Alan Sepinwall
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For 668 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 2.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Alan Sepinwall's Scores

Average review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 The Leftovers: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 In the Motherhood: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 77 out of 668
668 tv reviews
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Like all the Bruckheimer procedurals... you know what you're getting from the jump: solid but unspectacular acting and storytelling that will leave you satisfied without rocking your world.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Damages offers two superb performances by old pros Glenn Close and Ted Danson.... One thing it doesn't have: a compelling main character. It's a doughnut show: lots of sweet, satisfying goodness around the edges, nothing in the middle.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Toward the end of the second episode, two characters who have no business acting chummy with each other get in the back of a car together and do exactly that. And rather than make me eager to pop in my screener of the third episode (which I did, eventually), it just killed all the buzz I had built up to that point.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    The Sunday premiere has a nice mix of thrills, comedy and pathos, but is there a show here?
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    One of the better -- if stranger -- comedy debuts the networks have put out this year.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    A show with such a weird mix of tones and subject matters needs a strong cast to even have a hope of working, and for the most part, the ensemble remains sturdy.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Margulies is a potent enough screen presence that this part of the show could be interesting, but Canterbury's self-destructive streak gets overshadowed by all the Leg Show material and the overheated courtroom theatrics.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles happens to contain that show's most interesting character. It just ain't Sarah Connor.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    The guys are so polite and harmless that it's hard to dislike them even when they repeat themselves in such a short span.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Lewis is a strong enough actor (again, see "Band of Brothers") that there are moments where he pulls together all these tics into a character who could be interesting, but too much time gets wasted on pedestrian mysteries to give him room to work.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    So long as Lewis is around, Life will be several steps above those cookie-cutter police procedurals.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    The pieces shouldn't fit together--Earl's celestial presence with Grace's raging sex life, discussions of metaphysics with police procedural plots--but somehow they do.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Fringe is just good enough to watch with or without the ads. But with Abrams, you expect more than "just good enough."
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    For the most part, they're neither fish nor fowl: not gory enough for the "Saw"/"Hostel" crowd, and not genuinely scary enough for anybody else.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Baker has an unforced masculinity that allows him to play likable bastards like this, and with the other regular characters (played by Robin Tunney, Owain Yeoman, Tim Kang and Amanda Righetti) so far ciphers at best, he's able to carry the show by his lonesome.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Whedon is a vastly better storyteller than anyone involved in "My Own Worst Enemy," so Dollhouse can be very engaging, even if the premise doesn't make sense. Dushku isn't as versatile as the role demands--many weeks, the only difference in Echo's persona seems to be her wardrobe--but Whedon and his writers certainly are.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    It's fun and diverting, and certainly has the potential to be much more, based on Thomas' work on the original series--and the glimpses we see of Cannavale and Paulson in these roles. But right now, it seems less a great romance rekindled than a reunion fueled by nostalgia instead of passion.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    There's plenty of humiliation in I Survived a Japanese Game Show as well, but there it's so varied and strange--and very much in keeping with what I understand of those shows--that it doesn't get repetitive or annoying.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Despite a wonderful cast put to good use, a very well-designed parallel world and some marvelous turns of phrase, I can't help admiring Kings more than I actually liked it.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Basically, it's a dumber version of "The Shield." Swayze's performance and the always-memorable Chicago locales are frequently undercut by dialogue that's clumsy and/or spells out things we can see for ourselves, and by model-turned-actor Fimmel, last seen on the WB's deservedly short-lived "Tarzan" remake.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    The new TNT drama Leverage isn't a great show, but it may just be the exact right show at the exact right time.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Katic has the more thankless role, as the actress in this scenario inevitably does, but the necessary sparks fly when she and Fillion are on screen together swapping barbs, and hopefully as time goes on, she'll get more to do than play kindergarten teacher to Castle. How much you like the series will depend almost entirely on how you enjoy watching these two spar; for me, that was enough.
