Happy New Year!

[Blogged by Mike Marinaro]

[Intro: ‘The Blog’]

Welcome to 2014!

In case you haven’t figured it out, this post is also welcoming you to the new Critically Touched Blog section!

So, how does this Blog section fit into the larger canvas that is Critically Touched? Well, its purpose is to allow all site writers to have an outlet to discuss a variety of topics without necessarily needing to go into the gloriously absurd depths the existing television reviews generally do.

The Blog currently offers writers one of six categories to choose from when they make a post: Television, Film, Books, Music, Games, and Other, providing a writer a place to share their thoughts in a manner that’s a bit more structured than you’d expect out of a forum post, but still encouraging a discussion of these differing media categories. There might be posts ranging from ‘TV’s Best Shows in 2014’ to ‘An Exploration of Surrealism in Film’ to ‘An Analysis of Silent Hill 2’ to more personal experiences interacting with media.

It is my hope that this section will offer writers on the site more freedom and an even bigger opportunity to connect with the community.

You can always find a link to the Blog at the very top of every page. New Blog posts will also automatically get their own news items on the front page and be included in the All News RSS feed.

I hope you enjoy the new content!

[2014 and Beyond]

2014 is looking to be a huge year for Critically Touched. New writers will likely be coming on board, brand new sections — like the Blog — will be added, the variety of content will be expanded, and the community will continue to gradually grow.

The first piece of news, beyond the Blog, is that Jeremy — the writer of the recent Freaks and Geeks reviews — will be reviewing all of The West Wing soon. These reviews should be kicking off within a week, so stay tuned to the front page for impending news.

In addition to this, I intend to launch two new site sections early this year. Prepare to start getting the Critically Touched treatment for movies and books! I’m particularly excited to launch these sections and eventually shift my own content contributions more heavily this way. These sections will each launch with one inaugural review by yours truly to kick things off.

Beyond all the new content to be added to the site in 2014, I’m often hard at work improving the website itself — bug fixes, improved navigation, helpful features, and increased integration. Some recent updates include auto-updating comments in reviews (i.e. you don’t need to refresh a page to see the latest comments anymore), sidebar integration with the Forum, adding a release date for all relevant content, tons of administrative improvements, and much more.

If you ever have any suggestions to improve the site, always feel free to send me a Forum message or an e-mail.

I hope everyone likes the direction Critically Touched is headed, and I hope you all have a fabulous 2014!

20 thoughts on “Happy New Year!”

  1. [Note: Joan posted this comment on January 1, 2014.]

    I’ve been following this website for a long time and the new changes seem like the new changes will make the site grow and take it in exciting new directions.
    Congratulations on this but I had a questions regarding your Buffy/Angel reviews.

    The first has to do with the Buffy reviews. I notice you have been updating and changing grades on older episodes. Will there be more of that for BTVS (and even Angel in the future)? It would be nice to see season 2’s full season review added on to with a pros & cons section since the other seasons have those too.

    The second question is specifically about Angel. Season 4’s full season review and Season 5’s full season review as well as series finale haven’t been completed. I was wondering would they be done this year?


  2. [Note: FaithFanatic posted this comment on January 1, 2014.]

    Very interesting. I’ve been tossing up trying to review shows for a long while but I’m constantly worried that there’s some episodes of them I ‘don’t get’ and won’t be able to review to the sufficient standard. The new blog sounds intriguing.

    I have one question. Could you do a crossover blog between movies and books? I would be interested to do one on adaptions of books to films because I have been studying it recently and think I have enough knowledge to make it interesting. Would that be put under the books/movies section or some other section? Or maybe both?

    Thanks and once again very excited.


  3. [Note: Kyle posted this comment on January 1, 2014.]

    I’ve got to admit, this is probably my favorite site on the internet, and, with this new blog thing, it’ll probably leave all of my other favorite sites in the dust. I think you’ve done an excellent job with Critically Touched Mike. Before I saw this site, my interest and grades in english courses were pretty low (low as in Bs), but you’ve definitely inspired me. I do a lot better in english courses nowadays (As)… 🙂 And, while I don’t think I’m going to pursue a career in the language arts, this site has definitely opened my mind and made me a better analyst in the area of interest I’m currently in (that would be Chemistry)… so nice job with this site, and I’m really excited for this new year… 🙂


  4. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on January 1, 2014.]

