First of all we'd like to congratulate Alan Sepinwall, the television critic for The Newark Star-Ledger, for making the shortlist of most feared television critics in today's Variety.
Mr. Sepinwall makes the list because, as one of the youngest critics writing in the genre today, he talks to the right demographic, even if he doesn't talk to as many of them as the rest of the people on the list. You may remember him most recently for being the big man on campus when it came time for David Chase to talk about The Sopranos. At first we thought it was sweet that Mr. Chase gave so much time to the guy in the backyard of The Sopranos chief shooting locations. Then we read the piece, and Mr. Sepinwall's back-catalogue, and obtained a new favorite.
For the most part, that's what the list is: Critics who reflect the opinion of the masses rather than attempt to direct that opinion from, say, an office on West 43rd Street.
As a result, the most talked-about critics among actual money-men at the networks and big cable channels are from a mixed bag of venues, from USA Today-downmarket and ubiquitous-to TV Guide-downmarket and increasingly non-ubiquitous (though, these days, really, really good!)