Punch-Drunk Critics in The Era of Peak TV

Kyle Paoletta at The Baffler:

If a decline in quality writ large is indeed evident on the networks and streaming services, one could hardly guess it from the continuing tone of TV coverage. This summer, Sepinwall—recently ensconced at Rolling Stone, long Hollywood’s most reliable cheerleader outside of the trade rags—proclaimed The Americans “one of the great TV dramas of this era,” named Atlanta’s debut season “one of the best and boldest in recent memory,” and labeled Barry “the blackest of black comic stories.”

This counts as reserved praise from Sepinwall. And there’s a reason: in his esteemed opinion, 2018 “has not, by recent standards, been a particularly great year for television.” At least, not compared to 2017, when he groused upon the publication of his year-end best-of list that “narrowing things down even to twenty is tough in Peak TV.” Though one can scarcely imagine a civilian having the time or inclination to follow even twenty programs, to Sepinwall’s mind “there was no real gap in quality between my sixth-place show and about ten or fifteen series that didn’t even make this list.”

more here.