Melanie McFarland

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For 260 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 55% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 9.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Melanie McFarland's Scores

Average review score: 57
Highest review score: 100 The Wire: Season 4
Lowest review score: 0 Twins: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 61 out of 260
260 tv reviews
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Melanie McFarland
    Rarely if ever has watching psychological torture felt so goddamn enticing.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Melanie McFarland
    Serving up the kind of dialogue that leads to tears and cackles, it may be the most joyfully scathing look at stifled lives network TV has ever seen. [1 Oct 2004]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Melanie McFarland
    In showing us the sum of Forrest’s travails, Review has given birth to something extraordinary: a bleak, serialized tragedy that inspires spasms of unrestrained laughter.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Melanie McFarland
    But don't call it a dramedy. No, the great trick of Rescue Me is that it's the saddest drama on television at which you possibly will laugh at. Some also would call it the best. [13 June 2007, p.C1]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Melanie McFarland
    To call "Deadwood" great television doesn't begin to do it justice.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Melanie McFarland
    No other series so poignantly probes the human condition and our concept of reality, identity, what we know and what is true with such alluring complexity. In a just world, more people would watch Rectify. That it existed at all, and leaves four tremendous seasons to savor and contemplate, is its own lovely blessing.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Melanie McFarland
    If there ever was a series that makes HBO a necessity, "The Wire" is it.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Melanie McFarland
    All the hype leading up to the final approach of The Leftovers has merit. The seven episodes HBO provided are consistently brilliant, sure and mindful about tying up loose ends.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Melanie McFarland
    Each episode provides everything you would want from a comedy: originality, elegantly crude humor, genuine warmth and heartbreak.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Melanie McFarland
    "Masterpiece" isn't too strong a word to describe this series.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    Real and relatable, "Chris" may be the best new comedy of a season filled with sitcoms worth viewing.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    The agile humor and light, sharp intelligence permeating the script make "Studio 60" far and away one of the season's best new dramas, if not the top entry.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    When "Sunny" works, it makes your rib cage ache. Even when it's not up to its usual standards, it's still better than whatever else is passing for a good time at the moment. [29 Jun 2006]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    Outstanding on all fronts--acting, cinematography and script are all top-notch--but it happens to be unrelentingly depressing as well.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    Beneath this skin is one-of-a-kind daring television that explores the complexities of human relationships with an unparalleled intelligence, sensitivity, appropriate level of fun - Joan Rivers dropped by last season, for example - and, when it is warranted, menace. [20 Sept 2005, p.E1]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    Few stars can write and play a kicked-in-the-mouth underdog as smartly as Gervais does here.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    Its larger accomplishment of showcasing Rae’s talents and underrepresented characters in a sublime comedy is worth celebrating.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    Any viewer, regardless of political stripe, can [have] something to embrace in the Alvarez family, which is true of Lear’s oeuvre in general. By taking the classic family sitcom and making it feel vital and relevant, the show has invited us to connect to the truths we hold in common. Sometimes refreshing the familiar is precisely the entertainment we need.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    Arrested Development has been hyped to the clouds in a number of ads, all piling on critical encomiums from all over the country. This time they're telling the truth. [31 Oct 2003, p.E1]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    It demands commitment and a willingness to pay attention to the smallest bits of information, but it's also riveting. Once you decide to go take this case, you won't want to turn back.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    The deliberate pacing and dreamy, surreal tone of Atlanta may prove too off-putting for viewers searching for easy entertainment. But those thirsting for a fearless, fresh perspective in comedy will find much to appreciate here.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    What begins as the usual artistic season premiere shivers and sways with unexpected jolts, one of which irrevocably changes the course and feel of the series. Everything blurs, and nothing, and no one, seems true.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    Regardless of where we are in this strange voyage, it’s obvious that Gilligan and Gould are accelerating Jimmy toward his grimmer future. The third season opens with a heavier atmosphere leaning more into the drama of the tale, so much that one may forget that it was originally conceived as a half-hour sitcom.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    As hilariously scalding onscreen as it is on the daily comics pages.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    The ‘60s pop art-inspired style with which Hawley initially presents “Legion” speaks to an extraordinary level of creative intricacy and care in his storytelling. Aesthetically adventurous and candy-colored as the drama’s opening hours are, they’re also part of a compelling TV experiment.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    More than simply being outstanding, "Friday Night Lights" is an important series because of the way it takes family-friendly television seriously.