Monday, 16 October 2017


Television series are watched all over the world. They are adored, hated and reviewed. Everybody has an opinion on them, including those who don't watch them... or pretend that they don't. This opinion is often based on perception rather than facts. In France, some circles forget that television is the 8th art and are still prejudiced against television fiction vs cinema (le 7ème art).

French journalists Alain Carrazé and Romain Nigita are both acknowledged experts on TV series. In their new book Series' Anatomy: Le 8e art décrypté (published by Fantask), they generously share this expertise and their passion to explain with clarity, intelligence, but also a bit of humour, how series are made and shown.

From the conception of a television series to its broadcast or release (on SVOD and DVD), Series' Anatomy: Le 8e art décrypté covers the subject in all its aspects: creative and artistic (the showrunner, the writers, the formats, the actors), historical (how Lucille Ball revolutionized the TV industry), geographic (where series are filmed), technical (film or video, HD, special effects, etc...) and economic (financing and budgets, promotion, the US, the UK and French markets). Instructive and absorbing, the impressive work of Alain Carrazé and Romain Nigita rely on their tremendous erudition and a long experience of the television business. Their book is astutely structured around 19 clichés/stereotypes arising from the so-called inferiority of TV compared to cinema, or particularly active these days.

Series' Anatomy: Le 8e art décrypté reminds that television fiction knows the auteur since Reginald Rose, Paddy Chayefsky and Rod Serling (before he created The Twilight Zone). Film adaptations of series didn't start in 1993 with The Fugitive. Actually, TV characters jump to the big screen since the 1950s. Long before the movie versions of Baywatch (2017) and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), The Quatermass Experiment, Dragnet, Doctor Who and many more preceded them. "Franchises" existed in the 1970s and 1980s (The Muppets, Star Trek). Remakes, reboots, and sequels are not a "new trend". There is more than one "Golden Age of TV series". In France subsists a confusion about the distinction between daytime soaps, primetime soaps and sitcoms. And a series doesn't land on a broadcaster by chance.

Series' Anatomy: Le 8e art décrypté is punctuated with practical cases in the form of interviews (such as Betsy Beers, Frank Spotnitz or Greg Nicotero), analysis (David Milch, how Baywatch was saved after being cancelled by NBC) and immersions on filmings (The Sopranos, Friends, Game of Thrones, A French village), in a press junket and on the L.A. Screenings. Comprehensive, the book can be read from beginning to end or consulted by chapter. Series' Anatomy: Le 8e art décrypté is essential reading for series fans, regular or casual viewers, journalists, academics, or simply people who have questions on this theme. It's one of the most important recent books on television fiction with Les nouveaux feuilletonistes, an anthology of Alain Carrazé's interviews of the greatest series creators, writers, producers, actors and directors (Fantask, 2016).

Series' Anatomy: Le 8e art décrypté
by Alain Carrazé and Romain Nigita
483 pages
25 € 
Cover illustrated by Matt Cunningham

See also: (Les nouveaux feuilletonistes)

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