Reviews

Reviews and previews are one of the biggest features of The Medium is Not Enough TV blog.

TV reviews
I mainly review UK and US television. The reviews are also designed to entertain and act as talking points, rather than be academic analyses of the shows' sub-texts.

Instead, since I have readers in both the UK and the US the aims of these reviews are several. The US being the land of the re-run and now Internet streaming of most shows, my US reviews are designed to let US readers know whether they should waste their valuable time watching a show they might have missed or whether they should steer clear of them; for UK readers, the aim is to give them advance warning of which shows they should watch out for. My UK reviews are designed to provide the same service but in reverse, although more often than not, they'll have to wait for the DVD to come out if they missed the show. But hey, digital TV's changing that and there are a couple of video-on-demand services now if you look hard enough.

A review of the first episode will typically summarise it, talk about its strengths and weaknesses, and provide a cast list and a clip so readers can get an impression of the show for themselves. There may be a few rubbish jokes as well.

Depending on the show's quality, ambiguous nature, or whether I've been on holiday, I will then pass a final conclusion on how good the show is following its third episode (a "third-episode verdict") or its fifth episode (a "fifth-episode verdict"), the idea being that a first episode is typically unrepresentative of the show as a whole, pilots being what they are, and so it might not be until the third or fifth episode that the show's true nature will reveal itself. If I decide it's a bad show, I will also watch a later episode at random, assuming it's still airing, to see whether it's improved over time.

In all cases, the final quality measurement will involve the use of The Carusometer, the world's most powerful - and egotistical - ratings system.

As if all that weren't enough, I also review the finales of US shows so that UK viewers are forewarned about how tense or disappointing they might be. And every summer, I preview the new shows that are coming to American television in the Fall and Spring so that everyone knows what to watch out for - or avoid.

Audio plays
A company called Big Finish produces audio plays based on old TV series, such as Doctor Who and Sapphire and Steel. I used to review some of these plays, giving a plot analysis and a quick guide to whether they were any good or not.

The ratings system used here is more practical: since the plays aren't free, I give the reader an idea of how much I think they're actually worth, rather than how much they're charged. I provide both a currency price (in pounds sterling) and a barter price (ie what you might want to trade for it).

DVD reviews
Here I review the show and the DVD's extra features. I'm usually quite lazy and don't watch all of them. But I usually give them away in competitions.

Books and films
I don't really review books, except when I've been on holiday and reading a lot, and my cinema visits are highly irregular these days, so I don't really bother reviewing them. I've done a few film reviews though.

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