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Early Titlepage.tv Reviews, Um, Not So Good

We announced the first Titlepage.tv episode yesterday and then watched about 15 minutes before leaving it paused on a goofy Charles Bock grimace for the rest of the day.

That’s approximately 10 minutes, 33 seconds more than Jessa from Bookslut watched.

And Sarah Weinman has a list of ten ways to improve the show, including:

  • TV-friendly clothing for the authors. Yes, this is airing as a taped show on the Internet but TV rules still apply. Richard Price and orange do not mix. Charles Bock wearing a rock t-shirt is fine; Charles Bock wearing a rock t-shirt underneath a True Value shirt, not so much.
  • More fun. This is Titlepage’s biggest failing. Where was the humor? Richard Price is a funny guy but hardly any of his sense of humor came through. Charles Bock tried but he struggled to fit in. Choi and Harrison could have been more entertaining had they been given the chance. Menaker was so preoccupied with being serious that he missed opportunity after opportunity for memorable entertainment. Yes, it’s great to have authors talking about books but in order to rise way above the noise, that signal had better be really, really dynamic.

To my dying day I’m going to hold out hope that there could be a fun, engaging, intellectually stimulating, TV show about books. This may not be it, although here’s to hoping that Titlepage learns from its mistakes and blossoms over the next few episodes.

Here’s my prediction though: Lots of people will watch this and think—hell, it’s not that hard to put together an internet show that’s at least this good. A bunch of different programs will suddenly come into existence, a few of which are actually quite good. Around the time that we find out that one of these new ones is 10 times more popular than Titlepage there will be a big media backlash against these “amateur” programmers, dismissing internet programs as “not the real thing.” A divisive spat will ensue mimicing the whole bloggers vs. print thing, and readers will be back where they started with nothing worth watching.



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