TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time
by Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz
Grand Central Publishing, 2016; 432 pp
Reviewed by Charlie Riccardelli
Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz’s TV (The Book) is that essential compendium to television shows any pop culture junkie needs within the same reach as their television remote. Like the guides by Leonard Maltin, Pauline Kael, and Roger Ebert that have been bibles for film fans, television critics Sepinwall and Seitz have created a first-rate guide for television that methodically listed the American shows that they’ve ranks as the best of all time. To do so, our writers have judged major series like Cheers, Breaking Bad, The Twilight Zone, and many more based on categories that would warrant their placement in the canon of great series. After ranking them, each series is discussed in length to expand on why they deserve to be elevated into the realm of essentials.
As you can imagine, even when judging shows based on categories like innovation or consistency, the authors battle over the placement of each series within the list. How do you rank an ongoing show like The Simpsons when many seasons have reputations for being pale imitations of the show’s golden age? Can we count the fourth season of Arrested Development as a strike against the series? How do viewers of The Cosby Show divorce the series from the scandals that have plagued its star Bill Cosby in recent years? Sepinwall and Seitz dissect the value and legacy of each series with thoughtful cultural insight and engaging passion that have defined the lasting value of their critical work. Whether you read it front to back or in search of the shows that matter to you most, TV (The Book) offers such tremendous passion for the series discussed. With TV (The Book), you’ll have an easier time finding that next series to binge-watch.