TV Critics, TV Stars Talk TV TV TV

That annual rite of the languid Los Angeles summer has just kicked off. Okay, granted, there are probably about 217 annual rites of a Los Angeles summer, from the Bowl's opening night to Fiesta Hermosa's last splash on Labor Day, but the one we're talking about involves lots and lots of people standing around indoors, or sitting around indoors and typing and/or Blackberrying away. They're not suntanning, they're not surfing, they're not gazing at the stars.

Well, obviously there's a weak-ish joke to be made about that gazing-at-the-stars bit. Because that's exactly what the Television Critics Association Summer Tour is all about. Though gazing is only part of it; some of the most famous entertainment writers in the nation arrive (we didn't say descend! Different connotation all together) in Pasadena every July for a multi-day, multi-question, multi-show talk-and-meet-and-socialize-with-industry-bigwigs-a-thon.

It's all about finding what's on what channel and what network and who is producing it and who is starring in it and what they have to say about it and every p and every q and last little detail. The critics, in turn, bring a lot of what they learn back to us, the greedy-for-tidbits viewing public.

In short, if you watch television, you'll want to sniff out what your favorite critic has to say about the July 28th-August 8th extravaganza, the previews, the early thoughts, the et ceteras.

Us? We're mad for Tim Goodman's wry take on the Pasadena-based proceedings. The San Francisco writer has a satiric eye but a true affection for that flat glossy living-room rectangle we all stare at for hours on end; he brings that same winking-but-winsome affection to the annual convention he attends. His columns=smiles aplenty.

Mr. Goodman's already talked about the AMC/"Mad Men" pre-party and other dishy to-dos; check it out. We want "Glee" and "Party Down" news. And anything on "Flash Forward"?

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