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Total Television Book and CD-ROM Paperback – September 1, 1997


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Paperback, September 1, 1997
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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1264 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 4th edition (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140267379
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140267372
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 2.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,647,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If you're a fan or student of American TV, you must have this book, which provides descriptions of 5,400 series and their major participants from 1948 to 1995. The information is presented in alphabetical order in entries up to several pages long. Special broadcasts are also listed chronologically in an appendix. Thankfully, the index is comprehensive, so you can easily trace the mayfly-like flitting of stars, personalities, and lesser deities from show to show. And, I don't usually say this, but it's really a heck of a bargain. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

There are other guides to television, but nothing so vast, so thick, so comprehensive as this one. -- Los Angeles Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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This book will make you a trivia expert about all aspects of television.
Simon Westlake
Particularly interesting are the programming grids, which show the nightly lineups on each network for each night of the week.
Michael J. Mazza
Crack open this book at any page and you will be reading for hours, probably days.
K. Munch

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Anthony G Pizza VINE VOICE on September 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Like author/critics from Roger Ebert and Pauline Kael to Joel Whitburn and Fred Bronson, TV historian Alex McNeil has a fun but never-ending job. He charts the myriad of programs that have appeared on broadcast networks (including those, like Dumont, which no longer exist), cable, and in syndication. His fun comes in praising the praiseworthy, trashing the deserving, goreing sacred Hollywood cows and keeping a critical expert's eye on important pop culture strands and shifts.
"Total Television" is exhaustive, enjoyable, fun and fact-filled reading from any page it's read. McNeil generously shares facts, transporting you to time, channel, cast (sometimes literally in hundreds) and summaries of thousands of familiar and long-forgotten TV shows. TV's giants (from Walt Disney and Captain Kangaroo to Oprah Winfrey and "Monday Night Football") receive their fair space, while McNeil also chronicles changes in TV daytime dramas, game, talk, and sports shows.
McNeil's consistent irreverence and historical perspective is remarkable. He salutes Walt Disney for creating TV's first mini-series (the wildly popular "Davy Crockett") while also creating TV's first "synergy" (TV show promotes park and films, which promote movies and TV show).
McNeil also gives long-running, non-cult classics like "Gunsmoke," "Knots Landing," and "Wagon Train" their proper respect while chronicling the knotty, behind-the-scenes problems plaguing stars from Nat Cole to Judy Garland to Jerry Lewis to Sammy Davis, Jr., and the respective failures of their 50s-60s variety shows. (He recalls failed sitcoms like "Family Dog" and "The Waverly Wonders" with especially sweet relish).
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on December 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Alex McNeill's "Total Television" is one of those reference works which is useful both for settling trivia arguments at parties and for helping those engaged in serious scholarly study of television programs and their impact upon popular culture. As of this review, "Total Television" is in its fourth edition.
The book is basically an alphabetical encyclopedia of thousands of television programs in every possible genre: dramas, sitcoms, game shows, cartoons, and more. Each entry lists the series' air dates, principal performers, and other relevant data.
In addition to the main body of encyclopedic entries, the book includes a wealth of supplemental features: lists of Emmy winners, a chronological gathering of one-shot specials, and more. Particularly interesting are the programming grids, which show the nightly lineups on each network for each night of the week. You can turn to a season (say, 1951-52) and see what choices the American TV viewer had each night! This feature is great for historians.
Although most of the entries on each series are brief, McNeill spends more time and space on certain series of outstanding impact. These extended articles on "All in the Family," "CBS Evening News," "Dallas," "The Ed Sullivan Show," and more are truly fascinating.
TV has been derided by many with such epithets as "the Boob Tube" and "The Idiot Box." On the other hand, it was praised in an episode of "The Simpsons" as "teacher, mother. . . secret lover." McNeill captures TV in all of its facets: from the depths of inanity to the heights of cultural significance. This book is a great achievement whose reputation, I believe, will increase with future editions.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Munch on January 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Alex McNeil's "Total Television" is the Mother of all TV reference volumes. If you can't find it here, it ain't worth knowin' about. How he was able to compile all this information covering 50+ years of TV is beyond me. Crack open this book at any page and you will be reading for hours, probably days.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Donna Bowman on May 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
With the explosion of available networks on cable television, this book becomes more than just another reference work for professionals in the media. It's instantaneous information on any show that might happen to pop up on TV Land, Nick at Nite, A&E, PAX, Game Show Network, Soap Opera Network, or the multitudinous other outlets for yesterday's programming. And once you've dipped in, the information MacNeil gives (along with the occasional opinion)is like salted peanuts -- you'll keep dipping your hand in the jar. A comprehensive index of performers, a listing of notable TV movies and specials, and a chance to go back in time with prime-time network grids for every year up through the publication date, all make "Total Television" impossible to resist. You'll be counting the days until the fifth edition as soon as you've spent a week with this one (which takes us into the age of "Must See TV").
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Simon Westlake on August 19, 1997
Format: Paperback
I am a Tv fiend I love all aspects of it thats why when I picked up my copy of Total Television I was drawn into the wealth of information. Any show I could think of was listed I looked In the prime time scheduling portion of the book I never knew that Dallas was after Dukes Of Hazzard. I Was drawn into the book at the first glance of the well desighned cover. All information is easy to find listed alphabettically and if you can't remember the name go to the helpfull index. This book will make you a trivia expert about all aspects of television.

If you Are a TV fiend buy this book if you arn't become a tv fiend and buy this book..
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