AMERICA: What’s So Great About American TV?
From the old days of The Brady Bunch and Bewitched to today’s ‘golden age of television’, where screenwriters and show-runners like Joss Whedon and Matthew Weiner have become household names – American television has long colonised our hearts and minds.
Vanity Fair recently declared television to have taken over from film as the place ‘where the action is, the addictions forged’. This century’s water-cooler viewing doubles as narrative art: The Wire, Breaking Bad, Girls, Game of Thrones.
What makes American television so good? Our qualified couch potatoes have the answers: producer Amanda Higgs, critic Debi Enker and commentator Jess McGuire.
Chaired by Michael Williams.
Debi Enker has been writing about film and television for more than 20 years – long enough to have written reviews of Mad Max 3 and Far East for the late and lamented film magazine, Cinema Papers.
Amanda Higgs is an independent TV producer with a 13-part series in production with the ABC. Amanda co-created and produced the first three series of the television drama The Secret Life of Us.
Jess McGuire is a writer, DJ, broadcaster, and MC based in Melbourne. She appears regularly on ABC Local Radio and Double J as a reviewer and cultural commentator, and for many years she was the editor of pop culture website Defamer Australia. She is a former presenter of Triple R’s flagship Breakfasters show.
Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed as Director in September 2011.
He has hosted Blueprint for Living (2015–2016), then Talkfest (2017–2019), on ABC RN. He remains a regular guest on ABC Radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing and has written extensively for the Guardian, the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian and elsewhere.