Alan Sepinwall
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For 672 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 48% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 50% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Alan Sepinwall's Scores

Average review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Deadwood: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 In the Motherhood: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 78 out of 672
672 tv reviews
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    As with the best of these broad canvas series, the players and their allegiances become clear within an episode or two. And from that point on, Boardwalk Empire becomes everything that HBO (and I) had hoped for it.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    It's one of the most purely funny shows on television--where many "comedies" are really dramas in half-hour form, and others are likable but rarely laugh-out-loud funny--and it's only more confident, sharp and very much its own thing in the new season.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    It's the show it was last year, but in many ways better.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    It definitely has a voice, and it's a great one: witty and wise and warm and not exactly like anything you've heard before.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    It continues to be one of the most satisfying dramas in the history of the medium.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    The two central performances are so powerful, the dialogue so evocative, the look so intense, that they speak to the value of the hybrid anthology format Pizzolatto is using here--which, along with FX’s “American Horror Story,” points to a potentially fascinating shift in dramatic series television.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    If you enjoy seeing wealthy, petty people get their deserved comeuppance, this is the show for you. If you enjoy laughing, this is definitely the show for you - the funniest new comedy of the season by a wide margin...For a show about dumb, unfocused people, Arrested Development is wickedly smart and quick, willing to go anywhere for a good gag. [31 Oct 2003, p.49]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    The premiere suggests that the only other show that belongs with it in the discussion for the best drama on television is the same one we were talking about last season. At the top level, there is "Breaking Bad," and there is also--finally, thankfully, exceptionally--Mad Men, and then there is everything else.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    Louie viewers don't know exactly what they're getting in any given week, but the show is so elastic that nothing it tries feels like something it shouldn't.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    They know how great the show looks, they know how much their actors can give them, and they know just how much they can get away with.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    The sheer amount of cussing is so great that even the unoffended may be too distracted by it to pay attention to anything else in Deadwood. That would be unfortunate, because lurking just behind the wall of profanity is a magnificent, fire-breathing work of art - an amazing meditation on violence, social order and the cruel reality of the Wild West. [21 Mar 2004, p.1]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    Masters of Sex has much more on its mind than simply the tumultuous relationship between its two famous central characters. But if it just had those two, it would still be among the best things you could watch on television this summer.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    What Simon is doing with "The Wire" - besides crafting arguably the most realistic cop show ever - is taking the narrative style of books and translating it to television. ... By itself, it raises TV's collective IQ at least a few points. [29 May 2003]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    It's the best new TV show debuting anywhere this fall, by a long stretch.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    Season six... starts off strong and only gets stronger - profane, offensive, cringe-inducing and hilarious. [5 Sep 2007]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    As the follow-up to an incredibly strong debut season, it's even more fun.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    It is entirely its own thing, and it is one of the very best shows on television. We're lucky to have it back.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    A relentless, ambitious perpetual motion machine that may go down as the most exciting thriller in TV history. [27 Oct 2002]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    A scream, in the biting Britcom tradition of "Fawlty Towers" and the best depiction of middle management hell since Mike Judge's cult classic "Office Space." [23 Jan 2003]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    Nothing short of a TV miracle: a family show that's sweet, but not too syrupy, bitingly funny, but not mean-spirited and fun for viewers of all ages, without appealing to the blandest common denominator. [5 Oct 2000, p.37]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    The six-episode first season of "The Office" was so dark, so wicked, so brilliant that it was hard to imagine Gervais and Merchant topping themselves. But they have. By slowly chipping away at David's power base, they've made him even more desperate, petulant and bullying. (The less funny David gets, the funnier the show is.) [10 Oct 2003]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    You have to work to watch this show. Characters and plotlines whiz by in a blur, and if you blink, you may miss an entire subplot. But the payoff is more than worth the effort: With its deep characterizations, dark humor, unpredictable plots and brilliant musical score, "EZ Streets" is fascinating television, unlike almost anything else now on the air. [27 Oct 1996]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    This doesn't feel like a factory product, but a work of individual, beautiful craftsmanship.