How to Write a Television Show Review
Television reviews focus on a range of TV shows, such as nail-biting dramas or situation comedies, but they all provide a critical perspective that entices readers to watch the show. In a review, draw upon a show's performance and production, and illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of a show, as well as what audiences might enjoy most. Reviews evaluate the overall production and performance of a show and also compare the show to the cast and crew's previous work.
Summarize the Plot
In the first paragraph, describe the show's basic storyline to pique readers' curiosity and give them context for the rest of your review. Incorporate a brief plot summary, which introduces the central character and his primary conflict, and also introduces the setting, time period and genre. Since your readers have not yet seen the show, limit your summary to only the most important details. Don't reveal plot spoilers, which could ruin the story for potential viewers.
Provide Production Information
Since many shows earn reputations based on previous credits of a show’s production team, comparing the show with the creators' and writers' previous work can help readers connect it with programs they're already familiar with. You might discuss how the show fits into the creators’ overall body of work or compare and contrast it with other shows they've produced. A television show also may earn cult status among a specific audience demographic or blaze creative trails with its structure and episodes. Describing the show's unique appeal to viewers and groundbreaking elements can reveal what sets it apart from programs that may be similar.
Critique the Script
All television shows begin as scripts that incorporate carefully composed dialogue with production directions. Your review should detail how successful the show is in creating a believable plot and characters. Discuss how the dialogue reveals the characters, presents key story and plot information, or creates mood and tone. Write about the writer's use of action, developing the story through the characters' behavior. If the show takes place in a specific setting or time period, discuss how the costumes and scenery make the story real for the viewer.
Evaluate the Acting
The ability of the actors to evoke emotion and believability is a crucial mark of its success. Your review can evaluate the quality of the actors' performances and how they contribute to creating a realistic, entertaining story. Focus on the actor who portrays the show's central character, using specific examples to illustrate why his performance is successful, and also point out the supporting actors who add depth and meaning to the story. If you're reviewing an established show, consider how the characters have changed throughout the series and how the actors' performances contributed to this development.
Kori Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has been crafting online and print educational materials since 2006. She taught creative writing and composition at West Virginia University and the University of Akron and her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals.