Pioneers of Television (TV Series 2008– ) Poster

Episode List



18 Jan. 2011
Science Fiction
This episode looks at the development of the science fiction genre on US television in the 1950's and 1960's. Gene Roddenberry had long been working as writer in television but realized that the industry was not prepared to deal with major social issues such as race relations, drug addiction and war. By setting his stories in a fictional future, he was able to do that and thus Star Trek (1966) was born. Somewhat surprisingly, its greatest competition came from Lost in Space (1965) produced by Irwin Allen who was also responsible for The Time Tunnel (1966) and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964). The classic series The Twilight Zone (1959) set a very high bar that the others had to follow.
25 Jan. 2011
This episodes reviews various contributions to the western genre on early US television. Maverick (1957), starring 'James Garner' was an early success and noted for its humor. The Rifleman (1958) was created by Sam Peckinpah, later noted for his more violent take on westerns. It starred Chuck Connors as a single parent raising his young son. Bonanza (1959) with Lorne Greene as a rich rancher with three grown sons was noted for never having a permanent female character. The Big Valley (1965) on the other hand was noted for its strong female characters played by Barbara Stanwyck and Linda Evans. The Wild Wild West (1965) starring Robert Conrad was noted for it's sometimes bizarre story lines and although still very popular, was canceled ...
1 Feb. 2011
Crime Dramas
This episode deal with police and crime show on early American television. Dragnet (1951) started on radio and it seemed a natural to take to TV. Producer and star Jack Webb demanded a flat, emotionless delivery of all dialogue that became the show's trademark. The Untouchables (1959) was a huge success but was among the first shows to raise public concern about violence on the small screen. Mannix (1967) featured a caring private eye while Mission: Impossible (1966) had intricate plots. I Spy (1965) was the first show to have an African-American in a leading role. Hawaii Five-O (1968) also featured a largely ethnic cast, another first. Women were well represented in the genre with ...
8 Feb. 2011
Local Kids' TV
In the early years of U.S. television, virtually every local station had a locally produced program aimed at children. For the most part, they had several things in common: they were broadcast live, operated on a shoestring budget, had a central character (often a clown), included puppets and a live studio audience made up of local children. Shows such as Bozo the Clown (1959) and The Wallace and Ladmo Show (1954) ( also known as the Wallace and Ladmo Show) made celebrities of Chuck McCann, Pat McMahon and Willard Scott. By the 1960s, Jim Henson had his own take on puppets, which he called Muppets, which became nationally known with the advent of Sesame Street (1969). One major ...

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