What’s behind the making of TV After Dark “branding reviews” and grade report.
Whether it’s your first time or you’re a regular visitor to TV After Dark thanks for stopping by and reading what our TVAD team of writers and contributors created for avid fans and enthusiasts like you. If you’ve found yourself on this page, you’ve probably been wondering, how do TV After Dark come up with the grades for our reviews. If so, hopefully, you’ll walk away realizing just how much work and thought our reviewers go into creating the articles you read and why a typical review on other sites may be right after the show airs and ours, well…aren’t always published instantly.
It’s important that although we do recaps, reviews are different. In fact, TV After Dark branding style reviews are quite in-depth. Our reviews are meant for readers who want to be involved and are immersed in the series and have opinions of their own whether they agree or disagree they understand our perspective. So unlike most reviews here is our deadline.
Typical review can take 1-3 Days: Most of our reviewers, will watch the episode first as a fan of the show, then they will watch it a second time critiquing and making pointers they’d like to illustrate in their three major discussion points.
Pros & Cons: One or two sentences that directly tells the audience how the reviewer feels about the episode
Bottom Line: A brief tease of the overall performance of the episode.
Five Elements of Grading Reviews
Generally, the writer takes the five elements: Writer, Acting, Plot, Characters and Production that help make up the Final grade.
Acting: Where we look at the performance of the actor and the delivery of their lines; usage of emoting appropriate to the scene or the actor was “chewing the scenery”; is that actor staying in character or breaking character and body language where the physical actions of an actor reflecting the thoughts and feelings of the character can be even more important than what the actor says.
1. Actors Delivery 2. Emote 3. In Character 4. Body Language
Plot: Where the events that make up a story or the main part of a story and grading on how dramatic; What’s the hook? Will it get the audience to try out the show or stay engaged; If there’s a subplot is it able to keep the audience engaged regardless if it presents an illogical or unrealistic or even unlikely behaviour; the cliffhanger and how consistent is the plot.
1. How Dramatic 2. What’s the Hook? 3. Subplot 4. Cliffhanger 5. Consistency
Writing: This section goes hand in hand with the plot but we take the time to make sure the writers are doing a great job of identifying with the audience, storyline, uniqueness, the climax and
Characters: This grade covers the plot such as; Keeping the central conflict of the show in check without resulting in “jumping the shark”, Did the voice-overs if used illuminate the characters thoughts in a better way to help tell the story, diversity and motivation where the emotional state of their character heavily influences the way in which the character behaves.
1. Central Conflict 2. Voice-overs 3. Diversity 4. Motivation.
Production: This grade covers the quality of production on that episode such as; production set, costume and design, music score, CGI believability, camera direction and production lighting.
How We Letter Grade Our Reviews:
It’s quite comforting to have a grading system which we use to express our overall views for our reviews. These grades are arguably a simple way in which we can express how we feel about an episode or series but nothing supersedes reading the reviewers thoughts on what makes them invested enough in a show to continue writing TV After Darks very in-depth branded reviews. So take a look at our grading system:
A+ – Can only be used once per season: The writer has concluded that particular episode is completely flawless in every single way. There’re not many shows where you find writing, plot, characters and production 100% perfect, so if we’re giving an A+ the reviewer views will reflect their reasoning throughout the article including the Final Verdict why it’s deserving of an A+.
A- & A – Can only be used twice per season: Generally the writer takes the five elements that make up the grade to determine how they plan to deliver their critique. Most likely three to four of the five elements will be used to determine the grade outcome.
B’s, C’s & D’s family – Can be used as many times per season: It’s certainly a free for all here. We certainly want the series we watch to be grade A but realistically we’ve been introduced to more shows that we’d like that find themselves into this grade category.
E & F – Why even bother grade?: We can’t imagine a series or an episode so bad on every element that it’s destined to get the worst grade possible. It’s rare that an episode with these low grades can come back to a higher grade that makes it worthy enough for the reviewer of the show to continue reviewing it. So most likely that show has managed to find itself in our eTrash file. By the way, we hate giving out this grade, so when our reviews reflect that, try not to virtually strangle us.
Three Major Discussion Points In Our Reviews
Our review starts out with a brief introduction summarizing the episode. This is where we tackle the problem, conflict, and setup. The reviewer takes the opportunity to recap and share their reaction to the initial episode laying out the groundwork with the goal to build energy toward the rest of the review. One example; How the hell are they going to get out of this? What? Why?
The first discussion point discusses the major plot point, new character/guest star highlight or our team’s reaction to setup/dilemma. This is generally where we may highlight the performance and reaction and our thoughts about how it weaved in the current or larger story. Is it believable? Are we already questioning things?
The second discussion point is where the reviewer delves in on what is the pivotal scene that drives the plot and our reaction, critique and thoughts. Was it a surprise twist? Did we see it coming? What worked? What didn’t? What grabbed our attention or made an impact (actor, emotion or moment). The reviewer takes the opportunity to discuss what happened and why it grabbed their attention and then bring in the recap elements after a nod to the writers or crew if applicable.
This is typically the section where the reviewer follows up with how we feel about what happened what it may mean is coming next and finish with more thoughts and feelings for e.g. director did this scene xyz way and had the audience feeling it this way too, etc.
Our third and final discussion point focuses on outstanding performance or emotional moment. This is where they bring it all home/how did things end? And taking the chance to highlight actors, direction, mood, cinematography, etc. It’s a similar theme throughout our review branding style but asking how did we feel? How did it add to or impact the rest of the episode? Are we happy? Bummed? Pissed? is an integral part of how we experience the episode.
We wrap our review up with our final verdict. Not to be mistaken with our 4 Episode Challenge: Final Verdict articles but the idea remains the same. We’re sharing our thoughts and perception overall. Excited? Blah? Apprehensive? For instance where it’s going? Did it hit or miss? Did the episode make us want to tune in next week with excitement or we’re pulling our hair out trying to stay connected or we’re just moving on. Overall audience want a great story, especially when you’re creating stories about people who never existed. If it’s a great story audiences will forgive a lot. An important structure of our TVAD reviewing brand is incorporating series cast and crew. It’s important to us to give respect where it’s due and often time it’s credited mostly to the actors but TV After Dark expands beyond that to team that makes up the series, whether, they are writers, producers, director, director of photography, costume designer, music supervisor etc.
We always finish a review with hope because even if an episode is TERRIBLE, those fans have still come to read or thoughts; and even if their series seems to have one foot in the cancelation grave it still has the chance to come back and be better next week. Because that is the honest truth: it does have that power, and we need to acknowledge that.
So that’s our TVAD Branding Review. Remember if you don’t like the grade the reviewer has given there are two things you can do to make that be known on our site. 1. You can comment on the review. 2. You can give your own grade.
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