I was going to keep my blood pressure down and let this pass, but on second thought, nah.
In Michael Schneider’s piece about the disappointing premiere ratings for “Lone Star” — despite mostly glowing reviews — an anonymous executive was quoted as saying, “Viewers 1, critics 0.”
Hardee har har.
Except that’s asinine — and it doesn’t even set up the combatants accurately. Viewers didn’t watch the show and hate it. They fled without wanting to give it a chance. They rejected the concept — or didn’t know what it was — not the execution.
Critics don’t have that luxury. We review (or at least watch) pretty much everything, whether it’s something we would actively seek out or not. One can argue, obviously, that all the good reviews didn’t bring viewers to the party, but again, that’s hardly a novel phenomenon in any medium. Moreover, the show that opened opposite “Lone Star,” NBC’s “The Event,” also drew mostly positive reviews and solid debut numbers. (Given the imprecise nature of its measurement system, the two were within spitting distance of each other on Metacritic.com.)
The day before, by the way, HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” opened to even more salivating praise and (by the pay service’s standards) fine ratings. So your point is…?
Critics — by the very nature of the way they consume TV and movies — are often going to be out of step with the public at large, especially on popcorn-type fare. But from where I sit, at a minimum that evens out the score.
And yes, I realize that sounds a trifle defensive, but after reviewing 15 shows this week I’ve earned the right to be a bit surly, dammit. Fortunately, the fifth-season premiere of “Friday Night Lights” — another show the critics love and not many people watch — arrived in the mail today. That ought to calm me down.