6. Emily Nussbaum
Twitter Handle: @emilynussbaum
Writes At: The New Yorker
Emily Nussbaum is the delightful mad scientist of television criticism. She presents more theories than physics professors. And they spread on Twitter like Ebola Zaire. Like her "Homeland Conspiracy Theory" last December.
He latest, "Hummingbird Theory," proposes the addition of a new archetype to our TV lexicon. As she put it, "The Hummingbird is a protagonist—an alienating-yet-sympathetic figure whose struggles are taken seriously and considered meaningful. This is not the female analogue of the cable anti-hero, as seen on shows like Damages or the promising new FX drama The Americans; it's not a layered, sympathetic bad girl, like the great Juliette Barnes on Nashville. This is something else, an archetype that is grounded in ideas about compassion, but doesn't strive for likability."
The first read of that piece elicited about a dozen affirming head nods.
Even when she sets herself to the more pedestrian tasks of reviews and recaps, Nussbaum sparkles with a playfully self-conscious style. From time to time, Nussbaum ventures beyond the realm of TV criticism and indulges her penchant for humor, as she did we her "I Hate Top Ten Lists," piece that she wrote for end-of-the-year-list season in 2011. She's as close to a perfect fit for the New Yorker as can be.