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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A great pilot--why didn't it get a series?

7/10
Author: Allan Masri (allanm051) from San Jose, California
22 October 2002

This was apparently the pilot for a tv series that never got made. With all the nonsense and repetition on American tv, it's hard to see why, except that most people who are interested in early tv are not in the target demographic (under 30). The 40s fashions and makeup are great (it looks like the Mask) and the characters are attractive and interesting. The best vignettes refer to the early days of live tv, when you couldn't show cleavage and black musicians were forbidden to talk to the audience. Not great, but entertaining.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A lot of fun!

8/10
Author: rps-2 from Bracebridge Ont
8 January 2003

This is a lot of fun for anybody but especially for anybody in the business. There is a lot of accurate television history and any number of incidents based on real events. The producers of this film obviously researched their subject well. The television equipment, the clothing, the decor and even the stock shots of 1948 New York are all perfect. Watching this film on my big screen projection TV in colour with stereo sound from a satellite dish really drives home the stunning progress of TV in the last 50 years. Yet it's not as much fun today as it was then. Thanks to the makers of this film for encapsulating some of the insane highs and good times of early tv.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Tuckeresque battles

Author: logopolis from Gustine, CA
23 October 2002

This film shares many elements with "Tucker: The Man and His Dream". Both stories concern fledgling wannabe-big time companies fighting a David and Goliath battle. Their jury-rigged product is always on the edge of disaster. A running gag is the contrast between what the story audience sees and the behind the scenes view we get. Both stories have an unreliable genius, interference from Washington based special interests, and very similar upbeat jazz scores. Both stories occur in the boom period of the post war era. Another running gag is the contrast of social values acceptable then but not today, mostly about smoking and women's roles. Both stories discuss crackpot revolutionary engineering developments that seen with our hindsight give us a chance to snicker at their naivete. Both films were fun to watch.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Hopefully more to come

Author: bcndahous from Great Lakes
22 October 2002

Wow, what a surprise. This short made-for-tv TNT original movie was more entertaining than 95% of new material on television today.

The sense the film gives is that it is part of a series of films or tv series, with this particular "episode" being a middle one. Unfortunately, this is just one movie, and viewers are left with the desire for more elaboration on the wonderful characters. The highpoint, out of many to choose, is the character development. To me, the seven or eight important characters are portrayed more interestingly than the casts of "ER" and "NYPD Blue" put together. In the films short duration (2 hours minus time for tv commercials) it covers everything from power struggles in early television studios to morality and ethnicity codes.

The film takes place in New York City in 1948, and America is fresh out of a war. Women have been removed from the factories and must seek gainful employment in a fast and changing economy and social structure where women and minorities are starting to be excepted. The main character, Audrey, is a young woman moving to the big city and gets caught up in the whirlwind of a struggling live television studio, Empire. The swarm of actors, salesmen, producers, sponsors, and other various contributors to early television help paint a picture of early post-war American popular culture.

Look for a blond Molly Ringwald as a golddigger, and Christopher Lloyd playing a terminally ill president of a young tv studio. (His character is named "Doc", no relation or correlation to "Back to the Future").

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

What a great movie

10/10
Author: Anthony4908 from San Diego, California
21 October 2002

This was a wonderful movie. It shows how television started. Michael B.Silver and Sharif Atkins were intelligent and terrific. This movie should be a weekly television series. The rest of the cast was excellent, too, including Molly Ringwald and Christopher Lloyd. The story was interesting and easy to watch. The movie was great.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Excellent TV Film About the Early Days of Television

Author: LindaY from Marietta, GA
21 October 2002

TNT needs their collective heads examined for not picking up this story as a continuing series. Here's a cast of characters I would have loved to get to know more about.

In a similar vein to AMC's late lamented REMEMBER WENN, THE BIG TIME is the story of Empire Television, a new, small network just trying to stay afloat. It's 1948, television is new--and live. Into the mix of sales reps, aspiring directors, scientists, musicians and managers comes Audrey Drummond, fresh from Wisconsin; as she learns the ropes, we see the perils of live drama as well as the behind-the-scenes lives of the characters.

The movie was meant to be a pilot, so we don't learn all about these characters in the course of the film, but they are intriguing enough to keep us interested. Although Molly Ringwald, as Marion Powers, and Christopher Lloyd, as Doc, have star billing, the supporting characters are equally, if not more, interesting: Christina Hendriks as Audrey, Michael Silver as Walt Kaplan, Dylan Baker as the Colonel, Sharif Atkins as Joe Royal, and Shane Mikael Johnson as Tim Wilkison, with John DeLancie in an amusing guest star role as an egotistical radio actor a bit felled by the new medium. And, hallelujah, stereotypes were kept to a minimum!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

interesting. potential pilot for a new series?

7/10
Author: Muddy-3 from Santa Cruz, CA
26 December 2001

The Big Time tells the story of the Empire Television Network, which was founded by a early television set maker and inventor, "Doc", played by Christopher Lloyd. Empire was trying to establish a toehold in a new industry which was already being dominated by radio giants NBC and CBS. I believe there is some basis for this story in history, as a Empire Coil Company did own a few TV stations, but was shut out of more markets by the FCC deciding to freeze new license applications, and eventually bought out by DuMont.

Anyways, the story told here was mostly from the viewpoint of a young lady hired as a script typer, and her experiences dealing with the turmoils of a struggling company in a groundbreaking industry. It takes place in NYC in the late 1940s. It turns out Doc has cancer, and is dying, but noone except his wife (whom everyone else thinks is a golddigger) knows this.

This show has the potential of being an interesting cable TV series, I hope its given a chance. For the most part the acting was quite good, even if the exterior scenic filler shots reeked of 'cheap'.

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