Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The What's Alan Watching? FAQ

With the official start of a new season only a few days away, I think it's time to put together a Frequently Asked Questions list in anticipation of all the usual queries in the comments.

Do people still do FAQs anymore? My knowledge of the web hasn't advanced much since back in the day when every site had a tilda in the URL. Regardless, I find them useful, and I'm going to put a perma-link to this post in the index bar on the right. Questions to follow, and if I left out anything obvious (in terms of the details of running this site), ask in the comments and I'll see about answering.

Which shows are you going to blog this year?

As many as I can, at least until I lose interest. If I posted weekly about a show last season, odds are I'm going to stick with it this year (barring a "Grey's Anatomy" season three-style quality plunge), and I'll be posting about all the new shows for the first week or two of the season (even if it's just a "Here's a link to my review" post), and after that it'll be a Darwinian process to see which ones I care enough about to keep watching, which are in timeslots with too much competition, etc.

In general, I only stick with shows I like. If I consistently blog about a show that I think is terrible, it's either because it started off much better before descending to its current level ("Grey's," "Rescue Me") or because its badness is fascinating in a very special way ("Studio 60").

Hey, where's the review for show X? Why don't you review every episode of every show?

In a perfect world, I'd have reviews of all the shows I cover up the morning after they air, but I'm only one man and don't always have time to watch everything on the night it airs, let alone write about it the next day. Sometimes, it takes me a few days (or longer) to get around to seeing something, especially if it's in a timeslot with something else I like better.

Also, there are some shows I just don't write about every week, usually shows that are strongly procedural in nature ("House") and therefore don't provide enough to comment on every time out, or shows that are so consistent in what they either do well ("Dexter") or poorly ("Grey's") that I don't want to keep repeating myself.

In general, I try my best to mention in one of my daily posts (usually the column link) what I've already seen, when I might get around to writing about shows that already aired, etc.

So can I talk about show X before you've done a post about it? What about spoilers for future episodes of shows X, Y and Z?

No, and no. This place is a spoiler-free zone, both for me (if I haven't seen something yet) and for all of you (for shows that haven't aired yet). If I haven't posted on a specific episode yet, show some patience, and usually within a day or two at most, you'll get a chance to express your opinion. (I may also start doing a weekly "Talk about shows I didn't post about" post to allow comments for stuff I skip.)

And do not, under any circumstances, post spoilers about episodes that haven't aired. I don't care if you're asking a question about a rumor you heard somewhere, if you're best friends with the craft services people on "Lost" and know exactly who Jacob is, whatever. There are plenty of sites where you can find and discuss spoilers; this isn't one of them.

This also applies to import shows like "Doctor Who" and "Torchwood," where the episodes are available by extra-legal means well before they air in the States, and to shows where some episodes are available in advance on streaming websites, On Demand, Netflix or whatever. Because the vast majority of the audience doesn't watch this stuff until its broadcast premiere (for now, anyway), I'm using that as the starting point for all discussion.

Why do I have to deal with the printer dialog box everytime I want to click on one of your Star-Ledger articles?

Because back when I posted links to the non-printer-friendly versions of my stories, people complained about having to constantly fill in the demographic info questionnaire, view annoying pop-up ads, etc. This way, you get the full story on one page and the only hassle is clicking cancel on the dialog box. It was the best compromise solution I could find.

Hey, I tried to follow an older link to one of your stories and it led me to a blank webpage. Wha happen?

With a few exceptions like my "Sopranos" reviews, NJ.com only archives stories for about 14 days.

Why can't you just post full copies of your Star-Ledger stuff here?

Because The Star-Ledger owns that content, not me, and the bosses want people going to NJ.com to read it. On occasion, I can get away with posting something in its entirety here if there's a big technical problem, but for the most part, excerpts and links are all I can do.

What's your e-mail address?

I have a few, but the easiest is asepinwall(at)starledger.com


Anonymous said...

alan, i'm just curious as to your thoughts regarding lauren grahms new overall develoment deal with nbc. do you think she'll end up doing a comedy, drama or dramady?

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for your "Wire" recaps to resume....

Anonymous said...

It upsets me that people are bailing out on Entourage, but call themselves fans.

Doug Ellin is currently working with new writers to bring fresh episodes.

Season 5 promises to be a interesting year for the boys. Vince, Eric, and Turtle have grown from boys to men these past few years.

Even Vince, with his rose colored glasses, has started to take his career more seriously and is willing to work for what he wants, rather than having it handed to him.

With the addition of office space in Season 5, there are endless story possibilities with Eric and Turtle getting new clients.

New clients mean new comic fodder, and possible new love interests every week.

Real fans not only will be back for Season 5, but will count the Sundays until June 2008.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Hi Entourage Fan. Thanks for finding my blog, and being enthusiastic enough to comment on four different posts in under 10 minutes.

That said, please don't lecture people on whether or not they're true fans. Being a fan of something doesn't mean unwavering devotion to it.