* Prices may differ from that shown
As someone who watches a lot of TV, I often find myself writing reviews about it so I thought I'd share a little of what I have learned with other budding reviewers.
What kind of show is it? It's easy to forget sometimes that other people may have never heard of your favourite show so remember to give them the basics before you launch into why you love it. Try to be fairly specific if you can as categories like 'comedy' or 'drama' are very broad. It might be useful to note other programmes that are similar to the one you are reviewing but don't get caught up explaining these too much. For example, in my review of Newswipe I mentioned Charlie Brooker's previous TV shows to give readers a sense of what they could expect from this show. You might also want to include details of when it is on or if it is available on DVD.
I usually try to include descriptions of a few of the characters. It's always interesting to find out which characters people like in a show and why they like them. Make sure that the information you give is appropriate to what you are reviewing. By this I mean that if you are reviewing a programme in general rather than a specific series, you would be best not mentioning Mr X's long lost brother that turns up in the shocking finale of season 4!
Again, you need to think about the reader when deciding how much detail to give of the plot. If it is a factual show, it may be useful to give quite a lot of detail about what is covered but giving away the plot twists of a thriller won't be so well received. If you get carried away then realise you have given away too much, edit your review as soon as possible.
LIKES AND DISLIKES
This is the most important part of any review and what people will keep coming back to read. Your opinions on what is good or bad about a show should take up most of your review. This could be anything from the writing to the stars of the show or some funny lines in a comedy. Try to give reasons why you like something rather than just saying it is good or bad as this doesn't help a reader decide whether they want to read it or not.
I usually try to warn readers if a programme has adult content in terms of swearing, violence sex or anything else that they might find offensive. I am not easily offended and do not mind watching programmes about sensitive/upsetting subjects but I realise that not everyone feels the same way. If there is something in a show which you found shocking or distressing, the chances are that someone else will feel the same so you may want to warn them.
Hope these tips are helpful!
Fundamentally the rules or guidance for writing a good TV review are no different to writing a review for most any other category, actually I'm quite surprised that no guide for this category has ever bothered to find the time to actually write some advice on what makes a good TV review.
For me a good review should be concise, I hate to read padded reviews that do not address the matter in hand, for me it is just another form of abuse, blatantly padding a review to get more words and better ratings, it should be treated as abuse no different to copying, so concise and to the point is a must.
A good TV review should contain some guidance on the target audience for the show, what type of person will enjoy the show, is it similar to any other shows on TV either now or in the past. It naturally needs to contain some opinion from the viewers perspective and to give a real flavour of the programme.
If it is a long running show with a number of series then there is no need to recap every single episode like a track list review of an album however with long runing shows that have a number of series it is important to cover off how the show has developed. For example the sitcom Men Behaving Badly had a very different cast in series one to the one that appeared in series two and up to when the show was ended, likewise Skins has a totally different cast for series two compared with one.
If relevant the quality of the acting and plot lines are very relevant however if the show is a documentary then the style of delivery and the information content will be crucial.
As I stated at the time a review should be informative and entertaining to read wthout the need to waffle. A bit of humour never goes amiss but most importantly there should be opinion.
When dooyoo`s front page proudly displays the fact 2.3 million reviews have been rated this week I cant help but feel the ludicrous 150 word thing for 50p will be the death of us. Divide 2.3 million by 1.5p and it's a frightening amount of cash going out compared to what must be coming in. How-on-Earth can they pay that level of rewards? And if you consider around 300 reviews a day are being posted up with many of those at 50p a head it's a mind-boggling venting of cash, especially during the worst recession since the war. I don't think I'm alone in thinking that way. I know we were swallowed up by another media conglomerate last year for 3.6 million Euros, and with web retail and advertisings still strong we are in good shape, but it steel feels too good to be true sometimes. We do know dooyoo has inserted an ambiguous clause with those 150 word reviews that the work has to be of a 'certain standard' and so the volume has slaked off a little in February, but which ever way you look at it sections like TV and Speakers Corner have become more baron because of that expenditure, especially when it comes to crowns.
