I obviously don’t write about every interesting show on television, nor do I write about every episode of every show that I cover.(*) Not remotely enough hours in the day for that. Sometimes, my taste will overlap exactly with some of you, and other times there will be shows you love that I never write about, or even watch. On occasion on the old blog, I’d do open threads for people to discuss whatever shows they liked that I wasn’t writing about, but they tended to get unwieldy, and at times turn into extensive, detailed discussions of shows I (and others) hadn’t seen yet but intended to at some point. So I stopped doing them after a while.
(*) People keep asking me, for instance, when my review of this week’s “How I Met Your Mother” is going up, and the answer is that it’s not. I took a couple of days off post-press tour, with all but one post over the last two days (the “Cougar Town” premiere, which I wrote in 10 minutes while my son was napping next to me) being something I’d written in advance. I liked the episode well enough (it was very broad but still felt “HIMYM”-y enough to work) but I’m just going to jump ahead to reviewing the next new episode when it airs.
My favorite thing about this blog, both at the old location and this one, has been the community that developed around it. I’m not writing just to hear myself talk, but to start a conversation that you guys have kept going so smartly for so long. But that conversation is always limited to whatever it is I’m watching. (Or to the shows being covered by Fienberg, Liane and on Monkeys as Critics.) There hasn’t been an avenue for this great collection of TV fans to talk about a show if it’s not on my radar…
Last week, HitFix introduced a new message board system (you may have noticed the orange “BOARDS” button near the top of most pages), with different categories for movies, TV, music and showbiz awards, and then sub-categories within them. The TV boards, for instance, have different areas to discuss dramas, sitcoms, and reality, among other things. You have to have either a HitFix login or connect with your Facebook account to use it (no guest posting the way you can on the blogs and other articles), but it’s wide open from there.
People ask all the time if they can discuss “The Middle” or “Californication” or any number of other shows that I don’t watch and/or write about, and now you easily can without disrupting the flow of discussion in a specific episode review. Based on the reaction I saw on Twitter, people seemed to either love or hate this week’s “HIMYM.” Now you can go right to the message boards and talk about it there. Among the reasons I didn’t want to do weekly “Downton Abbey” reviews was that I learned from covering earlier seasons of “Doctor Who” that the time gap between UK and US viewers made the conversation more trouble than it was worth; now I’ve set up separate message board topics for people who’ve already seen the whole season and people who are watching now on PBS.
I won’t be reading the boards as heavily as I do the blog comments (particularly in cases of things I haven’t seen yet), but we have other staff monitoring them for abusive behaviors, and there’s an obvious button for reporting questionable and/or abusive posts (and has a pull-down menu of common offenses to choose from).
The existence of the boards isn’t going to change how many shows I write about, and how often. It’s just another option for people who want to talk about even more TV than I’m capable of handling. Go. Do. Talk.