(Click here for questions about the updated edition, on sale Dec. 1.)
Frequently Asked Questions About The Revolution Was Televised
What’s the book about?
The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever is about the last 15 or so years in TV drama, and how a wave of great new shows ushered in a new golden age that made people look at television much more seriously. The story is told through 12 shows of the period: The Sopranos, Oz, The Wire, Deadwood, The Shield, Lost, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 24, Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
Why those shows? Where’s (insert your favorite excluded show here)?
In many cases, the selections are obvious. The revolution doesn’t happen without Oz and then The Sopranos, for instance. In others, I thought the shows told an important part of the overall story (The Shield ended HBO’s monopoly on this kind of drama, while 24 grappled with the challenges of serialization on a broadcast network) in addition to being great.
In terms of what was excluded, I was sticking to a very specific period (and bent the rules slightly for Buffy, which debuted a few months before Oz but tells a parallel story to what was about to happen on cable), though the book’s prologue deals with a lot of ‘80s and ‘90s dramas that helped make this revolution possible. Some shows of the era were left out because I found them more flawed than the ones I included, and/or there was enough overlap in what made them special with shows I was writing about. (I found Six Feet Under and Rescue Me, for instance, to be fascinating but extremely uneven, and some of the 9/11 aspects of Rescue Me are dealt with in the 24 and Battlestar Galactica chapters.) And I wanted to stick as much as possible to shows that were already completed. Mad Men and Breaking Bad got special dispensation, because they’re already clearly in the drama pantheon no matter how they end, whereas shows like Homeland, Justified, Game of Thrones, etc., are still too young to have their legacy determined, nor their stories properly told.
When does the book come out? Where can I buy it? What formats will it be available in? How much will it cost?
The original paperback version I released in late 2012 is now out of print, as is the second edition from Touchstone. But an updated third edition, with lots of new material about Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and several other shows, was released on Dec. 1. (I explain the changes in detail here.) It be ordered now through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It should also be available through any brick-and-mortar store; if they don’t have it in stock, they can order it for you. The ebook remains on sale in multiple formats, for Kindle, for Nook, for iBooks and for Kobo. There’s also an eBook short version available if you only want the new Mad Men and Breaking Bad chapters, titled Sepinwall on Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Internationally, you can order the ebook through the American Amazon stores if your own version doesn’t carry it, unless it’s a country where a publisher has purchased the rights to publish it themselves. For instance, there have been separate versions for Australia, Italy, and Germany, while many other countries (Canada, the UK, Japan, etc.) are making the Touchstone version available; check your local Amazon to be sure.
Among the new things this time around: an audiobook version.
What’s different about the new paperback?
Not a lot. The cover’s new, we caught a few stray typos that got missed in the original edition, and I updated one or two things (almost exclusively in the Where Are They Now? section) about things that happened after the first paperback was released (that, for instance, ABC canceled Last Resort). But it’s 99% the same book as before.
Will my ebook version be updated?
Depends on when you bought it. The self-published version (with the black cover) is treated as a different book from Touchstone’s release (with the blue cover). If your version has the blue cover, you should be able to access the updated version with the minor tweaks described above. The cover with the black version will remain as you bought it. Again, you’re missing very little in terms of changes.
Will there be a more significant update down the road?
Possibly, after both Breaking Bad and Mad Men have finished their runs. But that’s a couple of years down the road.
Is this just a repackaging of Sepinwall’s greatest hits?
No. You may notice a familiar turn of phrase on occasion, and I use archival quotes from time to time if a certain subject was too busy, or if they expressed a thought better back in the day, but the vast majority of the book features original writing by me, and brand-new interviews from the creators in question. I did my first interview with David Chase since the day after The Sopranos finale aired, for instance, and had long discussions with frequent past interview subjects like David Simon, David Milch, Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse and Vince Gilligan, among many others.
Will this book spoil me on shows I haven’t watched yet?
Absolutely. The book is both a history of these shows and a critical analysis of them, and that means going into detail about how they began, how they ended, and memorable moments along the way.
That said, each show gets its own chapter, and there’s very little overlap (though The Sopranos unsurprisingly keeps coming up in other show’s chapters), so if you’ve watched several of these series but are waiting to watch, say, Friday Night Lights, you can just skip that chapter for now.
Why didn’t you answer my question here?
Because my psychic abilities only go so far. If there’s something else you want to know about the book, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org