Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Book Review: Richard Matheson on Screen
Additionally, Matheson has left his indelible, individual stamp on episodic televison. A primary contributor to Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone, he authored the teleplays for such Zone classics as "Nick of Time," "The Invaders," "Death Ship" and "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet."
Later, Matheson wrote for Thriller ("The Return of Andrew Bentley"), Star Trek ("The Enemy Within"), Night Gallery ("The Funeral") and countless other programs that we recognize today as classics of the medium. This assessment exists, in no small part, because of Matheson's efforts.
Ponder, for instance, just how deeply "The Enemy Within" impacted Star Trek history, and how elements of that particular tale (about a transporter malfunction) were repeated in the franchise right up into the 1990s. Voyager's "Tuvix" is one notable example of this pattern.
Considering the truly impressive breadth of Matheson's career and its impact on genre programming and movies, a new book by author Matthew R. Bradley -- Richard Matheson on Screen -- really has its work cut out for it. Matheson's career is vast; his subject matter varied, and his creative contributions...virtually ubiquitous.
Fortunately, Bradley is resolutely the right man for this task. Without relying on hyperbole, without resorting to blind praise, Bradley carefully and patiently charts the multi-decade film and television contributions of this remarkable talent, a man who has achieved more in Hollywood than virtually any other writer you can name. Yes, even more than Stephen King.
Because of Bradley's attention to detail and straight-forward, informative writing style, Richard Matheson on Screen is a work of solid scholarship, and more than that, a compelling window on a one-in-a-million career. I particularly enjoyed the book's commentary regarding authorship in film and television; what it means and how it is seen within the industry.