8 episodes

Dig into the hidden history of television with Vox's critic-at-large, Emily VanDerWerff. Each season, we explore the tragic, comedic, and occasionally world-changing stories that have marked a medium that's dominated the global conversation for the last 75 years. First up: TV's relationship with the presidency, featuring deep dives into The West Wing, 24, Veep, and more. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Primetime Vox

    • TV Reviews
    • 4.4, 148 Ratings

Dig into the hidden history of television with Vox's critic-at-large, Emily VanDerWerff. Each season, we explore the tragic, comedic, and occasionally world-changing stories that have marked a medium that's dominated the global conversation for the last 75 years. First up: TV's relationship with the presidency, featuring deep dives into The West Wing, 24, Veep, and more. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

    How to broadcast live TV from the moon... in 1969

    How to broadcast live TV from the moon... in 1969

    Robert Stone directed the new PBS series "Chasing the Moon." It's chock full of new archival footage from the period. And behind all that footage – some fascinating stories.
    Stone tells Emily VanDerWerff about a very famous, very recognizable piece of footage that has been lost forever... and about the truth behind the "faking" of the moon landing.
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    • 39 min
    How Nixon’s TV strategy paved the way for Trump

    How Nixon’s TV strategy paved the way for Trump

    Richard Nixon’s political career paralleled the rise of television. He discovered how TV could make or break a politician. His successes and flops set a precedent for politicians who came after him, especially Donald Trump. Both men used television to craft an electable persona, and they shared a secret weapon: one of the most powerful people in TV history, who helped Nixon and Trump shape their images.
    Music credits:Positive Motion by Thomas Richard Peter Howe and Stephen Christopher TaitNight Time Adventure by John Lorca and Peter James QuineyReach Out by James CopperthwaiteOngoing View (C) by Laurent DuryVoyage (A) by by Jon Lorca and Peter James QuineyRue Montclare (A) by Joe Henson, Alexis Leon Smith, and Reinould Willem Rutger FordTwo Dollar Token by Warmbody (from Blue Dot Sessions)When in the West by Landsman Duets (from Blue Dot Sessions)
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    • 23 min
    The TV Presidents: Reagan and Obama

    The TV Presidents: Reagan and Obama

    While they had radically different styles and politics, Presidents Reagan and Obama had at least one thing in common: They were both masters of the small screen. We’ll explore how both presidents used the medium to communicate their message directly to their supporters, often avoiding criticism from the press along the way.
    Music credits:
    Rue Montclare (A) by Joe Henson, Alexis Leon Smith, and Reinould Willem Rutger FordPositive Motion by Thomas Richard Peter Howe and Stephen Christopher TaitVengeful by Warmbody (from Blue Dot Sessions)Night Time Adventure by John Lorca and Peter James QuineyVoyage (a) by Jon Lorca and Peter James Quiney
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    • 19 min
    When the vice president took on a sitcom character

    When the vice president took on a sitcom character

    In May 1992, the TV character Murphy Brown gave birth to a baby boy. The following day, Vice President Dan Quayle publicly blamed Brown for "mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice." But Murphy Brown wasn’t the first single mom on TV, or the first pregnant character to wrestle with whether to have a baby. Other shows tackled more controversial issues like abortion decades earlier. We look back at the feud between a sitcom character and a real politician to find out what that fight tells us about our culture, in 1992 and today.
    Music credits:
    Reach Out by James Copperthwaite
    Murphy Brown Theme by Steve Dorff
    Voyage (A) by by Jon Lorca and Peter James Quiney
    A Most Quiet Season by Richard Bone
    Rue Montclare (A) by Joe Henson, Alexis Leon Smith, and Reinould Willem Rutger Ford
    When in the West by Landsman Duets (from Blue Dot Sessions)
    Two Dollar Token by Warmbody (from Blue Dot Sessions)
    Kitten by Podington Bear
    Constructions (B) by John Devereuax
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    • 20 min
    The fictional presidencies of Hillary Clinton

    The fictional presidencies of Hillary Clinton

    Fictional women in power on TV have a lot in common with Hillary Rodham Clinton. Characters on The Good Wife, Scandal, House of Cards, Commander in Chief — the list goes on and on. On this episode, we examine these characters to find out what they reveal about us and our attitudes toward powerful women in the real world.
    Music credits: “Sugar Frosting” by Charlotte Lucy Glasson, Peter Michael Ludlam, and Hans Hummer“Soothe” by Bodytonic (from Blue Dot Sessions)“Going Forward Looking Back” by Podington Bear“New Connection” by Bob Bradley and Thomas Richard Balmforth“Solidarity” by Podington Bear“A Most Quiet Season” by Richard Bone“Bear Kitten” by Podington Bear
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    • 19 min
    24's twisted relationship with the war on terror

    24's twisted relationship with the war on terror

    24 premiered less than two months after the 9/11 terror attacks. That timing — and the show’s subject matter — affected the way a lot of important people, at the highest levels of United States government, think about terrorism, torture, and America’s role in the world. 
    Music credits: “Pythagoras” by Podington Bear“24 Theme” by Sean Callery“Going Forward Looking Back” by Podington Bear“Ongoing View (C)" by Laurent Dury“Voyage (A)” by Jon Lorca and Peter James Quiney“New Connection” by Bob Bradley and Thomas Richard Balmforth“A Most Quiet Season” by Richard Bone“Two Dollar Token” by Warmbody (from Blue Dot Sessions)“Soothe” by Bodytonic (from Blue Dot Sessions)“Primetime Theme” by Brandon McFarland
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    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
148 Ratings

148 Ratings

Jethroblank ,

Always wanted more

This was a different take on the presidency and contained interesting comparisons between presidents of several generations. However, I always wanted them to go a bit deeper. Often they would mention a tidbit of information and then leave it sitting there. Maybe a time constraint? Still an entertaining and informative podcast.

harpingabout ,

Would Rec!

A deeply enjoyable exploration of the connection between television and politics.

audio fan 781 ,

Entertaining and informative

I hope there is more on the way this is a great listen.

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