That Was The Year That Was

On what they still called their “home screens,” Americans got to watch the future

The Beatles’ appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in February 1964 remains one of the most watched television moments in history. Those who saw it remember it almost as clearly as they remember the near-continuous coverage of the Kennedy assassination and aftermath the previous November. It was a watershed moment for millions of baby boomers, who, like television itself, were coming of age in 1964. Prophecies about the medium’s potential were fulfilled.Read more »

The Man Who Made Deadwood

The creator of the immensely popular new Western discusses what makes it truly new.

David Milch has taken one of the most convoluted imaginable paths to success in television. Having earned an M.F.A. in fiction at the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, he went on to teach literature at Yale for nine years and became close friends with a man he now regards as one of his mentors, the great novelist and poet Robert Penn Warren. From 1982 to 1987 he wrote for “Hill Street Blues,” proving that if television scripts were not actually literature, they could, at the least, be first-rate drama. With “NYPD Blue” (1993–2005) he took the urban crime drama to new levels of complexity and intensity.

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Super Mario Nation

THE VIDEO GAME turns twenty-five this year, and it has packed a whole lot of history into a mere quarter-century


In 1962 an M.I.T. student named Steven Russell pulled off the ultimate hack. Russell was the kind of kid people make jokes about: short, full of nervous energy, passionately devoted to B-grade science fiction, shy, and brilliant. He worked with the Tech Model Railroad Club, a campus organization that had recently begun turning its focus from toy trains to computers. TMRC members had their own vocabulary. Read more »