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    The fans, no doubt, will be content with the conclusion of the brutal street politics--usually the best aspect of each season--as we witness a brilliantly stormy resolution of the unrest between Proposition Joe (Robert F. Chew), Marlo Stanfield (Jamie Hector), who continues to expand his power, and the charismatic, elegant brute Omar Little (Michael K. Williams), a murderous thief worth cherishing.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    Sneaky Pete is a series made for devouring. As good as the premiere is, the next episode is better. The promises made in the second episode are delivered and expanded upon in the third. This is a show populated with enjoyable characters that spins a familiar conceit, the crime drama, in a way that feels bright and original.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    Langford and Minnette are the magnetic core of this drama. Separately and together, they have a dynamic chemistry that glows when they share the screen and energizes their scenes with others.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    In a fall season full of lofty recommendations and solid, well-made pilots, it's the only series truly worth getting excited about.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    I know it doesn't sound too cool, but really, it's great - not at all obvious like "Touched by an Angel," and far more intelligent... Everyone in this cast is nothing short of brilliant, but Tamblyn's really the one that glows. She's believably snarky in her secret interactions with what may or may not be God; she's well aware she could be crazy. [26 Sept 2003, p.E1]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    To see Larry behave so socially recklessly each week is a tremendous treat. [2 Jan 2004]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    More relevant and biting than it has ever been.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    Besides being the funniest pilot, it has the best cast.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Melanie McFarland
    The Crown is as superb and heavy as, well, the actual crown.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 83 Melanie McFarland
    Outstanding. [21 July 2004, p.E6]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 70 Metascore
    • 83 Melanie McFarland
    Disturbing and morbid in presentation and humor, Nip/Tuck isn't for the squeamish, and it isn't pretty. But what we saw was alluring and smart enough to, perhaps, pick up the pace on Tuesday nights. [22 July 2003, p.E6]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    There's a lot to love about Torchwood, especially for fans of the early days of "The X-Files," when it was more of a clever horror anthology series and the alien conspiracy had yet to take over the plot.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Performances by a stalwart cast ensure that Guerrilla works in spite of these shakier elements.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Guide to Style is smart, fun and instructive, emphasizing enlightenment over shame and choice over following orders.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Plain wonderful.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Leary has emerged as a creative force to be reckoned with; he writes the show with co-creator Peter Tolan in addition to starring in it. His rapid-fire wit and comedic cadence permeate the wiry, combative dialogue that serves the series so well. [21 June 2005, p.E1]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Considering all that it has going for it, "Threshold" has a more formidable foe in Friday night apathy. Out of all the shows that could possibly conquer that, though, you couldn't place your faith in a better choice than this excellent proof of intelligent TV life.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    "CSI: NY" is at least as good as its counterparts, and everything you expect it to be. [22 Sep 2004]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Turns like this take the series further into Aaron Spelling territory than it ever was, an idea that may offend those who can't let go of the notion that HBO is supposed to be better than regular TV.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Carefully crafted performances balance the hilarity with notes of trauma lurking within, adding a winning sincerity to People of Earth.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    You don't usually encounter the words "smart" and "soap" in close proximity, but this is one of those exceptions.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    It is something rare and wonderful, a remarkable, original vision.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    "Ugly Betty" may be the fall's best new series.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    The show could be almost too funny to be appreciated on normal television, in the same way "Arrested [Development]" was.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Severe as the new situation may sound, the show initially explores this idea with humor--starting with a studio executive (played by Craig Bierko) coming in for a little touch-up to hide the scars of his, shall we say, therapy delivered by his mistress.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    The storytelling and performances are peerless in their intensity.... At the same time, there may be too much going on here for six episodes to do this show justice.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    The premiere showed a few early signs of greatness from a handful of the designers; you'll have to watch to find out to whom I'm referring.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” may start in an oddly untethered state, but it is marvelously strange and entertaining enough to warrant sticking around as its heroes and writers connect the dots.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    The series quickly establishes itself as an elegant study in horror.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    The greatest strength of these new episodes lies in Moura’s expansion of his character’s portrait, allowing us to contemplate the chilling dichotomy of Escobar’s personality.