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Neither trainwreck nor masterpiece, the new "90210" was exactly what nobody expected it would be: remarkably faithful in tone and spirit to the original adventures of Brandon, Brenda, Scott Scanlon and company.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Conan was simultaneously reassuring his fans that he wasn't going to change too much in the new gig, and telling the traditional Tonight audience what they might expect from the new landlord. This was the smart, and really only, play Conan could make on night one of such a high-profile job. I just wish the execution had been a little better.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Easy Money was created by Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider, who wrote for "The Sopranos," and the show in many ways feels like a low-budget HBO (or FX) series.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    I don't know that there's a long-running series here--even the pilot runs out of steam before the end--but I did laugh several times.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    When I tell you that Weeds is off to a good start with Monday (Aug. 16) night's sixth season premiere, you have to know that what I'm saying is that it's pushing the story forward in interesting ways, not that Weeds has gone back to being the show it was in Season Two.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Bored to Death (created by real-life novelist--but not private dick--Jonathan Ames) as a whole is so dry in its comedy that there's very little margin for error. (Like the "Star Trek" movies, I found myself enjoying the even-numbered episodes and struggling through the odd-numbered ones.)
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    It looks great, makes good use of Los Angeles locations and has a solid ensemble cast (including Regina King and Tom Everett Scott as detectives). But it feels emotionally empty in the same way "Third Watch" so often did.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Cougar Town, on the other hand, is still finding itself, but it’s already much better than the title would suggest.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    As a show about average people who become superheroes, No Ordinary Family is very promising. It's the "Family" part of the title where the series has problems.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Now, I wouldn't say I loved it. Parts of it I didn't even like. I became quite engaged with what was going on downstairs with the servants, while I found virtually everything having to do with the Granthams (at least the parts unrelated to how they dealt with the staff) a chore to get through.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    If it felt much like an episode of one of Conan's old shows, the Conan debut also felt like a middle-of-the-pack example. Some funny bits, some other obligatory moments, and a good feeling to have the guy back, but nothing extraordinary like, say, his final week on "Tonight."
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    Much like "Cougar Town" was back in the fall of '09, Mr. Sunshine is a show with a lot of likable performers, a solid creative pedigree, occasional laughs and a whole lot of room for improvement.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    I don't have much new to say about the third season of Jackie, because the show's strengths and weaknesses are the same as they've always been.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Alan Sepinwall
    There's a promising show here, and with time maybe Chaos can figure itself out.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    Twenty Twelve is ultimately too safe and predictable to be funny enough for the time spent watching it.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    The larger problem, though, is that unless you're deeply invested in the fairy tale characters and seeing the variations on their familiar backstories--seeing, for instance, that Snow and Charming had a very different first meeting than the one we know about--then most of the story and character work is flat, despite a cast of likable, game actors.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    A good sitcom is much more likely to have started life with a bad pilot than a good drama, and there are little glimmers in each episode that suggest a much better show could come later. But those glimmers are much more obvious in 2 Broke Girls than in "Whitney."
    • 63 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    It's not quite good (other than The Swede), but it's also not especially bad (though it has occasional terrible moments.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    Though there are some good jokes here and there about the humiliations a little person actor has to endure on your average movie set, for the most part, the biggest laughs have little to do with Davis and everything to do with the celebrity guests.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    It's mediocre, but it's at least pleasantly mediocre.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    It's much too generic given Abrams' reputation from "Alias," "Lost," the better years of "Fringe" and the "Star Trek" reboot.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    NYC 22 feels like the TV version of the show it wants to be.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    It's still not anywhere near the ballpark of the earlier AMC shows, and the plot itself remains incredibly frustrating, but there are other aspects that feel closer to the show Sud said she was making last year, rather than the one she actually made.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    Hagman--and to a lesser extent fellow returning stars Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray--are so much more fun to watch than their four new, young co-stars that the new Dallas plays less like a passing of the torch than a suggestion that torches were better back in the '80s.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    Ultimately, I found Da Vinci's Demons ridiculous but fairly amiable.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    The pilot feels like 17 shows all crammed together into one.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    There's enough strong raw material on hand that Ray Donovan could eventually be built into something great. Right now, though, it's raw material in search of a series.