playlist

Talks for television lovers

Hey, remote control mavericks. Enjoy these talks, full of thoughts on how TV shows pique our fascination and reflect our cultural values.

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  1. 18:02
    J.J. Abrams The mystery box

    J.J. Abrams traces his love for the unseen mystery –- a passion that's evident in his films and TV shows, including Lost, Star Trek and the upcoming Star Wars VII — back to its magical beginnings.

  2. 13:12
    Lauren Zalaznick The conscience of television

    TV executive Lauren Zalaznick thinks deeply about pop television. Sharing results of a bold study that tracks attitudes against TV ratings over five decades, she makes a case that television reflects who we truly are — in ways we might not have expected.

  3. 18:06
    Thomas Hellum The world's most boring television ... and why it's hilariously addictive

    You've heard about slow food. Now here's slow ... TV? In this very funny talk, Norwegian television producer Thomas Hellum shares how he and his team began to broadcast long, boring events, often live — and found a rapt audience. Shows include a 7-hour train journey, an 18-hour fishing expedition and a 5.5-day ferry voyage along the coast of Norway. The results are both beautiful and fascinating. Really.

  4. 19:16
    Andrew Stanton The clues to a great story

    Filmmaker Andrew Stanton ("Toy Story," "WALL-E") shares what he knows about storytelling — starting at the end and working back to the beginning. Contains graphic language ... (Note: this talk is not available for download.)

  5. 5:37
    Cynthia Schneider The surprising spread of Idol TV

    Cynthia Schneider looks at two international "American Idol"-style shows — one in Afghanistan, and one in the United Arab Emirates — and shows the surprising effect that these reality-TV competitions are creating in their societies.

  6. 20:02
    Mike Rowe Learning from dirty jobs

    Mike Rowe, the host of "Dirty Jobs," tells some compelling (and horrifying) real-life job stories. Listen for his insights and observations about the nature of hard work, and how it’s been unjustifiably degraded in society today.