tek's TV reviews - Rating system guide
Caution: reviews may contain spoilers

Rating system guide
For the longest time in my TV and movie review sections, I had a system of tiers based on how well I liked the shows/movies I was reviewing. But I was never entirely happy with it; in fact, I retooled the tier system a number of times, but basically it consisted of a few different levels of "liked," a few of "well-liked," and one of "loved." Now I'm trying a new system, which isn't entirely different, but it doesn't exactly involve tiers. Instead, it will be divided into two separate rating groups: "liked" and "loved". These are both, of course, my subjective opinions, but there was a third group, QOQ, or "Quasi-Objective Quality," designated by one to four gold stars, which represented (my opinion of) their quality, not just how much I personally like them. However, I've discontinued the QOQ. I should also mention that I may occasionally go back and alter ratings I had previously given, whether because my overall opinion changes (perhaps once I've seen more of a series I like it more or less than I did at an earlier point in the series, or perhaps some time after having seen the series or movie, I find in retrospect that I've more or less interest in seeing it again, or my memory of it has changed somehow), or because I alter the basic definition of each rating level, so that the previous rating I'd given an item doesn't match the new definition as well as it did the old.

...But it's still going to be hard for me to decide exactly how to rate each item, and I'll probably still never be entirely happy with my decisions. And there may be times that I add a ½ to my ratings, when I'm especially conflicted, torn between two different ratings, for whatever reason. ...There may also be some things I don't give any rating to, simply because I don't remember it well enough, or haven't seen enough of it to make a fair assessment.

While I don't want to draw direct parallels between this new system and the old one, I suppose the new "liked" group will roughly cover what once would have been tiers 2-8, which included both "liked" and "well-liked" (plus tier x, aka "meh," which doesn't really count) in the old system. But since there are now basically only four levels of "liked," I'm going to have to adjust my thinking when assigning ratings. This may be hard for me at first, so please bear with me. Meanwhile, it's important to note that there will be some overlapping between "liked" and "loved." More on that later.... It's also important to note that length of a series is sometimes an issue. I mean, say I give a 10-episode series the same rating as a series that lasts 50 episodes, or 100, or whatever. Maybe that means I like them more or less equally, but then again it might just mean I didn't have time to get tired of the short series, and if it had lasted longer I might've ended up giving it a lower rating. You never know. Hell, I might've given it a higher rating. The same goes for relative ratings of things like TV series vs. miniseries vs. movies, etc. It can be rather apples and oranges, you know? The same rating on different formats may not always mean that my appreciation of different items is truly... comparable. Anyway....

"Meh." This isn't technically part of the "liked" ratings, hence the different icon. (Though I find the icon I use for this may be too close to the one I use for "liked," so I'll probably get rid of it. I think I'll just start typing the word "meh" on the rating line, instead.) It's kind of hard to explain, but it basically means, I don't necessarily "like" it, but I don't necessarily dislike it, either. Although in some cases maybe I do sort of dislike it, I dunno. I suppose each item's actual entry will explain better, on a case by case basis. But the important thing is, whatever the show or movie is, I felt I should at least mention it, for whatever reason. (Sometimes it'll just be because there are people I know who like it, or else it might just be something I think I should like, even if I don't so much.) Whatever the case, I certainly won't hate it... I'm sure there will be plenty of things I've seen that I choose not to mention, because I didn't feel they merited even a "meh." (But bear in mind that there will probably be some things I don't mention for other reasons, like I forgot about it or just haven't had a chance to get around to writing an entry for it yet.)

"Kinda liked." Better than "meh," sometimes by a little, sometimes by more than a little. But it's still stuff that I'm a bit iffy about, perhaps because I'm not sure the quality is that great, or perhaps... I just like it a little. You know... "kinda liked" is sort of self-explanatory, I guess.

"Fairly liked." A fairly solid rating, something I definitely have no qualms about saying that I like. Nothing too special, perhaps, but definitely not bad. I might vaguely consider myself a fan of shows or movies at this level, though only mildly so, if at all. But even if I'm not technically a "fan," I certainly appreciate the item.

"Rather liked." At this level, I definitely consider myself a fan, I think the item is pretty good. While I might prefer to see every episode, in order, of shows to which I give lower ratings, with a show at this level, that's pretty much essential.

