Darren Franich

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For 88 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 67% higher than the average critic
  • 7% same as the average critic
  • 26% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 1.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Darren Franich's Scores

Average review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 Mr. Robot: Season 3
Lowest review score: 0 The Pauly D Project: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 62 out of 88
  2. Negative: 6 out of 88
88 tv reviews
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    If there’s a bold idea with My Next Guest, it’s to be as un-bold as possible. I mean that as a compliment. ... My Next Guest is in no hurry, and the Clooney episode gives me a powerful foreboding. But there’s a corrective feeling to this show. The fine art of conversation has faded a bit from late night.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Darren Franich
    If O.J. was an epic, this is a short-story collection. Some hit, some miss, all share a heartbreaking theme. ... Oddly, Versace is best when it leaves Versace behind.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Darren Franich
    Meyers did a good job, setting a high bar for hosting in a time of tricky comedy. He freely named names, throwing out early mentions of Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. The laughter could be nervous, but Meyers was borderline whimsical in his fury. ... Everyone got their minute at the 2018 Golden Globes. And even the imperfections left me blissful.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    9-1-1 mainly feels like a professional attempt by eccentric creators to draft their own down-the-middle network series. There are pleasures in any form, and I’ve come to enjoy how so many network pilots contain dialogue that sounds like character summaries from casting calls.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    The same aesthetic [on Fox's Grease or NBC's Hairspray] felt plastic when applied to this least plastic of holiday tales. So much of the bigness felt like a distraction: away from Ralphie’s tale, and maybe away from the basic (very difficult!) realities of employing child performers for a three-hour live musical event. You felt like there wasn’t a center to this thing.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Darren Franich
    I don’t think any of the new six measure up to the show’s early heights, but this is a strong batch of science fiction concepts, proof that Brooker has tapped an essential vein of modern living.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    The bad behavior is fun, but the plot construction can feel thin. ... But, um, there's a unicorn! Oswalt give Happy a sweetness edging into lunacy. ... To quote Home Alone 2, another yuletide tale about a heroic psychopath torturing bad guys in New York City. [8 Dec 2017, p.46]
    • 78 Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    It feels like Search Party has genre-skipped, from a comedy with thriller elements to a full-blown thriller. In so doing, it’s reaching into a more familiar toolkit.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 58 Darren Franich
    But set aside the occasional bullet-ballet flourishes and the whiff of government paranoia, and you’re left with something that feels like a melancholy riff on some CBSy procedural like Seal Team. Which isn’t bad. But it ain’t frickin’ good.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    The show quickly asserts itself as a generous rom-com, granting Nola and the boys their own journeys. Lee's returned to this material with purpose. [17 Nov 2017, p.46]
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    There’s a deep vein of dark comedy here, a satire of point-one-percenters that deepens the more recognizable superpowered-teen melodrama.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Darren Franich
    The cast remains full of delightful performers, but they sprawl in different directions, many of them boring.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Darren Franich
    Thede has a kinetic delivery; she strolled onstage to roll through a titular “Rundown” that was one joke piled on top another. Not everything landed, though perhaps some people will never tire of “YOU GET A CAR!” Oprah references. What struck you was the mix of topics and approaches.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Darren Franich
    Mindhunter explores grotesquerie, but the effect is good-humored. Here at the supernova-birth of modern evil, David Fincher has chilled out.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Darren Franich
    Season 3 of Mr. Robot is a masterpiece, ballasting the global ambitions of season 2 while sharpening back to the meticulous build of season 1.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Darren Franich
    The new DuckTales is better than the original show. Funnier, more ambitious. ... Danny Pudi, Ben Schwartz, and Bobby Moynihan were well-cast as the trio, giving the boys a jocky fraternal chemistry. ... Meanwhile, David Tennant is doing longtime Scrooge-voice Alan Young proud.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Darren Franich
    While the pilot breezily sets up her [Fallon Carrington played by Elizabeth Gillies] family's decadent problems, there's something fuddy-duddy in the execution--high-camp trash reduced to bland high style. [13 Oct 2017, p.55]
    • 54 Metascore
    • 42 Darren Franich
    White Famous is the oldest trick in Hollywood's book, a phony Horatio Alger story that's really a vanity project struggling to validate its own vanity. [13 Oct 2017, p.48]
