As a former Baltimore resident are you a fan of novelist Laura Lippman?
I am a fan of Laura Lippman’s and reviewed one of her books, which included, ironically, murder on location. She and David Simon (creator of the Wire, Treme) make such a terrific power couple it is almost sickening, isn’t it?
What is the upside and the downside to being a TV critic? My guess is the upside is you can get to do interviews regarding your favorite shows (just as I get to interview my favorite authors) but the downside is you have to act equally interested in shows which you'd rather not existed.
Being a TV critic is one of the best jobs in the world and you can quote me on that. There really isn’t any downside, at least not right now, except that there is so much good television I literally cannot watch it all. I am not a huge fan of spirit killing reality shows like The Real Housewives franchise, but they’re still fascinating to write about. Television is the most powerful medium we have so whatever happens on it, good, bad, or Charlie Sheen, is instantly important and for a critic, it doesn’t get better than that. The most difficult thing is writing about those shows that aren’t either terrible or terrific, the ones that are probably not going to make it — everyone’s heart is in the right place but the magic just isn’t happening. That’s hard.
The whole Jay Leno at 10 p.m. was also pretty awful to live through because we all knew it was going to end in disaster and then it did, which was kind of satisfying except that in the meantime lots of people lost their jobs and NBC cancelled Life for which I still haven’t forgiven them.
And I'll save the toughest question for last but will make the last question of part two the easiest - What do you see as the future of journalism?
Oh my gosh, if I knew the answer to that, I wouldn’t be sitting here doing this interview! I think, unfortunately, things are going to get worse before they get better. Obviously, the Internet is a huge part of the future but we have to figure out how to make that cost-effective — you really do have to pay the people to generate content — and how to maintain the professional standards. The loss of so many journalists, particularly the old time investigative reporters, is taking a huge toll on the nation — we need a vital press for democracy to work as it should.