Announcement: This Was Television

2012 is turning into a very eventful year for A Helpless Compiler. In my second year we’ve expanded our coverage far past this one site, with a guest column stint on CC2K and a freelance position with The A.V. Club. And the fun doesn’t end there: Coming next week I’ll be announcing the various shows I’ll be catching up on over the summer, offering my thoughts on some of the many trailers for fall 2012 shows, and also potentially starting up a new summer rewatch project. (Might the pies be baking and the dead rising again?)

But now, I want to take a moment for a very important announcement. I’m pleased to announce today is the launch of This Was Television, a new website devoted to (as the subtitle suggests) flipping through television’s past. I’ve partnered with friends of the blog and frequent collaborators Cory Barker of TV Surveillance, Andy Daglas of The Vast Wasteland and Noel Kirkpatrick of Monsters of Television to create a website specifically focused on older television. As Cory puts it in our mission statement:

As the tense of this place’s name suggests, This Was Television aims to focus on television’s past. There is so much televisual content coming at us every day (hell, every second) that it is really easy to forget what came before The Sopranos or even Twin Peaks. With this new website, we hope to help you remember — or even better, to help you experience television history for the first time.

This Was Television will explore multiple facets of television history through multiple approaches and lenses. We think it will be fun (and hopefully informative) to approach older television content with knowledge of contemporary trends, themes, and realities. Television is constantly changing. Going backwards and thinking a little harder about the hows and the whys is exciting to us, and hopefully to you as well.

There’s a lot of content that’ll be coming to you in the next few weeks, and certainly to be even more as we figure out just what you want to hear. You can find a schedule for our first round of original content here, but to summarize my own contributions starting out:

  • I’ll be covering the original U.K Prime Suspect series by myself with a new installment every Wednesday beginning on June 13 with part 1 of the first serial.
  • The four of us will be conducting a roundtable discussion of the first season of Taxi every Thursday, beginning on June 14 with the pilot episode.
  • We’ll also be launching a TV history-centric book club discussion on Fridays, beginning on June 15 with Warren Littlefield’s oral history of NBC Top of the Rock.

I hope that those of you who like my own writing will follow me over to This Was Television. We’ve been working on this for weeks and are tremendously excited about what’s to come these next few months. You can find our site at and follow us on Twitter at @ThisWasTV – stay tuned for further excitement!

About Les Chappell

The Mad Hatter of media criticism. Co-founder of This Was Television, contributor to The A.V. Club, founder of A Helpless Compiler and The Lesser of Two Equals.
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