Rotten Tomatoes is About to Start Rating TV Shows — Prepare Yourselves
Been itching to know how Homeland stacks up to Gossip Girl? Breaking Bad to Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The upcoming Dads to Friday Night Lights? Well, starting Tuesday, film review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes is launching a new section devoted to TV reviews and ratings, so you may yet get your chance.
A new blog called "TV Zone" will join Rotten Tomatoes, along with a "tomatometer" through which the rating of scripted shows will commence. The shows will be rated based on seasons as a whole, not on individual episodes, and reality shows will not be included.
For ongoing shows (your Parks and Recreations, Mad Mens, and Breaking Bads) the tomatometer will incorporate and rate the earlier seasons as well, going "back to the beginning," according to Rotten Tomatoes editor-in-chief Matt Atchity, so as not to overlook that season where Don Draper [spoiler alert?] strangled a woman to death in a fever dream.
A show's rating will also fluctuate as the season goes on, as a season's ratings will be heavily affected by the season's first few episodes at first. Atchity addressed this in an interview with Variety:
“If reviews go extremely negative then we may change it as the season goes on. People liked [Smash] in the beginning then critics seemed to turn on it. For movie reviews, we don’t often change them as much. But we want to accurately reflect what critics have said.”
With more places than ever to binge on TV shows — Netflix, Hulu, your sketchier "other" online options — this might be a convenient place for the procrastinators of the world to assess whether a certain show is worth spending 20+ hours of their time on.
While the reference may wind up being a valuable asset in the long run, so far it seems even Rotten Tomatoes is a little confused on the execution. As to whether the algorithm will prove effective for serialized content, we'll just have to wait and see. Image: AMC