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September 4, 2015

Talking TV Podcast Talks TV Criticism in the Digital Age

by Maureen Ryan, posted Feb 17th 2011 1:30PM
In this week's Talking TV podcast, we take on the topic of television criticism itself.

Earlier this week, Slate's Josh Levin wrote an article that asked the question, "Can you be both a rabid fan and a thoughtful reviewer?" Levin's piece began an online discussion of the roles of critics, fans and critics-as-fans. A reaction from critic Alan Sepinwall is here, another take from Time TV critic James Poniewozik is here and an analysis from Myles McNutt is here.

For the Talking TV discussion of the evolving roles of those who write about television, Ryan McGee and I were joined by by McNutt, the man behind the TV-oriented site Cultural Learnings, and by Noel Murray, who writes for the AV Club and for the Los Angeles Times.

If you've ever wondered what we think about as we write our weekly reviews of popular shows, what we think of "commenting culture" and how we view our roles in an era in which technology has brought TV creators and consumers closer than ever, check out the podcast. I hope it's as enlightening and enjoyable for you as it was for me.

By the way, on Feb. 4, before Levin's article appeared, I guested on the TV on the Internet podcast with Libby Hill and the AV Club's Todd VanDerWerff. By chance, we also discussed some of the same issues in that podcast, but the three of us talked about 'The Chicago Code' and 'Justified' as well. You can find that podcast here.

As always, you can subscribe to the Talking TV podcast on iTunes, or you can listen to or grab the mp3 file from this site.

This week's podcast is also available here, as are full archives of every 'Talking TV' podcast. The 'Talking TV' archives are also available on iTunes as well.

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Great podcast, but I'm a bit dissapointed by the sort of soft and/or accepting views expressed towards the plot summary/episode recap in place of actual critique. I get that episode recaps are popular and I still use episode guides, but I get so frustrated when I go to a tv critics site and find nothing but recaps. They remind me of that famous SNL skit with Chris Farley where he plays a talk show host who interviews celebrities by asking questions like "Remember that time in that show where you did that thing?" Yes. I do remember that. I just watched the episode. I don't need to have the plot points repeated back at me. I was looking for some insightful discussion. I get that sometimes critics may be pressured by deadlines, but substituting a review with a plot summary IS lazy critiquing.

February 27 2011 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really liked this podcast. This whole discussion has been very interesting to me and my work. As Lou said, it's interesting to hear that the issues that you guys wrestle with are the same ones I do. It's always interesting to hear a critic talk about their writing process.

February 21 2011 at 10:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Libby Hill

I cannot imagine a world in which I am worthy of being considered a rough contemporary of Mo Ryan, Linda Holmes, and Tara Ariano, but I would definitely bring cookies to said podcast.

February 20 2011 at 3:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Carl Brand

I really enjoyed this podcast and the variety of topics covered. There are so many ways to consume TV and TV commentary(and I do alot of both) and it is so helpful to hear the issues that you wrestle with and a look behind the process of criticism.

February 18 2011 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lou Sytsma

Very interesting podcast. Good to know that the issues you all wrestle with when doing weekly reviews for TV shows are the very same ones I do. Most illuminating.

February 18 2011 at 8:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mo Ryan

Alison -- awesome idea!

February 17 2011 at 7:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh, no, why is that eye-burning abomination back?!?!

February 17 2011 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Loved the discussion about the state of TV Criticism here and on the TVOTI podcast Mo did earlier with Todd and Libby. Mo, any chance we could have a special women in TV criticism podcast? I'd love to hear you, Libby, Linda Holmes, and Tara Ariano chat about tv and admire all things Timothy Olyphant :)

February 17 2011 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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