A history of violence on TV chronicles everything from '50s Westerns to “The Sopranos” and “The Shield.” Included: “The Untouchables”; news coverage of the Vietnam War; cop dramas such as “Starsky & Hutch,” “Hill Street Blues” and “Miami Vice”; the effects of TV violence. Interviewed: Michael Chiklis, Ossie Davis, Steven Bochco and Dennis Franz.
A history of TV's depiction of minorities examines how the medium reflects and can drive change. Included: coverage of the civil-rights movement; “All in the Family”; “The Bernie Mac Show.” Interviewed: LeVar Burton, Norman Lear and Rob Reiner.
A history of sex on TV includes the tame depiction of sexuality in the1950s; the sexual revolution in the 1960s; Barbara Eden's censored navel on “I Dream of Jeannie”; the ribald comedy of “Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In”; “T&A” in the1970s; news coverage of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal; and reality-show sexcapades. Interviewed: Rob Reiner, Calista Flockhart, Larry Hagman and Jimmy Smits.
A history of women on TV includes a look at the limited roles available in the 1950s---the cook, the housekeeper and the “nurse of the children”; “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its depiction of an independent woman; the women's liberation movement in the 1960s; the barriers broken in the 1970s with shows such as “Julia”; a look at “jiggle TV” with “Three's Company” and “Charlie's Angels”; and a portrait of complicated temptress Erica Kane of “All My Children.” Interviews: Susan Lucci, Barbara Eden, Mary Tyler Moore and Suzanne Somers.
Detailing the history of homosexuality on television, including the unflattering depiction of gays in the 1950s and the first committed gay couple in the 1972 TV movie “That Certain Summer.” Also: the first regular gay character on the sitcom “Soap”; the lesbian undertones of “Xena: Warrior Princess”; and the cultural phenomenon of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” Interviewed: Rob Reiner, Norman Lear, Aaron Spelling and Calista Flockhart.
Cast & Details
Premiered: May 23, 2004
Premise: A five-part series detailing how television has reflected and driven social change, with emphasis on the medium's impact on sex, violence, minorities, women and homosexuality.