Adventures on Prime Time: The Television Programs of Stephen J. Cannell

By Robert J. Thompson | Go to book overview
Save to active project

3 Adventures about Prime Time

There are several themes and motifs that characterize the work of Stephen Cannell. As with many artists, much of his work comes right out of his own autobiography, and one can see his shows, without too much of an interpretive stretch, as allegories about his life in television. To be sure, any interpretation says as much about the reader (or viewer) as it does about the artist, but when one looks at all of Cannell's work together, one can conjecture with some confidence that one of the reasons he is able to write as frequently and as fast as he does is by mixing and matching elements from his own life story to form television episodes. Sometimes an entire series idea will appear autobiographical ( The Greatest American Hero, about an underachiever who suddenly finds himself in a position of great power), whereas at other times it is just a piece of surface detail (the protagonist in The Rousters has a form of dyslexia). Taken as an entire body of work, however, Cannell's episodes seem to present something of a portrait of himself, a portrait of a television hyphenate.

Cannell's ideas, like those of many producers in television, are generated primarily from other television programs. Traditional cultural genres are invoked, but it is usually TV's version of those genres that is recycled and perpetuated in the new programs. Hyphenates often place a personal identifying stamp on these programs by filtering these old formulas through their individual sensibilities, and Cannell's principal "filter" is his own life story. He tells familiar stories in traditional televisual modes, but these stories are often informed by material from his own experiences in television.

The story of Stephen Cannell's career--which concerns an average (and in many ways below-average) person who finds himself in the unlikely position of being deep in the complexities of Hollywood television--pops up, in some

-33-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Adventures on Prime Time: The Television Programs of Stephen J. Cannell
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 148

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?