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Total Television: Revised Edition Paperback – August 1, 1996
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Top Customer Reviews
"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).Read more ›
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.
If you Are a TV fiend buy this book if you arn't become a tv fiend and buy this book..
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If your in your fifties,like me,you'll not be able to put this book down.There's shows in here you thought were gone from your memory forever. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Ellery
True to its description, this thing contains every show ever made up until its publication. While the information isn't extensive for many of the programs beyond air dates and a... Read morePublished 22 months ago by WOLVERINE
My husband had a much older edition. I order this newer edition for him for Christmas. It arrived timely, in great shape, and he is now enjoying the updated version. Read morePublished on January 6, 2010 by Kathleen Kozak
This reference is superb in it's completeness. Anything you want to know about any program broadcast from 1948-1996 is in this 1251 page book. Read morePublished on January 10, 2007 by Wendell W. Mcclusky
First, we might note that "... To the Present," in the book's title, means through late 1995. So nothing in the last ten years is included. Read morePublished on August 24, 2005 by Frank M. Lowrey