TV Noir: The Twentieth Century
Ray Starman

Review brought to you by Connie

I read the book TV Noir-The Twentieth Century by Ray Starman.

It covers the detective/cop shows of TV that are considered “noir” that show an attitude or darkness of a certain time period.
The author breaks down TV shows by year and ages. The author has 6 ages of TV which I though was interesting. The break down of each year and by show is very easy to read and follow.

I found out that 1948 was the commercial TV season of shows starting out. 1949 was the year of the detective shows.
The first age of TV was the early age from 1949-1951. There were 4 police shows and 2 detective shows in this age.

The second age of TV was the golden age from 1952-1961. In this age there were 5 police shows,2 detective shows, 1 reporter show and 1 spy show.

The one show I found out that was interesting to me was the show Foreign Intrigue starring James Daly. I would have liked to watch a episode of this show and learn from it. I also learned that Tyne Daly is his daughter and she was a cop in the show Cagney and Lacey.

The third age of TV was the post-golden age from 1962-1971. This age was very popular because there were 5 police shows most popular was the show The Fugitive, 2 detective shows, 4 western shows the one show that had potential was the show The Loner which starred Lloyd Bridges, 1 science fiction show,2 war shows,and 1 spy show the popular The Prisoner. This age provided a wide arrange of shows to choose from and many shows in this age had potential but wasn’t given a chance to bloom past a year or two.  The show The Prisoner was I think a basis for the TV mini series that was recently featured on the AMC network and starred Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellan I believe. I learned a lot of info in this chapter that helped see how other shows were formed.

The fourth age of TV is the controversial age from 1972-1986. I find that appropriate since I was born in 1976. There were 4 police shows that were popular and the one that sticks out in my mind is Miami Vice.I grew up watching this show. I enjoyed the music in this show and the main characters. This show was gritty and dark at times but it was never boring. We learned a lot about Crockett and Tubbs further down the line as this show progressed. Edward James Olmos was fantastic as their boss. There were 7 detective shows in this age which I found interesting to read about. The one detective show I watched the most of these was Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer starring Stacy Keach. I enjoyed watching this show to see what trouble Mike Hammer would get into next. This chapter provided info on shows I didn’t even know were on TV in this age.

The fifth age of TV is the comfortable age from 1987-1999.  Police shows ran the networks because there were a total of 9 in this age. The other option was one science fiction show The X-Files that was extremely popular.  Two of the popular police shows were NYPD:Blue and Twin Peaks.  I didn’t watch any of these shows in this age. I found Twin Peaks to be creepy and highly disturbing. I may have watched a episode of NYPD:Blue, but I wasn’t impressed. I think anger and deceit was very popular in most of these shows in this age.

My thoughts of this book was very good. I learned a lot of info on shows and the actors that starred in them. I could see where other shows got their start. The show The Invaders was a perfect example. Once I read the info on it, I know that this show was redone in 1995 or so and named Quantum Leap which I watched several episodes of. It amazes me how many police and detective shows were on television and there still are many today. I was glad to see a brief hint about the show Alias by the author.  I was glad that the author covered the major important shows in each year and age of TV..especially Miami Vice. He did a excellent job looking up dates,facts and other info pertaining to each show. I would gladly read another book that he covers on TV or movies for sure.