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Television Rewired

Television Rewired
The Rise of the Auteur Series

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.

July 2019
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320 pages | 6 x 9 | Hardcover has a printed case, no dust jacket | 61 b&w photos |

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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
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Martha P. Nochimson
Riverdale, New York


Nochimson is the author of eight previous books about film and television, including David Lynch Swerves: Uncertainty from Lost Highway to Inland Empire, World on Film, and Dying to Belong: Gangster Movies in Hollywood and Hong Kong. She is currently teaching a course on Lynch’s oeuvre at the David Lynch Graduate School of Cinematic Arts.


“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 details the creative process of each of the series [that developed the concept of the television auteur], based on interviews and detailed research by the author…Recommended.”

“A lively and fascinating book...Throughout Nochimson is thoroughly consumed by the question of what constitutes television art, and what plausibly counts as a defense of its achievements; her prose is utterly compelling in its gentle unfolding of such complex and challenging questions.”
New Review of Film and Television Studies

“[Nochimson provides] solid, but accessible, insights into the process of auteur television expression....After reading Television Rewired, I learned a new vocabulary for television viewing. The book is not a judgment of what is good or bad. Nochimson expanded my appreciation for television by explaining exactly what it is I am watching.”
Popular Culture Studies Journal

“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


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This book may also be available on the following library platforms; check with your local library:
3M Cloud Library/bibliotheca