ellaminnowpea

Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV - Warren Littlefield, T.R. Pearson An oral history of NBC's prime years in the mid-late 90s, told by various execs and creative folk. I'd give it three and a half stars, if I could. It's interesting for sure -- I am a huge television nerd with a mean nostalgic streak, so this is right up my alley. It read quickly and I definitely enjoyed it, though the oral history format doesn't offer any form of critical analysis to place the events in a larger framework. Something like that probably would have required an additional couple hundred pages, though, so it's probably just as well that this was limited to Warren Littlefield's perspective of his tenure.

It also kind of assumes that the reader is going to know a lot of the history already. For example, in a conversation about casting for "Cheers," someone makes the comment that Nicholas Colasanto was dying when he auditioned but didn't tell anyone at NBC. There's no background or explanation of why this is important -- if you didn't know that Coach had to be written off the show after three seasons, that the back half of the season had to be rearranged to account for his absence, you might be confused. There are countless examples of this, for almost every show featured.

With that in mind, this is likely best for readers who have fond memories of the shows discussed as opposed to those who are too young to remember them in their heyday. I'm straddling that line myself, and I often found myself both wishing for more context here and grateful for years of EW/Wikipedia readership.