Thought-provoking, insightful commentary on movies has been around for decades, but there’s less history of it with television. However, both television drama and the internet have pushed boundaries during the last 15 years or so, and it seems fitting that thought-provoking, insightful commentary on thought-provoking, insightful television would spring up online. TV critic Alan Sepinwall has been a leading source of this commentary, at his popular blog, What’s Alan Watching?, and on his long-running podcast with fellow Hitfix.com writer Dan Fienberg. Drawing on years of background material as well as new interviews, Sepinwall discusses twelve of the most groundbreaking, influential television dramas of recent times in The Revolution Was Televised: The Crooks, Cops, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever.
The “crooks” and “cops” Sepinwall’s subtitle alludes to are from series like Oz, The Sopranos, The Wire, The Shield, and Breaking Bad; the “slingers” would be the foul-mouthed Wild West denizens of Deadwood; and, of course, the “slayer” is one Buffy Summers. The book’s thesis, supported by Sepinwall’s examples, reflects the influence and depth of genre conventions in storytelling--in addition to the shows referenced in the subtitle, we have 24, Battlestar Galactica, and Lost--and their expansion well beyond any limits of genre, illustrated via Friday Night Lights and Mad Men.