    • tbd Metascore
    • 33 Darren Franich
    There really were a lot of plain-old mistakes: Missed cues, underexplained games, an exclusive clip from Riverdale cutting right over the guest’s introduction of that clip. ... Despite being more impressive in pure visual terms, the new TRL was also too stilted, weirdly unable to pivot from the rails laid for it.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Darren Franich
    It could use more laughs, less hand-me-down mythology. Scott and Robinson have a good odd-couple chemistry and the John Carpenter-y synth soundtrack is just right. [29 Sep, 2017, p.55]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 57 Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    The tactical precision and comms banter suggest Call of Duty adaptation, which could work with a cast this solid, and Neil Brown Jr is especially fun as a no-bull soldier. But the show's portrayal of modern warfare is too simplistic. [29 Sep, 2017, p.54]
    • 53 Metascore
    • 58 Darren Franich
    The various cuts to Shaun’s tragic youth suggest tragedy that the show’s glibness can only render in the broadest strokes; bad dad, kind brother, dead symbolic rabbit. It’s actually a relief when the show separately establishes itself as a sudsy Diet Grey’s Anatomy riff, with British actress Antonia Thomas as an ambitious doctor-who-cares and Nicholas Gonzalez as a McDream-ish surgeon-who-doesn’t.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    You respect the ambition of unspooling this story gradually, but the third episode also retroactively makes the two-part prologue feel even more overextended. This feels like a show struggling to find its heart. But at least Martin-Green gives it a pulse.
    • 27 Metascore
    • 42 Darren Franich
    Inhumans has an eight-episode run on ABC, but by the second hour, it already feels like they’re stalling, or running out the clock.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 58 Darren Franich
    Paulson and Peters are electric the few times they’re onscreen together, two political-extremist poles that magnetically attract. I suspect these first three episodes might constitute an extended prologue, frustratingly similar to how the first half of Roanoke was an overextended set-up for the perspective-shifting madness of the final episodes.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Darren Franich
    There’s an exploration of bureaucracy in the world of superheroes that implies a whole separate David Simon-worthy spinoff. There’s Serafinowicz, a true delight. And just when I was starting to get bored with how every episode ends on a cliffhanger, episode 6 ends with someone yelling “CLIFFHANGER!”
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Darren Franich
    [GLOW] takes everything over-the-top about professional wrestling, pushes it to higher levels of absurdity and melodrama, and finds something deeply personal, explicitly political, and wonderfully brute-force awesome.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    The [season premiere] episode's plot feels like a Negan karaoke session, with a smirkishly predatory new antagonist (Daniel Sharman) holding the main characters captive. Things pick up in future episodes, as Fear's family joins a prepper community. [2/9 Jun 2017, p.96]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 62 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    The series gradually finds its voice, along with profound ambitions pointed toward the political movements of its time (and our time). But it's most impressively a good hang, reveling in the tense camaraderie and striving one-upmanship of desperate comedians yearning for more stage time. [2/9 Jun 2017, p.94]
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Darren Franich
    It's a mess. Michelle Pfeiffer, howeever, is stunning, and has a Queens accent so thick it's funny. [19 May 2017, p.55] The Wizard of Lies is less convincingly about Bernie Madoff than it is about the struggle to understand Bernie Madoff: The search for why and how, by his family and his victims and the system, maybe even the man himself.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    The laughs-per-minute rate is high, though, so the worst you can say about Great News is it's merely pretty good. [28 Apr/5 May 2017, p.99]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 64 Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    Fine performances and a fascinating true story buoy this disappointing adaptation of Rebecca Skloot's bestseller. [21 Apr 2017, p.58]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    It’s admirably lighthearted, and much more kinetic than the typical period piece. The show’s largely played for dramedy and candy-colored history, all pastel set design and elaborate costumes that make everyone look like the Bride of Bowie Frankenstein. But the cheerful casualness defies a tough, battle-hardened heart.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Darren Franich
    Crackle's TV adaptation is Kidz Bop at best. [17/24 Mar 2017, p.89]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 57 Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    The Son will rise--if it can live up to its ambitions, if it can more convincingly explain how young Eli on the frontier became old Eli at the dawn of civilization, and if it can be even half as wild as the West it wants to explore.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 42 Darren Franich
    [Justin Kirk's Gideo Reeves]'s so dumb, but this show thinks he's so smart, because this show is so dumb. [Feb 3/10 2017, p.102]
