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America in Primetime

 NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS (DIRECT)
  • DVD Release Date: January 17, 2012
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005T5OCL4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,212 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Since its inception, television has served as a lens on American society, and in the expansive world of modern TV, today s heroes and villains have come a long way from their predecessors. America in Primetime showcases this iconic American art form, which has both reflected and shaped our national character.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
(6)
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
PBS continues to mine the archives of commercial TV to create new documentaries about its competitor. In 2002 they created a program titled "Pioneers of Television". This was followed on 2008 by a four part series "Pioneers of Prime Time". This new four-part, four-hour, series focuses on new shows, while briefly remembering the past. Depending on your age, you probably are familiar with either the shows of the 1950s and early 60s ("Father Knows Best", "Leave it To Beaver", "The Rifleman" and "Dragnet"). Or the newer series - mostly on cable ("The Sopranos", "Curb Your Enthusiasm", "24", "House" and "Weeds"). Not having cable TV, many of the newer shows were unfamiliar to me, but may not be for you. Still I'm willing to bet that, after watching this series., there will be shows you've only heard of that you'll look for either on TV, hulu or on DVD sets.

The series is divided into chapter on the "man of the house" (from "Father Kows Best" to "All in the Family" to Tony on "The Sopranos"), "The Independent Woman" (from Lucy and Mary Tyler Moore to Roseanne and on to "The Good Wife", "Desperate Housewives" and "Weeds"0, "The Misfits ("Taxi", "The Office", "30 Rock" and "Glee") and "The Crusader" (from Joe Friday on "Dragnet" to "Homicide: Life on The Street", "NYPD Blue" and on to "Dexter" - with sops at "MASH" and "Superman").

There are many interviews with actors, directors and writers (and Rob Reiner fills all three shoes) as well as short clips. The story is interesting and will certainly appeal to pop culture folks (of which I count myself among them.)

There are few weakness which resulted in my four star rating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cultural View Of Television January 18, 2013
Format:Blu-ray
Since that little box started appearing in living rooms across the United States during the 1950s, television programs have constantly evolved in both culture and scope. "America in Primetime" examines some of those cultural moors and tries to understand their significance.

This set is broken down into four parts:

1. The evolution of men on the small screen, beginning with the stereotypical Father Knows Best and coming to rest on more complex males such as those in Breaking Bad, The Wire, or Mad Men.

2. The ever-changing role of women on television, from the "happy homemaker" days of June Cleaver to the pill-popping Nurse Jackie and the gals of Sex and the City.

3. The "outcasts", or those who never quite fit in (e.g. the Dwight Schrutes or Ugly Bettys of the TV landscape). An interesting discussion ensues surrounding why exactly these figures are so prevalent on television.

4. The crusaders (like Jack Bauer or Fox Mulder) who exhibit stoic traits such as persistence, loyalty, and integrity.

This is a fun little set to watch because, let's face it...those of us who are serious about our TV viewing (and if you aren't, you aren't considering this collection to begin with) like to revel in the nostalgia and memories of all our favorite shows both past and present.

I can't give the series a full five stars because, in all seriousness, I'm not sure that the deep societal issues pondering by the filmmakers are truly the driving force behind each show (e.g. is True Blood really an allegory on the human condition, or is it an excuse to show half-naked vampires getting it on?). However, "America In Primetime" does make enough sentient points to keep you engaged throughout.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars America in Primetime: Twin Peaks January 13, 2012
Format:Blu-ray
PBS's documentary series "America in Primetime" features original interviews with some of the best minds that TV and film have to offer, painting a picture of the evolution of American television across the last 60 years: David Lynch (Twin Peaks, Mulholland Dr.), Matthew Weiner (Mad Men), Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), David Chase (The Sopranos), Diablo Cody (Juno, The United States of Tara), James Manos Jr. (The Sopranos, Dexter), Alan Ball (Six Feet Under, True Blood), and many other notable creators of television.

"America in Primetime" is entertaining and educational, and an insightful look into the medium of narrative television. If you want an idea of what this documentary series is like, then check out this article featuring a segment from "America in Primetime" discussing the impact of David Lynch's influential 90's TV Series "Twin Peaks":
[...]
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