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    From the opening scene on, the “Selma” director lends her creative strengths to the story, saturating every scene with the sumptuous visuals afforded by the story’s Louisiana setting.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Each hour has a drag to it, one that feels hypnotically weird and is interrupted by spasmodic bursts of violence and disarming farce. All of that lends an aura of honesty to this story of life inside the world of intelligence might. ... A taste worth acquiring.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Very British, coasting on quiet pauses, subtle digs and ironic discomfort -- a bonus for some, a strong negative for many.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Outlandish creativity is the central feature here, a switch that inspires viewers to discuss each competition in the same way you'd evaluate a work of art as opposed to hooting at the foulest examples of human behavior. [6 Dec 2005]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    In place of the first season’s harrowing escape plot is a story of defiance and resistance that clarifies the purpose of each character’s mission.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    The purity of feeling in Better Things weaves their stories together in such a way that feels warm and real. Yet many of the most successful moments within the five preview episodes made available to critics stem from Sam’s professional and personal lives crashing into one another.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    An unusual holiday trip. Fortunately for us, it’s one worth taking.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    The women aren't as shrill as they've been in the past, and even Sheila (Callie Thorne), the histrionic widow of Tommy's dead cousin has become a decent comedic foil. Better yet, Susan Sarandon steps up to the plate this season as a confident, rich woman - not a girl, a woman, Tommy points out - who wants to seduce Franco (Daniel Sunjata). [30 May 2006, p.D1]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    That’s part of the reason the show’s stories and characters feel honest and familiar; even if you don’t smoke, you probably know people who are just like The Guy’s customers. You may even recognize yourself in one of those people.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    "24" roars back brilliantly.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Pete has yet to figure out that the art of winning an audience is perfected through enthusiastically failing again and again. Crashing shows that Holmes has already mastered that lesson and has moved on to quietly, honestly killing it.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Cute and smart, "Earl's" pilot pulled a coup unheard of in recent network comedy memory, juggling un-P.C. humor with a winning sweetness.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Billions hasn’t abandoned any of the various subtexts that make it so absorbing; in fact, the decreased furor means it brings more attention to those themes.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    This often results in some highly entertaining, enlightening footage. Watching Justin Timberlake crumble when he thought his house had been swiped by the government for back taxes - well, that just brought a tear to my eye. [3 Apr 2003, p.E1]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    What it does is invite you to enjoy the dysfunction, maybe relate a little. Worthy punctuation for the end of Sunday evening. [5 Nov 2004, p.C1]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    "This American Life" lost none of its authenticity in transition from radio to Showtime.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Any potential discomfort one may have with the subject is soon overwhelmed by the spirited intelligence and sharp style with which this series is executed.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    The story hits the gas immediately in season two, immediately juicing up the excellent comedic chemistry between Campbell, DeLorenzo and Santiago while taking the story into fraught emotional spaces for Ash.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    It seems Darren Star has moved away from the fantasy of the upwardly mobile professional woman who seizes life's pleasures for everything they're worth; his ABC dramedy proves, time and again, that every treasure we hunt for comes with a higher price not listed on any receipt.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Fugit depicts Barnes with the scraggly desperation of a starving, wounded animal. With his poignant portrayal securely holding each hour’s center, Outcast quickly mutates from a creepfest into a tragedy about doubt, coping and human frailty.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Getting to know these characters can be incredibly entertaining but, like the pets each keeps at arm’s length in their respective shows, they’re best experienced in limited doses.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    The oaken friendship in Hap and Leonard allows the plotline’s racial context to feel more affecting and salient than other higher-profile series addressing similar themes. Williams and Purefoy are an incredible comedy team, perking up the bleakest situations with their back-and-forth bickering. Those moments earn the viewer’s investment in the toughest parts of the story and never allow the energy in Hap and Leonard to deflate.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Getting to know these characters can be incredibly entertaining but, like the pets each keeps at arm’s length in their respective shows, they’re best experienced in limited doses.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Originally scheduled to premiere in March, Bright Lights is a mirthful portrait of Reynolds’ and Fisher’s extraordinary connection above all else, even as it reminds viewers of the toll attachment can take on a body and spirit.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    "Psych" is one of those happy collisions of an intelligent script and an appealing cast.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Transparent has expanded from its first season’s examination of gender identity, and with that enlarged view come some growing pains. ... But the newest episodes of Transparent also display the perils of a producer reveling a tad too much in a show’s baroque period, particularly in the self-referential first episode, “Elizah.”
