Rowan to host TV “FinaleFest” Friday

Rowan to host TV “FinaleFest” Friday

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Rowan University’s College of Communication & Creative Arts, which for decades has offered a popular and ever-growing major in Radio, Television & Film studies, this Friday will host FinaleFest, a daylong event featuring some of the most anticipated TV finales in history.

The event coincides with the recent release of Television Finales:
From Howdy Doody to Girls
(Syracuse University Press), a book co-edited by Rowan RTF Professor David Bianculli that includes chapters penned by several current and retired RTF faculty members.

FinaleFest, which is free and open to the public, starts at 11:30 a.m. Friday in King Auditorium in Bozorth Hall on Rowan’s Glassboro campus.

“We’ll screen finales throughout the day plus clips of several others at night,” said RTF department Chair Keith Brand, who contributed a chapter in the book on the finale of the The Colbert Report, a Comedy Central political satire that ran from 2005 through 2014.

Brand said the festival will start with the screening of the finale to That Was the Week That Was, an early 1960s BBC political satire hosted by Robert Frost.

“It was political comedy that might have been a precursor to the Daily Show, which itself was a precursor to The Colbert Report,” Brand said. “It’s representative of the early years of television.”

FinaleFest will also feature screenings of the Dick Van Dyke Show, Barney Miller, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson’s Creek, Dark Shadows, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City and The Sopranos, Brand said.

Bianculli, a television historian and critic, is the founder and editor-in-chief of the website TVWorthWatching.com. He’s also the longtime TV critic for Fresh Air on National Public Radio and the author of several books on television including Teleliteracy: Taking Television Seriously; Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour', and The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific.

Brand said Friday’s program will include a 7 p.m. panel discussion with some contributors to the Finale book and conclude with a book signing.

“People love television and many consider the medium to be the new cinema,” he said. “TV beams shows into people’s homes and those shows become, in some ways, like de facto family members. Viewers love finales because they offer a way to say goodbye to characters people come to love and, in some ways, the finales themselves become cultural touchstones.”