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Mary McNamara: Watching TV, a job with regrets

August 24, 2008 |  4:47 pm

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 a series of occasional articles.

Second_thought_220 When you watch television for a living, the pleasures are many. I was able to watch the entire season of "In Treatment" before the first episode aired, and I spent weeks immersing myself in "Battlestar Galactica" to refresh the old memory before the final season premiered.

But there are, of course, disappointments, even regrets.

Although I can't really think of a review that I would have done differently, I do wish the rest of NBC's “Bionic Woman” had been as good as the pilot and that they had given Katee Sackhoff the lead. In fact, it would be nice if the networks sent out more than the pilot for review; sometimes it's difficult to tell which way things are going to go from just one episode.

I wish someone else could have reviewed "John Adams," because I knew people would hate me for not loving it (I still get the occasional irate e-mail), but I really didn't, so what else could I say?

I wish I understood why so many people watched the new "Knight Rider," which was terrible, while so few watched “In Treatment,” which was wonderful. (Actually I really don't want to know because it would probably be too upsetting.)

I wish “New Amsterdam” had settled for being a cop procedural with a twist rather than some Starbuck_220_2 philosophical-exploration-of-true-love story because I really liked the main character and the time-bounce concept.

After being bombarded by fanatic e-mails, I finally had to agree that “Moonlight” was getting better, but alas, not quite enough better. Which just goes to show you that in television, you should never save the best for last.

I still loathe "Californication," but so many people whose opinions I respect like it that I am willing to concede it may be simply a matter of taste.

Although I don't mind writing a negative review of a bad show, I hate it when one of my favorite shows has a terrible season because, as a critic, I have to remark on this and it makes me feel disloyal.

Likewise, I still have not recovered from the emotional trauma of falling in love with new shows like “Life” and "Pushing Daisies" only to have them yanked away by the writers strike. In fact, I never gave much thought to the emotional construct of the television season until it was maimed by the strike; when the season finales showed up after just two or three new episodes it just felt wrong.

But then I am a trained professional, so in the end, I did manage to cope.

Mary.McNamara@latimes.com

Photo: Katee Sackhoff in "Battlestar Galactica." Should she have been the lead in "Bionic Woman"? Credit: Sci-Fi Channel

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