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    Much of Taboo's fun derives from watching Hardy's charisma explode onto a small-screen costume drama. His Delaney is infused with bull-in-a-china-shop paranoia; he looks trapped, and the only way out is to chew all the gorgeous scenery. [13 Jan 2017, p.54]
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    With Hairspray Live!, more was never more enough. There were pleasures to be had from all the much muchness.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Darren Franich
    There’s a revelation in episode 3 that adds a new shade to Laurie’s paranoid performance. And Mol brings humanity to what could’ve been Hitchcock pastiche.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    It's two moody-cop procedurals for the price of one, with deeply felt emotion in the performances. [7 Oct 2016, p.51]
    • 65 Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    Any potentially thorny issue get pushed aside by excess mythology. [7 Oct 2016, p.50]
    • 45 Metascore
    • 58 Darren Franich
    Conviction doesn’t have the courage of its, errr, principles. It wants to prove the justice system is broken, but it still believes justice comes from a cool office with glass walls and attractive people.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Darren Franich
    The new Lethal Weapon is more modest, and nicer; less offensive, thus, less interesting.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Darren Franich
    Some limp decisions make it feel more like a Models Inc. reboot with fewer models, more Bit coin. But it's worth watching just for Edi Gathegi, who bring star-making charisma and unwarranted pathos to the role of a criminal who (sigh) wants to go straight. [9 Sep 2016, p.55]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 62 Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    Out of the corner of your eye, The Strain almost looks like a real show. [19/26 Aug 2016 p.106]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Darren Franich
    There’s a precision in the show’s expansion, a sense that the creative team wants to explore every corner of their comedy world--and every corner of the character’s psyches. Season 3 builds to one of the funniest, weirdest, and most profound moments I’ve ever seen in a television show--and that’s before the season finale.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 91 Darren Franich
    Meticulously unhinged. [15 July 2016, p.62]
    • 47 Metascore
    • 25 Darren Franich
    This is Crowe's The Newsroom, the moment when his trademark sincerity crosses over into preachy didacticism. [24 Jun 2016, p.54]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 61 Metascore
    • 58 Darren Franich
    Hunter Page-Lochard sines as an amoral Hair "passing" for human. And Game of Thrones' lain Glen deliciously leans into his Untrustworthy Media Mogul role. Unfortunately, Cleverman can't settle on a tone, weaving ham-handed political melodrama with a yet-more-ham-handed mystical chosen-one narrative. [3 Jun 2016, p.101]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Darren Franich
    Few shows on television look better than this one, but it’s coming up on great-drama retirement age. Game of Thrones is getting older. But it’s not dead, yet.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    Fine acting can't overcome some wildly melodramatic plot turns and on-the-nose dialogue/ Fun for Europhiles, boring for everyone else. [15 Apr 2016, p.47]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    The fun and challenge of The Detour is how it seems to be going for comedy in every direction, from delicate character comedy to sight gags to gross-out humor to full-fledged farce.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Darren Franich
    Riley Keough makes an intriguing figure, at once more empowered and more desperate than her cinema alter ego. I have no clue if this is a profound mediation on intimacy or a daylight-noir origin story for Basic Instinct, but I'm hooked. [1/8 Apr 2016, p.101]
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Darren Franich
    Flaked is another horrid post-Togetherness drama-com that's too cute to be serious and too lame to be funny. [11 Mar 2016, p.78]
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Darren Franich
    What followed was one of the most confident premieres in this suddenly never-ending phase of late-night debuts.... Full Frontal already feels like an essential voice in this political year.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Darren Franich
    Grease: Live defied modesty, transcended nostalgia, served up cheese as a ten-course gourmet meal.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Darren Franich
    Duchovny and Anderson both seem more relaxed, finally rediscovering their old zip-zap chemistry. Guest stars Kumail Nanjiani and Rhys Darby are delightful. It’s scary, then funny, then existential, then shockingly moving.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    Spotless is messy, and Grondin is a bit of a blank, but the pilot promises gruesome-funny delights. [13 Nov 2015, p.57]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 26 Metascore
    • 33 Darren Franich
    The pilot starts with a gag about hemorrhoids. Things trend downward. [2 Oct 2015, p.68]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Darren Franich
    At best, Daredevil feels like a pulpier Batman Begins, complete with daddy-issue flashbacks. At worst, it's a much better Gotham. [10 Apr 2015, p.58]
