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About this book

Television drama has come to rival cinema in its sophisticated narrative form and high production values. At the heart of this success is the television writer, and TV has become the home of some of the most exciting and high quality writing.

In a series of original interviews, showrunners and writers from some of the biggest American TV dramas of recent years share their experiences and practices of the 'writers' room', on shows such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men and Game of Thrones.

Christina Kallas frames these insider insights with an astute overview of the writer's instrumental role in the rise of sophisticated TV narrative, and concluding reflections which will be invaluable to writers, critics and fans alike.

Table of Contents


“The popular art of one era is often the high art of the next,” wrote the Greek-American literary scholar Alexander Nehamas not so long ago in defense of television, drawing a parallel with Plato’s scorn of Ancient Greek drama.1 TV has long been considered the lesser counterpart to cinema: the place to go in the industry if you couldn’t make it into film. For a very long time it was also considered a subject not worthy of academic study. Not so today. With television drama achieving both popular and critical acclaim, it would seem that TV is finally going through its high art era, and that it has emerged from cinema’s shadow for good.
Christina Kallas


Terence Winter was a writer and executive producer for the HBO television series The Sopranos and is the creator, writer and executive producer of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Previously he wrote for The Great Defender, as well as the series Sister, Sister; Xena: Warrior Princess; The Cosby Mysteries; The New Adventures of Flipper; Diagnosis: Murder; Charlie Grace; DiResta and The PJs. He also wrote the screenplay for the 2005 film Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and its accompanying video game, 50 Cent: Bulletproof, as well as wrote and was a producer of the film Brooklyn Rules and the writer of The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese. He has won four Emmys, four WGA awards, a Golden Globe and an Edgar.
Christina Kallas


In American TV drama the important component was and is the writer — so in order to be able to decipher TV drama’s artistic and commercial success one must understand the writer and the way he or she creates. Illuminating the complicated creative process of an American TV show from as many different perspectives as possible was my main concern in this book, and it has been an educational and highly inspiring process.
Christina Kallas
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