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Mighty Big TV.

Mighty Big TV

MightyBigTV.com

Editors, Sarah Bunting, Tara Ariano, David T. Cole; design, Uber Interactive; launch, October 1998

RATING: ****

FINDING THE TIME TO CATCH up with favorite shows is a problem that's not going away with the arrival of tech tools such as TiVo and Replay.

No matter how simple it is to get your TV to play by your rules, you still need the free hours to sit through the shows. That's why the tube-friendly site Mighty Big TV can be such a precious resource.

The patient staffers sit through every episode of about 40 popular shows on broadcast TV and cable and wrap up all the plot developments, with a touch of ironic hipness.

In addition to critical faves such as "Ed," "The Sopranos" and "C.S.I.," site also features write-ups on not-so-great shows like "Freakylinks" and "Making the Band." You also can get your fix on oldies-but-goodies sections dedicated to recent cult classics such as "Freaks and Geeks," "My So-Called Life" and "Twin Peaks."

Given the demographics of the folks who probably visit the site, it's a letdown to see great titles like "Malcolm in the Middle" and "Will & Grace" missing in action. Also sadly unavailable are synopses for "The Simpsons," "King of the Hill" and "Futurama."

The informal, chummy nature of most of the writing is the most appealing part of the formula. When you jump on the "ER" page, you can count on finding material penned by people whose eyes have been glued to the screen on Thursday nights.

One of MBTV's special pleasures is going to the forums devoted to each show and reading the fans' strange ramblings. You'd be surprised to learn how many people are dissecting the origins of the minor characters popping up on "Felicity." ("Isn't Casey Ben's friend who was a bartender from season one?")

Then there are the wicked topics, like which character on "ER" annoys you the most. (Who can remember the last time Dr. Benton actually smiled?)

Another plus is MBTV's mailing list service, which notifies you each time your favorite show's page gets new recaps or extras.

Site designers have created a user-friendly environment where the graphic elements don't overwhelm the information. MBTV has a clean look, incorporating simple pastel colors to build brand identity on each separate section.

Judging a site by its own mandate -- "giving people a place to revel in their guilty television pleasures" -- MBTV is almost there; it just needs to add five or six important new shows to the mix.

RATING

* SITE MELTDOWN

** HARDLY INSTALLED

*** MIDDLE OF THE E-PACK

**** REVISIT LATER

***** BOOKMARK NOW!

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:web site
Author:ZAHED, RAMIN
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 26, 2001
Words:434
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