Muir, John Kenneth 1969–
Muir, John Kenneth 1969–
PERSONAL: Born December 3, 1969, in Glen Ridge, NJ; son of Ken (a teacher and high school administrator) and Loretta (a teacher) Muir; married Kathryn Leftwich (a psychological associate and therapist), May 13, 1995. Education: University of Richmond, B.A., 1992. Politics: "Progressive."
ADDRESSES: Office—Lulu Show, Monroe, NC 28110. Agent—June Clark, Peter Rubie Literary Agency, 240 W. 35th St., Ste. 500, New York, NY 10001.
CAREER: Writer in Monroe, NC, 1996–.
AWARDS, HONORS: Editor's Choice citations, Booklist, 2001, 2002; Best of Reference selection, New York Public Library, 2005.
Exploring "Space: 1999"—An Episode Guide and Complete History of the mid-1970s Science Fiction Television Series, McFarland and Co. (Jefferson, NC), 1997.
Wes Craven: The Art of Horror, McFarland and Co. (Jefferson, NC), 1998.
An Analytical Guide to Television's "Battlestar Galactica," McFarland and Co. (Jefferson, NC), 1998.
A Critical History of Doctor Who on Television, McFarland and Co. (Jefferson, NC), 1999.
A History and Critical Analysis of "Blake's 7," the 1978–1981 British Television Space Adventure, McFarland and Co. (Jefferson, NC), 1999.
The Films of John Carpenter, McFarland and Co. (Jefferson, NC), 2000.
An Analytical Guide to Television's "One Step Beyond," 1959–1961, McFarland and Co. (Jefferson, NC), 2001.
Terror Television: America Series, 1970–1999, McFarland and Co. (Jefferson, NC), 2001.
Horror Films of the 1970s, McFarland and Co. (Jefferson, NC), 2002.
An Askew View: The Films of Kevin Smith, Applause Theatre and Cinema Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Eaten Alive at a Chainsaw Massacre: The Films of Tobe Hooper, McFarland and Co. (Jefferson, NC), 2002.
Space: 1999—The Forsaken, Powys Media (Huntington Park, CA), 2002.
The Encyclopedia of Superheroes on Film and Television, McFarland and Co. (Jefferson, NC), 2004.
Best in Show: The Films of Christopher Guest and Company, Applause Theatre and Cinema Books (New York, NY), 2004.
The Unseen Force: The Films of Sam Raimi, Applause Theatre and Cinema Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Singing a New Tune: The Re-birth of the Modern Film Musical, from Evita to De-Lovely and Beyond, Applause Theatre and Cinema Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Mercy in Her Eyes: The Films of Mira Nair, Applause Theatre and Cinema Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Writer, producer, and director of films, including Vicious Circle. Contributor to periodicals, including Rerun: Magazine of Television Nostalgia, Cinescape, Filmfax, The Official Farscape Magazine, and Collectors News.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Horror Films of the 1980s, for McFarland and Co. (Jefferson, NC).
SIDELIGHTS: John Kenneth Muir once told CA: "When writing about science fiction and horror television, I consider two things to be of great importance. The first aspect is historical context. Any production should be viewed within its historical context, not necessarily through the lens of contemporary criticism. When examining a science fiction or horror television series, I look to both its antecedents and its descendants to determine how it was influenced by the past and how it impacted the future. Only by studying these things can a program's true legacy be weighed.
"Secondly, I believe that any scholar studying the dark-horse genres (science fiction and horror) within a dark-horse medium (television) must actively question the assumptions made by those who have come before us. In fact, I hope that others will question my assumptions in years to come, so that a considered study of the genre's history will continue well into the future.
"Much of the work in the science fiction/horror television reference field is woefully outdated and biased toward the popular and long-lived, rather than the high-quality or unusual. An intelligent reader should ask this question of any author studying television: did you actually watch as many episodes of the series as possible, or did you depend solely on descriptions, synopses, and opinions written by other writers? In television, as in film, the text is what matters most, specifically the content and style of the actual episodes of a series. If a reviewer does not detail what is happening on-screen and analyze it on that basis, the chances are that the author has not actually seen much of the show in question and is coasting on the research of others, rather than viewing each episode in the series as a 'film' in itself. If television is ever to merit the respect of film, to be treated as an art form, it is necessary for critics and historians to look to specific content to prove their analytic points. In addition, there is much to be learned from studying those series that failed to capture a sizable audience or win critical acceptance at the time of their initial broadcast. Often these are the productions that are the best-made, the most challenging, and the strangest.
"Studying horror films has also been an illuminating experience for me because horror is the most denigrated of all genres, whether in print, on television, or up there on the silver screen. Nonetheless, horror is often the most moral of film genres: championing good over evil, acknowledging the existence of God, and balancing the scales of universal justice when man's justice is found lacking. Although horror films sometimes feature trappings which make them seem silly (excessive gore) and juvenile (teenage protagonists), they also tend to be ahead of the curve, challenging society with unacknowledged and unexamined fears and dreads."
Muir later added: "My best advice to aspiring writers is simple: never give up. The way to make it in this business is tenacity (and a good support system). Do good work, be tenacious, confide in others when you need support, and you will make it."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, July, 1997, p. 85.
Samhain 71, January-February, 1999.
Videoscope, summer, 1997, p. 49.