The United States of Television: America in Primetime

The United States of Television: America in Primetime Series
Premiere: 2013
Network: Bbc Two
IMDB Rating: 7.3/10
Sessons: 1
Full Episodes: 4
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Full Show Summary

Alan Yentob presents a series documenting the history of primetime television in America, from the age of mass television in the 1950s to the present. Part 1: Man of the House This opening episode traces the trajectory of the archetypal American dad from the breadwinning patriarch of the 1950s to the angst-ridden multitasker of the 21st century. From the cast iron certainties and benign omniscience of Jim X and Andy Griffith, to the crippling anxieties and bad choices Tony Soprano and Homer Simpson, the programme takes an in-depth view of American masculinity over six decades. Featuring interviews with creators, stars, writers and producers including Ron Howard, David Lynch, Rob Reiner, David Chase, John Hamm and James L. Brooks among others. Part 2: The Misfit When America sits down to watch primetime television it expects to see more than stereotypes and stock characters going through the motions. Primetime viewers want to see the United States of Television - in all its individuality, diversity, eccentricity and quirkiness. That's how some of the most high-risk characters in the primetime crowd are born. These are the awkward squad - the ones who can't, or won't, or aren't allowed to fit in: nerds, geeks, freaks, rebels, outsiders and misfits. Characters like Gomez Addams in The Addams Family, Louie DePalma in Taxi, George Costanza in Seinfeld and practically the whole cast of Glee. But though they may march to a different drummer, in primetime they become 'one of us' - and we, whether we like it not, become one of them. Part 3: The Independent Woman A look at the evolution of women on TV. A host of stars, creators, writers and producers reflect on the dramatic social changes that transformed the iconic homemaker of the 1950s into the independent woman of today, struggling with a slew of contemporary issues. Mainstream TV was slow to reflect women's economic, sexual and domestic situation in the 60s and 70s, but non-conformists like Lucille Ball stepped into the breach to blaze a trail for other characters who altered the perception of how women were expected to behave: Mary Richards, Murphy Brown, Roseanne, and the women of Sex and the City. With contributions from Edie Falco, Roseanne Barr, Mary Tyler Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker and Sandra Oh among others. Part 4: The Crusader Alan concludes the series with a look at the crusading heroes who seek truth, protect the innocent and do the right thing - the cops, the cowboys, the doctors and the spooks. The line separating the hero from the villain has often been a fine one in American history, and the ambiguities that lie at the heart of heroism have inspired some of primetime's most popular and long-running shows, including MASH, The X Files, 24, NYPD Blue and The Wire. From the white-hat versus black-hat pieties of the 1950s to the gritty dilemmas of the post 9/11 world, this episode talks to the stars, creators, writers and producers who have tried to 'do the right thing' for audiences. There are interviews with Hugh Laurie (House), Alan Alda (Hawkeye in MASH), Gillian Anderson (Scully in The X-Files), Dennis Franz (Sipowicz in NYPD Blue) and Michael K Williams (Omar in The Wire). more less
The United States of Television: America in Primetime S01E04
Last Episode, 11 May 2013: Season 1, Episode 4: The Crusader
Alan takes a look over the decades of the changing face of the crusading characters who look for the truth, protect the innocent and do the right thing.
  • Episode Guide
  • Cast
Date Aired The United States of Television: America in Primetime Episodes
Season 1
20 April 2013 Season 1, Episode 1: Man of the House
27 April 2013 Season 1, Episode 2: The Misfit
04 May 2013 Season 1, Episode 3: The Independent Woman
11 May 2013 Season 1, Episode 4: The Crusader