Change That Channel!
The writers strike has really disrupted
my life. I am an unabashed fan of television,
a slave to checking the schedule every evening
to see which of my favorites is on. And I’ve
got no issue with repeats, but after awhile, I
start to miss original programming. It makes me
cranky. I NEED my new episodes.
Unfortunately, though, the powers that be and
the writers can’t seem to get on the same
page. And being a writer myself, I feel compelled
to support the folks who create my favorite shows.
So while they are out on the picket lines, fighting
for what they definitely deserve, I will keep
my complaints to a minimum.
To get my fix, I’ve turned to books about
television. Here are a few good ones that might
keep you occupied while we wait for the writers
The Complete Directory to Prime
Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present
by Tim Brooks and Earle F. Marsh
This book is the end-all, be-all of modern
television encyclopedias. Currently in its
9th edition, I can’t think of anything
that isn’t in this book. Need the
name of an actor? Need the name of a show?
Want to know when a show first hit the air?
Want to know anything related to television
that might win you a ridiculous bet? Then
you need this book.
Sitcoms: The 101 Greatest TV Comedies
of All Time by Ken Bloom and Frank
was raised on sitcoms. The Brady Bunch,
I Love Lucy, Three’s Company, The
Dick Van Dyke Show. So I’ve always
had a particular affinity for goofy plots,
the pratfalls and the way things were always
solved for the better in half an hour. This
book isn’t as heavy on facts as the
Brooks and Marsh book, but it does provide
the basics. What this book is heavy on is
pictures, big, glossy photographs of the
actors and casts and some never before seen
behind the scenes photos. This is a great
coffee table book and an excellent conversation
Emergency!: Behind the
Scene by Richard Yokley and Rozane Sutherland
Emergency! was one of my all-time favorite
shows as a kid. I had a Squad 51 fireman’s
hat and my sister and I used to pretend
to be Johnny and Roy, running around the
backyard saving imaginary people. This book
provides the whole history behind the show.
While most people tend to dismiss the show
as 70’s camp, I prefer to view the
show as the grandfather of the medical shows
that have dominated the airwaves in the
last 30 years, shows like St. Elsewhere,
ER and CSI. Maybe that’s aiming high,
but this was a highly entertaining show
and it’s comforting to know that others
share my enthusiasm for it.
Television Writing by Lee Goldberg and William
Think you’ve got an idea for a show?
Can you create the next big hit when the
shows go back into production? Look no further.
Goldberg and Rabkin, two television vets,
take you behind the scenes and show you
how it’s done. It’s not as easy
as it might seem, but if you’ve got
any inclination to see your name in the
end credits, this one is a must read.
Now where’d I put the remote?