Notes From the Archives of TV

The Archive of American Television has posted an excerpt from its interview with Matt Weiner (conducted last year, before the contract negotiations) where he tries to explain that he’s not the egomaniac portrayed in the media. In the process of explaining that, he in fact comes off as having a very healthy-sized ego, but I guess that’s not really much of a criticism. As he sort of admits himself, if he weren’t a bit of an egomaniac he wouldn’t be running a TV series.

The Archive’s blog also notes the passing of some important TV people recently. The death of Madelyn Pugh Davis, one of I Love Lucy‘s head writers, got some media attention, and so to a lesser extent did the death of Sol Saks, the comedy writer (and occasional excecutive) best known for writing and creating the Bewitched pilot.

However, I didn’t see anything until now about the death of Gerry Finnerman, one of the great cinematographers in television. He’s best known for serving as director of photography of two iconic series, Star Trek and Moonlighting. And having mentioned those two shows, we immediately have to mention the best-known aspect of his style: the use of filters for the close-ups of beautiful women. But that was part of his very old-Hollywood, old-school approach to cinematography, which made his shows look more lush and beautiful than TV shows usually do.

Moonlighting is also one of the shows covered in Todd VanDerWerff’s new primer on ’80s drama, the era that – among other things – restored television drama to a level of visual sophistication that hadn’t been seen since the days of black-and-white TV. And Finnerman on Moonlighting was one of the people who helped make that possible.

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