Crowns, of course, are another weekly spend for dooyoo, around one hundred pounds of them handed out every week. But for some reason dooyoo don't like to give them to TV reviews, only 7 in total this month, which is a high monthly number if you consider they have only ever awarded (as listed) around 250 in this category in the sites history, even though pretty much everything this site advertises will end up on the telly at some point, the very conduit of capitalism that pays our wages. But that's the way dooyoo are going and as dooyoo becomes increasingly feminine, 23 of the 32 guiding positions currently held by women (the gorgeous Kellylou our TV guide), it seems they need more crowns for girly stuff and so some sections will have to miss out, Speakers Corner also in a drought right now. The guides have taken 17 of the last 50 TV crowns (see dooyoo drop downs in the community section) and by far their most dominant category, perhaps some watching rather too much of that telly of late as the reviews go unrated. To be honest I wouldn't fancy being a guide now it's busy.
TV guide Kelly, yet another dooyoo member adorned in wedding gear and cheesy smile in her member piccy (although this smile seems to be a result of a husband and so not a desperate plea for one on dooyoo :-), is a very good guide because she sits second in the ratings list in her category (see drop down), very active, just behind an equally gorgeous female member. Yours truly is just below her with a very sharp trident aimed at her pert bottom if she slacks off. Sycophantic flirting, of course, always helps on dooyoo, especially with the guides. One must always whisper sweet nothings in their ears to stay in the game, except the gruff movie guys, too busy opening beer cans with their teeth to talk to the minions. LOL. The boys go to war if something isn't right in the film section (chest bump and grunt).
The point here is that Dooyoo`s brilliant drop-down performance related charts allows normal members to keep an eye on each other and the guides, a welcome democratic move by dooyoo, offering stats on things like who's the best rater, crowner and commenter etc. One particular guide, who shall remain nameless, managed only 25 rates last month in their particular section, just 1% of the content. Most guides, on the other hand, are about to go cross-eyed and relapse with the amount of reviews gushing through their letter boxes. Bloody Martin Lewis I hear them sayeth! Because of that volume the serious dooyooers have to have an extra mid-afternoon rating and commenting session to keep up, the taboo afternoon quickie always the most pleasurable of course. I get very agitated if I fall more than four pages back on the newest reviews list and have had to radically cut back on my ratings this year to keep my sanity. Sadly my commenting is still pathetically high.
So how to write a TV review...
To be honest I'm grammatically not correct enough to be one of the best writers here to give you advice but I like to be one of the most readable to make up for it, 'product related' reviews not always the most interesting and certainly not my forte. The idea that hoards of non members read our reviews for product information is a bit naive. I suspect only 3 of every 10 people who rate my stuff actually read it. It's that 30% you have to write for.
My first tip is to make the title clever, or at least cheeky or forthright - *It Must Stand Out*. If your title is smart then the reader will think you are and so more likely to read it. If you can't think of one then put 'sex' or something pervy in the title as 61% of all internet searches are still porn related so you may pull in people to dooyoo that way, a sex site featuring in googles top 50 most viewed websites for the fist time last year (I think it was called X-Tube). Secondly the opening line of your review must be as equally eye-catching and interesting. Members have lots of reviews to trawl though and can't mess around if you lose them early on. There's nothing more irritating than members who are tapping out the short banal reviews whilst (they begin with 'i') and I now skip those guys and girls without thought. People who make notes and take time on the word processor, on the other hand, are the ones I'm interested in. Every line you write should mean something and have relevance. I hate rhetorical waffle. NEVER pick up the pen if you don't have anything to say. Sadly the 150 minimum word thing allows that to happen here. And if you do that then please realize that *IF* there was small print for the 150 word deal it would read it's an *Introductory Offer* and perhaps it would be wise for the good of the site to double you're words to 300 after you claim your first Amazon voucher. 20 c**p reviews is your lot with me! I do know dooyoo have denied new members their voucher claims because of poor content. Be warned.
