- Title: Television: A Biography
- Author: David Thomson
- ISBN: 9780500519165
- Page: 477
- Format: Hardcover
In just a few years, what used to be an immobile piece of living room furniture, which one had to sit in front of at appointed times in order to watch sponsored programming on a finite number of channels, morphed into a glowing cloud of screens with access to a near endless supply of content available when and how viewers want it With this phenomenon now a common culturalIn just a few years, what used to be an immobile piece of living room furniture, which one had to sit in front of at appointed times in order to watch sponsored programming on a finite number of channels, morphed into a glowing cloud of screens with access to a near endless supply of content available when and how viewers want it With this phenomenon now a common cultural theme, a writer of David Thomson s stature delivering a critical history, or biography of the six decade television era, will be a significant event which could not be timely With Television, the critic and film historian who wrote what Sight and Sound s readers called the most important film book of the last 50 years has finally turned his unique powers of observation to the medium that has swallowed film whole.Over twenty two thematically organized chapters, Thomson brings his provocatively insightful and unique voice to the life of what was television David Thomson surveying a Boschian landscape, illuminated by that singular glow always on and peopled by everyone from Donna Reed to Dennis Potter, will be the first complete history of the defining medium of our time.
Recent Comments "Television: A Biography"
As a kid I spent too many hours watching television. Mornings often began with Bugs Bunny cartoons, there were reruns of Gilligan's Island and Brady Bunch waiting for us after school, and most nights there was a 'favorite' show or something that had to be watched. Sunday nights we visited my Grandma, and often we watched television (especially if it was cold outside). But as an adult, I mostly avoid watching. It's not that I'm against TV, but with hindsight I can see that while it's sometimes en [...]
A wide ranging look at television from the brilliant and idiosyncratic author of "Have you seen--?" and "The New Biographical Dictionary of Film." Some may not like Thomson's snark, but it works for me, and even when I disagree with him I greatly enjoy the force of his well stated arguments. Screens are everywhere, and in one way or another most glue ourselves to them for great swathes of each day. What has that meant? Thomson makes for an entertaining and thoughtful guide.Geoff Dyer puts it nea [...]
Unfocused musings, many loose links and rickety connections, but reads mostly as engaging, open, conversational, if ultimately not of as much consequence as it wants to be. Extra 1/2 star for wonderful design; the photos, layout, font, and even paper stock added a rare degree of tactile engagement beyond the words.
Not a biography, not a history -- let's face it, either of those would be too big for a single book. Instead, what David Thomson has done is to apply his movie-watching muscles to watching TV and the book consists of some long essays on the subject. This is the first book I have read of Thomson's, after hearing for many years of his excellent writing on movies. He reminds me of Clive James, whose most recent work is coincidentally Play All, about binge watching various TV series. I can never res [...]
4.5 stars, rounded down rather than up in this case, just to make sure no one thinks this book is perfect. But it's pretty great - the best Thomson I've read outside of his "Biographical Dictionary of Film" and "Have You Seen?" I haven't watched network series in years, and I don't have cable. But the book covers shows that long predate my birth and highlights programs that aired (mostly on pay TV) after I stopped watching. The fact that Thomson's observations land over and over again despite al [...]
At 100 pages in, I finally gave up on this book. I thought maybe it was a slow starter nope, turns out it was a boring book. The author thought he was amusing and clever, but he was just far too wordy.
The less I watch TV the more I am interested in it. After reading the book, I realize how much we have evolved with it. TV has defined culture to this point, with Trump punctuating it. The internet will have similar effects in 50 years.
Splendid. In my life so far, I have for better or worse, spent more time watching television than I have composing, playing trombone, spending time with friends, and, probably, reading. Some of those hours I consider well-spent, but the majority I begrudge the medium. Thomson puts them all into perspective: a perspective that includes familiar friends and more than a few strangers. His assertion that television always only wants to be on is a potent one, and in this era when our national obsessi [...]
Idiosyncratic and fascinating; and if it seems to wander here and there, well, doesn't television do that itself?
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