We are live, for real this time

by Cory Barker

Greetings, everyone. Although we “launched” This Was Television almost two weeks ago, today begins our regularly-scheduled programming. Before we get started with that, I just wanted to use this space to take care of some housekeeping things.

First, a big thanks to everyone who shared links, commented on those introductory posts, passed along kind words, followed us on Twitter, etc. Ventures like this don’t get off the ground without the support of the larger community and I think I speak for the whole team in saying that we were honestly moved at how excited you seem to be about the potential of this space. Which of course makes it terrifying to actually try to live up to that potential. We hope we can, and we also hope that your support continues as we feel this thing out. 

Secondly, in the days since the announcement, we’ve been asked a few questions about where this is all headed, and I’ve personally been racking my mind over what I could or should have included in the welcome announcement. Instead of playing it coy or saying something really dumb like “all will be revealed,” I figured it is best to just address some of those questions and include the additional information that came to mind after the soft-launch. Consider this a makeshift FAQs page, or something. 

Q: OK, cool bro, this website is about television history. But what does that mean? What do you guys consider “history,” and is there a date cut-off?

A: Honestly, no. In our planning, we considered such a cut-off date (such as “nothing post-Sopranos“), but ultimately we decided that a choice like that would be restricting and reductive. I can tell you that we don’t plan on talking extensively about programs cancelled three years ago, but we really want to keep an open mind about what we discuss and where this goes. So when Daglas re-reviews Terriers, know that you’ve been warned. 

Q: In your opening announcement, you complained about the episodic review/recap, and yet, you’re opening slate of topics is full of content that looks a lot like those things. Um?

A: This is a very fair statement, and another thing we struggled with when crafting TWTV’s initial coverage, and really, the whole venture. I can promise you that we have exchanged literally hundreds and hundreds of emails about what to cover, how to cover it, and more, and I can also assure you that we have a slew of ideas that don’t involve episodic reviewing coming in the very near future. Quite soon, you’ll see more feature-like content tackling multiple swaths of series, people, topics, and more.

Nevertheless, despite my personal frustration with the current landscape of television criticism, I still think talking about a few episodes of a series, particularly with a larger context or something else in mind, can be valuable. More than anything, I’m just bored with 25 reviews of GirlsGame of Thrones, Community, and Mad Men. Therefore, we still want reviews to be part of this place’s spine. And hey, we are trying to mix it up with the tag-team and roundtable reviews. I promise, you will see no boilerplate recaps saying AND HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED on this site. If you do, I’ll quit. 

Q: You are four white guys at (sorry, Daglas) or under the age of 30. Why should I trust your opinion about television that premiered before you did?

A: I don’t think any of us are claiming to be super-knowledgeable experts about most of the topics we’re interested in covering at TWTV. In fact, that’s where most of the fun lies. We want to experience this grand landscape of television we missed for the first time. Again, we plan to go to great lengths to avoid glibly writing off or blindly celebrating something because of its age. The whole point of this site is to have another platform to troll Les gain more Twitter followers learn (CRICKETS). There’s not one kind of television we should look at, and there certainly isn’t just one way to talk about it. Don’t think of us as experts—unless Les is talking about hats or I’m talking about Saved By The Bell—think of us as mostly educated, but slightly naive, tour guides. 

Q: What can I do to make TWTV better? (clearly I did not make these questions up)

A: Feedback. We want all the feedback, forever. We have grand ambitions for this place, but who knows what will happen with the execution. We’re purposefully trying to discuss series/books/topics/events that are readily available online or through popular platforms so that readers can easily participate in the fun. Before long, we’re going to open it up to you folks for suggestions on new books to read, new series to discuss, new features to write, etc. And not too long after that, we’ll be looking for pitches for those of you interested in joining us. Tell us what you think, please. We want to hear it, and we want to make this fun (and informative) for everyone.

8 Responses to “We are live, for real this time”

  1. Myc

    All of the feedback, forever. You asked for it. You will get it.

  2. Noel Kirkpatrick

    Wow, Cory. Just, wow. You mock yourself, you mock Andy, and you mock Les.

    BUT DON’T MOCK ME. GUESS I’M NOT COOL ENOUGH FOR YOU GUYS. *changes all the passwords*

  3. FlyingGaSquirrel (@fgsgeneg)

    I’m interested in this project mostly from the standpoint of watching excellent television (The Wire) develop from the earliest television shows. I have been watching television more or less regularly since the late ’40’s and have seen the ebb and flow of great programming, from The Goldbergs and NBC Opera Theater, to early talking heads, What In The World and Omnibus through Playhouse 90 to the birth of ensemble TV with Hill Street Blues to the present. My biggest concern is that more than likely, due to lack of availability, a lot of the early stuff, Captain Video, Tom Corbett and the Space Cadets, much of Howdy Doody, and so forth will not be taken into account.

    I guess in a way I’ve lived this project without knowing it.

    • Noel Kirkpatrick

      Hi FlyingGaSquirrel,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Yes, lack of access is going to be an issue (poor Dumont), but as Cory noted above, we’re hoping to have contributors chime in give perspective and may have access to programming that we may not.

      But this is also the plight of a lot of academic work on television in general: So much wasn’t archived, and instead was simply thrown away (again: Poor Dumont).

  4. Richard

    Heh. Funny enough, Question #4 was the first question I was going to ask when I saw what this site was and who was behind it. I don’t know exactly how young you guys are, but I know Cory looks like a sophomore in college. I hope this site won’t be like that time a kid in high school tried to lecture me on how much better Cam Newton was than Johnny Unitas, but your Test Pilot series from shows before your time gives me some optimism.

    • Cory Barker


      Hahahahahaha. I’m 24! And starting my PhD, so a bit older than I look. But we promise to stay within our bounds, and we want great comments to keep us in check.


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