Alan Sepinwall

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For 896 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 50% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 47% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Alan Sepinwall's Scores

Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Master of None: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Work It : Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 90 out of 896
896 tv reviews
    • 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
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    The new episodes deftly bring its many stories together with as much righteous anger as artistry, I felt a tingle in a part of my brain that has largely laid dormant since my days as a TV tourist in West Baltimore.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    AMC’s "Breaking Bad" [is] still the best drama you’re not watching.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    It’s a tough story. An honest story. And a story that beautifully connects its Baker’s dozen of tales and characters with each other, and the audience, even though there are some bumps and missteps along the way.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    The good Good Place news: this is still a wonderful show--better, in many ways, now that creator Mike Schur has laid his cards on the table for us all to see. The new installments are livelier and funnier than before, particularly the third and fourth episodes.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    This isn’t a story taking place in a parallel timeline to Breaking Bad, but one traveling down the same terrible track. And, like Saul Goodman’s most important client once said, nothing stops this train. All we can do is travel along it with these superb actors and the gifted writers, directors, and editors who keep the train moving, trusting that we’ll be wildly entertained even as it takes us someplace we keep hoping it won’t.
    • 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    Halt and Catch Fire is almost over, yet these early episodes feel like it’s just getting warmed up. Enjoy it while you can.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    The other half of what makes Brockmire special--raunchy and depraved, but also surprisingly tender and even romantic (imagine Catastrophe if most of it took place at a minor league ballpark)--is how Azaria and the show’s creator, Joel Church-Cooper, are able to find the vulnerable human being underneath the accent and his familiar plaid blazer, even as Brockmire never breaks character or stops talking like he’s doing play-by-play on his own life.
    • 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
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    The first four episodes of which are even more self-assured and odd and tragic and ridiculous than anything Galifianakis and company tried a year ago.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    It was slow and strange in ways that felt like Lynch was deliberately baiting his audience to see how much they would tolerate--and how much they actually remembered about the old show--after so much time away. ... And yet I loved every plodding, baffling minute of it. ... I went into the night terrified that all the usual TV revival problems would become exponentially worse when filtered through Lynch’s own storytelling eccentricities, and I came out of it exhilarated. Baffled at times, but exhilarated.
    • 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
    • 90 Alan Sepinwall
    The world and its citizens are so rich that it’s a pleasure to spend time in it at all, as written by this team, as directed by the great Michelle MacLaren and others (including Franco for a couple of episodes), and as performed by this superb cast.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The three episodes FOX sent to critics are impressively well-balanced, not to mention coherent by Empire "standards."
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    UnReal is simultaneously a very dark satire of reality TV and a soap opera that breathes new life into old tropes by placing them in this very familiar, modern setting. The story of the making of a show like this is ultimately far more exciting than the shows themselves seem to be.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The whole story comes nicely full-circle by the end, and all the hijinks and heartbreak are accompanied by a fine soundtrack of '80s tunes that haven't been overplayed in other period movies. It's fun (if only occasionally of the laugh out loud variety).
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    It was addictive then, and it's addictive now.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Apatow, Arfin, and Rust do a nice job of balancing the relationship, and of exploiting the abundant chemistry between Rust and Jacobs.
    • 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.
    • 72 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Its deviations from the record have to be compelling or illuminating enough to be worth it. Last year, they rarely were; so far this year, they are.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Over the course of the eight hours, the story and characters take on enough life of their own so that the references don't feel self-indulgent, and so that the series can be appreciated even if you don't know the plot of E.T. or the title font of Stephen King's early novels (a huge influence on the show's own opening credits) by heart.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    With these characters, with this fascinating, complicated place--and one that's at the forefront of so much of what we're talking about in real world politics--and the sense of atmosphere instilled by directors like Gerardo Naranjo, The Bridge is off to such an outstanding start that I can't wait to see what this creative team does not only with the rest of the serial killer story, but well beyond it.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    As original series debuts go, it’s no “Oz” or “The Shield,” but it does the job it sets out to do in entertaining fashion.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    A half a loaf is better than none at all. When it's baked by David Simon, Eric Overmyer and George Pelecanos, it's better than most people's full loaf.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Queen Sugar feels like a show built to last--albeit the sort that will frequently inspire its viewers to get choked up, shake their fists at the sky, and wonder why they keep letting Ava DuVernay and friends so expertly control their emotions like this.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Insecure is less inherently dramatic than some of the other Comedies In Theory, which makes the infrequency of laugh-out-loud moments a bigger issue than on, say, Casual, but Rae is a really engaging writer and performer, and the series is charming and compulsively watchable.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The Last Resort pilot episode is far and away the best I watched for this fall season. There are some bumps in the next two episodes, but also some very promising signs that, coupled with the talent involved, has me wanting to believe there is a great series here.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Benoist is appealing enough, and the action sequences impressive enough, that the show gets away with the lack of subtlety. It's a competent superhero show made by people who've been doing this a while and have gotten better at it with each new stage of things.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    For the most part, the new season (I've seen four of the eight episodes) is excellent. Tropper and company find new contexts for most of the characters to match their altered surroundings. ... But in the middle of this comes a brand new kind of story for the show, and one that made me cringe not with delight at Banshee's latest impressive bit of the old ultraviolence, but with concern that Banshee had become TV's latest drama to prominently feature a serial killer.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The show itself is very promising, albeit uneven, as almost any young comedy is, and fits neatly into the dark and very adult animated comedy brand Netflix started for itself with the great "BoJack Horseman."
