America in Primetime

"I think we are in a, indeed in a golden age of television. I think TV today, pound for pound, storytelling-wise is more interesting, dare I say it, than Hollywood movies."

Vince Gilligan , Producer, Breaking Bad

I stumbled across part 4 of this PBS documentary when I saw that they were featuring a segment including one of my favorite television characters- Omar Little  from The Wire.  This was episode 4- The Crusaders and the entire hour was engaging.  Other characters discussed in this episode include Hawkeye from MASH, Dr. Gregory House of House MD and Det. Frank Pembleton from Homicide: Life on the Street,  all characters whom I have found interesting. This part of the documentary examined characters who live by their own moral code and how that affected their lives. It also discussed why these types of characters are popular in American culture.

America in Primetime is a documentary focusing on the most compelling current shows on television, while looking at their evolution through the history of tv. It is comprised of four one hour episodes, each focusing on a very specific character type in television: the Independent Woman, the Man of the House, the Misfit, and the Crusader. These archetypes are discussed by the actors who play the characters, as well as the writers, creators and producers of the various shows. Characters discussed range from Mary Richards (the Mary Tyler Moore Show) and Jackie Peyton (Nurse Jackie) to Gomez Addams (the Addams Family) and Walter White (Breaking Bad). It's fascinating to hear the actors' insight into the characters they play, as well as the love they have for the characters they have created. The documentary also provides a unique way to look at the history of American television- through the creation and development of beloved (and sometimes hated) characters.