Most folks know the ridiculously catchy instrumental theme song for the 1960s classic TV comedy “I Dream of Jeannie.” But how many can recite its lyrics — “Jeannie, fresh as a daisy! / Just love how she obeys me” — or even knew it had any?
The theme for “Bewitched,” another ’60s favorite, briefly had its day: Peggy Lee, among others, recorded a jazzy vocal version in 1965. The lyrics weren’t used in the series, however, and over many decades of reruns faded from public consciousness.
The original lyrics for both songs, and countless others, are preserved in Library collections as submissions to the U.S. Copyright Office, which is part of the Library. Such submissions for registration help preserve mostly forgotten stories about pop culture staples: They chronicle the creators’ original ideas and, sometimes, the subsequent histories of their works.
Across the past five decades, what was once a simple catchphrase has become an unassailable fact: “It’s not TV. It’s HBO. ”Home Box Office first began broadcasting as a pay-cable network 50 years ago today, and what used to be just a channel for old movies and boxing matches has grown into arguably the single greatest producer of quality programming in television history.
HBO’s original programming ambitions started out small with raunchy comedies like 1st & Ten and Dream On, but the arrival of The Larry Sanders Show in 1992 announced it as a serious player in the TV content wars. Then with the debut of The Sopranos in 1999, HBO blasted off into an era of massive success, with a tidal wave of critical acclaim (it regularly tops all networks in Emmy wins each year) and a flurry of buzzy watercooler hits from Sex and the City to Game of Thrones.
HBO’s pay-cable status allows its original series to push the established boundaries around sex, violence and subject matter, resulting in an offbeat, thought-provoking and often groundbreaking lineup of shows. And those shows have introduced us to a host of unforgettable characters over the years: heroes and villains, superstars and sidekicks, kings and court jesters.
To celebrate HBO’s 50th birthday, we’re naming the 50 greatest characters ever to appear on its original series and ranking them, based on how fascinating, complicated, and original they were. Now HBO’s exemplary output over the years did make this a truly daunting task, but we debated, we voted — and we’re happy with the results.
Read on to see how we ranked the 50 best characters HBO ever gave us — and of course, we want to hear from you, too: Hit the comments to tell us your favorite characters we left off and who you’d rank in your personal Top 5.
Books will bring C-SPAN’s Book TV back together with us this year at the Library of Congress National Book Festival. And yes, festival friends, they will offer free tote bags once again this year to help you carry all those books at the Washington Convention Center.
After two years of virtual coverage because of the pandemic, Book TV is back for the 22nd straight year to provide live, uninterrupted coverage of the National Book Festival on Saturday, Sept. 3.
“As we celebrate this year’s National Book Festival with the theme ‘Books Bring Us Together,’ the Library of Congress’ partnership with C-SPAN’s Book TV will bring together readers across the country, allowing them to enjoy our exciting lineup of authors. We’re proud to join with C-SPAN to extend the reach of the Library of Congress National Book Festival once again so that book lovers from coast to coast can experience this celebration of reading,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.
Check out the new C-SPAN tote bags you can pick up on your way into the festival!
For All Mankind’s version of the space race is one of the most compelling dramas on TV.
By Erin Carson, July 7, 2022 5:40 p.m. PT
Watching the season 3 premiere of For All Mankind on Apple TV Plus, I didn’t touch my phone once. That never happens.
The hour-long episode, which placed several main characters at a wedding-gone-wrong aboard what was supposed to be the first space hotel, was a tense introduction to what will likely be a tense season.
The hotel is built on the idea that centrifugal force creates gravity, and when a piece of debris hits one of the thrusters, causing the rotation (and gravity) to increase, characters struggle to put one foot in front of the other.
I half expected The Doctor to show up in the Tardis because a seemingly doomed spaceship in the middle of a party is exactly the kind of place he’d be likely to turn up.
Simon Kinberg, co-creator and showrunner of Apple TV+’s alien drama, sought experts on extraterrestrial life for his sci-fi drama series: “Some facts come out that are as strange as your fiction.”
By Mia Galluppo, June 20, 2022 1:30pm
“I’m somebody who went to college and didn’t take a single science or math class when I was there,” explains Simon Kinberg. “Unlike someone like a James Cameron, for whom that is their vocation, science is not something that comes naturally to me.”
In other words, he surmises, “I need Astrophysics for Dummies.”A lifelong fan of sci-fi, from Isaac Asimov to Aliens, the prolific writer-producer has put his stamp on the genre with entries like The Martian and his latest, Apple TV+’s drama Invasion.
The series, co-created with David Weil, tells the story of an alien invasion through the eyes of five ordinary people. When creating his science fiction, Kinberg wants it to feel as grounded as possible, so he sought out experts from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, as well as the SETI Institute, a research organization devoted to investigating life beyond Earth. (In a testament to this commitment to realism, The Martian had some audiences believing it was based on a true story to such a degree that the filmmakers had to release a statement to the effect of “No, we haven’t actually sent a mission of human beings to Mars yet,” remembers Kinberg.)