From Twin Peaks (including the 2017 return) to Girls, a veteran critic and scholar draws on decades of industry expertise and exclusive interviews with renowned creators to examine the rise of art television.
In 1990, American television experienced a seismic shift when Twin Peaks premiered, eschewing formulaic plots and clear lines between heroes and villains. This game-changing series inspired a generation of show creators to experiment artistically, transforming the small screen in ways that endure to this day.
Focusing on six shows (Twin Peaks, with a critical analysis of both the original series and the 2017 return; The Wire; Treme; The Sopranos; Mad Men; and Girls), Television Rewired explores what made these programs so extraordinary. As their writers and producers fought against canned plots and moral simplicity, they participated in the evolution of the exhilarating new auteur television while underscoring the fact that art and entertainment don't have to be mutually exclusive. Nochimson also makes provocative distinctions between true auteur television and shows that were inspired by the freedom of the auteur series but nonetheless remained entrenched within the parameters of formula. Providing opportunities for vigorous discussion, Television Rewired will stimulate debates about which of the new television series since 1990 constitute “art” and which are tweaked “business-driven storytelling.”
- Introduction: The David Effect
- The Founding Titans: Men without Formula
- Chapter 1. David Lynch, Twin Peaks
- Chapter 2. David Chase, The Sopranos
- Chapter 3. David Simon, The Wire
- The Legacy: New Options, New Questions, Retooled Formulas
- Chapter 4. David Simon and Eric Overmyer, Treme
- Chapter 5. Matt Weiner, Mad Men
- Chapter 6. Lena Dunham, Girls
- Chapter 7. Backlash! Formula 2.0
- Coda: The Return of David Lynch
“Nochimson's book is well worth reading not only for its insights but for the dialogue and reflection it opens up among readers.”
Lost in the Movies
“Television Rewired is an essential contribution to the still-crystallizing critical definition of auteur television…from the unique perspective of a critic who has engaged with the medium in profound ways.”
25 Years Later
“This book is clearly a labor of love and a polemic that deploys rhetoric, interviews, and textual evidence to hammer away at the norms of US series television as they have been developed since the 1950s as well as to promote the claims of key 'auteurs.' Its challenge to prevailing views of some contemporary US television deserves attention.”
Christine Geraghty, University of Glasgow, coeditor of The Television Studies Book
“Martha Nochimson has written an excellent book about the evolution of the American television series as a serious and significant site of art in the contemporary world. She expands our understanding of it by focusing on the auteurs behind this art, amplified by the copious presence of the personal interviews she conducted.
Martin Shuster, Goucher College, author of New Television: The Aesthetics and Politics of a Genre