I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution

I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution

From The New Yorker’s fiercely original, Pulitzer Prize–winning culture critic, a provocative collection of new and previously published essays arguing that we are what we watch.

From her creation of the first “Approval Matrix” in New York magazine in 2004 to her Pulitzer Prize–winning columns for The New Yorker, Emily Nussbaum has known all along that what we watch is who we are. In this collection, including two never-before-published essays, Nussbaum writes about her passion for television that began with stumbling upon "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"—a show that was so much more than it appeared—while she was a graduate student studying Victorian literature. What followed was a love affair with television, an education, and a fierce debate about whose work gets to be called “great” that led Nussbaum to a trailblazing career as a critic whose reviews said so much more about our culture than just what’s good on television. Through these pieces, she traces the evolution of female protagonists over the last decade, the complex role of sexual violence on TV, and what to do about art when the artist is revealed to be a monster. And she explores the links between the television antihero and the rise of Donald Trump.

The book is more than a collection of essays. With each piece, Nussbaum recounts her fervent search, over fifteen years, for a new kind of criticism that resists the false hierarchy that elevates one form of culture over another. It traces her own struggle to punch through stifling notions of “prestige television,” searching for a wilder and freer and more varied idea of artistic ambition—one that acknowledges many types of beauty and complexity, and that opens to more varied voices. It’s a book that celebrates television as television, even as each year warps the definition of just what that might mean.

Title:I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution
ISBN:9780525508960
Format Type:

    I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution Reviews

  • Glen

    I won this book in a goodreads drawing.Back in college, I took a class on popular culture. It was pretty interesting. We read a lot of stuff about television. For some reason, I remember an article wr...

  • Andrew Barnes

    I Like to Watch is a culmination of 20+ years of revelatory television writing from Emily Nussbaum. The essays elevate the shows I’ve watched and love to greater heights. It makes me feel like an id...

  • Trevor Groce

    Emily Nussbaum is the reason I flip to the back when I get my hands on The New Yorker. Each page offers insight and honest appraisals of many of the most important shows over the past two decades. Her...

  • Tess

    I LIKE TO WATCH, Emily Nussbaum's collection of essays on television, is a revelation. I worked through the book much faster than anticipated. I thought I would go to each essay individually, and woul...

  • Liz

    Via my book blog at https://cavebookreviews.blogspot.com/I follow Emily Nussbaum's column in The New Yorker and her Twitter feed. The Twitter feed gives me AHA moments in her short bursts of comments ...

  • Johannes

    Up until I read I Like to Watch, my favorite book on contemporary TV was Brett Martin’s Difficult Men, a study on the TV revolution that happened in roughly the first decade of the 2000s (Sopranos t...

  • Beck

    "I Like to Watch" is a collection of lyrical, well argued essays written by The New Yorker’ s TV critic (and, as the cover notes, Pulitzer Prize winner), Emily Nussbaum. Like Nussbaum, I prefer TV t...

  • Haley Hope Gillilan

    Emily is an OG TV critic. I loved reading all her essays all in one place, even if I hadn’t seen the show before. TV criticism is a pretty unique craft, and so I love seeing one of the best being ab...

  • Perry

    The Tao of TellyWhat a collection of perfection in perceptive criticism and thought from the incredible Emily Nussbaum, culture critic for The New Yorker. In it, she considers the high evolution of te...

  • Erin

    Nussbaum's critiques are thoughtful, funny, and game-changing when it comes to understanding television as a medium: especially in the so-called "Golden Age." The new material she wrote specifically f...