"Quite liked." I'm not really sure what to say except that I think these shows or movies are very good, and very nearly something that I would place in the "loved" category... but not quite. Although it's entirely possible if I rate something at this level early on, as I see more I may well move it up to "loved." Or not. Still, this is highly enjoyable stuff, probably of quite good quality. A very respectable rating, in its own right.

In the old system, "loved" was a single, ultimate tier, which was also referred to as "favorite." But in the new rating system, there will be, let's say, four tiers of "loved." I always felt that I didn't necessarily "love" everything I reviewed on quite the same level, so I just want to break it up a bit, now. It is, however, important to note that if I say I "love" something, even if it only gets one heart, that should not be taken too lightly. "Love" is not a term I ever use particularly lightly. Do bear in mind that art and entertainment... well, that all is the most important thing in the world to me, so any such thing that I love is... pretty damned important. It's the kind of stuff that makes life worth living.

"Kinda loved." One might think that this is roughly equivalent to five smileys, and there's some truth to that, but in fact it might be appropriate to call two hearts the next direct level after four smileys. It's important to note that we are talking about two separate categories here, and there may at times be overlaps between "liked" and "loved." And the single heart is the best example of that. It's sort of going to serve as an intermediate level... almost its own separate category altogether, outside the spacetime continuum, so to speak. I suppose in some cases I may give an item one heart, and that will be all, it will be a straightforward progression. Go ahead and think of it as five smileys, if you like. But in many cases, if I give an item one heart, it means I feel a sort of love for it, but... don't really think the quality level matches my personal feelings for it. In case you're not confused enough already, I'll also say that... liking and loving are two separate feelings, and sometimes I might love a show while on some level liking it less than I like some shows that I wouldn't actually say I love. (I suppose you could compare it to people: You might love a family member who, based solely on their personality, interests, whatever, you wouldn't necessarily consider a friend. I mean, you might like them less than you like a non-relative with whom you choose to be friends, but whom you don't love as you do your relative. If that makes any sense to you.)

"Fairly loved." This is something I certainly have no qualms about saying that I both love and quite like (as I said before, it is in a sense the next real level after four smileys). Still, there's still room for improvement. Even so, we're now heading into the territory of stuff that kinda makes life worth living, for sure. Not that stuff with merely "liked" ratings can't also make life worth living, but, you know.... *shrug* I told you not to take my use of the word "love" lightly, and now I'm reminding you, okay?

"Rather loved." A medium level of love, you might say, but still the penultimate level of the whole shebang. This stuff is, in my opinion, head and shoulders above most of the other entertainment in the world, totally teh awesome, you feelin' me? It frickin' owns. You might even call this a sort of "sub-favorite" level, that is to say, shows/movies with 3 hearts could be among my favorites in their genre or category, even if I don't necessarily love them quite enough to call them all-around favorites....

"Quite loved," aka "Favorite." This, folks, is the proverbial "it." If three hearts own, then four hearts pwn all. This is stuff I'd seriously rather not live without. The kind of stuff that if I was going to meet the creator of the project, I'd have a friend come with me so we could drop to our knees, bowing and chanting "We're not worthy!" Wayne & Garth style. Because if you created something I give four hearts, congratulations... you win at life. The fact of my loving this stuff is an innate aspect of my personality, a large part of how I define myself as an individual. I may say that of things on just about any rating level, but this... well, you're always free to have different opinions from my own, that's fine. But if you don't at least like the stuff I put on this level, then... we're just not that compatible. It's hard to imagine we could be particularly close friends, and... well, not only is what entertainment I appreciate part of how I define myself, it's part of what would make me fall in love with a person. (That's right, if you don't love this, I don't think I can love you.) Because the stuff that I love on this level, my friends, is a truly, madly, deeply kind of love. When I use the word "favorite," I mean very favorite, absolute favorite. Some stuff with lower ratings could make me "squee!" like a schoolgirl (and you do understand that I'm a man, right?), a "squee!" that comes from my heart and/or mind, but this... this here "squee!" comes from my very soul. Capisce? Comprende? Dong ma? Ya feel me?

and icons taken from ezboard. icon composed of two different icons taken from Proboards.