Rueben's Ramblings

Enter the World of Smart Pop Books (Part 2)

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Here is the second of a three-part series, covering the vast collection of books, dedicated to some of the most popular TV shows past and present, from Smart Pop Books.

To review, Smart Pop Books have been published by Benbella Books since 2003, covering topics ranging from Star Wars to Gilmore Girls to the work of Joss Whedon. The writers of these books are New York Times best-selling authors, television writers, psychologists, philosophers. They are actually anyone with a love of pop culture and who have something worth sharing.

Here is the next list from their collection of books dedicated to TV shows:


First up is the fan favorite FOX sci-fi drama Fringe. The book entitled “Fringe Science: Parallel Universes, White Tulips, and Mad Scientists” covers the show that is a science fiction procedural in the best tradition of The X-Files. The series has a taut central mythology, rich characters, and even its own laboratory cow.

The official description for the book is: Fringe Science delves into the science, science fiction, and pseudoscience of Fringe with a collection of essays by science and science fiction writers on everything from alternate universes to time travel to genetically targeted toxins, as well as discussions on the show’s moral philosophy and the consequences of playing God.

You can get your copy of “Fringe Science: Parallel Universes, White Tulips, and Mad Scientistshere.


Then there is the worldwide phenomenon series Lost with the book “Getting Lost: Survival, Baggage, and Starting Over in J. J. Abrams’ Lost”. This book was published while the series was still on the air and you can easy see by reading the pages contained within that theories abounded about the survivors of Flight 815 and their enigmatic island home.

As the description of the book explains: This collection of essays provides insight into the show’s first season and examines the themes that are still crucial to the show, including chapters on “Why the Survivors Must Be in Another Dimension (or the Twilight Zone),” “Lord of the Lost: Jack vs. Locke,” “The Others: Where On Earth Did They Come From … or Did They?” and “A Theologian’s View of the Island as Purgatory.”

You can get your copy of “Getting Lost: Survival, Baggage, and Starting Over in J. J. Abrams’ Losthere.

Grey's Anatomy

Moving over to one of the top medical dramas of the modern TV era, Grey’s Anatomy was a surprise hit that led to the Smart Pop Book called “Grey’s Anatomy 101: Seattle Grace, Unauthorized”. When the show debuted in 2005, it was a ratings juggernaut, receiving critical claim and vocal viewer enthusiasm.

The book ranges in essays from lighthearted relationship speculations to analyses of deeper themes. It gives new perspectives on all facets of the series such as if Addison hadn’t showed up, would Meredith and Derek have stayed together? How is the show the first real 21st century show? Why is everything in the show so gray? And what would Nietzsche have to say about George O’Malley?

You can get your copy of “Grey’s Anatomy 101: Seattle Grace, Unauthorizedhere.


Yet another successful medical drama that took viewers by storm (eventually) is House. Its book is called “House Unauthorized: Vasculitis, Clinic Duty, and Bad Bedside Manner”.

The official description for the book is: The entire cast of the show is on the exam table: Wilson, Cuddy, Foreman, Cameron, Chase and particularly the cantankerous, but brilliant Dr. House. What makes House tick? Why did he really hire Foreman, Cameron and Chase (and why is it so easy to believe he’s actually subjecting them to some sort of bizarre psychological testing)? What would House be like as a heating and plumbing repairman? And why doesn’t Wilson just stop talking to him already?

You can get your copy of “House Unauthorized: Vasculitis, Clinic Duty, and Bad Bedside Mannerhere.


Moving over to the world of what goes bump in the night, a book was done for the popular sci-fi series Supernatural, entitled “In the Hunt: Unauthorized Essays on Supernatural”.

As the Smart Pop Books description states: Supernatural is more than a show about fighting demons. It’s about more than a cool car, a kick-ass soundtrack and hot guys with guns. Supernatural is about family and sacrifice and heroism—about good and evil and the choices we make to stay in the hunt. You know there’s more to this show than meets the eye. So do we.

You can get your copy of “In the Hunt: Unauthorized Essays on Supernaturalhere.


Taking a turn over to the world of Joss Whedon in the form of the series Dollhouse, the book “Inside Joss’ Dollhouse: From Alpha to Rossum” explores his TV series that ended in January 2010 after its second season.

The book, according to the Smart Pop Books website, is a fitting tribute to this complex, engaging show. The anthology’s 18 sometimes funny, always insightful pieces cover Dollhouse from anticipated start to explosive finish. Drawn from an international contest judged by fan favorite Whedon screenwriter Jane Espenson, its essays get right to heart of what Dollhouse viewers loved most about the show. From programmer Topher’s amorality to the show’s philosophy of self, Inside Joss’ Dollhouse brings Dollhouse back to life with a depth sure to satisfy its many still-mourning fans.

You can get your copy of “Inside Joss’ Dollhouse: From Alpha to Rossumhere.


Then moving over to the investigation of crime scenes, there is the Smart Pop Book for the CSI franchise that is entitled “Investigating CSI: Inside the Crime Labs of Las Vegas, Miami, and New York”.

The description for this book is: This selection of smart, accessible essays covers CSI’s cutting-edge science, intriguing mysteries and engaging personal dynamics. Essays from experts in the field illuminate such processes as DNA testing, ballistics, crime-scene photography, and autopsy procedure. With pieces that focus on the leads’ varying appeals, the history of forensics on television, the show’s treatment of alternate sexualities, and whether the incredible attention to detail actually gives criminals an advantage, this anthology provides an in-depth investigation that enriches the viewing experience.

You can get your copy of “Investigating CSI: Inside the Crime Labs of Las Vegas, Miami, and New Yorkhere.


Next up is the long-running action-packed FOX series 24 with the book called “Jack Bauer for President: Terrorism and Politics in 24”. The book reflects, distorts and comments upon our modern political landscape.

As the official description goes, the book takes on the show’s images of terrorism, government, and politics, as well as the ethics and effectiveness of counterterrorism practices. Does it take a terrorist to fight a terrorist? How much do “the people” have a right to know in life-threatening circumstances? How effective do we really want our heroes to be?

You can get your copy of “Jack Bauer for President: Terrorism and Politics in 24here.

Veronica Mars

The last book on this list is dedicated to the fan-favorite and critically acclaimed series Veronica Mars. The Smart Pop Book entitled “Neptune Noir: Unauthorized Investigations into Veronica Mars” includes essays by top writers, who address the interesting questions of the show, such as: Is Veronica a modern-day vigilante? Why is a show that features rape, potential incest, and a teen girl outsmarting local authorities so popular with America’s conservative population? Why is Veronica and Logan’s relationship the most important story-driving factor in the show?

You can get your copy of “Neptune Noir: Unauthorized Investigations into Veronica Marshere.

In next week’s column – the last of this three-part series – some of the TV shows that were written about in the Smart Pop Books collection will include (but not be limited to) Buffy, Stargate: SG-1, Serenity (and more).

To find out more about Smart Pop Books, please visit their official website.

Using her favorite online handle, Rueben is an East Coast-bred gal who is now a permanent Californian and a lifelong tv-oholic. She watches at least 25 TV shows a week, goes to the movies as often as possible, listens to music every waking moment, reads every day and “plays” on the internet every chance she can. Some of her current favorite TV shows are Outlander, Blindspot, The Blacklist, Killjoys, The Brave, The Shannara Chronicles, Good Witch, When Calls the Heart, The 100, Jane the Virgin, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Fosters. Follow her at @ruebenrambling or contact her at