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The Strain is packed with so much macabre imagery and so many clever ideas that it doesn't feel like the resuscitation of a tired genre, but the launch of something new and fun.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    It would be very easy for the remaining producers of multi-cam to leave that [dramatic] stuff to their more fashionable counterparts and just stick to telling jokes. Mom, thankfully, is a strong reminder of just how elastic this 64-year-old format is.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The show's essentially a sketch idea expanded to series length, and as a result is uneven. But when it hits, it's as hysterical as all those people screaming and breaking things in the clips from upcoming episodes.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    There are other half-hours I might recommend first as a holiday binge if you haven't seen them yet. But "Mozart" is an interesting, colorful look at a world I don't know well, filled with fun performances.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The story drags a bit, but at the early episodes' dizzying best, they feel like Wes Anderson was mistakenly given a Quentin Tarantino script and decided to film it anyway, standards of taste be damned.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    It's not perfect right out of the gate--Kenneth needs to be defined by more than his amusement at Maya's unrelenting (and loud) mama bear style, though Yarbrough and Driver have a good comic rapport--but the family's likable, the writing finds humor in the world of special needs parenting without ever making fun of J.J. for his condition, and that world should provide plenty of fodder for Silveri and company to mine in success.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    It moves quickly, has good scares and big laughs, and the moment when Ash shifts from clown to killer is every bit the big hero moment you would want after all this time.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Quick, easy, filthy, stupid, funny. You don't need to know anything more.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    We have two likable and funny guys and a lot of untapped material. That's an excellent start.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    This is a good, solid show that understands its strengths and keeps playing to them in season 2.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Tom Chadwick is a man with a fixation that’s both reasonable and relatable, and he becomes our tour guide to the familiar, funny Christopher Guest worldview.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The actors all get their moments to shine, even if their stories don't always feel attached to one another
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    If Killen and Gordon don't exactly maintain the quality of the pilot each week - subsequent episodes don't look as rich nor pack as big an emotional whallop - they come close enough, particularly in dealing with Britten's work and family lives.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The chemistry between Winchester and Stapleton is a treat, the action scenes remain brutal and thrilling and fun, and the show transcends simple guilty pleasure status by paying enough attention to the emotional toll this kind of work takes on the people who do it.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Mr. Robot is compulsively watchable and interesting. It's a reminder that even the most well-worn cliches can still work with the right execution.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    I'll confess to losing the thread of the plot a time or three over the five hours I watched (the show debuts with the first two hours; there are a dozen in total), yet the location and the sense of unease that came with it kept pulling me along.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    It fits the channel's larger brand (in both comedy and drama) about men existing on the edges of acceptable human behavior.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick and the rest of the cast remain, like the show, better than the material probably needs to be a commercial success, and thus strong enough that Vikings remains a genuine pleasure rather than a guilty one.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Outlander is by far the best of these Starz costume dramas I've seen. It knows the stories it wants to tell and the strongest way to tell them.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    It's a simple idea, and the supporting characters on both floors are fairly broad and familiar types, but the execution is good.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    Like Rick Grimes, all I can do is focus on what lies directly in front of me, and the here and now of The Walking Dead looks very good.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The first two episodes of the new season don't suggest a huge creative leap--Carmichael is still finding his way as an actor, for instance, though the creative team recognizes that he's best used to say incendiary things that his co-stars can react to-but even if it never improves from its original baseline, it's funny and well-crafted enough to be worth watching for more than just its ambitions.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    It is snappy, and funny enough when it needs to be.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    I expected to be tired of the joke behind The Wrong Mans within an episode or two. Instead, I found myself engrossed enough in the story of who wanted Sam dead at any particular moment, and why, to keep watching until I made it all the way to the end and could appreciate just how well Baynton, Corden and company stuck the landing.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The Walking Dead is excellent with action, with suspense, and with atmosphere, and these early episodes have all three in spades.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    The ensemble works incredibly well together--in marked contrast to Selina's dysfunction, competitive staff--and there's a briskness and intelligence to the whole shebang.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    There's enough sincerity lurking convincingly beneath the snark, and Levy is so good in both aggressive and vulnerable modes, that I have faith the show will find a way to humanize Tessa's new environment while still bringing the laughs.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    It's a very promising start, at a minimum. The distribution model for House of Cards may be looking to reinvent how we watch TV, but the show itself feels very much of a piece with what we've been seeing for the last 10 or 15 years.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    It's a smart mix of soap opera, music and political intrigue.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Alan Sepinwall
    With its huge cast (the new season also adds Ron Livingston as a businessman who romances Gretchen Mol’s Gillian) and sprawling world, Boardwalk Empire could suffer from that desire for more than plenty. Inevitably, though, it reveals itself as a show with a firm grasp on all these disparate people and places, and a clear sense of how to fit them all together.

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