|Index||4 reviews in total|
I was baffled and sad when this show was cancelled. Sad, because it
mysteriously went off the air in the mid 90's, and baffled for the same
reason. It wasn't until a year or two later that I discovered that Bill
Buckley had retired from the show, and the emotions hit me all over
I grew up watching Firing Line, and always found it extremely fascinating. Bill Buckley tackled every single topic you could imagine; from hard science to law, to art, to racism, to geo-politics. One show might focus on drug addiction, another might be a debate on immigration, while another would discuss films and other art.
My only complaint was that I always got the feeling that it needed to be an hour long show. Or at the very least 45 minutes.
And like the other reviewer said Bill Buckley may be conservative, but he's a mellow kind of conservative. He doesn't get all bent out of shape when people disagree with him, because he knows he's right and respects any clever attempt to disprove his well learned positions. Seeing him smile during an exchange always put a smile on my face.
Regrettably the same cannot be said for many of his guests, such as the notorious Ira Glasser, whose argumentative style in public debates boils down shouting down the opposition (see the Firing Line debate on Legal and Illegal Immigration, moderated by Michael Kinsington). Other guests included think tank heads, academicians, expert lawyers researching law, and a number of artists from both sides of the political spectrum.
If you ever wanted to get to the truth or to the heart of an issue, or to at least hear both sides in a well constructed, sometimes light hearted, but always informative debate, then you should do yourself a favor and go seek out past shows.
The show format is essentially talking heads. It's one of those "boring" shows that deals with serious issues affecting the United States and the world at large. But, if you want a real understanding of how today's hot topics have evolved, by that I mean issues like abortion, the 2nd ammendment, smut in films and other public media, or even online information, then Firing Line might be a good place to start.
I wish Bill Buckley were still doing the show, but even I know that despite his expansive knowledge, he is, afterall, mortal, and must rest.
Starting back in 1966, Bill Buckley was just getting started with his career in journalism and this show would go on for 33 years. Amazing. I watched it from 1981 to '99 right when Bill Clinton was impeached and on trial in the Senate. Buckley was a great host. Sly, cunning and smart. He would always ask the right questions. The only reason the show ended was because Buckley retired. You can't blame him. The man had a great run with this show. I just wish someone else would've taken over as host when the show ended. I know it wouldn't of been the same without Bill, but it still would've kept it going to this day. My God, has there been another talk show that's been on for 33 years or longer? The answer is no, although Ted Koppel's NIGHTLINE has been going on now for a solid 24. I wonder if Bill O'Reilly will be on for 33 years like Buckley was?
William F. Buckley, Jr. published his first book God and Man At Yale in
the early Fifties and became a conservative celebrity of sorts, but not
really known to the general public. That was until 1965 when the
toddling Conservative Party of New York ran him as their candidate for
Mayor against John V. Lindsay and Abraham D. Beame, both of whom went
on to become mayors.
The celebrity he gained from that campaign brought him this interview show which ran 33 years on public television. He had a variety of guests across the political spectrum and they engaged in lively intellectual discussion.
I will say this for Buckley, conservative that he was, he always kept the discussion on a high plain, but even ordinary folks could appreciate the man's wit if not his politics. Buckley would not have found Fox News a real comfortable place to be.
I was in college when this show was first being broadcast and some friends had an in over at the studio the show was taped. Friends and I managed to be in the studio audience for several shows. I recall being in the audience when he interviewed Allen Ginsberg, David Susskind, and the one I remember best was with British Tory politician Enoch Powell who looked like Terry-Thomas. Perhaps it was Powell's appearance that prevented folks in the UK from taking him seriously about the unrestricted immigration policies there.
I think Buckley was at his best with some of the British, he did some good shows with Malcolm Muggeridge and Alistair Cooke, one time liberals who now were his neighbors on the right. Those shows hopefully are preserved.
Firing Line never descended to the lowest common denominator, Buckley would not have lasted on the air if he had with his kind of audience. When he retired, the show was canceled. And why not, it was his show uniquely that only one with his special wit and personality could have presided over.
Firing Line was the very height of political television. Even if it was the den of supremely evil b*tch William F Buckley. As supremely evil b*tches go, he was still fiercely intelligent. Buckley was a conservative whom modern conservatives don't deserve to share the category with. This is the first place I ever saw Susan Estrich and Mike Kinsey unzip their voluptuous intelligence. The show is missed very much. No one deals with thought and content in politics anymore. It may have been the most important "weekly anything" ever to air on TV. This was intelligence that hit you right in the seat of the pants. Come back FL! Rescue us from the utter morons who talk politics, run for office and vote in this most pathetic of pathetic eras.
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