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David Thomson Television A Biography

November 29, 20167 min
In just a few years, that immobile piece of living room furniture, in front of which viewers had to sit at appointed times in order to watch sponsored programming on a finite number of channels, has morphed into a glowing cloud of screens with access to a near endless supply of content available when and how we want it. The effect of this revolutionary transformation—lately pondered by so many of the culterati—makes a writer of David Thomson’s stature delivering a history of the screen which got us here an event which could not be more timely. In his introduction to TELEVISION: A BIOGRAPHY, Thomson notes that “if you wanted to play everything that has been on all the channels of American television all the hours of every day, that playing would take 5,000 years, give or take a century or so. The stuff is growing at a demented pace, as if the ‘wasteland,’ which was once a lofty put-down of television is actually a rampant jungle.” So instead of a strict chronology, Thomson has built t

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