Question: I just wanted to add my voice to yours as another TV viewer completely confounded by the success of Criminal Minds. I honestly can only believe that its unimaginable ratings are due to two reasons: 1) It is the anti-Lost: a TV-dinner of a show that tries way too hard to be profound and appeals to those who simply will not (or cannot) stick with a serialized drama. They want their mysteries solved in 42 minutes, just like Murder, She Wrote. 2) With the aging demographic of CBS' audience, I am beginning to believe these folks simply will not (or cannot) find the remote to turn away from the procedural crapfest that is CBS and see what else is out there in TV land. It really pains me to see a highly creative and innovative show like Lost having part of its audience siphoned off to such a tiresome show. By the way, isn't Criminal Minds simply a blatant rip-off of The Inside, which I found far more interesting and thought-provoking? Thanks again for trying to educate the masses!
Answer: You make some good (and amusing) points, but please don't confuse my role here as some sort of Professor Roush whose word is gospel. A week ago, I laid out my own specific critical reasons for despising Criminal Minds. And while I'm depressed that so many people are watching this show, I also can accept it. Everyone's entitled to like whatever they like on TV. And yet, that doesn't stop the name-calling. I actually got an e-mail this week from someone who suggested that because Criminal Minds was an "intelligent" show, maybe I didn't "understand" it. And yes, I found that insulting. (Just because a show quotes Nietzsche doesn't mean it's intelligent. Just pretentious.) My goal here is to filter my own opinions about TV through other fans who agree or disagree, depending on the show. I absolutely agree that Lost and Criminal Minds are antithetical in appeal to each other, and that there's no convincing fans of one that the other is equal or superior. I've also joked for years that CBS' brand loyalty is more like lethargy, but that doesn't give enough credit to those who find CBS' programming the equivalent of comfort food or to the programmers and producers at CBS who package this food in a way that a large mainstream audience finds pretty savory.

Finally, this from Amy: "I'm a student studying for my doctorate in forensic psychology, and I can easily clarify why I can't stand Criminal Minds: No believability. (Really, does the serial killer keep photos of girls on the wall of the convenience store? That's pretty handy.) I suffer from the same problem that forensic specialists must have when they watch CSI: That's just not how it works! I can suspend disbelief and enjoy it if the writing is intelligent enough, but this show does not cut it for me. Contrast that with the brilliant Dexter, which has absolutely nailed every element of the psychopath, and Michael C. Hall plays it perfectly. My favorite aspect is how I never worry for Dexter when he is going to kill, but I am anxious whenever he has to navigate the most mundane social interaction: Can he pull it off? People need to realize that ratings do not mean Criminal Minds is good, just accessible to the general public. That in itself is not a bad thing, but people should be aware of how false this show rings. If you want a believable and more accurate look at the criminal mind, flip to Showtime and watch Dexter."

Amen.