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    Many will hate it. But there will be viewers in whom it strikes a chord so deeply that they will feel themselves overwhelmed by it in the best possible way: not like they're drowning in the misery, but like it's teaching them a new way to breathe.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    Even with Walt's apparent victory over all who would seek to deny him, his genius and his strength, Breaking Bad is still a perfect model of filmed suspense.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    Season 2 finds ways to introduce even greater tension, even as [Philip and Elizabeth are] a more fundamentally sound unit, while also adding a whodunnit element that spices things up nicely.... Absolutely dynamite.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    What makes these episodes feel extra-special is the sense of purpose to them. There's a big story being told here--not one that requires you to watch every episode (though your funny bone will thank you if you do), but one that seems to raise the stakes for everyone involved, and which makes the jokes funnier, the characters richer, in the process.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    Normal is overrated. Give me whimsy, dreams and Evil Troy and Evil Abed any day. Give me extraordinary. Give me Community.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Alan Sepinwall
    Apatow despises formula. If he didn't, "Freaks and Geeks" might still be on the air, and while Undeclared isn't nearly as pessimistic or painful, it's just as observant - and, at times, even funnier...All I know is that re-watching the first few "Undeclared" episodes in preparation for this review gave me my first good, hearty laughs since Sept. 11. By taking the "Freaks and Geeks" formula and making it shorter, sweeter and mostly wince-free, Apatow has created a great new comedy that could become a major hit, even if Steven himself never gets around to picking a major. [25 Sept 2001, p.23]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    The last thing television needs is more serial killer dramas. But when they're this well made, this smart and creative and unexpectedly funny? Then, yes, more Hannibal, please.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    Community is back, and back to being itself.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    Masters of Sex is the best new show of the fall by a very long stretch. It's also a refreshing anomaly: a prestige cable drama that doesn't feel like a recombination of elements from 15 shows that came before it.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    The good news is that nearly everything that went wrong last season goes right at the start of this one. ... "Justified" is again fun and scary and thrilling.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    The sheer number of colorful characters maneuvering keeps things lively.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    Broadchurch is a police procedural, and an effective one, but what renders it special is the way it tracks the ways that physical and emotional violence haunts everyone in the town.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    The first episode, at least, is terrific, with a distinct, involving tone, and it does very right by its leads.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    It's clear and engaging and moving to this novice.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    Because the bond between them is so strong, all the show's disparate pieces - the filthy comedy and the desperation, the joy and the depression - hold together just as well.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    For some, the six hours of Rectify will feel like a very slow sentence indeed. For others, the performances, the very clear sense of time and place, the beautiful images and the thoughtful things the series has to say about life, death and spirituality will feel like no time at all.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    It's still Homeland, and it's good.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    The deeper you go, the more powerful The Returned gets.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    [By the third episode] Review revealed itself to be something much more complicated, dark, and brilliant, in which the weight of all these viewer requests begins to take a horrific toll on Forrest's life.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    It's a show that stands entirely on its own while never forgetting the series that inspired it.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    Over the 10 episodes of the new season, Tremé remains outstanding at what it sets out to do.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    Happy Valley is so effective at what it sets out to do, and so neat in fitting all its pieces together (up to the way the story's climax evokes a much milder incident from early in the series), that I'm a bit ambivalent about the fact that a second season has already been ordered. Lancashire is so good that I won't necessarily mind getting to watch more of her in this role, but this particular story is so unique to her in a way that no sequel season can be.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    Over the course of the first four episodes (and hopefully over the remaining six), the TV Fargo establishes itself as its own wonderful thing that is connected to the movie without being a recreation of it, and that doesn't seem unworthy of the name.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    By forcing Raylan to retrace his father's decades-old steps, Yost is reinventing his show yet again, but he's also going deeper into the heart and mind of the man with the big hat and gun.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    There is nothing else on television quite like it, and for those who have the patience to sit through Daniel's still, slow journey, the emotional rewards are enormous.