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    Hello Ladies is so much of a piece with both "The Office" and "Life's Too Short"--oblivious asshole keeps putting himself in humiliating situations because of an overinflated sense of self--that it's tiresome almost from the start.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    Though The Newsroom, like "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" before it, is mostly Bad Sorkin on display, there are also those occasional flashes of Good Sorkin that make it worth sifting through the rest of the mess to find.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    Mob City looks so good that I may watch it all the way through (TNT only sent out tonight’s episodes in advance) just for the eye candy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have much else to offer.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    Urban is usually a likable presence, and in time Kennex might calm down and start feeling like a person rather than a cliché, at which point Almost Human could settle into being an acceptable spin on buddy cop tropes. Right now, though, it's Ealy or bust.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    This compromise version emphasizes some of Killen's own weaknesses — he's not a procedural guy, as the cases on "Awake" tended to demonstrate.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    It's not a terrible show, but it's a fairly literal, toothless translation of the source material that doesn't give much indication of working as an ongoing series.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    On the whole, Bad Teacher is a pleasant, unremarkable adaptation of a middling Cameron Diaz vehicle that, in the translation from standalone film to series television (and, specifically, to CBS), loses whatever teeth the movie had.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    The pilot (the only episode I've seen, despite the very late premiere) is ultimately painless.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    All the show has now is that potential, the raw talent, and a setting it doesn't know what to do with.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    Not an especially good first episode (the two-part backdoor pilot on "NCIS" last spring was better), but one I may return to on occasion, just like the original series, just to see the actors work.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    The Undateable pilot was a real chore to get through, in part because Danny is just such an obnoxious collection of dude-bro stereotypes.... Later episodes get better, because they start moving away from the idea of Danny as some kind of sexual Jedi master whom the others are lucky to be learning from.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 58 Alan Sepinwall
    You'll probably laugh a few times, but within a half hour, you'll understand why there hasn't been a rush to make a Nyan Cat or David After Dentist film.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    "Family Guy" ... consists of almost nothing but pop culture references. ... Now, some of these gags are side-splittingly funny ... but there are way too many of them. [9 Apr 1999]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    Fortunately, Ritter is such a seasoned pro at this sitcom thing that he makes "8 Simple Rules" vaguely watchable, and at times actually funny, when in lesser hands it would be thoroughly unpleasant. [17 Sep 2002]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    It was the usual schtick from Leno--which is probably just what his fans wanted to hear after he'd been out of late night for a year and off TV altogether for weeks--with jokes about the Olympics, Dick Cheney, and, of course, the flagging fortunes of the network he's on.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    At times "Cold Case" feels like an assembly-line product, slick and shiny but a bit rushed and impersonal. [23 Sep 2003]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    Murphy's writing has never been especially fond of subtlety - give him a fly to kill, and he'll ask for a brick of C4 - but this version of Nip/Tuck more closely resembles the show the fans fell in love with instead of the one they thought they wanted with The Carver story. [5 Sept 2006, p.27]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    Like "Queer as Folk," The L Word is essentially a mediocre soap opera in soft-core porno drag. There's lots of hot, sweaty, half-naked bodies, but the heads attached spend so much time droning on and on and on about their mundane lives and loves that the sex scenes just feel like an intermission in between all the tepid girl-on-girl dialogue. [16 Jan 2004, p.55]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    If you're not expecting much, you'll come away satisfied. But compared to a good episode of "Family Guy" - or even a mediocre "Simpsons" episode - it's pretty thin gruel. [28 Apr 2005]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    If you've somehow never seen any of the twelve dozen procedural crime shows that CBS does, it might feel a little new, but too often the scenes with Don and his colleagues feel obligatory, like everyone is doing their best to keep the plot moving until Charlie bursts in with the correct digits. [21 Jan 2005]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    The show feels cold, like it's holding the audience at arm's length.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    As usual, it's all too busy, too tonally inconsistent (the scenes with Bill's parents seem to exist not only on a different series, but a different plane of reality) and too often obscures the terrific work being done by Tripplehorn, Sevigny, Goodwin and Seyfried.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    It has so much going for it on paper -- notably Mary-Louise Parker as a pot-dealing soccer mom -- but the series' creators remain so pleased with themselves that they're rarely as funny as they obviously think they are. [13 Aug 2007]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    Much as I admire Lilley's ability to pull off a sort of one-man Christopher Guest movie, only one of the three Summer Heights High leads is funny on a consistent basis.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    It isn't until the werewolf-themed fourth episode that "Dresden Files" finally gives you a trick worth applauding. Hopefully, there's more of that to come.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    A sometimes-promising, sometimes-frustrating, always-overpopulated new sitcom that kicks off this season's odd new trend of shows about relative strangers who become best pals in a hurry.