Tinder Box, James A. Miller


.I’ve read a previous book of his on the history of SNL, so I knew he’d be the right man to turn to on the history of HBO from its infancy all the way through to June 2021. It’s completely thorough (1,000 pages) and consists of his editorial workings and interviews with the major players, actors, writers, and producers, that made HBO what it is today. The joys and hardships behind shows such as Bill Maher, Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Sopranos, The Wire, GOT, documentaries, boxing from its heyday in the 80’s, Veep… it’s all there. How they came about, the difficulties behind making each one, the essence of writing the series, money challenges… all and all the real inter-workings of a company that revolutionized cable broadcasting. How those in the executive ecosystem stand up for the artist in certain ways, having an outsider’s POV because if you’re seeing everything the way everybody sees it, then you’re not telling anybody anything new; creative-thinking perspectives and decision-making… it seems to never end, thankfully. This leads to thoughtful perspectives from each side to how they feel everything occurred bringing with it various viewpoints which are always needed to find the real truth. Miller conducted 757 interviews for the foundation of the book to get the stories through series, docs, and movies that reshaped storytelling and brought forth with it encapsulating viewing. It keeps reminding me that it’s all how you know to get your foot in the door… a pounding that never stops.