How to Write a Review for an Entire Television Season
With all of the streaming services now airing exclusive TV series all at once, webmasters and TV critics have begun reviewing entire TV seasons. This type of television review is so prevalent now it is common place.
Most of these streaming TV series consist of ten-to-thirteen episodes per season and each episode is 50-60 minutes long.
Methods of Review
There are two ways to review an entire television season all at once: 1.) an overview review that talks about the season as a whole, one continuous narrative, and 2.) review all the episodes in one article but review each episode individually.
The positives of each type of review: the overview review is easier to write and it will have a clear narrative (the writer looks at the entire season as an elongated episode). The all-episode review is more detailed and informative.
Whether you choose the overview review or the all-episode review format, there is a misstep that should be avoided. It has to do with the title of the review.
Streaming services have a tendency to release a few, half, and possibly the entire season to TV critics to review (substitution based upon the number of episodes referenced in early season reviews that I have read) in advance of a TV season premiere.
When writing an entire season review and placing that (“entire season review” or something analogous) in the title of your article, you need to have actually watched the entire season so that your review’s title is factually based.
I read a early review for the first season of Iron Fist on Netflix on a TV and film website (we interviewed their webmaster here) that touted the review as being for the entire season – “Season 1 Review” was in the title for the review:
When I clicked on the review to read and get a general gist of the upcoming season for the superhero television show, it was noted right at the beginning of the review that it was only a review for the first six episodes:
The first season of Iron Fist was thirteen episodes long.
Because of those two facts, the title for the review was completely misleading and was not accurate.
If you are going to write a review for a set amount of episodes for a season below the full season mark, write in the title of your review how many episodes you actually reviewed.
When I write a full season review title, instead of writing “Season X Review”, like some writers, I write “Season X, Episodes X-X.” This way the potential reader knows exactly what they are about to read, what season and what episodes that I have reviewed.
Even if it is an entire season review, I still place the episode range in the title. So for a thirteen episode season, I would place into the title of the review “1-13.” I could easily place “Entire Season” or “Season 1 Review.” What I put in the title is a clarifying preference but it still a preference.
The point is to be factual.
Advertise the exact contents of your review in the title of your article. Then give the reader exactly what the title advertises in the body of your review. If its an entire season review, let the reader know that in the title of your article then review the entire season in your review. If you have only reviewed three, six, or half of the season, that should be in the title of your article as well so that it is reflective of your review’s contents.
If not, you may be accused of not knowing how to write a headline or worse, misleading the reader.
Body of the Review
Pyramid of Journalism
Use the inverted pyramid of journalism as your default format for your review, whether you are writing an overview review or the all-episode review format.
I like to place keywords in the first few lines of my copy for search engines and meta data (e.g. the television network, TV Show Review, the title of the TV series, etc.) but that may not be necessary anymore with WP plugins like Yoast SEO that let you manually manipulate meta data for search engines.
For a more formal structure, create a thesis statement for your review, your general thoughts on the season then back up that thesis statement with facts.
- tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
- is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
- directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself.
- makes a claim that others might dispute.
- is usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.
Use direct examples from the episodes of the season as said evidence and build your argument for your thesis statement.
To keep yourself on track, for an overview review, create an outline. The outline will be the bone structure of your review and will help keep your review focused.
For an all-episode review, break your review apart by episode. After you have those titles or episode numbers written down (or both), write down notes for each episode, the points that your want to discuss, review, and analyze. Once that’s done, fill in each section of your outline using the notes you previously jutted down for each episode.
Track the Back-Plot Throughout the Season
Usually there is something big in the background of a television season, growing with each successive episode. Identify, track, and note that something’s successful or unsuccessful progress throughout the season. It may be the back-plot or sub-plot of a season but it will be there. It’s taught in television screenwriting school. It usually grows in significance as the season goes on. Identify it (it should become apparent by the mid-point of the season) and analysis it in your review. Your review will be much more in-depth and critical if you do.
If your TV season review is very long, most-likely with an all-episode review, breaking the review up into multiple pages is a good practice. By instituting page breaks, your review page does not stretch down for past your ads and other sidebar information.
Conclusion of Your Review
The conclusion of your overview review or the all-episode review can be your proven thesis (if you don’t know how to end your review), where all the main points of your review are tied together tightly. Or you can end the review organically, ending the review with the last paragraph of the review.
For the all-episode review, you may need a separate section for your concluding opinions on the season – a distillation of your final thoughts.
This is arbitrary though. As I wrote, you can end the review with your final words on the last episode. It’s up to you.
I hope you found this “How to Write a Review for an Entire Television Season” article informative.
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