DAVID BIANCULLI

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THE NEW 'I LOVE LUCY' SPECIAL
May 19, 2017  | By David Bianculli

CBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

 

CBS has done this before, with this vintage, beloved CBS series, and with The Dick Van Dyke Show: Take a pair of classic episodes, colorize them by new computer techniques, and show them in prime time. And tonight, CBS is doing it again, showing a pair of Lucille Ball’s later I Love Lucy “Hollywood” episode. The classic one, truly, is the one with Lucy and Harpo Marx, recreating the seminal broken-mirror scene from the riotous Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup. I used to be totally against colorization – which, in the early years, was far less effective and naturalistic than it is today. But now, with local TV syndicated stations not being the only afternoon game in town for young television viewers, new generations need not be, and are not, force-fed an unofficial syllabus of classic TV shows. College students in my TV classes, asked whether they’ve seen an episode of I Love Lucy prior to my showing it to them, now answer affirmatively less than half the time – the lowest it’s ever been, in my 20 years in the classroom. So anything that revives and exposes I Love Lucy and shows like it to a new era of viewers is fine by me. Of course, those viewers aren’t likely to be watching CBS anyway… Sigh…

 
 
 
 
 
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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 available on Amazon for $20. (Paperback will be available September 5th, here.)

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. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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