Explore six decades of television history via the shows that changed the game.

Dates:
Mar 19, 2024 - May 7, 2024

Levels: All
Workshop Fee: $625
Workshop Duration: 12 hours over 8 sessions (Tuesdays, 7:30-9 pm ET)
Workshop Location: Online
Class Size: 30

Note: This workshop will be held in a live, online format utilizing the Zoom platform.
Class meets on 8 Tuesdays, Mar 19, Apr 2, 9, 16, 23, 26, 30 & May 7 from 7:30-9pm ET.

Guided by accomplished director John Coles (House of Cards, Sex and the City), examine how risk and innovation gave birth to “disruptive” shows that transformed the American television landscape.  From Playhouse 90​ to ​Game of Thrones and beyond, we will consider how episodic television gave us a lens to look at ourselves, the culture, our shadows, and our fantasies.

Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS, 1970-77)
Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS, 1970-77)
I Dream of Jeannie (NBC,1965-1970)
I Dream of Jeannie (NBC,1965-1970)

Our journey will wind through decades of volatile change in society and in the television industry, with new platforms pushing aside traditional big networks, resulting in new freedoms and challenges. But our key focus will always be the shows and the voices that pushed the medium forward.  

After contextualizing the historical backdrop, we’ll discuss the shows with an eye toward the way in which power, social constructs, issues of sexuality and intimacy, race, and gender are depicted, and how each “disrupter” challenges these themes and ideas.

Sex and the City (HBO, 1998-2004)
Sex and the City (HBO, 1998-2004)
The Sopranos (HBO, 1999-2007)
The Sopranos (HBO, 1999-2007)

We will look at the “world” of these series, and explore story, structure, character, and the arcs that kept American audiences from changing the channel. We’ll consider the evolving moral and ethical complexities and how they impact a larger discussion within our culture.

Guest writers and directors will visit our sessions and bring intimate and informed perspectives on the creation and impact of these shows.

Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011-19)
Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011-19)
Orange is the New Black (Netflix, 2013-19)
Orange is the New Black (Netflix, 2013-19)

Join in the fascination of watching a medium grow up.

NOTE: There is no textbook, but students will be assigned selected shows to watch and articles to read before each class.  Participants should expect approximately $25 in rental fees to stream shows via popular platforms.

Vida (Starz, 2018)
Vida (Starz, 2018)

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Instructor: John Coles

John Coles is an award-winning director and producer of films, television, and theater, known for work that features compelling performances from some of today's most respected actors. He was nominated for an Emmy and a PGA award for his work as an Executive Producer and Director on the Netflix phenomenon House of Cards.  Other directing credits include the Emmy Award-winning Showtime series Homeland, the Disney+ series The Right Stuff,  the Epix original series Berlin Station, 11/22/63 for Hulu, and Amazon’s Mad Dogs. Recently he directed and executive produced USA’s hit drama The Sinner.  Other credits include Bates Motel, Power, Damages, Justified, Sex and the City, and The West Wing.  He has also directed and executive-produced Elementary, Thief, Unforgettable, 3LBS, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, New Amsterdam, and Wonderland.