DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

KARLE DUNBAR

Social Media Manager

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

GERALD JORDAN

ROGER CATLIN

GARY EDGERTON

CANDACE KELLEY

TOM BRINKMOELLER

MONIQUE NAZARETH

DAVID SICILIA

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

NOEL HOLSTON

JONATHAN STORM

 
 
 
 
 
Today's My Birthday - And My Bookday!
November 15, 2016  | By David Bianculli  | 12 comments
 

There’s a lot to celebrate around here. TVWW turned nine years old last week. I turn seven times that old today. And today also happens to be the official birth day of my new book, The Platinum Age of Television…

Nine years is a long time for a website – and so many of you have been around since or near the start, so thanks for that. Thanks, too, for welcoming me back so warmly after my summertime health scare, which almost precluded today’s birthday celebration. (When I gave a copy of Platinum Age to my surgeon, my inscription thanked him for not making the book a posthumous release.)

But the new book, which “drops” today – as a very nice post from my Rowan University website put it – is what I’m really most happy to celebrate. So bear with me. And, if you care to, celebrate with me as well.

At present, I have two book signings, with Q&As and video presentations, scheduled - one on each coast. Any TVWW readers will be welcomed extra warmly:

On Monday, Dec. 5, at 6:30 p.m. ET, I'll be at the Rowan University Barnes & Noble, Rowan University, 201 Rowan Blvd., Glassboro, NJ 08028. And on Tuesday, Jan. 10, at 7:30 p.m. on the West Coast, I'll be at the oldest bookstore in Hollywood: Larry Edmunds Bookshop, 6644 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028. If you're in either area, please come out and say hello!

And last week, I was interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air about the book, and our discussion included some great clips featuring Fred Rogers and The Andy Griffith Show. To listen to or download the podcast, visit the Fresh Air website, and scroll down to the Nov. 10, 2016 show.

The Platinum Age of Television is a celebration of today’s quality TV, and a detailed analysis of how it got that way. Fifteen of the chapters are evolutionary “studies,” showing the development of individual TV genres, from the family sitcom and the Western to the medical and crime series. Attached to those chapters are twice as many others, in which I interview and profile some of the most gifted writers, producers and performers in the history of the medium – and representing every phase in the history of the medium.

From the earliest days of television, we spend time with Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Norman Lear and others. From the second generation, we hear from such pivotal TV writer-producers as James L. Brooks, co-creator of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Simpsons, and Steven Bochco, co-creator of Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue. And from 1999, the year I consider the actual start of TV’s Platinum Age, we get the insights of both Aaron Sorkin from NBC’s The West Wing and David Chase of HBO’s The Sopranos.

Covering various periods of TV history, other interview profiles include Carol Burnett, Bob Newhart, Tom Smothers, Kevin Spacey, David E. Kelley, Ken Burns, and, in what turned out to be one of his final interviews, Garry Shandling.

And from the current century, we get such representatives of fabulous TV as Matthew Weiner of Mad Men, Vince Gilligan of Breaking Bad, and Louis C.K. of Louie. In the evolutionary chapters, I make the case for the slow but sure maturation of quality television. In the profile chapters, the artists interviewed make the case for me.

One of the most enjoyable things about conducting the interviews for this book, other than just having conversations with people whose work I’ve admired and appreciated for so long, was letting them lead themselves down memory lane. I intentionally avoided any leading questions: Instead of asking them, say, what they thought of The Twilight Zone,  I merely asked open-ended questions, such as which series excited them when they were young or influenced them later. That way, when The Twilight Zone ends up being mentioned more than any other show, it’s more significant, and honest, a revelation.

Speaking of revelations: This was the first book I’ve written for which I’ve also recorded an audio version, and I had no idea how hard that was – even after being on the radio for decades. It took nine recording days to get the 205,000-word, 550-page book on tape, or on digital – and I’ve just learned, in the description to the finished version available for purchase or download, that it takes almost a full day to listen to it. A full 23.5 hours.

Amortize that by the hour, and this book, whether in print or in audio form, is a bargain.

So please buy one – audiobook or print book, ebook or coloring book. (Okay, so I made that last one up.) The hardback book version of The Platinum Age of Television: From ‘I Love Lucy’ to ‘The Walking Dead,’ How TV Became Terrific, and the audio version, and the ebook version, can all be bought here. And the audio version, directly from Penguin Random House audio publishing, can be bought here, with a sample excerpt, if you want to hear what my book sounds like as read by me, is provided for free here.