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    While there are many extraordinary moments in the new season, there's still enough inconsistency that I'm still waiting for it to become the classic drama it so clearly has the tools to be.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    Based on the admittedly small sample size of two episodes, The Americans feels like it could very comfortably slot in with the upper tier of FX dramas. That's about as good as it gets.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    Fuller and company do an impressive job of balancing Lecter's machinations, Graham's emotional problems, and the other killers that Graham and Crawford have to stop, in a way that never descends into formula.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    As a drama, Banshee is preposterous. It is ludicrous. It regularly defies laws of both plausibility and physics, and there's usually at least one moment per episode where I have to pause the action because I can't stop laughing at how ridiculous it all is.... And that is why I've come to love it.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    Silly or sober, Louie is one of the best shows on television.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    It's a perfect marriage of creative team, channel and subject.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    This is an absolute: Top of the Lake is great.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    Homeland functions terrifically as both a thriller and a commentary on our post-post-9/11 world, where the War on Terror and the concept of being constantly under surveillance are both facts of life.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    It's a treat to be back in this world again, and perhaps by the end of this season I'll feel happier about the crime arc than I did about the spy stuff.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Alan Sepinwall
    I'm reluctant to praise Togetherness too much, because the smallness of the story and the performances doesn't really work well with overhype.... But it's a really well-executed version of what it is.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    Whedon tries to blend comedy, horror and action, a very combustible mixture - as evidenced by the wildly uneven "Buffy" movie - but he seems close to perfecting the formula here. [10 Mar 1997, p.31]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    Darn it if Justified showrunner Graham Yost and company haven't found a way to equal--if not top--that bunch [of opponents], while at the same time building on the lessons they learned in the first season.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    It's not an ambitious show. It doesn't have the historical sweep and dazzling visuals of something like HBO's upcoming "Boardwalk Empire." Yet in trying to tell good old-fashioned detective stories featuring a pair of leads I kept wanting to spend time with, it quickly joined "Boardwalk" as one of my two favorite new shows of this fall.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    The darker and more complicated life gets for the Sons, the better the TV show tends to be. And based on the four episodes I've seen, Sons is still at the incredible level it achieved a year ago, when it became one of the best dramas on television.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    There’s no performance quite on par with Damian Lewis’s star turn as the quiet, decent company leader in "Band," but the three leads all take advantage of their showcase roles to craft characters that transcend both war movie cliches and the actors’ own mixed backgrounds.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    At turns funny, terrifying and moving. [16 Nov 2004, p.73]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    In a season overstuffed with crime dramas, Boomtown is one of the two or three best, alongside CBS' "Without a Trace" and "Robbery Homicide Division." It has complex, compelling characters, a terrific cast of actors and a beautiful feature film look. But it would have all those things even if the stories were told in strict chronological order. [27 Sept 2002, p.53]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    AMC’s "Breaking Bad" [is] still the best drama you’re not watching.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    "Extras" finally achieves the greatness expected of the Gervais/Merchant team with Season Two.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    Thanks to the sharp writing of Warren Leight and a revelatory lead performance by obscure journeyman actor Holt McCallany, Lights Out is a reminder of why Hollywood keeps making boxing stories. Because when they're done well, they're irresistible.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    In season two, the strengths of Treme remain strengths, while some of the show's weaknesses have been much improved.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    Sick, twisted and darkly funny, "Dexter" is easily the best drama in Showtime history.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    Treme may lack the obvious narrative engine that the cops vs. drug dealers narrative gave "The Wire," but it's already a smart, engaging, moving and funny series, one that in many ways is more accessible than its predecessor.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    At a time when every TV comedy seems content to look and sound like every other TV comedy, any show that tries to break the mold deserves to be applauded. And a show like Sports Night that's snappy, well written, thought-provoking, and sometimes funny and moving at the same time deserves no less than a standing ovation. [22 Sept 1998, p.59]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    That balance of viewpoints--positive and negative, tragic and comic--is what makes Carrier such extraordinary viewing.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    This is a smart, exciting thrill ride with a tick-tock momentum that will keep you glued to the edge of your seat. [6 Nov 2001]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    The acting, writing and directing are superb.