I just finished reading Difficult Men: Behind the Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad by Brett Martin. I am a huge fan of The Sopranos and Mad Men so naturally I was happy to see another book that covers both shows (I had recently read The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever by Alan Sepinwall). This book covers The Sopranos in more detail since Brett Martin wrote a companion book for the series and had interviewed David Chase quite a bit. The Sopranos was the start of a new type of TV drama with anti-hero's like Tony Soprano and later Don Draper, and the men who created them.
This book also covers The Wire in great detail as well as The Shield and Sex Feet Under. It's interesting to me that all the creators and showrunners of these shows are men and they are full of neuroses that contributed to their success. He paints an especially unflattering picture of Matt Weiner. And David Chase doesn't fare much better. But he does point out how "ridiculously good-looking" Jon Hamm is!
It saddened me to read how tortured James Gandolfini was, in light of his recent passing. It's also interesting that no female actress has been given the lead in a one hour show (see Weeds, Nurse Jackie and Girls which are all 30 minutes). In the early days of AMC, it was described as the place "where mediocrity came to die." Of course, the incredible success of Mad Men lead to Breaking Bad which is the last show covered in this book.
This book is very well written and researched but should probably be read by those who have already watched the shows it covers since it contains many spoilers. I really enjoyed it but I'm a sucker for inside TV books like this!
|Books, you can never have just one!|