Those TV Film Critics

You guys are shooting butterflies with shotguns ("How Criticism Got Glitzy. Film at 11," by Patrick Goldstein, Jan. 3).

The article decries the lack of serious TV film criticism, erroneously assuming that such a thing can exist.

Television is a visual medium, functioning at its peak when it entertains. It is not suited to the complex, linear, rational discourse that is the hallmark of good criticism.

To apply lucid, articulate criticism to film on television is inappropriate. A good TV film critic does not mention Eisenstein, Bunuel or Renoir. He tells us if a movie is entertaining or not, and does so in an entertaining way himself. He is a consumer advocate, not a cultural analyst.

There is no time to be insightful on TV, only enough time to explain why a movie gets thumbs up or thumbs down. If there was time enough for serious criticism, we would have TV book critics.



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