Alan Sepinwall

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For 844 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 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Alan Sepinwall's Scores

Average review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Master of None: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Work It : Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 86 out of 844
844 tv reviews
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    The show does such an amazing job of evoking a world not that long-gone, and in a way that makes it equal parts alluring and appalling.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    It's definitely not sunshine and lollipops, but series creator David Hollander manages to push the right emotional buttons. [25 Sept 2001, p.33]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    The thing is, if you can let go of the "Groundhog Taye" problem, it's a decent little thriller with a sci-fi twist.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    If you can get past the blatant attempts to sell an ABC News production to fans of ABC dramas--prepare yourself for a lot of going-into-commercial cliffhangers where the surgical patients don't seem to be waking up--Hopkins is a rewarding, and often surprising, experience.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    By reattaching his misery to 9/11, and by reminding us that everyone around him still shares in the miseries of that day, Rescue Me has lit a new fire under both the man and his show.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    The pilot, in which Yost liberally borrows Leonard’s trademark lean dialogue from "Fire in the Hole," has a swagger to it, and also a sly sense of humor....Without Leonard’s writing to directly adapt, the later episodes are a mixed bag.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Fishburne doesn't show up until halfway through the episode and mostly stays in the background once he does, letting the intellectual chess match between Grissom and DJK be the focus. And that feels right.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    The humor provided by the new setting makes the show a bit more palatable than it was last season, but Nip/Tuck is still Nip/Tuck, for both good and ill.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Sutter has some interesting characters and ideas here, but the intensity isn't there yet.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Outside of McGee, the new season suggests that Rescue Me has gone as far as it can go as a comedy/drama hybrid. Almost all of the best scenes are the funny ones - or the ones that start dark, then turn funny, like Tommy brainstorming with Mike (Mike Lombardi) on the best way to euthanize his ailing mother.[12 June 2007, p.41]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    The show is less profound and novel than it seems to think it is. But the performances are strong enough that I want to stick around for Cathy Jamison's final journey, even if the path feels particularly well-trod.
    • Hitfix
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    It's not a finished product yet, and Poehler and the writers need to find more ways to distinguish Leslie from Michael Scott, but funny forgives an awful lot.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    What The Unusuals lacks in cinematic sheen, it compensates with humor and a more interesting group of characters.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    It's a solid little comedy, in which Scrubs fans can recognize the spirit of the show they loved, even if it's not Scrubs at its best.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    The world of the warehouse, and the interplay with the characters as they deal with it, are amusing enough to mark Warehouse 13 as a very promising summer series--regardless of the name of the channel it's on.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Human Target is still Human Target. If you enjoyed the show last year, you will now. If, like me, you were hoping for something just a little bit deeper, you might need to wait a while to see.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    At times, the comedy tries too hard--Booth keeps driving on the wrong side of the road and doesn't seem to know what tea is--but then there comes a moment where the writers get the characters dialed in just right, and then the show is irresistible.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    When it’s studying and performing the rituals of that new religion [stand-up comedy], Crashing is a treat, and a worthy new addition to the comedy house of worship HBO has been building for decades. But, like the fictional Pete Holmes, you have to endure some mortification to get there.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Overall, it feels more like the good old days than Grey's has in a long time.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    The time jump doesn't turn Parks into a new show (Leslie and Ben's triplets don't appear in a single frame of the first four episodes), nor does it dunk the series in some kind of comic fountain of youth, but it does provide a fresh enough start to get us through 13 more episodes without feeling like we've seen it all too many times before.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    "Kidnapped" plays out like a point-by-point criticism of everything "Vanished" gets wrong.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    While it's great that series like these can find a home on pay cable, it's a shame they feel the need to live up to the adult reputation most cable series have. "Soul Food" the series continues the unfortunate R-rated tradition of "Soul Food" the movie. [26 Jun 2000]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Though there isn't anything appreciably wrong with the third season, it's hard to fight the feeling that maybe Dexter is a concept that has reached its expiration date.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    It's very well-done teen angst, but at the same time made me feel very old and slightly pervy while watching it.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    If you gave up on either one because they seemed tired or just annoying in their familiarity, now might be a good time to try a return visit.