Update: Looking Forward

Some of you who have been keeping an eye on the blog regularly – I somehow get regular hits despite any non-Twitter promotion, so I know there’s a few of you – may have noticed that I’ve been conspicuously absent over the last couple of weeks. It might have been especially noticeable, coming at a time when shows I’ve been covering have either premiered to intense debate or offered some of the finest episodes of television of the year. The most immediate reason for this was that I was on vacation down in California for a few days, where I consumed roughly my weight in beer and absorbed some much needed Vitamin D into my sun-starved Portland flesh.

The second reason for this is a little more complicated, and has to do with the future of A Helpless Compiler going forward. When I started up this blog my ambition was to take it to the level of many of the fine critics I’ve linked to on the site’s sidebar, offering weekly recaps on my favorite shows and analyzing how they progress week to week. However, while the first few weeks of production have yielded some interesting shows to cover – The Killing, Justified, Game of Thrones, The Borgias – my coverage has been less timely than I would’ve liked going forward, and in some cases held back for the sake of consolidating it with other episodes.

Part of this is practical reasons – I work 40+ hours a week in a job completely unconnected to any sort of criticism, and that tends to wring the energy out of one – but a large part of it also is that I think doing the heavy weekly coverage to start out isn’t the best thing for the site going forward. Despite how much I love these shows, this early in my TV coverage career covering multiple shows at once on a weekly basis just isn’t feasible, and is somewhat narrowing my ability to find new and interesting things to say about the shows. I’ve also been getting a lot of ideas for articles on other things I’ve watched or non-TV articles, and if I’m covering three shows from Sunday every week that doesn’t leave a lot of time for everything else.

It might sound from the last couple of paragraphs that I’m planning to dramatically scale back the site’s coverage, but that’s not the case – I’ll simply be shifting away from the idea of weekly recaps and spending more time on longer, more involved articles. There’ll be show-specific articles that deal with multiple episodes or seasons as a whole, articles that talk about some of my favorite episodes or tropes in TV, and ones that resurrect some of my favorite shows from the vaults. I’m hopeful that as I get more time to work on these, and work on more at a time, it’ll give casual or devoted readers a better idea of my style and preferences going forward.

And episodic coverage might not be far from returning – when the summer rolls around, I’m very optimistic that the slim program offerings will allow me to devote a large chunk of time to the fourth season of Breaking Bad. Which is, if you haven’t seen it, one of the finest and tensest shows on television right now and the show that uses up my weekly quota of “holy fuck” without fail. I’m also going to keep following the shows that I’ve previously followed, taking a little extra time to more appropriately get the pulse of the show – current plans are checking in on Justified when it ends and The Killing as it gets closer to the end of the mystery.

So I do hope you’ll stick with me as I continue on the journey of fleshing out A Helpless Compiler, and I of course welcome all your comments and suggestions on how I can make the blog better. I’ve got some fun stuff coming up in the weeks ahead, and I look forward to seeing what you think.

(Shameless plug postscript: Another reason for the shift in coverage is I’m also resurrecting my literature coverage at The Lesser of Two Equals after a two-month hiatus. If you like what I write about television here, stop by there and see if you like what I write about books.)

About Les Chappell

The Mad Hatter of media criticism. Co-founder of This Was Television, contributor to The A.V. Club, founder of A Helpless Compiler and The Lesser of Two Equals.
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