Misses, and Events" (Continuum). It explores the shows and events that have had the biggest impact--good and bad--on American culture. From the funeral of JFK to Hee Haw, the book provides background and context for the America's most memorable TV moments. Bianculli also reviews television for the New York Daily News.
At the recent Public Radio Conference in San Antonio, Texas, three Fresh Air arts reviewers swapped stories at a critics forum. Rock critic, Ken Tucker; commentator and book critic, Maureen Corrigan; and TV critic, David Bianculli, offered their thoughts on issues such as media hype and how to deal with it. They shared anecdotes about angry subjects of negative reviews who seek revenge against the reviewer. That panel discussion will be aired today.
Writer David Marc. He's the co-author of the new book, "Prime Time Prime Movers," about how TV's producers are the ones who most influence its creative and ideological direction. They cite such examples as Stephen Bochco, the creator of "Hill Street Blues," and "L.A. Law," and "Cop Rock." (published by Little, Brown & Co.)
Television critic David Bianculli reports back from the annual TV critics' gathering to talk about what networks have planned. He says that Fox is dominating, and the other channels are producing more and edgier shows to compete.
Tom Shales, Pulitzer Prize-winning television critic for the Washington Post. He has a new collection of essays, "Legends: Remembering America's Greatest Stars," which takes a look at such stars as Jackie Gleason, Bing Crosby, Natalie Wood, and Gilda Radner.
David Marc considers his new book about classic sitcoms as a kind of autobiography: each show he reviews reminds him of the time in his life when he first watched it. He joins Fresh Air to talk about the history and politics of television comedy, especially in how it restricted the roles of women and people of color.
Host Terry Gross continues her series of interviewers with Fresh Air contributors. Today she talks with John Leonard, whose criticism appears widely. As a college student he considered a life of political activism before deciding that writing was were his strengths lay. A recovering alcoholic, Leonard describes how, even while he bottomed out, he still delivered copy to his editors.