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    So the atmosphere and central performances feel worthy of telling one story over 13 hours. My concern is whether the story can say the same.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Body of Proof is, in other words, a mash-up of half the popular mystery series on TV right now: a little bit "Castle," a little bit "Bones" and a whole lot "House." How effective you find it depends almost entirely on how you feel about Delany.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    There are so many lies in so many places, so many people on the verge of finding out and/or being hurt, that it feels like Lone Star might become very frustrating and repetitive by episode 3 or 4. I would watch a movie version of Lone Star, and I will stick with the series hoping it proves me wrong, but it doesn't feel like this premise has legs.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Jackie remains watchable because of Falco's no-nonsense, weary performance, and because of the off-kilter comic brilliance of Merritt Wever as Jackie's bubbly, spastic protégé Zoey.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    If the world that Simon, Burns, Wright and company drop us into can be confusing at first (mirroring, as they intended, the confusion that Wright felt at the time), it's a fully-realized one that's both thousands of miles away (literally and figuratively) from the Baltimore of "The Wire" and one that will feel very familiar to anyone who spent a lot of time watching McNulty and Bunk drink at the train tracks.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    The new edition delivers many of the same thrills and intelligent debate that made the original so exceptional. But the mere act of bringing it back creates problems the original never had to deal with.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    It's still not more than disposable fluff, and I expect Vince to get his stardom back by season's end, but by making his career a metaphor for what the show had become, Entourage for the first time is more entertaining than Vince's life must be.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    For the seven of you who remember "Andy Richter," Better Off Ted isn't quite as good--in part because star Jay Harrington isn't as innately funny as Richter (and he's mainly used as a straight man), and also because Fresco ditched the fantasy scenes that were often the most memorable part of the earlier series--but it's still a breath of fresh air in the present stale environment for TV comedy, as well as an accidentally timely show.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Ashes to Ashes has a cheekier energy that the original "Life on Mars," one that carries the show even when the police procedural stories are relatively bland.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    As wonderfully played by Kenneth Branagh, Wallander is a fine addition to the tradition of PBS' "Mystery!"
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Aliens is very much in the vein of previous nerd comedies like "Malcolm in the Middle" and "Freaks and Geeks," though it's not as explosively funny as either one of them.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    The transformations aren't complete by episode's end--though at least Dekker chops off his floppy Emo bangs--but it's a step in the right direction for a series that struggled to live up to its potential and pedigree last spring.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Chocolate News has the funny part down; now it just needs to make some fresher observations.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Perhaps recognizing the professional problem, the show's writers return with an episode where the crime has a painful personal connection for Grace. Some of the scenes still drag, but it's stronger than most of the season one episodes.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    The whole gang finally knows everything about Liv, brains, and the undead as a whole, and man oh man is iZombie soooo much better as a result. ... There’s still arguably too much going on, though, even if the pieces are more unified.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    While HBO’s new "How to Make It in America" is light on plot, characterization and humor, it’s got atmosphere to spare. And for a few episodes, that may be enough.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    It took me a while to overcome the "been there, analyzed that" feelings I had in the opening episodes, as Paul and his patients began the familiar dance, wherein they talk about only what they're comfortable talking about while Paul, like a good detective, tries to solve the mystery of what's really bothering them.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Surprise has its place, and isn't mandatory in a table-setting episode like this, which did its best to catch us up on most of the characters (while skipping over the likes of Littlefinger, Sam, and Hot Pie) and show us where their stories may be headed after all that went down at the end of last season.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Tonally, Privileged is an amalgam of the CW's other shows in this genre: more contemporary and (at times) funnier than the new "90210" but not as nihilistic as "Gossip Girl." And Garcia's both charming and a promising light comedienne.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    With this cast, and the writing of Fresco and company, I expect Ted season two to again hit the heights of that first season. But these two episodes are a reminder of how hard it is to pull that off.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    I've since seen two more episodes, which in some ways intrigued me even more than the pilot. It's not "Battlestar Galactica", in that it swaps out the military components of that show for a bit of teen angst and soap opera intrigue, but I really like the lead performances by Eric Stoltz and Esai Morales (two actors who in previous roles often made me feel like there was something missing), and the social commentary is just as sharp here as it was on "BSG."