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    And then, near the end of the premiere, something happened that put a dull ache in the pit of my stomach. I won't spoil it here - henceforth, it'll be referred to as The Bad Thing - but it seemed so tonally wrong, so in violation of everything that made the show and the particular characters involved so great, that I knew - I knew - this had been imposed on the production team by the suits at NBC. [5 Oct 2007, p.55]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    It's an odd little show, often more David Lynch than David Milch, and after three episodes I'm still not sure I understand it all.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    I like her a lot, but the shaggy-dog nature of the storytelling... made the comedy miss about as often as it hit for me.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    As epic as Reggie vs. Billy or Billy vs. George were on the sports pages in the summer of Sam, it doesn't feel like quite enough to fill eight hours of scripted drama.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    Even though the performances, the writing, directing, etc., are uniformly strong, The Riches is just too unpleasant to make a weekly commitment to.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    There's nothing annoying about it, but there's also nothing memorable.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    The sex is all implied rather than shown, as is much of the drug use. It's a very PG-13 approach to potentially R-rated subject matter--and that's the problem.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    Reaper takes several steps back--and a few steps sideways--suggesting a drunken all-nighter may be in order, if it hasn't happened already.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    It wants to be a smart-aleck comedy/thriller hybrid in the spirit of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen, but the jokes are rarely clever enough and the thrills rarely exciting enough.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    Some of the performances are good, particularly by Deschanel (who gets to sing near the end, good news for anyone who saw "Elf"), McDonough and Cumming, but solid acting and monkeys flying out of, um, someplace aren't enough to justify spending six hours over three nights on a labored attempt to make a classic children's story seem grown-up and cool.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    There are moments when John Adams stirs up the passion its author clearly had for the subject -- Adams firing off a rifle in the middle of a battle at sea with a British warship, the first public reading of the Declaration, George Washington (David Morse, in the second-best piece of casting other than Giamatti) whispering his oath of office at his inauguration -- but too often it's just as muddy and dull as its subject was accused of being.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    The Flashpoint pilot is competent, but very retro (there's an extended sequence of the team driving to a crisis point with their sirens blaring, the sort of thing that went out 15 years ago) and fairly dull.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    While the jokes may be funnier than "King" has been in a long time, the new show also feels more uneven and strained.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    It's not a bad show, but the mechanics of how they're going to abduct their latest target are far less engaging than how the team interacts with each other and how each member fights his or her compulsions.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    Cleveland isn’t an inherently interesting, or, worse, funny, character. His presence allows the writers (many of them white like Henry and Appel) to tell meta jokes about white people in Hollywood producing entertainment for a black audience, and occasionally some of the racial humor lands.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    If Lie to Me wants to elevate itself above all the other shows like it, it not only needs to beef up the quality of its mysteries, but to spend more time focusing on these unexpected downsides of the power to live a life of absolute truths.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    It’s a bland, interchangeable bunch, with most of them having a single identifiable trait.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    They're flashy and can be briefly shocking or funny or even moving, but the more they go over-the-top, the less impact they have for me.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    V has to rise and fall on its story and its characters. Based on the pilot, both of those areas are spotty.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    If Guggenheim can deepen the personalities and show how the flash forward really impacted them, then they might have a show here. Because right now, there's an interesting idea, some good production values and a cool cliffhanger, and not much else.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    Defying Gravity--an international production with American actors--feels too slight, or silly, to treat as anything but the cheap, disposable summer programming it is.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    Right now, it's a work in progress at best.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    Where other law shows tend to have one side view the other as the embodiment of evil, here we see that these two are old friends from law school who enjoy the battle of wits even as they're convinced they're on the right side of every fight. On those occasions when The Whole Truth slows down to just let those two bounce off each other, it's a show I almost want to watch. But the rest of it is too fast, and too thin, to bother with.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    The show is trying to depict a good cross-section of the city's cop culture. But the scenes with the uniform cops - Ben McKenzie as a young quick study, Michael Cudlitz as his gruff but clever training officer - are just much more vibrant and memorable than anything with the detectives.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Alan Sepinwall
    There aren't any particularly wince-inducing moments, but nor are the various grabs for the heartstrings as successful as they are when "Grey's" is at its best. No lows, but no highs, either.

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