Play All by Clive James
A Bingewatcher’s Notebook

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As readers of James’ prior work will expect, this is a cerebral piece of work. “For the subtleties,” he writes, “we still need books.” Jokes about Marcel Proust’s mother aside, however, his book is far from inaccessible.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

A world-renowned media and cultural critic offers an insightful analysis of serial TV drama and the modern art of the small screen

Television and TV viewing are not what they once were—and that’s a good thing, according to award-winning author and critic Clive James. Since serving as television columnist for the London Observer from 1972 to 1982, James has witnessed a radical change in content, format, and programming, and in the very manner in which TV is watched. Here he examines this unique cultural revolution, providing a brilliant, eminently entertaining analysis of many of the medium’s most notable twenty-first-century accomplishments and their not always subtle impact on modern society—including such acclaimed serial dramas as Breaking Bad, The West Wing, Mad Men, and The Sopranos, as well as the comedy 30 Rock. With intelligence and wit, James explores a television landscape expanded by cable and broadband and profoundly altered by the advent of Netflix, Amazon, and other “cord-cutting” platforms that have helped to usher in a golden age of unabashed binge-watching.
 

About Clive James

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Clive James is an Australian memoirist, poet, translator, critic, and broadcaster, who has written more than thirty books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, including, for Yale University Press, Latest Readings. He lives in Cambridge, UK.
 
Published August 30, 2016 by Yale University Press. 216 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Play All
All: 4 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 1

Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Jun 21 2017

As readers of James’ prior work will expect, this is a cerebral piece of work. “For the subtleties,” he writes, “we still need books.” Jokes about Marcel Proust’s mother aside, however, his book is far from inaccessible.

Read Full Review of Play All: A Bingewatcher’s No... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by JAMES PARKER on Oct 07 2016

But don’t let these minor encrustations put you off. “Play All” is a small book but by no means a slight one.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Louis Bayard on Aug 22 2016

The rest of us will have to gather our rosebuds where we may. Recalling the amusingly unkind Mr. James who once compared Arnold Schwarzenegger to “a brown condom full of walnuts,” we are liable to get the same kick from learning that Steve Buscemi’s teeth are “designed for biting the head off a live chicken”...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Joe Moran on Sep 07 2016

Mostly, though, “trying to be generous as I bow out”, he writes as a captive viewer. But then James has always been a generous critic – not in the sense of letting bad work off the hook, or in showering good work with superlatives, but in giving munificently of his time, and in using it to pay careful attention.

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Reader Rating for Play All
80%

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