Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, Exhibit 5,768: the current golden age of TV has clearly inspired a golden age of TV writing. And if you follow today’s TV criticism at all, chances are a handful of names immediately come to mind (people like Emily Nussbaum at The New Yorker or James Poniewozik at The New York Times, for instance). But time and time again, stories on the rise of this format in recent years end up pointing to one writer—Uproxx’s Alan Sepinwall—as the dean of modern TV criticism.
While landmark TV writing sites like TV Without Pity (1998) wouldn’t come along until the Internet matured, Sepinwall was on the Web back when “Lynx and Mosaic were the only two browsers and you had to drive uphill through the snow both ways to get to the Yahoo! homepage,” as he once put it. Back in 1993, long before he started his own blog or went on to contribute to the Star Ledger and Hitfix, Sepinwall was just a college sophomore posting about NYPD Blue to Usenet.
Ask Sepinwall about the origins of modern TV writing, however, and he has something different in mind: Usenet’s rec.arts.startrek.current and a certain Deep Space Nine recapper extraordinaire named Tim Lynch.