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Ask A TV Critic: Eric Deggans

But the negative part sometimes is that it speeds up the news cycle so much, and --

Sars: You have to sleep with one eye open?

Deggans: Well, you know, my job is different. It's not like I work for AP, where I have to be on top of every little story. But like I said, it does take a little power away from the critic because you're not revealing things to people anymore, you're explaining them, and that's a different thing.

Sars: Staying on the ten-years-ago theme, and talking about TV itself, are there any broad changes in TV -- in terms of programming itself, what's the best change that you've seen, and what's the worst change that you've seen?

Deggans: The best change I've seen in TV content is that it's just better. They spend more money on shows, the production values are higher, generally; even the sitcoms look better. And there's more storytelling forms, you know -- if you do a TV comedy, it doesn't have to just be a live-to-tape experience. It can be a single-camera, filmed like a movie production; it can be something that combines those two elements. It can be a reality show, and some of those reality shows I think are done well. There's a lot more story forms available to people.

I was watching Damages last night, and this is a series where most of the action takes place in the past, and at points in the story that you can't predict, you are leapfrogged to the present, and you see a little scene play out, and then ten more minutes of the story takes place, you know, six weeks in the past or six months in the past, I forget the timeframe, but way in the past, and the characters are in a totally different place -- and ten years ago, I don't think that there are very many shows that would have tackled a storytelling device like that, and if they had, it would have just been one episode. I can't imagine that a series would be built on, you know, a two-minute interval where [you're] in the present and then brought back in time for six months and all these things play out between these characters, and all of a sudden you're back in the present time, with no warning. And then you go back again, and you have to decide as a viewer, based on the context of what's going on, whether you're in the present or the past. It's a very complex storytelling device, and it's very interesting when it's done well, and we're at a point now where audiences are sophisticated enough that you can do that kind of leapfrogging in time, and people get it. They don't just go, "What the?"

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Ask A TV Critic: Eric Deggans

But the negative part sometimes is that it speeds up the news cycle so much, and --

Sars: You have to sleep with one eye open?

Deggans: Well, you know, my job is different. It's not like I work for AP, where I have to be on top of every little story. But like I said, it does take a little power away from the critic because you're not revealing things to people anymore, you're explaining them, and that's a different thing.

Sars: Staying on the ten-years-ago theme, and talking about TV itself, are there any broad changes in TV -- in terms of programming itself, what's the best change that you've seen, and what's the worst change that you've seen?

Deggans: The best change I've seen in TV content is that it's just better. They spend more money on shows, the production values are higher, generally; even the sitcoms look better. And there's more storytelling forms, you know -- if you do a TV comedy, it doesn't have to just be a live-to-tape experience. It can be a single-camera, filmed like a movie production; it can be something that combines those two elements. It can be a reality show, and some of those reality shows I think are done well. There's a lot more story forms available to people.

I was watching Damages last night, and this is a series where most of the action takes place in the past, and at points in the story that you can't predict, you are leapfrogged to the present, and you see a little scene play out, and then ten more minutes of the story takes place, you know, six weeks in the past or six months in the past, I forget the timeframe, but way in the past, and the characters are in a totally different place -- and ten years ago, I don't think that there are very many shows that would have tackled a storytelling device like that, and if they had, it would have just been one episode. I can't imagine that a series would be built on, you know, a two-minute interval where [you're] in the present and then brought back in time for six months and all these things play out between these characters, and all of a sudden you're back in the present time, with no warning. And then you go back again, and you have to decide as a viewer, based on the context of what's going on, whether you're in the present or the past. It's a very complex storytelling device, and it's very interesting when it's done well, and we're at a point now where audiences are sophisticated enough that you can do that kind of leapfrogging in time, and people get it. They don't just go, "What the?"

Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10Next

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