Perhaps when a museum dedicates a three-month exhibit to the subject of soap operas, it's time to hang up our cultural hats and admit that we now occupy a world of overstimulated philistines. With that confession happily concluded, what could we want more than this gorgeous volume documenting the Museum of Television & Radio's soap opera show. Exhaustively chronicling the life of the soap opera, Worlds Without End
covers the form from its roots in radio up to the late '90s. It not only reviews the histories of every soap series ever to air (up through late 1996), but also provides a general historical overview of the changes in subject matter, racial casting, and filming styles of the genre as a whole.
Published to coincide with an exhibit at the Museum of Radio and Television, this oversize, heavily illustrated volume surveys soaps from their birth on radio to their television incarnation and tries to explain their continued popularity. To this end, four scholars who study soaps (oxymoronic as that might seem) take a look at who watches and why. Soap lovers may have a laugh at the sometimes heavy-handed analysis; more fun is the individual looks at all the television soaps (dead and alive) and the terrific pictures that will bring back memories for devoted fans. Ilene Cooper