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Critical Acclaim

Monday, April 21st, 2008
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For those of us who toil at our keyboards and telephones to get the word out about Thirteen’s great programming (and it IS great by the way, so tell your friends), a recent cover story in Broadcasting & Cable was cause for pause.

In her article, “The Disappearing Critic,” Marisa Guthrie writes that

The fraternity of the nation’s television critics at daily newspapers was once a thriving milieu, dominated by a great diversity of committed voices. The critics’ opinions were sought, revered – in many cases, even feared – and blurbed in network on-air promos.

Has that era passed? “That reality has changed drastically of late as the ranks of critics have grown noticeably leaner,” Guthrie observes. “Caught in the financial turmoil roiling the newspaper industry, they have become a beleaguered lot, a growing part of the collateral damage of the digital revolution.”

Well, we know all about the digital revolution here at Thirteen (Chances are you do, too, considering what you’re doing at this very moment.) And we realize that not only is the public consuming media in new ways, but they are also choosing what to consume in different ways as well. That’s why we’ve been using the new media to get the word out. Have you seen our YouTube page? Are you a Facebook friend of Thirteen, Reel13 or SundayArts? (And why not?) Have you embedded the Nature video player on your own blog? (Well, what are you waiting for?)

So, we’re out there creating viral buzz with the best of ’em.

But we still revere the critics, too. The best ones have experience, a distinguished tradition, a commitment to telling it like is. And those are qualities we can get behind.

Take a few choice reviews from this past week:

Writes Nature lover Linda Stasi in her four-star New York Post review of The Gorilla King:

Nature, one of PBS’ most enduring and endearing series, has a show on Sunday night that you simply should not miss if you are at all a, er, nature lover… here is a remarkable DNA revelation at the end which is as good as any reality-TV series climax you’ll see. A wonderful, remarkable show.

And if you missed The Gorilla King last night, you can catch it again Saturday, April 26 at 6 p.m.

The Christian Science Monitor in its Monitor Picks column:

A hula troupe from Hawaii, the US Olympic Synchronized Swim Team, and four choreographers and their dance companies perform among the cliffs and waterways of America’s most scenic national parks in PBS’s Dance in America (April 21, 10 p.m.) ….The show was commissioned by Wolf Trap’s Face of America. Armchair travel doesn’t get better than this.”

Or how about Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times and his recent tribute to Thirteen’s American Masters series:

I have a kind of collect-them-all affection for the PBS biographical series American Masters, now in its 22nd year. . . . . Some editions are better than others, of course. . . . But most all are better than what passes for ‘biography’ on most other networks, where a couple of hit records or a popular sitcom is considered reason enough to haul a star’s old elementary school teacher in front of a video camera . . . . It takes a little more than that to become an American Master.

Thanks, guys, we’re glad you’re there.

And here’s what we propose: You keep watching us. And we’ll keep reading you.