Watch what you read: 19 essential books about TV

Among its 100-plus lists, the 2009 Inventory book (now available for the low, low price of a penny!) contains “TV Guides: 5 essential books about TV.” The books it highlights—The Late Shift by Bill Carter, Live From New York by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales, Total Television by Alex McNeil, The Glass Teat by…

It’s not TV—and it’s not available on HBO Go: 27-plus HBO originals unavailable from the streaming service

1. 1st & Ten (1984-1991)
When HBO launched the streaming video platform HBO Go in 2010, it was a boon to discerning viewers and TV nerds alike: nearly four decades of original programming (plus a sampling of the movies rotating through the site’s cable companion) available anywhere, anytime. But the service is not…

Fall schedule announcements: NBC makes small steps in overcoming its crippling fear of success

NBC is the first network to announce its fall schedule, and it decided to get a jump on tomorrow’s upfront (a presentation held to convince advertisers to invest in the network’s new shows) by announcing its fall schedule to the press today. The network is betting big on comedy, putting one-hour comedy blocs on…

Prime Suspect: “Ain’t No Sunshine”/“Stuck In The Middle With You”

We come not to praise Prime Suspect but to bury it. Actually, NBC already buried it, burning off the last two episodes opposite the NFL playoffs. So maybe we should praise it a little. As we have long maintained here at the AV Club, it was not a show that ever reached excellence, but it had heart. Sometimes the plot…

“You either have a wedding or you burn something down”: 24-plus TV episodes featuring ratings-grabbing stunts

1. I Love Lucy, “Lucy Goes To The Hospital” (1953)
In the modern television landscape, transparent attempts to increase ratings are largely relegated to the so-called “sweeps” periods of November, February, May, and July—the months where viewership numbers help set the advertising rates that keep your TV brimming with…

We need a TCM for television 

Let’s take a little trip through time, back to the bygone days of the late ’90s and early ’00s. Back then, TV Land was still showing the top television shows of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, and regularly airing special programming blocks like “Box Set,” which dug up TV obscurities. Local stations and basic-cable…