Thursday, May 6, 2010

Linked Up – What’s Alan Watching

Welcome to the Linked Up feature of the week, also know as the I-read-too-many-blogs-let-me-tell-you-about-them segment. (Wow. I'm actually maintaining a segment here two weeks running! Sometimes I amaze even myself.)

Every single weekday, I read What's Alan Watching?, the daily television blog of Alan Sepinwall, television critic for The Star Ledger.

I like to talk about television (you may have noticed) almost as much as I like to talk about movies. Only last night I bent the ear of a coworker at a cocktail party for 20+ minutes going on about LOST, Justified, Keen Eddie, Human Target, and Community. My young, disappointed aspirations for Hollywood dominance have become an inferior Sailieri-like recognition of dramatic/comedic genius (or things appropriating that) and its lack. I like what I like and I like to talk about it and convince other people to like it too.

Alan Sepinwall like a lot of what I like, but he talks about oh so much better than I. I try a lot of programs I might not have thanks to Alan (lately Justified. No, I cannot stop talking about it. Really.) We're of the same age or thereabouts, so we have many of the same childhood reference points and more times than not, I know exactly what he's referring to. I don't like everything he proposes – I will never understand the worship he and other critics have for The Wire and I have no desire to join the Breaking Bad fan wagon – but it's easy to skip those reviews.

More than just a recap of an episode or a thumbs up/thumbs down review, Alan goes into the mythos of a show and discuss the characterizations, implications, themes, and performances of the shows he has in regular rotation. What shows are these? Mad Men, Justified, Burn Notice, White Collar, In Plain Sight, Community, Cougar Town, Modern Family, Chuck, How I Met Your Mother, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Human Target, LOST, and others. Each summer he takes a season of a show on DVD that he likes/love but never reviewed before and gives it the Sepinwall review treatment episode by episode. My favorite of these was the Sports Night summer because from its very beginning, I have had a deep and abiding love for Sports Night.

Having been in the television critic business his entire career, Alan is also tapped into the industry. This means he has more than a bead on what's going on and often gets interviews with major showrunners (like those of LOST and Chuck) as well as up to the minute info of what's happening in the "biz". I like this too because I'm nosy and like to know as much as I can about the things I like. Plus, it gives great background to the shows and makes my appreciation of them even greater. Alan was also a major contributor to saving my beloved Chuck, using his column and blog to give public, detailed support to this fantastic show.

It's fitting I mention his blog now because it has recently changed homes and is now part of the family. I have a feeling I'm going to have to start looking at HitFlix more regularly as this is the second reviewer I mesh with who's relocated there (the first was Moriarty i.e. Drew McWeeny once of, now part of HitFlix). As he's in new digs, Alan's introducing himself to new readers, so this is a great time to become one and get the skinny from him at the outset.

I don't always agree with him but I almost always check out what he recommends. For informed, intelligent (imagine that!), and appreciative commentary of the best TV has to offer today (and some of the worst), check out What's Alan Watching.

Disclaimer: I received absolutely no incentive for this review besides the juvenile joy I get laughing over the share enjoyment of a well-delivered line reading. Actually, that happens a lot.

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