Variety sums up the sorry state of the TV critic – and makes me damned glad I’m not one anymore. Gail Shister, who lost both her column and then her TV at the Philadelphia Inquirer, went so far as to hyperbolate: “If there’s one beat that’s sacrosanct, it should be TV.” Forget City Hall. It’s Regis updates we need!
TV as we knew it is exploding and so should the critics who cover it. There is no way — no way — that one critic can perform a one-size-fits-all service anymore. TV critics, like other critics, should become moderators and catalysts of discussion and criticism in the audience. They should be discoverers of hidden gems in the vast and overwhelming world of online video. Like TV itself, they must change or die. And many are just dying. The best example of a next-generation TV critic I know of remains Virgina Heffernan, who has used both her blog and her page to cover internet video with creativity and determination.