Links For April 5, 2014

Seminal TV recap site Television Without Pity has been closed down by parent NBCUniversal.

How Television Without Pity Shaped Pop Culture

What TWoP did is insist that television criticism could be both arch and informed, that you could watch a lot of Roswell, you could care about Roswell, and you could still think Roswell is dumb garbage. Prestige shows like West Wing or The Sopranos don’t get a pass just for being fancy — even a recap praising a fabulous episode still had jokey nicknames for people, or wry labels for various TV clichés. Many of the recaps are incredibly funny, but there are plenty that had serious ideas about storytelling or costuming or characters’ gender politics, too.

End of an Internet Era: Television Without Pity Gets Shuttered

As time passed and appetites changed, in the TL;DR era, that kind of long-form recapping became the exception and not the rule, but the idea of experiencing TV as an unfolding experience, through the lens of a hybrid fan/critic/hater has certainly endured.

Thanks From the Staff, Past and Present – Notes from past editors and writers posted, appropriately enough, on the site’s busy forums.


A classic moment from Miss Alli’s Amazing Race recaps: The 22 Stages of Colin’s Ox-Related Breakdown.


How I Met Your Mother recently came to an end after nine seasons. It fell out of my rotation years ago, but it’s been kind of fascinating following the angst around its final season.

Alan Sepinwall has probably the definitive rant on the series finale, in two parts: Series finale review: How I Met Your Mother - Last Forever: How they conned us all

So instead of a bumpy final few years being redeemed by a finale that at least resulted in our hero winding up with a woman we all liked, and who seemed a perfect match for him, we have a finale that turns the title and narrative framework of the show into a case of Bays and Thomas following the letter of the law rather than the spirit.... They and Future Ted promised us that we’d be getting the story of how Ted met the kids’ mother, but all along she was just meant to be a distraction from the real story — like the kind of misdirection Barney uses in his magic tricks.

The How I Met Your Mother finale, revisited: How I regret the Mother?

So I think if they had done better with Ted and Robin, with Robin on her own, tamped down on the sheer tonnage of Robin and Barney drama over the years and been smarter with how they deployed the Mother, the ending could have worked, even after nine long seasons. It wouldn’t erase some of the other issues that cropped up post-season 4… but it would have made this specific ending feel earned, rather than a vestige of something that was filmed in season 2 and that bore little connection to what the show and its characters had become in the years since.

Linda Holmes also has a good take: Oh, ‘Mother’: An Awful End To A Long Love Story

Knowing that Ted did not wind up with Robin, but wound up with someone else — but still remained close enough to Robin that his kids addressed her as “Aunt Robin” — said something different. It said, “You know what? They won’t. But don’t leave yet.” It said that there is value in stories about things that don’t work out, and value in romances that end. Everyone matters, everything is important, everything fits together and makes a whole life. The series finale revealed that to the degree this is what the show seemed to be saying, the joke was on you.


How The Most Expensive Game Jam In History Crashed And Burned In A Single Day – Jared Rosen reports on a game jam-cum-reality show featuring indie game devs that went way off the rails.

The rest of the night was an odd blur of Polaris folks, Maker production staff and YouTubers trying to wrap their heads around what was happening. We were able to film the final walk before the judges, but that was the end of it.... Adriel and Zoe stuck to their guns, and most everyone stuck with them. They wouldn’t be associating their names with a company that hired people like Matti. Even though he was fired. Even though he was a consultant. The energy was too low, the products of a hypothetical jam at this point wouldn’t meet their own standards, and the programming showed a lack of understanding that made it difficult to get behind.


Virtual Reality is going to change the world – Notch on Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus Rift.

Fortunately, the rise of Oculus coincided with competitors emerging. None of them are perfect, but competition is a very good thing. If this means there will be more competition, and VR keeps getting better, I am going to be a very happy boy. I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook. Their motives are too unclear and shifting, and they haven’t historically been a stable platform. There’s nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to me.


Swedish Pop Mafia

How a culturally conservative effort in the 1940s backfired to create the greatest engine of pop music in the world.