Here’s the pitch: For parents and grandparents, the book, in whatever form, makes a great gift, because the shows covered here include such golden oldies as Your Show of Shows, That Was the Week That Was and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Or younger TV viewers can buy one for themselves or each other, because the best modern shows, from Inside Amy Schumer to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, are amply represented.

Oh, and the book has appeal to very young readers as well. I have photographic proof: The picture at the top of this blog, and another at left, shows my grandson Luke reading The Platinum Age of Television to his new little brother, Dylan. And midway through this blog is a picture of my granddaughter, Reina, reading the book to herself.

When I see them all next week, guess what book I’ll be reading to them at bedtime?

 
 
 
 
 
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12 Comments
 
 
Alan Hinton
David, I've loved all your books(I'm in the middle of Platinum Age)and read your column every day. However, I found 1 glaring error in Platinum that I'm sure others have found. Kildare was on NBC, not ABC.
Feb 13, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
TVWW
Good news, TVWW readers, the Amazon link for The Platinum Age is now fixed! Click on the hyperlink above or on the TVWW homepage... --TVWW
Nov 25, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Sally W.
Congratulations and happy (belated) birthday! Really enjoyed listening to the Fresh Air interview. Your book's on my (much too long) to read list!
Nov 21, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
TVWW
All: The Amazon links to David's hardcover edition of The Platinum Age are temporarily disabled, for unknown reasons (11/20/16.) We're certain they will be corrected quickly. Meanwhile, the link is still good here for the Kindle version. --TVWW
Nov 21, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
MAS
Happy Birthday David. I heard you the other night on Fresh Air. Glad you're back there...and here!

Both the links on this page to Amazon are not working. I had to go to Amazon main page and search. So you aren't getting your affiliate pennies. Also, as somebody else pointed out -- no paper version, just Kindle. I'm assuming there are many pictures and I prefer those books in physical rather than eformat. Hope this means they're selling like hotcakes!
Nov 20, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
E Lomke
A triumphant return! Can't wait to read your latest book. I'll pick it up at BookCourt and make sure they order more.
Nov 20, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Scott
David, I am looking forward to reading your new book--I asked my sister to get it for me as a holiday gift. But today (Nov. 18) Amazon no longer has any record of the print version--they're only selling the Audible & Kindle version. What happened? Is this how they treat out-of-stock books now? It's bizarre.
Nov 18, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Alan Hinton
Happy Birthday, David. It's so good to have you back on a daily basis. I pre-ordered your e-book and received it today. I've been looking forward to it since you first announced it. First Alan Sepinwall's book and now yours. If only Mo Ryan would join the club. Best wishes.
Nov 16, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Angela
Congrats, on, well, everything, David! :) How exciting! Love your kids pics, too! I plan to buy your book for a good friend who refuses to watch any TV shows that aren't in black and white (I forget when that ended). So, yes, I'm absolutely buying your book for him, although I do have selfish ulterior motives. I figure if you can't convince him he's missing out on a wealth of excellent quality TV shows we could be watching together I'll at least have done all I could to enlighten him. Plus I won't have to figure out what to buy the man who already has everything.

On the aside, I sure do appreciate reading your best bets again. I read each and every one even if I know it's not a show for me simply because I do enjoy every "sandwich". Happy Birthday!
Nov 15, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
S Goree
Happy Birthday! I just ordered your book on Amazon where it was listed as a best seller! Glad you are on the mend and back sharing with us everyday. I missed your insight.
Nov 15, 2016   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Thank you, thank you, thank you -- for ordering the book, and for noticing its ranking. I credit Terry Gross and being on Fresh Air for that -- but still... it's very nice. As are you...
Nov 15, 2016
 
 
 
Mark Isenberg
Birthday Greetings and yes,we will buy the book and with the breaking news on the tragic death of Gwen Ifill,enjoy every day,Lord willing.
Nov 15, 2016   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Mark, Absolutely. As Warren Zevon, very shortly before he died, told David Letterman as a guest on his TV show, "Enjoy every sandwich." And I try to. Though my daughter won't let me eat a lot of the yummy ones any longer.
Nov 15, 2016
 
 
 
carylann dauber
David,
Congratulations on your book, your birthday and of course, your health. Wishing you only the very best. I am a staunch reader of TVWW and looking forward to reading your book.
Nov 15, 2016   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Carylann, I've been thanking you a lot lately, it seems. And thanks again!
Nov 15, 2016
 
 
 
 
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