Unsatisfactory Entertainment

I just finished watching The Legend of Korra (season 1) the other day. Without going into details, it was pretty good, but not great. I was reading a lot of conversation from a fairly critical crew in between episodes, though, which may have influenced my reaction.

That critical crew and their reactions is actually what I want to post about, not Korra.

As far as I’ve been able to tell, there’s two kinds of criticism. There’s the kind of criticism that declares a work is objectively bad, and should have been better. Often the critic will go into details demonstrating the objective badness, or even suggesting a completely different storyline that would have improved the work.

The other kind of criticism I see is the kind that focuses on the reactions of the critic. Rather than declaring that  a work should have been edited to be shorter, or given more episodes, or whatever, the critic declares that they were left unsatisfied, or that the style didn’t work for them, or whatever.

I tend to be the latter kind of reviewer. I can enjoy the first kind of review when it’s focusing on providing evidence of claims that the work is bad– I can learn from that. But I pretty much never enjoy reading a critique that focuses most of its wordage on talking about what the writers should have done. That’s… not fun. All that ever really tells me is the tastes of that reviewer– and that they think their taste is the only correct taste. It’s often insulting to anybody who enjoyed the work. And I guess maybe sometimes that’s the goal of the critic? In a trollish kind of way?

Mind, I’ll accept any reviews of my own work. 🙂 But as a reader, when I get to the point in a review when they start criticizing it for not being their idealized work and then move into describing that work, I start skimming.

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