Pandora's Box

How Guts, Greed, and Lust Upended TV

by Peter Biskind

On Sale: 11/07/2023

Pandora's Box

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Pandora's Box

How Guts, Greed, and Lust Upended TV

by Peter Biskind

On Sale: 11/07/2023


About the Book

Bestselling author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls and Down and Dirty Pictures, cultural critic Peter Biskind turns his eye toward the new golden age of television, sparked by the fall of play-it-safe network TV and the rise of boundary-busting cable, followed by streaming, which overturned both—based on exclusive, candid, and colorful interviews with executives, writers, showrunners, directors, and actors

We are now lucky enough to be living through the era of so-called Peak TV, in which television, in its various guises and formats, has seized the entertainment mantle from movies and dominates our leisure time. How and why this happened is the subject of this book.

Instead of focusing on one service, like HBO, Pandora’s Box asks, “What did HBO do, besides give us The Sopranos?” The answer: It gave us a revolution. Biskind bites off a big chunk of entertainment history, following HBO from its birth into maturity, moving on to the basic cablers like FX and AMC, and ending up with the streamers and their wars, pitting Netflix against Amazon Prime Video, Max, and the killer pluses—Disney, Apple TV, and Paramount.

Since the creative and business sides of TV are thoroughly entwined, Biskind examines both, and the interplay between them. Through frank and shockingly intimate interviews with creators and executives, Pandora’s Box investigates the dynamic interplay of commerce and art through the lens the game-changing shows they aired—not only old warhorses like The Sopranos, but recent shows like The White Lotus, Succession, and Yellow- (both -stone and -jackets)—as windows into the byzantine practices of the players as they use money and guile to destroy their competitors.

In the end, this book crystal-balls the future in light of the success and failures of the streamers that, after apparently clearing the board, now face life-threatening problems, some self-created, some not. With its long view and short takes—riveting snapshots of behind-the-scenes mischief—Pandora’s Box is the only book you’ll need to read to understand what’s on your small screen and how it got there.

Critical Praise

“Peter Biskind’s Pandora’s Box is not only a richly detailed and colorful account, but also an important and historic document on how television has well and defiantly superseded the cinema in the last thirty years. Biskind brilliantly maneuvers his way through a historic panoply of cinematic and television endeavor with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel. A gripping and compulsive read.” — Brian Cox

“Peter Biskind has always been the most rigorous and amusing Hollywood historian we have, taking on the great men of the past—and now with his trademark cheeky intelligence he takes on the giants of the present age of television-as-cinema. Despite my having lived much of the book’s arc, Biskind offers a fresh perspective on the new Wild West of home entertainment.” — Lena Dunham

“Dishy, teeming, superbly reported...packed with lively inside anecdotes...[a] juicy and fascinating exposé.”  Entertainment Weekly on Down and Dirty Pictures

“Sensationally entertaining.”  — Los Angeles Times on Down and Dirty Pictures

“Peter Biskind’s great, scathing, news-packed one hell of an elixirsalty with flavorsome gossip, sour with the aftertaste of misspent careers, intoxicating with one revelation after A.” — Entertainment Weekly on Easy Riders, Raging Bulls

“Biskind’s devourable book is that rarity, a Hollywood exposé that you can read mouth agape, slurping up scandal and titillation so fast you’re in danger of chokingwithout feeling ashamed of yourself.”  — Washington Post Book World on Easy Riders, Raging Bulls

“Biskind is a magician at prying revealing yarns and juicy quotes out of his subjects. And the resulting scenarios are deliciously tawdry...moments of real intelligence and grace.” — San Francisco Chronicle on Easy Riders, Raging Bulls


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062991669
  • ISBN 10: 0062991663
  • Imprint: William Morrow
  • On Sale: 11/07/2023
  • Pages: 416
  • List Price:40.50 CAD
  • BISAC1 : PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism
  • BISAC2 : BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Media & Communications
  • BISAC3 : SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies

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