RARA-AVIS: Re: Mystery/crime fiction TV series

From: JIM DOHERTY (jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 12 Aug 2009

  • Next message: Steve Novak: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Mystery/crime fiction TV series"


    Re your question below:

    "I'm looking for a well documented guide (or critical analysis), a reference book devote to modern TV series, with emphasis on the crime fiction series. If this exists for the mystery/crime fiction series only, it's even better."

    Here are three, none of which come up to the present time, but all of which are valuable up to about the '80's.

    T.V. DETECTIVES (Barnes, 1981) by Richard Meyers An attempt to list, and critically comment on, every single detective series ever broadcast on U.S. television from 1948 through 1981, from DRAGNET to HILL STREET BLUES, from I LED THREE LIVES to MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, from MARTIN KANE-PRIVATE EYE to MAGNUM-P.I. Any attempt to be so completely comprehensive is going to lead to some errors, and Meyers makes his share, but it's a valuable reference resource. An Edgar nominee in the Critical/Biographical category. Meyers was, for many years, the TV critic for THE ARMCHAIR DETECTIVE.

    THE BEST OF CRIME AND DETECTIVE T.V. (Harmony, 1988) by Max Allan Collins and John Javna. More of a fun book, with lots of photos and graphics, rather than a comprehensive history. It's basically a series of polls of mystery writing colleagues of Collins and Javna of the best detective shows in various sub-genres (best police procedural, best private eye, etc.), with critical comments on those choices by Collins and Javna, and some "honorable mentions" that didn't make the cuts thrown in for a broader perspective. Collins I'm sure you're already familiar with.

    MURDER ON THE AIR (Mysterious, 1990) by Richard Meyers A follow-up to his earlier book, this is a less comprehensive history, but gives more in-depth portraits of several of the more important writers, producers, etc., who specialized in crime shows, focusing on one or two of their most important series. Hence, there's a chapter about Jack Webb, emphasizing DRAGNET, on Quinn Martin emphasizing BARNABY JONES and CANNON, on Aaron Spelling emphasizing CHARLIE'S ANGELS, on Jack Lord and HAWAII 5-0, on Stephen J. Cannell and Roy Huggins emphasizing THE ROCKFORD FILES, and a chapter that convincingly links up KOJAK, BARNEY MILLER, HILL STREET BLUES, and MIAMI VICE. Again, some errors. Another Crit/Bio Edgar nominee.

    Hope thgat helps.



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