Douglas Snauffer

Journalist • Author • Screenwriter • Filmmaker • Media Consultant

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Crime Television covers the history of detective and police shows from the early days of Dragnet, through the genre's various transformations in the 70s and 80s, and up to its recent revival behind such shows as Law & Order and C.S.I.

Crime dramas have been a staple of the television landscape since the advent of the medium. Along with comedies and soap operas, the police procedural made an easy transition from radio to TV, and starting with Dragnet in 1952, quickly became one of the most popular genres. Crime television has proven to be a fascinating reflection of changes and developments in the culture at large. In the '50s and early '60s, the square-jawed, just-the-facts detectives of The Untouchables and The FBI put police work in the best light possible. As the '60s gave way to the '70s, however, the depictions gained more subtle shading, and The Streets of San Francisco, The Rockford Files, and Baretta offered conflicted heroes in more complex worlds. This trend has of course continued in more recent decades, with Steven Bochco's dramas seeking a new realism through frank depictions of language and sexuality on television. In chronicling these developments and illustrating how the genre has reflected our ideas of crime and crime solving through the decades, author Douglas Snauffer provides essential reading for any fan.

The Show Must Go On is a powerful, behind-the-scenes look at some of America’s all-time favorite television programs during their darkest hours, this study examines how various hit series have absorbed the death of a lead actor during production. Although each television program eventually resumed production, the lead actor’s death in each case had a profound impact on the surviving cast and crew and the future of the show itself.

Individual chapters explore the events surrounding the deaths of Freddie Prinze (Chico and the Man), John Ritter (8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter), Redd Foxx (The Royal Family), Nicholas Colasanto (Cheers), Phil Hartman (NewsRadio), and many others. Their stories are told through first-hand accounts by those who knew them best, including many of the most talented actors, producers, writers, and directors in television over the past forty years.

Prime Time Soap Operas was co-authored with KellieAnn Reynolds and Christopher Reynolds.
Prime time soaps are often revered long after their runs on television have ended, as Dallas, Twin Peaks, and Beverly Hills 90210 readily demonstrate. Due to their profound impact, it's easy to forget how recently the genre itself was born. Dallas premiered in 1978, then in 1981, producer Aaron Spelling stepped in and introduced the ultra-glitzy Dynasty. Between these two mega-hits, the era of the nighttime soap was born. Soaps soon spun off into non-traditional avenues as well, in sitcoms like Filthy Rich and the supernatural drama Twin Peaks. Then, with the arrival of the more youth-oriented Fox network, producers were able to hook an entirely new generation on programs such as Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, and Party of Five. Pay-cable channels have also stepped into the picture and now act as trendsetters with hits like Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, and The L Word. Now, from the spiritually themed 7th Heaven to the naughty neighbors of ABC's Desperate Housewives, soaps dominate prime time. Prime Time Soap Operas covers all the major shows within the soap-opera genre, and also investigates all the ways that soaps have contributed to the development of more general television trends. Interviews with producers, actors, and other artistic collaborators also supplement this revealing and entertaining account.