Monday, 6 December 2010

State of the Blog: cold snap and revamp

Monday, 6 December 2010
There was a cold snap last week in the UK. The snow and ice was particularly bad where I live, so this led to various problems for me: a flat tyre, a frozen handbrake, cancelled/diverted buses, and a broken front door lock. A miserable, expensive time. I wasn't able to get into work for most of last week, and because my already delayed review of Mad Men's "Chinese Wall" was on my work computer (long story), it's resulted in a knock-on three-week gap in my reviews. I'm aiming to post "Chinese Wall" later today, finish my review of "Blowing Smoke", start writing "Tomorrowland", and probably post those two as a double-bill. I hope to have Mad Men's fourth season done and dusted by this time next week.

You may have heard me mentioning my plan to revamp DMD for New Year, in comments here, or on Twitter. That's still going ahead. I may ask for "beta-testers" to trial DMD's new design once it's ready (hopefully later this month), but more on that closer to the time. I'm not actually coding the new template myself, which means the speediness of its delivery is out of my hands. It's an existing template available online which the author is tailoring to my specific needs. He's doing it for free, which is fantastic and very kind, and I'll sing his praises once it's uploaded and running.

This redesign of DMD will coincide with a rethink of DMD's content, too. As a one-man operation (now with split commitment to Obsessed With Film), it's becoming a struggle to keep on top of everything I watch and want to review. I've always tried to deliver comparable output to the bigger blogs (many of which are run by fulltime writers who are lucky enough to be employed doing that) but it's been difficult.

There's a chance only TV shows I'm passionate about will be reviewed in the usual way (Dexter, Misfits, Mad Men, Fringe, etc) and others that are mainly just passing time may be reduced to, say, three paragraphs (No Ordinary Family, The Event, Human Target, etc.) This will result in less content overall. However, the long form reviews that remain should be better because I have time to polish them. Quality over quantity.

This will consequently free my time to tackle the box-set reviews that are such a struggle to write otherwise. I know there are people who'd prefer I get my gestating Firefly review done instead of bothering with No Ordinary Family every week, for example. That will be more likely if I start writing more bite-sized reviews for 40% of the shows I watch.

I was also wondering what people thought about some of my irregular features here, as I'm thinking of ditching the least popular ones, improving features that have promise, and thinking up some new ones.

TV Picks: Every Monday I list the majority of TV shows premiering in the UK over the coming week. It's a handy glimpse at what's to come, aimed at my native countrymen, including my "Pick Of The Week". Is this still useful for Brits? Interesting for everyone else?

Talking Point: A question is posed to readers (usually something I'm interesting in knowing the answer to, or just curious about), and hopefully a discussion will blossom from the comments below. Or not. I want to make these more regular. Do you enjoy these when they're posted?

State of the Blog: You’re reading one! A little update on blogging concerns, mainly letting you know about changes and my plans for the future. Possibly only of relevance to regular readers, but basically a place to let you know what's going on "behind the blog". Readers can also ask off-topic questions here, if they want.

DVD/Blu-ray Releases: A monthly list of discs being released in the UK, usually with a personal star-rating included. These don't draw comment, but are popular draws via search engines. I take it people browse the upcoming releases?

Competition: An occasional contest, usually to win a DVD or Blu-ray, sometimes with a few extras like posters, key-rings, etc. These are targeted at UK and Ireland residents, but I'd happily do competitions for overseas readers if any marketing/PR companies want to get in touch.

Incidentally, owing to the fact Disqus has undergone another modification, I'm unable to post replies to comments from work. That's right, my browser's unable to handle whatever coding they've decided to use. So, please, continue to leave your excellent comments and discuss things amongst yourselves, but I won't be able to respond myself until I get home. It's not me being rude and ignoring you, basically.

Anything else you want to talk about, feel free to unburden yourself in the comments section below.