Is The Wire better than Breaking Bad? Is Cheers better than Seinfeld? What's the best high school show ever made? Why did Moonlighting really fall apart? Was the Arrested Development Netflix season brilliant or terrible?
For 20 years - since they shared a TV column at Tony Soprano's hometown newspaper - critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz have been debating these questions and many more, but it all ultimately boils down to this:
What's the greatest TV show ever?
That debate reaches an epic conclusion in TV (the Book). Sepinwall and Seitz have identified and ranked the 100 greatest scripted shows in American TV history. Using a complex, obsessively all-encompassing scoring system, they've created a pantheon of top TV shows, each accompanied by essays delving into what made these shows great. From vintage classics like The Twilight Zone and I Love Lucy to modern masterpieces like Mad Men and Friday Night Lights, from huge hits like All in the Family and ER to short-lived favorites like Firefly and Freaks and Geeks, TV (the Book) brings the triumphs of the small screen together in one amazing compendium.
Sepinwall and Seitz's argument has ended. Now it's time for yours to begin!
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2016 Alan Sepinwall & Matt Zoller Seitz (P)2016 Hachette Audio
"I hate Top Ten lists and am existentially opposed to numerically rating television shows, so this book is my worst nightmare! You should buy it anyway, because Alan and Matt are shrewd, witty, and insightful critics, even if they are wrong about Cheers being better than 30 Rock." (Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker )
"In the same way so many of us made Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide or Pauline Kael's or David Thomson's review collections our film bibles, readers will be poring over this magnificent volume for years to come." (Megan Abbott, best-selling author of The Fever and You Will Know Me)
"What fun to dive into a book that not only inspires but invites debate over your favorite TV shows. Which ones truly deserve to be in the Pantheon? Which ones did or didn't make the cut? Any book that celebrates everything from The Sopranos to Rocky and Bullwinkle gets my attention...and deserves yours." (Leonard Maltin, film critic/historian)
I admire these guys for tackling this subject and having the gumption to rank them. If you haven't seen some of the shows in the top 5 of their list, their initial debate over which deserves to be crowned king gets tedious. But then the fun begins.
I enjoyed the essays for helping me recall forgotten shows, learning why some must-see shows were great, reinforcing why I loved other series, and viewing some from a different angle.
They make the disclaimer from the beginning that this list was hardly definitive. It's a jumping off point for more discussion. They encourage people to bring up the shows they didn't mention. Ahem... Avatar the Last Airbender, and leaving Shogun and V out of their list of great mini-series. I remember those series taking over lunchroom and family conversations.
The lists of best/worse TV bosses to work for, best TV houses, best cliffhangers are the cherries in the fruit cup. The passion they spews forth like Roman candles as they make their cases for each show. I see myself listening to this again.
Though it can become monotonous during stretches of similar or unfamiliar shows, it's ultimately a must-read for anyone who sees television as something more than channel-surfing.
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