    Thanks for the comment!

    The Angel comprehensive season 4 & 5 reviews will be started soon after Iguana-on-a-stick sends in his review of “Not Fade Away”.

    As for Buffy, yes, the Season 2 Review will be updated to match the format used by the later seasons, and parts (if not all) of it will be rewritten. Same for Season 3 and its episodes. I’m thinking it will be Season 4 when the transition from full rewrites to more simple updates will occur.


  5. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on January 1, 2014.]

    You’re welcome! I love seeing the enthusiasm for the features. 🙂

    A post like you’ve suggested is definitely doable. Although a crossover post couldn’t be seamlessly categorized, it can still work. If you were to look at book-to-film adaptations, that would theoretically best be categorized under Film.


  6. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on January 1, 2014.]

    I’m thrilled to see that the site has inspired you! That’s fantastic. As a Software Engineer, I definitely know where you’re coming from. 😀


  7. [Note: WCRobinson posted this comment on January 1, 2014.]

    It is indeed great to see more content! It was the combination of discovering Buffy just over a year ago and reading these reviews that has, I feel, improved my understanding of TV and filmmaking to the point where my expectations are much higher; it has even helped with my own writing.

    Thanks Mike, and I hope for even better things to come!


  8. [Note: StakeAndCheese posted this comment on January 1, 2014.]

    Hah, so you finally found a way to write a piece on Silent Hill 2!

    Seriously though, Mike. This sounds awesome.


  9. [Note: FaithFanatic posted this comment on January 2, 2014.]

    Will we be able to do film reviews under the blog? Or does it have to be features?

    I’d quite like to do The Hobbit and The Hunger Games – linking in with the book to film thing, since the former basically disregards the source material and the latter is one of the more faithful ones.


  10. [Note: LoveroftheBuffer posted this comment on January 2, 2014.]

    I am so happy this is being made as I’ve been a fan for a few months. I do hope you continue with the fantastic buffy reviews and I’m looking forward to the final angel review


  11. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on January 2, 2014.]

    No, “reviewing” is not the purpose of the blog. However, as mentioned above, in the coming months I plan on launching dedicated Film and Book review sections of the site. I’ll be launching each section with one review, written by me.


  12. [Note: FaithFanatic posted this comment on January 2, 2014.]

    Ah, okay. Thank you for the clarification.

    Just one question – do you plan to use the same scheme as with the reviews to decide who can do blogs or can we just get started? If so, when will we able to add things ourselves?


  13. [Note: FaithFanatic posted this comment on January 2, 2014.]

    Just one more thing, in the NOTE section when you post a comment it says ‘please read the review’ but this is not a review. Don’t know if it is worth changing given it is very minor but just wanted to point it out.


  14. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on January 2, 2014.]

    Ah, thanks for pointing that out! The same underlying code is used as the reviews, just tweaked for a different use here. I’ll get that text changed today.

    As to who can review, it will be very similar to the TV process. All TV reviewers will have earned my confidence to do Film and Books though, so they’ll get immediate access to both new sections. But for someone on the outside the evaluation process will be similar to TV. Once they become a writer though, they can review as many films or books (whatever they’ve been granted access to) as they want.


  15. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on January 2, 2014.]

    For the most part, the Blog will be available to all existing reviewers. There may be some exceptions to this at some point, where someone might just be given an account with Blog permission only, but that’s unlikely.


  16. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on January 2, 2014.]

    As of now, yes. It’s primarily set up as an outlet for reviewers on the site. I don’t want just anybody who visits the site to be able to submit content to the Blog, for example; I want to maintain the same standard of quality throughout the site.

    The only exception to this might be with someone I already know can write at that level but doesn’t necessarily have the time to review a full show.

    Regardless, there will be more opportunities for people to try to become a writer for the site when the Film and Book sections launch, as it’s a lot easier to commit to reviewing one film or one book every now and then than it is an entire TV show. I’ll have the same writing quality restrictions for writers in those sections, but the commitment concerns will be largely irrelevant.


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