Good TV critics?
March 9, 2012 4:18 PM   Subscribe

Where is the good TV criticism?

Where is the really good, smart, well written and argued TV criticism?
Something like Senses of Cinema or Rouge, only for TV?
posted by signal to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
compare and contrast with television without pity. knowing how you feel about this site can help us steer you towards others that might be more to your liking.
posted by radiosilents at 4:27 PM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Alan Sepinwall
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:27 PM on March 9, 2012 [9 favorites]

Response by poster: radiosilents: don't like it at all. Not really looking for breezy, shallow, 'snarky' recaps, but actual criticism, well thought out, referenced, etc.

Didn't think much of Sepinwall either, basically he just says 'I like this, I don't like that' about a certain episode. Not much depth, context or analysis.

posted by signal at 4:41 PM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think the AVClub does an OK job, what are your thoughts?
posted by dobie at 4:44 PM on March 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: dobie: though better than the other 2 sites, it still is a bit to much of a recap.
posted by signal at 4:47 PM on March 9, 2012

Best answer: How about Fresh Air's television critic David Bianculli?
posted by amelliferae at 4:50 PM on March 9, 2012

Best answer:
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:50 PM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed this recent piece about Downton Abbey, but it's definitely very general.

Slate occasionally assembles a TV club to exchange correspondence on a season of a show. I think they've done FNL, Mad Men, and Downton Abbey. It's super hard to navigate and I can't find a decent link, but on each page there's a drop down menu to lead to you to the correct link. Lots of tangents and zero editing, but some good insights. It is led by Troy Patterson, their resident TV critic.

I don't think you're going to find a great single source for TV criticism. There aren't TV buffs in the way that there are film buffs-- there are Sopranos buffs, Wire buffs, and Community buffs.
posted by acidic at 4:53 PM on March 9, 2012

Best answer: I don't know how academic you want to go, but you may like Jason Mittell, a TV studies scholar and keeps an occasionally updated blog. Relatedly, see if Flow, "a critical forum on television and media culture" suits your needs.
posted by synecdoche at 4:54 PM on March 9, 2012

er WHO keeps an occasionally updated blog.
posted by synecdoche at 4:55 PM on March 9, 2012

If you are watching Project Runway, Downton Abbey, or Mad Men then I suggest TLo.
posted by magnetsphere at 4:56 PM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I'll shut up soon, but:
like: tvworhtwatching, Jason Mittell, Bianculli, Flow.
not so much: TLo, Slate.
posted by signal at 5:14 PM on March 9, 2012

There was this great MeFi post on Serge Daney a while back.
posted by Abiezer at 5:36 PM on March 9, 2012

I forgot to mention Justin Wolfe's work on The Hills! Easily one of my favorite things on the Internet. Here are a few examples. Words can't really do it justice. Aside from the fact that Lauren Conrad is the most expressive reality character of all time, here's something very odd and special about The Hills' muddling of reality and "reality", and Justin Wolfe's adderally enthusiasm captures it perfectly.
posted by acidic at 5:39 PM on March 9, 2012

PopMatters has some thoughtful TV criticism, although it's maybe not always the most current or consistent.
posted by darksong at 5:48 PM on March 9, 2012

Second AVClub
posted by ichomp at 6:33 PM on March 9, 2012

Third AVClub
posted by Kazimirovna at 7:17 PM on March 9, 2012

Ken Levine, an Emmy Award writer for MASH, Cheers, Frasier and others has an excellent blog where he often, but not always, discusses TV.
posted by Pineapplicious at 7:29 PM on March 9, 2012

This is sort of tangential, but Clive James put his three volumes of Observer columns online, because the books are out of print. It's British television, mainly from the 70s, but I think it stands up very well, and has been a huge influence on how the British media treats the medium.
posted by holgate at 7:44 PM on March 9, 2012

The Spectator TV columns are decent, though you have to pick the ones that are about fictional TV and not media criticism (which are more boringly predictable.)

Here's a good one about Pan Am for instance.
posted by Jahaza at 9:32 PM on March 9, 2012

Best answer: This is a terrific question, and I'm looking forward to digging into TV Worth Watching! I started reading televisionwithoutpity in like 1998 and I think I'm just...over the recap format. When AV Club does longer pieces they can be interesting - I think there was a Todd Vanderwerff rant against the recap format a little while back but damned if I can find it.

If you like Flow, check out Antenna, which is similar, but out of UW-Madison. I also LOVE News for TV Majors, which aggregates some of the most interesting television writing on the web, from industry pieces to interviews to longer-form criticisms. OverthinkingIt has some thoughtful pieces as well. Henry Jenkins started out in TV studies, more or less, but has moved away - sometimes his roots still show, though.

Even though my favorite shows were doomed from the outset, I am also loving Vulture's (NY Magazine's culture blog) Greatest TV Drama of the Past 25 Years battle - way better than the Grantland Smacketology. I've linked the piece on XFiles vs. West Wing which I thought was outstanding. NY Mag's television critic, Matt Zoller Seitz, is pretty great, and any time he writes a longer-form piece, I am so there (I loved his piece about the real greatness of Mad Men, for example. I so miss his old blog, The House Next Door).

If you're looking for academic work, I can recommend Television and New Media, Velvet Light Trap and, when they include work on television, Screen and Camera Obscura as the professional academic journals currently publishing some of the most interesting work in critical media/television studies, but you'd need academic library access to read them, which is another thread...
posted by kickingthecrap at 9:54 PM on March 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

The House Next Door blog, now in its new(ish) home at Slant magazine, used to be my go to for Mad Men reviews, but they cover a wide range of TV.
posted by pharm at 7:44 AM on March 10, 2012

I believe the genius of Rupert Murdoch means it's not online, but AA Gill on television in the Sunday Times used to be urbane and wonderful and sometimes immensely irritating. I haven't read the Times in a while but I think he still does it.
posted by StephenF at 10:49 AM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Jeffrey Sconce wrote probably my favourite piece of media studies/TV criticism: Haunted Media. He blogs (sporadically and, OK, eccentrically) at Ludic Despair, which is nevertheless always an entertaining and informative read.
posted by Sonny Jim at 11:13 AM on March 10, 2012

I like Caitlin Moran, but you'll have to pay to read her reviews online.
posted by Perodicticus potto at 1:04 PM on March 10, 2012

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