Were you there when J.R. was shot?
Were you one of the 105.97 million people who watched the final episode of "M*A*S*H"?
Did you witness Sinead tear up that photo of the Pope, Farrah get loopy on Letterman, Sally Field exclaim "You like me!", Tom jump on Oprah's desk -- live, when they were fresh moments, ripe for the water cooler the next day?
Since the very first black-and-white console debuted many decades ago, television has shaped our pop culture. It has reflected who we are as human beings. It has also molded our views, at the very least refined our perspective.
Television shows us who we are, as well as who we want to be.
Here at BRBTV, we don't mind admitting that we've watched a whole lotta television over the years. We grew up with the kids of "The Brady Bunch," "The Facts of Life" and "Diff'rent Strokes." We learned that females can be strong as we watched what we fondly term the Great Chick Triumvirate of the '70s: "Charlie's Angels," "Bionic Woman" and "Wonder Woman." We got a taste of emerging broadcast diversity with "Good Times" and "The Jeffersons." And we dreamed of what the good life could be in "Dallas" and "Dynasty," all the while still wishing we could go live in the Hazzard County of "The Dukes of Hazzard."
Television inspires and motivates us. It's escapism, but not just escapism.
And these particular TV shows? Well ... call it reliving our lively younger years, the marvelous '80s.
BRBTV was founded in 1998 by author and journalist Billie Rae Bates. Call it a lively way to express herself in her evening hours from working in the daily newspaper biz in Detroit, since this crazy thing called the Internet was so young and so full of the promise of adventure back then.
Founded slightly tongue-in-cheek on the principles of peace, love, and useless information about television, BRBTV combined Bates' love of writing and geeky research with her journalistic training. What began as websites sharing geeky information about the shows soon became the BRBTV reference guides, which take the approach of reporting on these classic TV series, while truly embracing the love of the shows, with cast list, character guide, episode guide and more.
The books and reports in the series are not always intended to delve deeply into the history or the making of each show (though some do), as those stories have already been told by other authors. Instead, the bulk of the facts contained in the BRBTV guides are arranged in alphabetical indexes, for ease of looking up information. In short, these books and reports are designed to be fun, at-a-glance guides to have at your side while you're watching the shows and have that burning itch to learn who's playing so-and-so in such-and-such episode. (You know you feel that itch. C'mon now.)
Along with the alpha indexes for cast lists, character guides and episode guides, the BRBTV products contain original celeb interviews, merchandise guides and other fun stuff. The information compiled in the guides comes first and foremost from the author's own viewing of these great shows. (She can't get geeky enough, when it comes to writing episode synopses.) Backed by solid journalistic expertise with a flair for fun, the BRBTV products give you great content you won't see anywhere else.
Over the years, BRBTV has evolved into full-color, interactive PDF e-books, print books and Amazon Kindle reports. A news blog was launched in 2006. The 10th anniversary was celebrated in 2008 with special products and fun. BRB has collaborated on several products with her bud, the talented Will "The Voice Man" Rodgers, whose love of animated series like "Super Friends," and sharp grasp of detail, can scarcely be surpassed.
A web series, Terrific TV Toys, was launched in 2014, showcasing many, many toys from BRB's own collection celebrating classic TV shows, as well as the collections of others. A couple years later, a companion collectibles series, Terrific non-TV Toys, was also launched. A Terrific TV Toys Facebook page was launched in 2020 to further share the love of collecting.
More BRBTV products are planned in the coming years.
What began as a labor of love has grown into a full-blown marriage ...
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Billie Rae Bates earned her bachelor's degree in journalism and English from Michigan State University. She spent 10 years in daily newspapers in Michigan and Wisconsin before transitioning to the corporate world, where she's spent additional years covering many aspects of communication: marketing, public relations, graphic design, advertising, web writing and management, photography direction, TV reporting and more.
Hailing from Chattanooga, Tennessee, Will "The Voice Man" Rodgers has been a radio host by day, but in his off-hours he's a talented voice artist with the ability to impersonate everyone from Batman to Bo Duke to J.R. Ewing and Archie Bunker (even Edith!). He has done MC-ing duties at events such as the Professional Stuntman Invitational in Concord, North Carolina in 2009 and DukesFest in Atlanta in 2008. You'll see his expertise on "The Ultimate Super Friends Companion" and the BRBTV Reports on "Superman: The Animated Series" and "Justice League / Unlimited."
Interviews / Media
BRB talks with Patrick Bennett and Lisa Everetts on the Pop Ninja podcast:
Copyright 2021 Billie Rae Bates / BRBTV