Thursday, June 9, 2011

Welcome to my humble internet abode

My name is Rob, and I like TV.

That doesn't really seem like a bold statement. Everyone watches television. Even the hipsters who talk loudly about not owning a TV watch television. Moreover, in the past decade TV shows have gained a critical respectability through programs like The Wire and The Sopranos. At the same time, however, there's a serious lack of critical language to talk about television. How many reviews of The Wire have praised it by describing it as "novelistic", as though the main goal of television was to not be like television. (And, as much as I love books, there are oceans of terrible novels, so "novelistic" isn't really a great complement.)

I want to celebrate the form of television as well as the content. That form is serial storytelling, where every episode should be worthwhile as a cultural artifact in itself, while also contributing to a larger whole. This is a fine line to walk, but the best TV does so with startling ease. I also want to focus on the visual language of television, which is often ignored by contemporary TV bloggers, as well as the individual creators who are often ignored as the entire show falls under the aegis of one creator or just some abstract entity like "HBO" or "AMC".

So here's the deal: at the end of every week I randomly select a TV episode I've watched during the week, and spend the following week writing up an analysis on it. I'll then post this on Sunday, if all goes according to plan, providing the latest breaking commentary on an episode that aired at best about two weeks ago. How up-to-the-minute.

More seriously, I'm hoping this delay will allow this blog to become the "sober second thought" of the tele-blogosphere, which I find is too often all about gut reactions. Look at a post on a current show from TV Club or Alan Sepinwall and you're likely to get 40% recap/40% evaluation/20% analysis if you're lucky. I'm going to mostly leave out the recap portion and focus more on analysis of how the episode works (through visual and narratological technique) as well as its thematic ideas. What this means is that:

-If you want a reminder of what happened in the episode in question, pop over to another TV blog or Wikipedia or something, because my posts will assume you've watched the episode and have at least a vague memory of it.
-There will be spoilers for the episode in question and possibly one or two episodes after it, although I'll try to keep those to a minimum.

The overall focus will be, as I said, on analysis and not review (by which I mean the everpresent question of "Is this show any good?"), although I'll still touch on the latter. The shows I watch are predominately anime and American cable TV. The list for each week includes both currently running shows and shows that are... less so, with a couple curveballs thrown in there for fun. I think (hope, really) writing about a different series every week will both keep me from getting burnt out as well as allow more in-depth analysis than if I was scrambling to cover everything.

With that slightly pompous preface out of the way, it's time to pick up my remote and start watching some damn television.

Up: I kick the blog off with a post on obscure retro-anime Dororon Enma-kun Meramera. Boy, that'll put butts in seats.

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