Because fans should be critical, too

Announcement: Next Retrospective Delayed Until Wednesday

I should’ve known better than expect to do much viewing and reviewing during Independence Day weekend and Tuesday. But the festivities are over with now, so I can get back to writing. Hopefully you all had a good Fourth of July as well.


5 responses

  1. Rosemont

    Thank you for your kind update, and in the meantime, I’ve found an interesting article on the phenomenon of “hope-watching,” about a common excuse given by hardcore fans of a given serialized show to those who don’t have the luxury of unlimited time for binge-watching.

    Some choice passages include:

    “Few things in my job give me more satisfaction than seeing potential achieved and patience rewarded, but I feel like we’re entering a weird and frustrating phase of the It Gets Good (Eventually) phenomenon, exacerbated by Peak TV, by the ‘it’s really a 10-hour movie’ approach, and by the way that It Gets Good has itself become so familiar and accepted that it feels like some shows factor a degree of hope-watching into the creative process, with the hope-to-reward ratio getting wildly out of whack.”

    “Part of the problem with saying a show gets better after episode XX is what exactly ‘better’ means.”

    “At the same time, showrunners have to be prepared for less viewer patience than ever, and to stop dawdling on the way to what the show is actually about because they think they’re working in an exciting new storytelling model.”

    A similar article on the topic titled “Critiquing Serialized Fiction” adds the idea of problematic elements to the overall discussion.

    Key passages of this one include:

    “There’s a difference, ever blurrier with the advent of social media, between being an audience member and being a critic…there’s a different set of skills involved in talking about a work as a fan, where personal experience and comfort are paramount, and examining it as a critic. One isn’t objective and the other subjective – all reviews and critiques are informed by what the writer finds valuable – but the latter involves a conscious effort to look at the big picture. In other words, there’s a sense that you’re speaking to an audience outside of people who know you and your perspective.”

    “I tend to believe that payoff dictates reaction. This isn’t universally true – particularly when dealing with controversial topics, an audience member would be well within their rights to find an individual step along the way more than they can tolerate, regardless of the eventual payoff. And there’s always the chance that you’ll get all the way to the end and find that the writers weren’t skilled enough to make all their apparent missteps mean something.”

    “Then there’s the added element of limited time to consume media, combined with increased access to creators via social media: if a show is going in a narrative direction you don’t want to follow, why not ask up front so you can bail if you need to? But those assumptions miss out on so many finer points: that the creator likely cannot reveal what’s coming, and wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise on something they’ve devoted months of their life to; that the show is structured episodically rather than purely serially, and that a narrative doesn’t always refute a ‘bad’ behavior in the same moment that it is introduced (particularly one with such a unique structure).”

    July 10, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    • How do you think some of these ideas apply to “Avatar: The Last Airbender”? I’ve been trying to get some other friends into the show, but the slow beginning episodes isn’t super conducive to that.

      July 12, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      • Rosemont

        I suppose show them some of the episodes that Mr. Turner says are the standouts, especially from A) an emotional standpoint or B) a progressive one.

        July 12, 2017 at 8:36 pm

  2. Enjoy your break.

    July 12, 2017 at 7:49 pm

  3. Rosemont

    I remember Marshall Turner reviewing Zootopia, and I wonder if he had ever seen this video on how muddle race relations are because of the writing and false equivalencies:

    July 14, 2017 at 11:31 am

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