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    The jokes that do hit on "Life and Times of Tim" suggest that Dildarian might be onto something really good if given time to fix the slow spots.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    So long as Elba's on the screen, I'm interested, and even more when he and Wilson are sharing it. But ultimately, Luther turned out to be more average than I thought at first, regardless of its country of origin.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    The two-hour pilot episode was engaging and fun in a way that NBC's other throwback dramas ("Knight Rider," "My Own Worst Enemy") have failed to be.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Like the movie that inspired it, Parenthood isn’t an instant classic, but it’s smart and warm and knowing, and it casts its net so wide that at least part of it should connect with you.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Some episodes and moments have such undeniable dramatic power that you may weep; others may just leave you scratching your head. [9 Sept 2001, p.1]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    When Doe is just exploring the depth and breadth of his great brain - playing a virtuoso rendition of "My Funny Valentine," showing off for a crowd of library patrons - John Doe feels like a show that a lot of people may want to get to know. [19 Sept 2002]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Cranston's performance alone is enough to keep me watching for a while, but I'd like to see something resembling a completed formula, and soon.
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    The whole space cowboy gimmick shouldn't work, but Whedon and co-creator Tim Minear have managed to create a world where space stations and men on horseback can plausibly co-exist. Little touches like deliberately old-fashioned dialogue - one character describes the bar fight as "just an honest brawl between folk" - help immensely. [19 Sept 2002]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    So, to sum up: decadent and adult, but too entertaining to be this week's harbinger of the apocalypse.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    It’s a solid meat-and-potatoes family comedy; next to "Hank," it’s the next "Malcolm in the Middle."
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    Royal Pains can't help but suffer in comparison, but it's not a bad summer diversion--which, frankly, is all that "Burn Notice" was in its first season.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    The Ex List has the kind of silly romantic comedy premise that makes you feel dumber just for hearing it, but the show itself is actually fairly smart and funny--for the time being, at least.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Alan Sepinwall
    All these different time periods and tones don't always fit together comfortably, and the four episodes Netflix made available for review are trying so many different things each time out that some feel like they're from entirely different series. ... But when Lady Dynamite hits on the right absurd note, it is spectacularly funny and feels original and vibrant.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    It has solid craftsmanship, and a collection of excellent actors, even if they're not always used to their best.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    The raw material's there; the show just needs more time in the lab to hopefully get it right.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    It's a good cast, and Porter in particular works very well with Bilson. The show just needs to find a way to transcend both formula and Southern stereotypes.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    What you have is a comedy with three very talented, funny leads, with a premise that lends itself well to stories and jokes, and execution that isn't quite there yet.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    Despite some incredibly funny set pieces--almost all of them involving two or more of the original characters interacting in ways we instantly understand (like Buster helping Lucille deal with the conditions of her house arrest). The new season doesn't really work as its own thing, but as a prologue for this movie that no one in the industry has shown the slightest inclination towards making.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    [Feldman and Milioti are] bright and appealing, whether together or separately, but they can only do so much to ground the very lightweight and gimmicky show "A to Z" aspires to be.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    There's enough in this first episode to bring me back for more, but a lot of potential trouble signs along the way.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    Four hours is brief enough that the joy of seeing Elba back on TV outweighs the silliness of Luther as a whole.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    Cuarón's contributions behind the camera are by far the most interesting part of Believe.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    An extremely straightforward mob saga, filled with moves, countermoves, and frequent bursts of violence.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    In a way, all Guggenheim needs to accomplish in the pilot is to put Sutherland behind the desk in the Oval Office, and he does that. But Designated Survivor feels like it could be a whole lot more than that, perhaps if it started trying to do a bit less overall.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    There's enough involving the main characters that I'm willing to stick around for a bit to let the rest of House of Lies find itself.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    Good as Coupe is, the rest of the ensemble needs to come into sharper focus in a hurry for most of the comedy to work. But she's a strong foundational piece.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    It is aware of just how ridiculous it is, and it tries to cram in as many wacky ideas as can fit into the opening hour without falling into complete camp.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    "WWII in HD" at times felt like a rough outline of what an actual history of the war would look like, but it had all that amazing, horrifying imagery to compensate. The Vietnam in HD footage is no less incredible and/or dismaying, but it's also much more familiar.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    For now, the new show seems more style over substance, parking a lot of actors I like in an attractive location and not giving most of them material that's up to their talents.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    The lead performances, and the way that relationship is written, are all excellent enough to stick around a little while longer in the hopes that Bates Motel as a whole becomes something more interesting. But a lot of that may also depend on what exactly Cuse and Ehrin want Norman Bates to turn into, and how quickly.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    These are all excellent actors, most of them trying to push themselves out of their comfort zone in the same way McConaughey and Harrelson did, but with more mixed results.... The second season has [Pizzolatto] at times contorting himself into doing things that don't play as well to his strengths, and at others cranking up his specialties.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    It aims high, and wide, and near and far, and if it doesn't hit all of its many targets, it hits several. And that's probably enough to justify the time and expense everyone put into bringing Torchwood more firmly onto American soil.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    It's sweet in spots (mainly in scenes involving Miller's ex-con man-child trying to reconnect with his daughter), and the idea has potential, even though this is a premise pilot that has to spend so much time introducing the siblings and the competition that none of it's fully realized.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    There's a likability to it that occasionally reminded me of another one-hour comedy that loved music, NBC's "Ed," and the varied nature of the parties the guys play evokes Starz's late, lamented "Party Down."