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    It's so small and spare and simple, and yet it can be incredibly effective at what it does. Nice to have it back.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    The funniest and most romantic new show this fall. [24 Sept 1997, p.31]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    The characters are so richly-drawn, and so wonderfully-played, that the exposition ultimately isn't that great a stumbling block. I wanted to know more about these characters, and within an episode or so was eager for any bit of backstory that helped better clarify all the relationships.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    It's the best-looking pilot of the season--maybe the best new show, period--even though it may not look that good in the future.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    The CW's Reaper and NBC's "Chuck," the two shows featuring the aforementioned Sam and, um, Chuck, are an unusual pairing in that they're not only both good--with ABC's "Pushing Daisies," they're the best new shows of the season.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    Fresh, sharp and screamingly funny. [4 Mar 1997]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 85 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The ideas behind most of these developments are fine, but they get thrown at the viewer so haphazardly as to require dramatic organ music when each is introduced.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    It gets a lot of laughs out of life in the military while still demonstrating respect for the military and its soldiers, and genuine affection for its characters.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Overall, The Mindy Project is a comedy that arrives knowing what it wants to be and what kinds of stories and jokes it wants to tell.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    They're solid additions to the brand, very entertaining and well worth your time if, like me, you're a fan of sports documentaries and appreciate that ESPN's approach with this series creates a string of idiosyncratic, original films.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Game of Thrones remains a very entertaining series set in a very rich world. But the longer it’s on, the more it feels like Benioff and Weiss are only scratching the surface of that world--even if that may be the only way to coherently explore it.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    It's not wildly funny in the early going, but there's a sense of confidence in the material, the tone and the world, and the creative team doesn't ask you to buy into things that aren't necessary.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    It evokes "Oz" in a very, very good way: it doesn't feel quite like anything that's been put on television (if we're still calling Netflix "television") before.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    If it were just a collection of well-choreographed explosions and gunfire, it would still be an entertaining watch. But there's a genuine effort made to show the impact of all this mayhem on both the men perpetuating it and the people who are witnesses and/or victims to it.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The exhaustive nature of it, and the intimacy that Scorsese and his collaborators develop with both their subject and those who knew him, makes it into something more than a three-plus hour rehash of an oft-told tale.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    If I began watching Better Call Saul! as a skeptic, the first three episodes have mostly made me a believer. There are nods to the parent show--and those are among the more emotionally affecting parts of this young series--but Saul quickly learns to function as its own thing.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The pilot itself is among the best you'll see this fall. It looks great, the two leads have instant chemistry, and everything hums along nicely as a slightly larger-than-life crime saga.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    If the show takes a while to warm up--and seems to hit certain character beats, like Thack's cocaine addiction, or his feelings towards rookie nurse Lucy Elkins (Eve Hewson), over and over again--it builds in the way you would hope a modern cable drama season would, and many of the repetitive earlier scenes wind up laying a foundation for major shifts in the season's second half.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The season's first two episodes aren't as consistently funny as last spring's best outings, but they do a good job of showcasing both the style of Bob's Burgers and the deep roster of characters the show has already assembled.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    It's a show with a much stronger command of its subject matter and awareness of its own strengths and weaknesses--even as The Bridge still seems to be stuck in that nebulous border region separating the pretty good from the genuinely great.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Sometimes, everything's within your grasp, while at other moments one or more things start to slip too far away. But I always applaud the effort, and most of the time the results.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    It's the best new comedy of the fall season, and the only new show I genuinely enjoyed from start to finish, rather than having to squint real hard and try to picture what it might look like once the producers figure out what to do with their stars.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Patrick is the only one of the three leads to come entirely into focus over these early episodes.... But there's some excellent raw material in here, even if at times I found myself admiring Looking more than I was liking it.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Beavis and Butt-Head are who they've always been, for ill or (comedically) for good. I'm glad to have them back.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Atwell is so good, and the show has so much fun with the period setting, that it's a really promising start for Agent Carter.

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