Enter the World of Smart Pop Books (Part 3)
Here is the final part of a three-part series of articles, 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 final list from their collection of books dedicated to TV shows:
The first book on this list is dedicated to the box office movie Serenity that, of course, was based on the cult classic Joss Whedon TV series Firefly entitled “Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon’s Firefly Universe”.
The official description is this: A lot has happened since Finding Serenity (the previously released Smart Pop Books) – we learned River’s secret, Mal took on the Alliance, our favorite crew became Big Damn Heroes and the Browncoats proved that hard work, passion, and a little fan coordination can do the impossible. The book explores not just the show but the events of the film as well, to create an anthology that’s even more thought-provoking, fascinating, and far-thinking than its predecessor.
You can get your copy of “Serenity Found: More Unauthorized Essays on Joss Whedon’s Firefly Universe” here.
Then there is the book dedicated to the WB sensation Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. The book entitled “Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction and Fantasy Author Discuss Their Favorite Television Show” is a collection of fun, irreverent and surprising essays on Buffy by some of science fiction and fantasy’s most important authors
You can get your copy of “Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction and Fantasy Author Discuss Their Favorite Television Show” here.
Next up is the book saluting the reimagined version of the TV show Battlestar Galactica called “So Say We All: Collected Thoughts and Opinions on Battlestar Galactica”.
The show itself raised thought-provoking questions concerning martial law, artificial intelligence, power and corruption, and ultimately what it means to be human. The Smart Pop Book talks about what ethical complexities come into play when one mistake could mean the annihilation of the human race as well as how do you maintain faith in the Gods when you’re involved in an Armageddon of your own creation. The book also discusses what is the distinction between a terrorist and a freedom fighter? These are just some of the questions asked in the book.
You can get your copy of “So Say We All: Collected Thoughts and Opinions on Battlestar Galactica” here.
Then there is the Smart Pop Book for the long-running Stargate franchise called “Stepping Through the Stargate: Science, Archaeology and the Military in Stargate SG-1”.
The official description of the book is: What mind-set is at the heart of the TV series? What really goes into the creation of each episode? The book features essays from noted contributors while delving into every aspect of the series with the same humor and intellectual curiosity of the show itself. There are also commentaries from the show’s special effects head James Tichenor and actor Tom McBeath.
You can get your copy of “Stepping Through the Stargate: Science, Archaeology and the Military in Stargate SG-1” here.
Moving into the realm of psychological thrillers is the book dedicated to Dexter entitled “The Psychology of Dexter”. Contained within this book are essays by 17 psychologists and devoted Dexter fans, who take on the show’s psychological complexities, analyzing not just the title character but also his family, coworkers, and even his viewers. Some of the questions posed are: What can we learn about Dexter from the way he captures, kills, and disposes of his victims? Without the Code of Harry, would Dexter have ever killed at all? What do Deb’s daddy issues tell us about Dexter—and about Harry? Was Rita a victim or a manipulator? Can Jungian theory explain our fascination with Dexter? And do we need to be worried about our own Dark Passengers?
You can get your copy of “The Psychology of Dexter” here.
Continuing with the theme of psychology, the next Smart Pop Book is dedicated to the talented series creator, writer, producer, director extraordinaire: Joss Whedon. The book is called “The Psychology of Joss Whedon: An Unauthorized Exploration of Buffy, Angel, and Firefly”.
The book follows through from one Joss Whedon series to another as described by the Smart Pop Books site: First there was Buffy the Vampire Slayer; then its spin-off Angel; then the cult hit Firefly; and its follow-up film, Serenity. They all had two things in common: their creator, Joss Whedon and their surprising psychological depth. The book revisits the worlds of Joss Whedon with trained psychologists at your side. They focus on such topics as: What are the psychological effects of constantly fighting for your life? Why is neuroscience the Whedonverse’s most terrifying villain? How can watching Joss’s shows help you take on your own psychological issues?
You can get your copy of “The Psychology of Joss Whedon: An Unauthorized Exploration of Buffy, Angel, and Firefly” here.
Taking a turn into the world of supernatural, there is the Smart Pop Book honoring the TV series Charmed called “Totally Charmed: Demons, Whitelighters and the Power of Three”.
As the website states: Charmed was a television phenomenon: three gorgeous, kick-ass witches committed to protecting innocents and cursed at finding love. In this book, romance novelists, science fiction and fantasy writers and more celebrate the hit WB show that changed the face of the fight against evil forever.
You can get your copy of “Totally Charmed: Demons, Whitelighters and the Power of Three” here.
Next up is the primetime soap opera Desperate Housewives and the Smart Pop Book dedicated to the TV series called “Welcome to Wisteria Lane: On America’s Favorite Desperate Housewives”.
The book includes essays that examine the first few seasons’ appeal and why the show initially struck a chord with modern women. Some of the essays include “Why American Heroines are Best When They’re Bad,” “The Everywoman in an Apron,” “Edie Brit as Queer Critique,” and “The Rebirth of Irony.” The book also delves deeply into the show, answering the question on everyone’s mind, especially right after the show’s launch: Just what was it about this show that enthralled America so much?
You can get your copy of “Welcome to Wisteria Lane: On America’s Favorite Desperate Housewives” here.
Lastly, there is the book dedicated to one of the most popular cop dramas of the modern TV age: NYPD Blue called “What Would Sipowicz Do?: Race, Rights and Religion in NYPD Blue”.
As explained on the Smart Pop Books website, this book takes an entertaining, intelligent look at the culturally influential eleven-year run of NYPD Blue. It includes a collection of essays on topics ranging from the series’ portrayal of race relations in New York City to Sipowicz’s famously thorny demeanor. It also takes a look at a show that redefined the police drama genre from insightful analysis of the show’s evolution to light-hearted jabs at its quirks, this is a work that will deepen any fan’s Blue experience.
You can get your copy of “What Would Sipowicz Do?: Race, Rights and Religion in NYPD Blue” here.
There will be more coverage of Smart Pop Books next month. In the meantime, if you want to find out more about Smart Pop Books, please visit their official website.