    • 67 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    It's a promising framework for a series, and the first two episodes of Copper work in fits and starts.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    Created by Adi Hasak, with the first two episodes directed by Barry Levinson (whose previous NBC cop show, "Homicide," helped inspire the likes of "The Wire" and "The Shield"), is competent but uninspired, and often more concerned with flattering its glamorous star than telling the best possible version of this story.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    Every now and then, there will be a great moment, like the aforementioned Punisher monologue, or Henson's Foggy calming down a violent situation, but on the whole it's too unfocused to entirely work, and has to lean even more than before on the inherent charisma of its actors.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    As great as both McDormand and Jenkins are in the lead roles (both are early Emmy frontrunners), their story ultimately feels too repetitive--the miniseries plays as a collection of anecdotes designed to make the same point over and over and over again--to justify the running time.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    Like many a new comedy--and new presidential administration--it needs a little time to get settled in before we can expect it to really make its mark.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    It's successful enough at achieving its own more modest goals.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    If Fear is a project with some noble intentions, it has uneven execution, with the prequel nature of it hurting as much as helping.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    There's lots of snarling, lots of talk about what men are willing to do to protect or hurt one another, and yet in the early going it feels empty, like a joke being retold by someone who can't remember exactly how the guy he heard it from delivered it. The performances are terrific, though (James especially), and Dickerson shoots the Detroit locations in a fashion that captures both the beauty of the architecture and the absolute bleakness of the setting.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    There's the structure for a sturdy but unremarkable supernatural procedural (and companion piece to "Grimm"), but in the pilot, at least, producers David Goyer and Daniel Cerone aren't aiming for much more.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    It's aiming for something big, and while these three episodes give me no idea if they can ultimately hit the mark, they're also more interesting than they have any right to be considering how incoherent so much of it is.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    The toughest part of most new series is coming up with characters that the viewer will want to watch for weeks, if not years, on end, and they've already licked that part of it. We'll see if the rest follows.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    In the moments when Annalise is plotting strategy with her underlings, or pulling one shady trick after another in open court, are a treat because Davis is there to carry it all.... The [other] characters involved are so much less compelling than Annalise that it feels like a magic trick gone awry.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    It feels like Port, Guarascio and the other writers decided to reverse-engineer the Harmon version of Community, but couldn’t quite manage without the missing ingredient of Harmon himself.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    The first pilot was already emblematic of the struggle to do cable-style weirdness and moral ambiguity in a broadcast network context; the new pilot sands off several of the edges that survived the first time.... It is, essentially, "House, JD," and Kinnear has the impish charm to play this kind of character.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    It's a primetime soap, but one that's genuinely more interested in what the characters want to do for a living than in who they're sleeping with.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    It's a dumb pilot directed by "Fast & Furious" franchise caretaker Justin Lin, which means there are multiple car chases that kick ass, including one near the end that's as fun as it is completely ridiculous.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    Unfortunately, the whole is less than the sum of its comic and musical parts.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    There are occasional moments where Roadies conjures memories of Crowe at his most vibrant, and others where it's genial and pleasant enough (and far more coherent than Aloha) that I'm willing to watch in the hopes that Crowe and Holzman can recapture his '90s magic, or hers, or some amazing combination of both.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    The Path is completely serious and sterile. The three leads are very good, though.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 67 Alan Sepinwall
    It's in no way essential, but if you like the performers involved, you will be okay if you pretend that the pilot doesn't exist.

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