When I want to know what’s worth watching, I always go to “What’s Alan Watching”. And whenever I’m confused by something I’ve already seen, my TV pal can always be counted on to fine tune my mind’s screen.
All through his childhood, Alan Sepinwall’s relatives told his parents, “All that boy does is watch television! How’s he going to make a living doing that?”
His career as a TV critic has been 15 years and counting of his attempt to answer their concerns. “What’s Alan Watching” is a blog whose title is self-explanatory: Alan watches TV shows, then writes about what he watched.
Here’s an excellent article about Sepinwall from Slate.com’s editor, Josh Levin.
Alan Sepinwall changed the nature of television criticism. But can you be both a rabid fan and a thoughtful reviewer?
By Josh Levin
Alan Sepinwall started writing about television in 1993, as a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania. He stank at it. In 2004, Sepinwall characterized his early work thusly: “Misspellings, bad grammar and, even worse, observations that make me cringe and wonder exactly when (or if) I stopped being such a dumbass.” He soon outgrew his dumbass ways. By the end of his undergrad years, Sepinwall had parlayed his role as the leading NYPD Blue fanboy of the newsgroup era into a gig as the Newark Star-Ledger’s TV critic. “[W]ithout Blue,” he wrote in 2004, “I wouldn’t have the career or the life that I currently do.”
Television, and television writing, have transformed since Dennis Franz’s bare butt launched Sepinwall’s career. Upon NYPD Blue’s early ’90s debut, it was heralded as one of the best shows ever made. In comparison with The Sopranos, The Wire, and even Lost, David Milch and Steven Bochco’s cops-and-perps procedural now looks prehistoric.