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An Archive of Mediocre Television Reviews

Posted 25th August 2015

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Having gone on yet another explosive rant about Sam Wollaston recently, I am reminded that I’ve never linked to any of the TV reviews I’ve written for other sites on here. Part of me, to be honest, is disinclined to do so; some of the pieces I’m not very proud of at all. But there’s some good stuff amongst the dross, and besides: I’m cursed with a bizarre sense of fair play. If I’m going to be slagging people off on Twitter, or writing about poor journalism on here, it only feels fair to actually link to some of the stuff I’ve done which I’m not that keen on, rather than pretend it never existed.

So, here is a full archive of television reviews I have written elsewhere. These are mainly from the now-defunct media blog Noise To Signal, although there’s a couple from still active Doctor Who site Unlimited Rice Pudding!, and one from Red Dwarf fansite Ganymede & Titan. It doesn’t include anything lurking in Dirty Feed’s archive, or reviews of anything which isn’t strictly a television episode.

A few notes, then. There are six Doctor Who reviews there, and I’m happy with precisely none of them. There’s the odd good point or interesting observation, but far too much is just trite and obvious, and dreadfully first-drafty and awkwardly-phrased. Part of that is I just find drama difficult to review full stop; I love watching it, but often find little original to say. I’m also terrible at doing reviews to order, where it’s your week to write something about a programme, whether you have much to say about it or not. There is precisely no guarantee I’ll find anything remotely useful to say about any random episode of a TV show. Hence why Dirty Feed runs on a far more ad-hoc basis: “What can I say something interesting about?”

It’s also far easier to say something worthwhile about something far fewer people have written about, instead of about something that will be dissected and analysed by many different people online. There’s just simply nothing I can add to the critical mass of Doctor Who reviews out there.

(It should be pointed out that this is purely a criticism of my reviews. Unlimited Rice Pudding! does some absolutely brilliant work; this wondeful, imaginative review of “Listen” by Seb Patrick is the tip of the iceberg. I highly recommend you spend some time delving in their archives. And hey, there is one bit of Doctor Who writing I’ve done for that site which I like: my small contribution to this 50th anniversary piece.)

As for the two Torchwood pieces: yes, I am very pleased I’ve grown beyond writing lines like “Eve Myles is spunky yet vunerable, and makes me want to do a naughty.” As indeed is the rest of the internet.

The sitcom reviews fare better; they’re not the best thing in the world, but it pleases me that they delve rather more below the surface than most reviews of Lab Rats and the Reggie Perrin revival did at the time. For the record, the Lab Rats episode “A Seven Nighter” really is as great as I say in that review; if you watch nothing else of the series but that, it’s well worth it.

As for the Red Dwarf review, it’s probably the best of the lot – and yet perhaps suffers from me really wanting to absolutely love the episode, and thus being slightly too nice. (The absolute nadir of this attitude is on this DwarfCast for the episode Tikka to Ride – so desperate am I to be positive about the only episode of Red Dwarf VII I’m likely to be positive about, that I end up saying stuff I don’t even really agree with.) I’ll be on reviewing duty for Red Dwarf XI and XII, and I’m definitely going to be on my guard on that one.

So, yeah. Reviewing your own reviews. You can’t really get any more self-indulgent than that. But still: as a personal exercise alone, worth doing. I’m generally quite happy with the stuff I end up posting on Dirty Feed – it’s worth noting down exactly why, and reminding myself of the kind of thing I’m not really that great at.

Maybe I should just do some video reviews of Doctor Who Series 9, where I openly masturbate whilst mumbling “Capaldi” for five minutes.

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Paul on 8 October 2015 @ 2pm

Good Reggie Perrin reviews. I really ought to watch the DVDs again. What did you think of series 2?

Btw “on this DwarfCast for the episode Tikka to Ride” actually links to your Xtended Revisited article.

John Hoare on 9 October 2015 @ 8am

Good Reggie Perrin reviews. I really ought to watch the DVDs again. What did you think of series 2?

Thanks! As for the second series, I remember really really disliking it – to the point where I couldn’t face writing anything about it. It felt like all the potential of the first series was squandered. Admittedly, I’ve not seen it since it went out – maybe it’s worth revisiting?

Btw “on this DwarfCast for the episode Tikka to Ride” actually links to your Xtended Revisited article.

Gah, I’m an idiot! Thanks. Fixed.