Saturday, October 31, 2009

Television and Contemporary Culture

Not surprisingly, both of these takes on television's role in American culture come from essays about Mad Men.

[Television's] great accomplishment over the past decade has been to give us the best of all movie worlds, to meld personal filmmaking, or series-making, with something like the craft and discipline, the crank-’em-out urgency, of the old studio system.
--Bruce Handy, "Don and Betty's Paradise Lost (Vanity Fair)


For more than 10 years, the intricate, multiseason narrative TV drama has exercised a dominant cultural sway over well-educated, well-off adults. Just as urbanish professionals in the 1950s could be counted on to collectively coo and argue over the latest Salinger short story, so that set in the 2000s has been most intellectually,
emotionally, and aesthetically engaged not by fiction, the theater, or the cinema but by The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Deadwood, The Shield, Big Love.
Benjam Schwarz, "Mad About Mad Men" (Atlantic Monthly)

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