How the 'Caprica' reviews will work going forward

February 1, 2010

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Jammer's Reviews were created by Jammer. They evolved. They rebelled. Some were written to think they were dissertations. And Jammer has a plan — to curtail them moving forward.

When I launched Jammer's Blog (JB) eight months ago, my mind was already churning away, looking ahead to the future of Jammer's Reviews (JR) as a viable web site, and more specifically toward a Jammer's Reviews & Blog (JRB) hybrid site where one would feed the other.

My thinking was that JB would begin to feed JR with new content, and JR would feed JB with its existing audience. Together they would become one, more or less.

The reason I did that was because JR, as it existed during the BSG days (and before), was becoming unmanageable. For years I've frequently posted my reviews far later than I have wanted to, because I refuse to let my reviews dictate my personal life and my free time, which I value. The problem was that I was increasingly falling into a trap where I would simply try to cover too much territory in my reviews, roll in too much synopsis, and get too detailed. I did this through the end of BSG because I found I couldn't help myself in discussing those episodes.

The problem, as always, became timeliness. Because of the pattern I fell into, I'd watch the episode for pure entertainment purposes, then go back later in the week to watch the episode again and take notes on my laptop. Then I would go back and write the review, sometimes days after the note-taking. This process would belabor the whole enterprise. Hence the ongoing delays and my own frustration.

What also really did not help was the increasing amount of time to manage the actual site itself. Because of the way JR was set up (no content management system, lots of manual editing of links and navigation — not to mention the parallel plain-text edition and e-mail edition (update: both discontinued) that would have to be maintained for each review — every review posted meant roughly an hour of multiple-text-option formatting and web production (especially if I had to track down photos for use on the home page for the main "new story" image, and write the silly/clever text for it).

Enter the blog. Posting materials is much faster, and JR is set up to automatically place links to the most recent items I post in the blog, such that it's fairly seamless. You've undoubtedly seen how this works over the past eight months.

The JR plain-text edition will remain available but new reviews will not be put in there (it's simply not necessary), and the e-mail edition will become a more simplified e-mail notification system, where the e-mails will simply include a link back to the original web article.

So, official announcement time (although you probably figured this out): I will be reviewing Caprica weekly going forward. All the reviews will make their way to Jammer's Reviews via postings here at Jammer's Blog. You saw the test run with my review of the Caprica pilot.

As for the reviews themselves: I also think it's time to finally hit the reset button and get back to basics. The days of 2,000-word episode reviews are over. Although there may be exceptions, it will no longer be the norm. I went long-winded on the Caprica pilot, but that was the last time; subsequent reviews will not feature that much discussion/rambling.

I will not likely be taking notes anymore, and I will not usually be watching the shows twice. My reviews will be much more in the moment, much less deliberate, and will not cover as many individual scenes in an episode. They will be "blogged reviews." It's going to be an adjustment, but I think it will be much better for my timeliness in posting the reviews, and definitely much better for me being able to manage this as a reviewing project. I simply can't keep up what I was doing with BSG.

You'll note that if you go back to my early reviews (DS9's third season was my first year of reviewing for this site), the reviews were much shorter. Also, a lot crappier. I'm a much better writer now than I was then. The new Caprica reviews will be short. Not crappy. (My guess is that they'll be similar to my TNG reviews in length and scope. Perhaps a little bit longer.)

Speaking of TNG reviews, that's the other thing worth mentioning here. In order to get back to watching TNG episodes and writing those reviews, I need the new Caprica project to be manageable. So the bottom line here is: faster turnaround on reviews, easier for me to maintain, quicker for you to read, and me finally making good on my promise to finish reviewing TNG. Everybody wins.

Update, March 2024: Ironically, my strategy around this entire post, long since mostly reversed as far back as 2012 with the redesign of the site, has now been fully reversed, as I've pulled all the blog content back into the main site.

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12 comments on this post

    Yay for reviews being more on time!

    Less yay for reviews being shorter, but that's OK if it'll give you enough time to review TNG as well. :D

    Good luck with the new format!

    Will the TNG reviews be in the blog or will they be a "season-page" format like before? I really like the season pages for navigation purposes - maybe when you get a run of Caprica episodes together, you'll make a season page with links to the blog entry pages?

    William, to answer your questions:

    The TNG reviews will follow exactly the same format of the other TNG reviews over at JR, posted in large, multi-review chunks. They won't be posted here in the blog. I will simply use the blog at that point to notify people who are following the blog RSS feed that new TNG reviews are available.

    At some point, yes, a season page over at JR for Caprica will follow as well. Exactly when, we'll see. But for the sake of navigation that will be the route I eventually take.


    It's good to know that you'll be reviewing Caprica. Even when I do not necessarily agree with your assessment of an episode, I always enjoy your perspective and analysis. And I think you'll find the "blog review" format to be a bit liberating, allowing you to focus all your efforts on just writing and posting (Wordpress is very good for that approach). I've been using it since '07 and love its streamlined setup.

    Can't wait for the TNG reviews, as well!

    Yay for Caprica reviews ! I've been reading Jammer's Reviews for a few years now, but never in real-time (I watched BSG just a few months ago) so this will be fun.

    I have to say I love your long reviews, they're very interesting and there aren't many sources where I can get in-depth analysis of shows I like. This is not to say I think you should do them (real-life prioritizing ftw), but just to say that for this reader at least all that time and effort you put into them were really worth it.

    Now to read those TNG reviews I'd forgotten about ^^

    To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t personally mind waiting as long as it takes for longer reviews. :)

    I think in your review for the BSG final episode you mentioned in the comments you were starting Lost. I'm guessing you got up to speed in time for Season 6? And...despite this being a post about you managing your free time, heh...what are your thoughts?
    Not that I'm expecting complete reviews, but would love to read even just the one article on it. I think the show got badly maligned in its middle years, and rightfully so in some spots (when they didn't have an end date and kept drip-feeding the content for fear of running out), but I think it's coming together nicely at the end. May just top Six Feet Under as my number 1 show...depending on the finale...

    This sounds like a sensible plan: thanks for giving us such a thoughtful and descriptive heads-up. Taking the hassle out of the technological aspects of posting the reviews, especially, is long overdue and hopefully will help you focus on the enjoyable aspects of having your own website.

    See my remarks on length in the Rebirth review's Comments thread. I guess I should have posted that here instead (it has much more to do with this thread than the Rebirth episode itself), but I was responding to your footnote there. Ah, well. Live and learn.

    I notice you deftly avoided Anthem 47's question. And, as much as I loved TNG, I echo your "ew."

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