DAVID BIANCULLI

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AMERICAN EPIC
May 16, 2017  | By David Bianculli

PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

 
DOCUMENTARY MINISERIES PREMIERE: In this new documentary series, PBS tackles one of my more obscure and enthusiastic musical interests (okay, I have lots of those, but still). American Epic is the story of what is now called American roots music – the music that bubbled up, like moonshine from a still, from mountain hollers and bayou backwoods. Tonight’s episode is called “The Big Bang,” and looks for the originals of country, bluegrass, and other forms of American music. And it all leads to a new musical embrace, with a fresh recording project called American Epic, recording new versions of old American classics, and recording them on what literally is the oldest surviving music recording device in the country. Taking part in that are, among others, Willie Nelson and the late Merle Haggard. For a full review, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower. Check local listings.
 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available in paperback for under $15. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. Interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points... Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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