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The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever Paperback – November 21, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: What's Alan Watching? (November 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615718299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615718293
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Mr. Sepinwall's book, which was self-published, has all the immediacy and attention to detail that has won his blog so many followers (including this one). It also stands as a spirited and insightful cultural history." -The New York Times

"So when I picked up Alan's terrific new self-published book, The Revolution Was Televised --by which I mean, when I downloaded it onto my phone and scrolled nonstop for two days--I knew it would be good. And it is: the book is a smart and substantive walk through the past fifteen years of television drama, making a lucid case for the auteurist mentality among modern showrunners." -The New Yorker

"Sepinwall is a sharp and prolific critic in his own right. In Revolution, though, he admirably often stands back and lets his subjects' words speak for themselves. But then he stitches the narrative together with insights that will make you see anew just how a Friday Night Lights or Buffy season truly worked, while tossing off the kind of dead-on descriptions that make his blog a blast to read." -Time

About the Author

Alan Sepinwall has been writing about television for close to 20 years, first as an online reviewer of "NYPD Blue," then as a TV critic for The Star-Ledger (Tony Soprano's hometown paper), now as author of the popular blog What's Alan Watching? on HitFix.com. Sepinwall's episode-by-episode approach to reviewing his favorite TV shows "changed the nature of television criticism," according to Slate, which called him "the acknowledged king of the form."

More About the Author

Alan Sepinwall has been writing about television for close to 20 years, first as an online reviewer of "NYPD Blue," then as a TV critic for The Star-Ledger (Tony Soprano's hometown paper), now as author of the popular blog What's Alan Watching? on HitFix.com. Sepinwall's episode-by-episode approach to reviewing his favorite TV shows "changed the nature of television criticism," according to Slate, which called him "the acknowledged king of the form."

Customer Reviews

A must read book for any true TV fan.
Patrick Hannon
This book has some great insight into the behind the scenes business purposes for how a number of these shows were born and shaped.
Scott H
Great interviews with show runners, writers and TV execs.
Brian Gilbert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Chu on November 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Full disclosure: I've only read the series I've followed start to finish, as each individual section potentially contains spoilers for the series in question. These include: The Wire, Buffy, 24, Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men. (I'm still in the middle of BSG. Really need to get back to that.)

However, for those shows, Alan Sepinwall delves into the history of each series and the people involved in getting it off the ground, generally from origin to present. For The Wire, for example, he covers how David Simon's and Ed Burns' association, and how each of the series they'd worked on--notably The Corner and Homicide--helped build into being able to release the show in question. Using interviews and quotes with the people in question (or archival quotes when certain people, generally from showrunners who are still in the middle of production, are unavailable), Sepinwall's essays create a vivid history--undoubtedly mildly rose-colored but still authentic--of the production of each of the series, and he very clearly defines what he believes makes each of the series listed so important to how television is viewed now.

Each essay is self-contained, thankfully; while other shows are discussed in each chapter, it's typically used in a historical context (as a lot of the show creators involved worked with one another previously) one can avoid most spoilers for a series by not reading the chapter involved. This doesn't work for all of them; there was a mention of a character death in The Sopranos, but without context I can't figure out how important it is. (The book may take for granted that one knows about most of the plot points in The Sopranos.) Aside from that, however, the chapters I read were limited to coverage of the shows themselves.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By B. Scott McIntyre on November 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nice read for TV junkies like me. Lots of interesting details about the behind-the-scenes of various shows in the TV canon, although it does remind me a bit of the Steve Jobs bio where interviews don't necessarily give you any deep insight if the interviewee refuses to talk about things.

I did feel like it was let down a little by the fixed chronological nature of each chapter. Sometimes it felt like the main point of the chapter was reached halfway through, but then there were a few more pages tacked on because the whole show's chronology had to be covered. It could have been a stronger book if it had weaved together examples from various shows to make some bigger point other than "TV sure is great nowadays".

Note: I skipped the last two chapters since I haven't seen those shows yet.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Uncle Grambo on February 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sepinwall should be commended for self-publishing this book, and I'm fully in support of him as a critic and writer. That said, I was not as into this book as I was hoping to be. Some of the chapters, particularly "The Sopranos" and "The Wire" portions, were excellent reads, but I was hoping he would go a bit deeper on the analysis and ease up a bit on the interviews. It also didn't really work hard enough, in my estimation, to get me to go watch the few shows that were covered in this book (like "Deadwood," for example) that I haven't already seen.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Theresa Dickison on December 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'll preface this review by saying I'm a bit of a television junkie which means I was probably predisposed to like this book before I purchased it. However, I do believe that even if you are just a casual television watcher, you will enjoy this book quite a bit. It is, at its heart, a discussion by the author of how some specific television shows changed the way shows were made and how audiences' expectations for television were changed by them. The shows are all recent [almost all from 2000 on (except for Buffy which began in the 90's but ended in the 00's)].

The book is not stuffy or endlessly philosophical but an engaging and detailed synopsis of how each show came to be, what its creators intended for it, slip-ups along the way and their eventual ending.

You don't need to have watched every show that is discussed in this book. I, for example, didn't watch either The Sopranos or The Wire when they were on. I've seen the occasional episode but could never really get "into" either of those shows. That didn't stop me, however, from enjoying the chapters on those two shows. In fact, I've decided to rent episodes of The Wire and give that show another shot after reading that particular chapter. The author enjoyed some pretty enviable access to show creators and you find yourself wishing you could have been in on those interviews.

The only beef that I have with the book (and why I gave it four stars) is that the quantity of grammatical errors is pretty high in this book. I can expect one or two in a professionally published book, but even a self-published book needs to be proofread before being putting out there. There are at least three or four sentences in every chapter that make no sense. Of course, you can figure out what the author meant but when the grammatical errors are so numerous that a reader actively gets distracted by them, that's too many errors.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Pensky on November 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For the $7 Kindle version, this is a steal.

Sepinwall is my favorite TV critic and I had a great time reading this book: his analysis of the TV dramas that have changed the way the medium presents itself.

It must be said that each chapter on a different show discusses the show in detail, so spoilers abound. If you've seen all of these shows, or you just cherry pick which chapter you want to read, you'll be presented with a great overall breakdown of the mentality behind each show and what made each unique and special.

Thanks Alan!
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