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TV Critics Are the New Movie Critics

The latest Channel 33 podcast examines how the balance of power on the arts page shifted

HBO/Ringer illustration
HBO/Ringer illustration

On the latest episode of Channel 33’s The Press Box, Bryan Curtis examines how TV critic has supplanted movie critic as the desired job on the arts page. Curtis explores the supposition by talking to TV critics, a showrunner, and even a movie critic. Read a transcript below and listen to the whole episode here.

Picture this: It’s Sunday night. You’re watching TV. And you look over at Twitter and notice that a bunch of TV critics are watching along with you … almost reviewing the lines as they come out of Jon Snow’s mouth.

"You just go, ‘Oh my god, that episode of Game of Thrones, was just — I’ve never seen anything like that. That’s amazing.’ And then you go online and these other critics are basically sort of saying the same thing, but they’re doing such a better job of saying it was amazing."

That’s Damon Lindelof, one of the creators of the HBO show The Leftovers.

In the old arts section, there was one towering figure. That was the movie critic. Everybody wanted to be a movie critic — I wanted to be a movie critic. Being a movie critic meant being a tastemaker — it meant standing right at the center of pop culture. And if you were really good, you might be called a worthy heir to Pauline Kael.

I think a lot of the juice that resided in that job … now resides with TV critics. TV critics won the last two Pulitzer Prizes for criticism. TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz, who also reviews movies, wrote that he’d never seen anything as innovative as what had happened with TV criticism since the mid-aughts. I wanted to know what happened. How this became a destination job — how it became as thrilling to write about TV as it once was the movies. Let’s call this episode "TV Critics Are the New Movie Critics."