Spy Television (Released January 30, 2004)
By Wesley Britton
What is Spy Television?
Spy Television is the first full-length overview of every TV spy show broadcast from 1951 to the present. For fans of series such as The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Avengers, Get Smart, The Wild Wild West, The Prisoner, The Saint, I Spy, the X-Files, La Femme Nikita, Alias and 24, you'll find information and insights that will please the most die-hard expert as well as casual watchers. Lovers of short-lived and almost forgotten series like VR5, I Led Three Lives, The Protectors, The Sandbaggers and The A-Team will learn how these shows came to be and why they disappeared. Friends of Macgyver, The Equalizer, and even Wonder Woman will learn how Hollywood saw their series as more than prime time entertainment--spy shows tell us much about how Hollywood thinks we think.
From cover to cover, Spy Television is more than behind-the-scenes information, production histories, and revelations from casts and producers. Extensively researched, Spy Television explains the contexts in which spy shows were created, explores the influence of spy TV on our culture, and points to unexpected connections between actual espionage and our feelings about undercover operatives, past and present.
Spy Television is a book for experts, fans, and students of TV, popular culture, the history of the Cold War, and what's really going on in shadowy government agencies. Lovers of science-fiction and detective shows will find surprising connections between their favorite shows and the secret worlds of secret agents. And lovers of 007 will find pages and pages showing how the world's most famous secret agent was part of TV history from the 1950s to the present. Spy Television is a book for school and public libraries as well as bookshelves of aficionados of every aspect of the genre, from the influence of old-time radio to the impact of 9/11.
What's in Spy Television?
The Table of Contents shows the scope of Spy Television:Acknowledgements
Chapter 1: Defining a Genre
Chapter 2: The Roots of a Family Tree (1900-1961)
Chapter 3: Bond, Beatles, and Camp: The Men From U.N.C.L.E.
Chapter 4: More British Than Bond: John Steed, The Avengers, and Feminist role-playing
Chapter 5: Cold War Sports and Games: I Spy and Racial Politics
Chapter 6: The Cold War and Existential Fables: Danger Man, Secret Agent, and The Prisoner
Chapter 7: The Page and the Screen: The Saint and Robin Hood Spies
Chapter 8: Interchangeable Parts: Missions: Impossible
Chapter 9: Bond on the Prairie: From The Wild Wild West to the Secret Adventures of Jules Verne
Chapter 10: Tongues in Cheek to Tongues Sticking Out: Get Smart and the Spoofing of a Genre
Chapter 11: Also Rans and New Branches: Network Secret Agents From 1963-1980
Chapter 12: Reagan, Le Carre, Clancy, Cynicism, and Cable: Down to Earth in the 1980s and 1990s
Chapter 13: The Return of Fantasy and the Dark Nights of Spies: The X-Files, La Femme Nikita, and the New Millennium
Chapter 14: Active and Inactive FILES: Alias, 24, The Agency and 21st Century Spies
The Past, Present, and Future of TV Espionage: Why Spies?
How to Get Spy Television
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Endorsements from the Experts
"Britton has conducted an exhaustive analysis of a unique time in our cultural history--the spy craze of the 1960s and its subsequent ripple effects over the years. He's left no stone unturned in digging up not only the classic entries in this genre, but also the obscure, the forgotten, and the one-season wonders. I thought I knew every entry in this genre, but his book reminded me of many I'd forgotten, and informed me on many I had missed completely. This book is the definitive history of the spy phenomenon that was a cultural outgrowth of the Cold War."
-- Jon Heitland, author of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Book: The Behind the Scenes Story of a Television Classic
"Wesley Britton has his finger squarely on the pulse of the TV spy. A wonderfully comprehensive examination of the numerous spies who have passed through our living rooms over the decades, Britton's SPY TELEVISION covers the espionage gamut from AVENGERS to WILD WILD WEST. A must-have for anyone interested in the history of this all-important TV genre."
-- Danny Biederman, Writer/director of the James Bond featurette "A Spy For All Seasons," Author, "The Best of Bond...James Bond" (EMI Publishing), Author, "The James Bond Collection" (Warner Bros. Publishing), Screenwriter, "The Avengers: The Journey Back," "Gavilan" (MGM)