Critics

Here are the esteemed individuals that write for Critically Touched:

Mike Marinaro (MikeJer) – FOUNDER/CREATOR

TV show(s) reviewed: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and select S4/S5 episodes of Angel.

Hi!

I was the fool that thought it was a great idea to build a site and write insanely nerdy, emotional, and introspective reviews of Buffy the Vampire Slayer way back in 2005, when such a thing wasn’t nearly as common.

Eventually I decided to bring on some other quirky writers to join me in taking on media that they found intelligent, deep, and deeply personal. That led to the creation of Critically Touched.

After 12 years of being a hand-built custom website with all kinds of really cool search and community features, life finally caught up with me. This led to a wholesale transition to this very free WordPress site you see now.

Although I’ll likely always haunt this place, Jeremy Grayson (below) is now the site’s administrator and overlord. I wish him the best of luck and know he’ll lead the site to another 12 fabulous years!

Jeremy Grayson (Jeremy G.) – ADMINISTRATOR

TV show(s) reviewed: The West Wing, Freaks and Geeks, and select episodes of Angel.

I’m a quiet, reserved sort of guy, with a lot of passion and energy for writing, and prone to occasional bursts of insanity where I get up and go do something else. Not especially outgoing, but known to have relapses. Kind of handsome in a nerdy sort of way.

I like to watch TV shows and talk extensively about them, much to the chagrin of those who spend copious amounts of time with me. One day, one of the peons in my friendship circle asked me, “If you love talking about TV so much, why don’t you start a website?” After giving this idea all the two seconds of thought it needed, I decided his was a worthy suggestion. Which brings us to the present.

My extensive knowledge of popular culture has earned me the label “Fountain of Useless Knowledge” in my peer group, and I wear that badge proudly. In addition to the character-driven dramas and sitcoms I adore, I have a strong following of comic books and animation. I also have a strong love for chemical science and American history, but never mind those things.

In writing reviews, I try to make the case that television is more than just an assemblage of weekly plots designed for mere entertainment. I want to demonstrate how, when done right, television can act as a mirror which reflects on our society in vivid and unexpected ways. It can make us laugh, it can make us cry – but most importantly, it can make us think. It is my hope that this site can explain why. Or at the very least, that it can keep me from slowly, painfully cracking under the pressures of actual life. Whichever comes first.

Favorite Shows: Angel, Arrested Development, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Breaking Bad, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Daria, Deadwood, Frasier, Freaks and Geeks, Friday Night Lights, The Good Wife, Homicide: Life on the Street, Mad Men, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, My So-Called Life, Parks and Recreation, Seinfeld, The Shield, The Simpsons, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Twilight Zone, Veronica Mars, The West Wing

Contact: jeremy_grayson[at]aol[dot]com

Jay Yencich

TV show(s) reviewed: Twin Peaks.

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Hello. My name is Jay. I know who MikeJer is. I have spent many an hour on his couch, watching something, and then debating its merits. Like MikeJer, technology (I got through a quarter’s worth of VB curriculum in half a quarter) and literature/writing were both options for me coming out of high school, but partially because I’ve never gotten along with a science teacher in my entire life, I took The Dark Path. Some years later, Creative Writing and English/Comp. Lit double-major B.A. from Columbia University, poetry MFA from the University of Washington, a PhD in the works.

While my field is regarded as silly or frivolous by many, I take it, and much art, as seriously as anything in my life. I get my kicks not only from trying to make art but trying to explain how it works, which can help in that I like some weird things. I tend to get wrapped up in discussions of structure and cinematography probably more than MikeJer, but still bring a lot of character-centric analysis as I think it’s more difficult, though not impossible, to pull off a show without at least solid characterization.

Favorite Shows: Bakemonogatari (series), Breaking Bad, Les Revenants, Mushishi, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, Twin Peaks

Favorite Movies: Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, La Cité des Enfants Perdus, Let The Right One In (Swedish original), Oldboy (Korean version), Solaris (Tartovsky version)

Favorite Music: Charles Mingus, Dirty Three, The Lounge Lizards, Mogwai, Morphine, The National, Nick Cave, Okkervil River, Pere Ubu, Soul Coughing, Tom Waits, assorted other experimental, post-rock, indie rock, hard bop jazz, and classically-inspired minimalist outlets (I wrote my thesis to Messiaen’s “Quatuor pour la fin du temps”, if that means anything to more than one of you)

Other Interests!: Baseball, beer, hiking

Contact: jyencich[at]gmail[dot]com

Noah Burns

TV show(s) reviewed: The Inside.

I’m a student currently studying philosophy, the history of mathematics and science, and literature. In the past I’ve worked as a political consultant, speechwriter, and policy advisor in a local election. One of the greatest experiences I had in that job was seeing something that I had written move someone to take a new opinion or at least consider an idea they previously hadn’t. If I can accomplish that with my reviews, I’ll be happy.

But I’ve also done creative writing. Success in that means expression. While for my reviews of The Inside the art and the expression will be Minear and his staff’s, I hope to get at what they are expressing in a way that will be useful to you, and in a manner that is (at least sometimes) creative. My main goal, however, is to act as a go-between between the reader and the artists.

Contact: nhalle[dot]theinside[at]gmail[dot]com

Antony Stubbs (guttersnipe)

TV show(s) reviewed: Dekalog.

Hi!

I’m Antony, introvert, cinephile and travel enthusiast. It’s an honour to be part of the Critically Touched family, beaming thought-rays from the secret lair beneath the volcano where dreams of quality reviewage become reality.

When I’m not here I’m planning trips abroad, gushing about Japan, playing with my cats or making and painting miniatures, all of which are well-ingrained pastimes.

My first show for this illustrious website is Dekalog, the magnificent ten-part miniseries by Krzysztof Kieslowski exploring ethical conundrums revolving around the Ten Commandments. My desire to review the show comes as much from simply trying to promote the relatively-obscure series as it is to expound upon its virtues and analyse the works in a way that will hopefully bridge the gap between creator and recipient. My Dekalog scribblings come after a long hiatus from film reviewing, and the life lessons learned in the interim have if anything made me a stronger critic today. Nevertheless, I am merely a vessel, and if my thoughts on Dekalog (or Buffy, or Angel, etc) seem way off-base, take me up on it and I’ll pull up a chair.

Other favourite TV shows include: Twin Peaks, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, The Simpsons, QI, The Fast Show, Macross Plus, Jam, TV Offal, Paranoia Agent, BrassEye and King of the Hill.

Favourite films include: Fight Club, Blade Runner, The Exterminating Angel, Le Feu Follet and Secretary. Favourite film movements and people include film noir, anime, Nouvelle Vague, MGM musicals, Japanese New Wave, American independents, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.

Favourite music includes: Tori Amos, Depeche Mode, Alice in Chains, Deftones, The Smiths, Portishead, Nina Simone, Joy Division, In the Nursery, Slayer, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Wu-Tang Clan, electronica, hip-hop, hardcore punk, etc.

Favourite literature includes: Lolita, 1984, L’Enfer (Barbusse), In Cold Blood, VALIS, Cyrano de Bergerac, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Atrocity Exhibition, Othello, Invisible Monsters and The Last Temptation of Christ.

Pet peeves include: families, couples or even individuals who take up the whole pavement forcing me to walk on the road, delays on public transport and people who bend magazine and book covers between their thumbs and first two fingers.

Contact: guttersnipe28[at]hotmail[dot]com