Sorry this took so long, @EricElkins! Wanted to do it justice
  1. Super-Fan Sensibilities
    Think of how @doesntmattr approaches all his tv lists (actually just lists in general). I want to read people who are THAT in love with the culture they are critiquing. You can't be "Over It" like the Times theater critic from Birdman. You've got to be *obsessed* with television.
  2. Don't be the Jurassic Park novelization
    You know what I mean? Even as a kid you were like "Why would I need a book that just DESCRIBES the plot of Jurassic Park? I could just see the movie again. I could just read the ACTUAL BOOK if I really cared." That applies a million times for recaps. I don't want to hear a play-by-play on what happened. It's not a football game, and you aren't sports announcers. And a third great analogy!
  3. Going clear
    You need to come out of the gate alerting people to what kind piece they'll be reading. Here are some examples Something with a hook, like Mad Men Power Rankings? A think piece? A dissection? Hate-Watching? Satirical fan fiction? Lists? You need to be able to experiment across the board, but come knowing how you want to be creatively express yourself so you don't get confused and start going off in a million directions.
  4. Don't recap
    We are in too deep for recaps. Please stop calling yourself that or thinking about your jobs in those terms. Do book reviewers call themselves "recap pets?" Do film critics? Do you think tv anchors "recap" the news? It diminishes what you (hopefully) do, which is to create a piece of writing that influences the way people think.
    That is my number one, two and three fave qualities in recappers.
  6. Mia Farrow in Purple Rose of Cairo
    You better be humbled by the fact that your job is basically to treat fictional characters as if they were real AS A JOB. Being the gatekeeper between fantasy and reality is only for the people who still believe that is possible.
  7. Please be funny. Or very, very smart.