I think it's important not to be too serious in your work and, of course, it's always fun to be risky. Risky thoughts are what everybody thinks but dare not say. I do admit I can be antagonistic sometimes because I write about the gray areas in life we don't like to talk about but for me dooyoo is all about having our say and I will keep doing that. I don't write like that to deliberately wind you up and I do mean what I say. I don't want to be dressed in a big green box to get reads or have a tea break with dooyoo on the front page. I write what I write and so tough! The members will generally respect you if you go for it, even if a few mask that admiration by kicking up over it to make themselves feel better and you worse for telling the truth. Just be more subtle next time not to offend. That's what writings really about.
As it's a TV program we are talking about here put what time and night it's on and who is actually in it. A lot of people don't here. Cast list are great sandwich fillers to make your reviews look more professional and help to space them out, although only Christian Bale wants to know who the boom operator was. I don't like to get too 'product centered' either; listing 'aspect ratios' is pointless as it is to list the vitamins in water. Nothing wrong with bit of padding in there to bulk your work up as we all know some members will rate long reviews without reading them as Very Useful just because they are long. But most will eventually tire of reviews that list what's in barbeque rib flavored crisps, which clearly isn't barbeque ribs. Now they would crack your fillings out! Sure if its a food review and there's allergy related stuff in there then by all means but no one knows what e-numbers mean anyway (the point of them) so why bother.
As I said it's one of the toughest sections to get one, purely because dooyoo`s mindset is these reviews wont help sell anything. That means your work has to be extra special and very well read so maybe leave a day extra of rates for it before you post another one up in what ever section. I personally thought my Dead Set review was worth one but not to be although the fact I picked up a crown for my cra**y Sunderland FC review I will pretended they crowned the wrong one.
People moan about not getting crowns, me the king off, but I have learnt over years that it's not just your work that will earn you a crown. Dooyoo are too busy to read all the nominated reviews so you have to make sure they and you stand out, be it that extra quality, hitting your marks on the opening lines and titles, or just making it your business. But again this isn't always enough and other factors are taken into account. If you have been reported for abuse that week then forget crowns on Tuesday morning. If you don't read or comment much then you won't get reverse reads and so nominations. I think it's very important to rate and comment heavily if you're chasing crowns. You can't just stick your Van Gough up on the gallery wall and say where is my crown guys? The more you guys see my red devil the more you know who I am, whether you want to or not. Girls should stick their sexiest pic up because boys are suckers for that; likewise girls are for boys with six-packs. That tactic will earn you rates and nominations. Groveling to the guides helps the desperate but I don't do that sort of thing.
The guides used to take around 22% of all crowns on site but recent volume has seen that fall to around 18%, which is more realistic, although 15% would be more useful if we want to keep rewarding the best new writers with that crown allocation they deserve. Some of you may think I'm not worthy of around 8 crowns a month on my standard of work but you have to add in all the other things I do here to get noticed. Also as there's only one or two crowns awarded in this section a week if we are lucky then if you nominate another review in the same section it could be a detrimental to your work in the same section. But if you really want those crowns I'm afraid its dog- eat-dog. 10 of every 50 crowns on the site are already allocated for the guide fund so everyone else is chasing the other 40 crowns. Again you have got to make dooyoo collectively want to trust you and give you those crowns.
I also feel just one review a day at most will increase your chances of crowns and three to four good reviews a week is the perfect model. Guides tend to get a higher crown ratio because they post less reviews but of a high quality. I do still feel an equal review to a guides review will probably lose out (like a copper never getting a speeding ticket) as it makes it easier for dooyoo to crown certain trusted writers so they can save time and don't have to read through to award the crown. But the most important thing is to put the best quality work out you can and make sure they at least know your there and your not going away. That is the spirit that saw Great Britain only suffer a contraction of 4.4% in the Great Depression of the 1930s yet Germany suffered 24% and America 30%. Land of Hope and Glory................