Movies Made for Television in 2004 celebrates 40 full television seasons. As I wrote in the introduction in 1980 to the
original (single) volume that chronicled the genre, the range was as esthetically and technically wide at the time as it
would remain through the years since as any theatrical offerings – within its restricted time limits and a quarter of the
budget – the equal of what is done on the big screen. On the high end, quality that represents television at its best; on
the low, bread-and-butter fare generally several notches above standard weekly series episodes as contemporary
counterparts of the fondly recalled theatrical “B” movie.
In October 1964, NBC aired the first made-for-television film, See How They Run, starring John Forsythe, Jane Wyatt, Leslie Nielsen, and George Kennedy. In the more than forty years since, over 5,400 made-for-television films and miniseries have been produced. Television historian Alvin H. Marill has compiled a comprehensive listing of every one of these films, which have been assembled in this publication.
But this is no mere list. The exhaustive entries cite each film's original network, airdate, and length of broadcast. Along with a brief summary, each entry also includes extensive production credits (director, writer, producer, composer, director of photography, and editor) and a complete cast (and character) listing.
The first four volumes are arranged by decade(s):
Volume 1: 1964-1979
Volume 2: 1980-1989
Volume 3: 1990-1999
Volume 4: 2000-2004
Entries are arranged alphabetically for quick access, and each volume also contains a chronology of films produced in that period. Volume 5, the index, includes a list of each actor and director, as well as source material (books and plays).
From television pilots like Prescription: Murder (1967), the film that introduced Peter Falk's Columbo, to epic miniseries such as Angels in America (2003), every film has been acknowledged, every actor identified, and every character named. This remains a unique undertaking; there simply is no other compendium like it. Movies Made for Television, 1964-2004 will be a valuable resource for scholars and historians of television and popular culture, as well as anyone interested in the medium.