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    All the praise heaped on Pushing Daisies, and every declaration about the dramedy's originality, is merited.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    Luke Cage is not a quick binge, but there’s something to appreciate in its 1970s noir-influenced pacing. As slow burns go, this one rewards patient viewing.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Melanie McFarland
    One magnificently chilling shot near the end of the season two's first episode shows us just how busy Dexter's been all these years. Rarely has an image of evil looked so delectably good.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Melanie McFarland
    With Time After Time he’s struck a balance between honest emotional resonance and salacious violence. Strangely enough, this combination makes this midseason series more charming and enjoyable than one would expect.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Melanie McFarland
    In essence, you're watching the parts of life we're never supposed to see play out before our eyes, and the effect can be either uncomfortable but fascinating or whiny and dull.
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Melanie McFarland
    So just put your intelligence on hold for an hour or four, and you'll be ecstatic at Day 6's beginning.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Melanie McFarland
    "Weeds' " executive producers, headed by creator Jenji Kohan, get kudos for keeping the show's balance of heartfelt drama and screwy comedy intact.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 Melanie McFarland
    This is TV sugar with an IQ and a pulse -- clever, revved-up, often funny, sometimes devastating.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Melanie McFarland
    A promising cast and respected executive producers conspire to give "The Unit" a shot at being this spring's breakout hit. But the real proof's in the pilot, a thrilling balance between the action of this sharpshooting brotherhood and the schemes of their secretive, slightly overbearing wives.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Melanie McFarland
    The premiere breathe[s] like a moody, dark theatrical release -- one that tastes like Quentin Tarantino muddled with Michael Mann -- as opposed to a pilot from executive producer John Wells.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Melanie McFarland
    Borders on terrific at times and falters in others.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Melanie McFarland
    "Sons & Daughters" is supposed to feel like a heightened version of your own family, and in many ways it succeeds.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Melanie McFarland
    "How I Met Your Mother" may not break any comedic ground, but it's the sort of comfortable, reliable hitter CBS needs on Monday nights.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Melanie McFarland
    It's a good show waiting to happen, television cliches and all. [5 Aug 2005]
    • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Melanie McFarland
    True, it's not quite "Tales From the Crypt" but is better than "Tales From the Darkside."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Melanie McFarland
    "Army Wives" is a series that sucks you in on the strength of its characters.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Melanie McFarland
    An immensely enjoyable premiere.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 70 Melanie McFarland
    Once we’re aware that’s coming, we can’t help but to expect it to happen. That puts the onus on Hawley and his writers to cook up an act so unexpected that it jolts us nevertheless. Whether initial crime of Season 3 fulfills that promise is debatable. The auxiliary circumstances and characters surrounding it, however, don’t initially hold enough tension to makes us salivate with anxiety for where this story will go next.

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