On Second Thought: Robert Lloyd's review copy got ‘Lost’ yet comes in under the ‘Wire’
Everyone has had the experience of disagreeing with a critic, but do critics ever second-guess themselves? We asked Calendar’s critics whether there are any reviews they regret. One in an occasional series.
The fact is there is just too much television. Too much to watch, too much to write about, too much to find room for in the newspaper. That means you have to prioritize, which means you have to make necessarily prejudicial decisions — as in, “I don’t think I’ll like that” — and that means that you miss shows. You prioritize them right out of your mind.
Sometimes you just miss them because you’re looking the other way, or because the press material or screeners wind up on the bottom of a pile, beneath a stack of papers, under a jumble of laundry.
You try not to let this happen, of course.
The fact that there is just too much television also means that some shows I never review at all because they’re reviewed by a colleague — we share the burden, or the pleasure. And not reviewing a show can become an excuse to put off watching it, because there are always more to watch. (I have been putting off watching “The Wire” for years now, and don’t think I’m not embarrassed about that, but it just got harder to catch up with every additional season.)
-- Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
So, although I cannot remember any reviews I’ve written that I would take back as way too generous or way too harsh — because those were all shows that I thought about pretty thoroughly — there are plenty of series that, for one poor reason or another, I didn’t give sufficient thought or time to and eventually came to love. (There are shows that get better too post-review, but that is another story.)
Some, like “Project Runway,” I just did not bother to watch until the second or third season because I wrongly assumed there was nothing there to interest me. Others I dismissed or disdained because I didn’t give them the time: “South Park,” for instance, because it seemed to go for the cheapest kind of laughs; “Lost,” because it seemed too preposterous; “Gossip Girl” because it sold sex to teenagers. And while I haven’t changed my mind about any of that, I’ve come also to appreciate the shows’ finer qualities — the social satire in “South Park,” the mystery in “Lost,” the sadness at the heart of “Gossip Girl.”
And so you look for a time to rectify your oversights — a second-season premiere, perhaps, or a “think piece.” Something like this, say.
Photo: Michael Emerson, Jorge Garcia and Terry O'Quinn in "Lost." Credit: ABC