Something has happened in the world of television drama. For the last decade and a half America has assumed a dominant position. Novelists, screenwriters and journalists, who would once have had no interest in writing for television, indeed who often despised it, suddenly realised that it was where America could have a dialogue with itself. The new television drama was where writers could engage with the social and political realities of the time, interrogating the myths and values of a society moving into a new century. Familiar genres have been reinvented, from crime fiction to science fiction. This is a book as much about a changing America as about the television series which have addressed it, from The Sopranos and The Wire to The West Wing, Mad Men and Treme, in what has emerged as the second golden age of American television drama.