Film Review: ‘TV Man: The Search for the Last Independent Dealer’

Steve Kosareff looks for someone who can repair his decades-old Zenith television set in this amiable documentary.

TV Man Review

Charged by alternating currents of nostalgic bemusement and wistful melancholy, “TV Man: The Search for the Last Independent Dealer” evinces all the amiable enthusiasm and discursive rambling one might expect from a do-it-yourself labor of love. Tyro filmmaker Steve Kosareff takes a sentimental journey to a handful of hamlets in California and Oregon, seeking anyone who can repair his decades-old, deeply cherished Zenith Jetlite, a 12-inch black-and-white TV set. Interviews and observations culled from that journey make for a pleasant doc best suited for viewers old enough to have once purchased a similar appliance.

Kosareff spends much of his time simply sitting around talking with managers and staffers at struggling local appliance stores that once prospered while selling Zeniths and other U.S.-manufactured TVs during the heyday of bulky console models and newfangled remote controls. Commercials and other archival footage emphasize ingenious (and sometimes hilarious) small-market salesmanship, but also indicate the wonder and awe generated back in the day by the sheer novelty of the boob tube. Indeed, “TV Man” suggests that, just as  mom-and-pop stores lost ground to big-box outlets, TV sets themselves no longer appear magical or inspire affection.

Film Review: ‘TV Man: The Search for the Last Independent Dealer’

<p dir="ltr">Reviewed on DVD, Houston, Aug. 31, 2013. Running time: <strong>82 MIN.</strong></p><p dir="ltr"> </p>

  • Production: <p dir="ltr">(Documentary) A TV Man Prods. production. Produced by Steve Kosareff. Executive producer, Paul L’Esperance.</p><p dir="ltr"> </p>
  • Crew: <p dir="ltr">Directed, written by Steve Kosareff. Camera (color), Andrew B. Parke; editor, Randy Vandegrift; sound, Zach Rockwood. </p><p dir="ltr"> </p>
  • With: <p>Steve Kosareff, David Poma, Bruce Poma, Tim Poma, Doris “Pat” Swat, Joanne Sullivan, Roy Sahlin, Wally Lundeen, Richard T. Freeborn, Larry Gerard, Gregory Williams, Joanne Williams, Robby Quedens, Susie Swanson, Jim Swanson, Bill Phillips, Randy Wenger, Nathan Rider, A.M. “Bubby” Cronin III.</p>
  • Music By: