Bill Cosby was the first African American actor to star in the lead role of a television series in 1965. This was a big deal especially as tensions were still high in the south. Bill and Robert agreed that by not addressing the milestone they were not giving weight to those who were against civil rights. The situation, instead, was just as ordinary as any other show.
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Tonight's installment of PBS' The Pioneers Of Television is about the crime drama. Included in this genre are shows like Columbo, Mission: Impossible, Dragnet, Police Woman, Hawaii Five-0 and so many more. They all followed the same rule of catching the bad guy but differed greatly from there. Dragnet was filmed in a documentary style. Creator Jack Webb innovated many new techniques to evoke certain emotions, one being the close-up. On the other hand, Desilu Productions put The Untouchables on TV which was widely known as the most violent and action packed. Desi Arnaz was able to buy the rights to the story because he had a close connection to a main player. Then Mission: Impossible was somewhere in the middle by being mainly plot driven and suspenseful. The show even caught the attention of the government because some of their technology was eerily familiar. Lastly, similar to I Spy, Hawaii Five-0 brought amazing vistas of a fairly new state to the rest of America while also breaking new ground by hiring a majority of native Hawaiians. These and many more shows are explored in the crime drama episode tonight at 8pm ET/PT.