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    Carter's aiming for something between His Girl Friday, Dick Tracy, and Alias--a tough tonal mixture, especially on a weekly broadcast budget. But Atwell's firing on all cylinders. [9 Jan 2015, p.74]
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Darren Franich
    History? Possibly. Trash? Definitely. Fun? Pretty.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 58 Darren Franich
    Beyond him [Big Jim (Dean Norris)], Dome remains bland and opaque, running on lo-fi sci-fi. [4 Jul 2014, p.58]
    • 69 Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    This lighthearted, thin import is worth a watch. [20 Jun 2014, p.60]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Darren Franich
    Night One felt almost fully-formed, as if Oliver has spent his Daily Show tutelage making a list of everything that works-- and everything he wanted to do just a little bit differently.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 Darren Franich
    This series is both ambitious and overstretched. [2 May 2014, p.60]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 45 Metascore
    • 42 Darren Franich
    It has exactly three things going for it: Zoe Lister-Jones, Rick Donald, and the assumption that their next respective projects will be more entertaining than this. [18/25 Apr 2014, p.102]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 55 Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    Sequoyah is an appealing presence, doing what she can with an impossible wonder-kid role. And Cuarón is incapable of creating a boring shot. But he won't direct every episode. The only actor in the pilot who seems to be having any fun is Sienna Guillory as a hitwoman.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    Even though Fallon is a big fan of The Tonight Show, you get the pleasant vibe that he is unencumbered by any extraneous anxiety of influence.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 58 Darren Franich
    The show veers precariously between low-budget and lazy, and the sketches are hit-or-miss. Still, Jacobson and Glazer make an appealing odd couple. [24 Jan 2014, p.64]
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Darren Franich
    It's a beautiful mess. Don't miss it. [29 Nov 2013, p.66]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 Darren Franich
    It's a podcast masquerading as a sitcom, but the fifth-season premiere is a good display of the show's shaggy charm.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Darren Franich
    Two tunes in this attempt to reverse-engineer a new High School Musical are decent.... But the rest is dull as sand. [19 Jul 2013, p.80]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 39 Metascore
    • 33 Darren Franich
    It is very, very bad. And yet: Dinosaurs! [31 May/7 Jun 2013, p.131]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 43 Metascore
    • 42 Darren Franich
    The Show With Vinny is better than Snooki & J-Woww and The Pauly D Project. That ain’t saying much.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    Rogue is trash, but thanks to Newton, it's delightful trash. [5 Apr 2013, p.62]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 48 Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    The thriller elements are mostly nonstarters, but the show does offer some genuine pleasures, thanks to the overqualified cast. [8 Mar 2013, p.73]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 42 Metascore
    • 8 Darren Franich
    [A] morass of vanilla quirk and stereotype whack-a-mole. [28 Sep 2012, p.66]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    There's plenty to enjoy in this period drama. [28 Sep 2012, p.64]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 42 Metascore
    • 42 Darren Franich
    Here's a show descending into self-parody before it even has a self to parody. [14/21 Sep 2012, p.133]
    • 57 Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    Wilfred, the vulgarian talking dog, [is] beginning to feel like the same lame joke repeated ad nauseam.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 42 Darren Franich
    By focusing on their [millionaire's] catharsis, the show suggests that lifestyle tourism counts as heroism.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 0 Darren Franich
    Alas, this Joey-ish spin-off is pure hagiography.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    They [Rupert Penry-Jones and Phil Davis] make an appealing upstairs-downstairs odd couple, even if the nifty concept--studying centuries-ago crimes to help solve contemporary cases--is starting to wear thin.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    The eighth-season premiere is an enjoyable tangent, with House solving a medical mystery behind bars, but nothing can hide the by-the-numbers plot.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 Darren Franich
    The show can feel disorienting--a mix of reality competition and infomercial targeted at millionaires--but hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond have an infectious geek-patrician enthusiasm.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Darren Franich
    Like fellow Canadian import Rookie Blue, Combat Hospital seems almost purposefully forgettable. Watch a China Beach rerun instead.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 67 Darren Franich
    Vincent D'Onofrio, who transformed this Law & Order spin-off into an addictive showcase for gleeful Method wackiness and is back as Detective Goren for the final season. The series remains a dependably bland procedural.

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