Neil Genzlinger

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For 356 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 6% same as the average critic
  • 50% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Neil Genzlinger's Scores

Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Fargo: Season 2
Lowest review score: 10 Stalker: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 38 out of 356
356 tv reviews
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Neil Genzlinger
    The new season offers even more [with casting], with delicious results.... An entertaining season of this sublime series.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    [David Attenborough] has eschewed the soapbox in favor of subtlety. This program (the series producer is Tom Hugh-Jones) does, too, for the most part.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    For the most part, the flexibility that television provides is used to good advantage in The Hollow Crown to clarify the action and enhance the dynamics. Only occasionally does it feel misplaced, as in “Richard II,” when [director Rupert] Goold goes all in with Jesus imagery.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Sometimes this focus on technology feels a bit heavy-handed, but in general this is a series that seems to be growing more assured as it goes along.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Yes, the series sometimes grows a bit preachy: This installment, like its predecessors, tends to indulge in extended scenes whose dialogue can sound as if it were from a PBS documentary or a newspaper exposé. But you have to admire the ability of Mr. Ridley and his actors to wrap the earnestness in a compelling package.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 40 Neil Genzlinger
    The new season of this dense medieval fantasy set in a land called Westeros serves up a whole bunch of wartime posturing, a seemingly endless number of would-be rulers and the usual sex and (sometimes in the same scene) violence. But it sure doesn't give viewers much to latch onto.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    The presentation is familiar, maybe a little too familiar, by now: actors reading journal entries; vintage photographs lovingly panned; historians adding commentary.... But Mr. Burns, cutting between [Theodore and Franklin's] life stories, probes the intersections with playful insight.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Neil Genzlinger
    An absorbing film by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein, has both [insight and subtlety], making it as rewarding as it is thought-provoking.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Mr. Burns and Ms. Novick, commendably, don't beat you over the head with the obvious lessons for those today who would legislate personal behavior; they largely let the story of Prohibition speak for itself.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    A succinct and well-conceived documentary.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    In any given episode, all three of these actresses may be called upon for slapstick comedy (for Ms. Metcalf, in the season premiere, there’s an outlandish scene in a bathroom stall), deadpan humor and actual pathos, since their patients are often frail, facing dementia or outright dying. And they deliver with nuanced performances that turn quick glances or sighs into punch lines.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Neil Genzlinger
    A blistering, demented animated series.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    The movie, adapted by Mr. Kramer and directed by Ryan Murphy, simultaneously exposes some of the play’s flaws and finds alternate sources of power in the story.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    Some comics are natural actors, but Ms. Butcher and Ms. Esposito aren’t, which makes for awkward moments, especially when the show tries to hit a somber or intimate note. But the clunkiness also gives Take My Wife a weird sort of honesty.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Neil Genzlinger
    It’s a vehicle for two graying actors that gives both a chance for tour-de-force performances, and in the new television version Monday on Starz, a couple of esteemed veterans, Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen, get about as much out of the tale as there is to get.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    As with most things Forrest tries in this drolly hilarious show, neither goes quite as planned.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Neil Genzlinger
    National Treasure is a beautifully drawn portrait of ugliness, impeccably written and acted, yet painful to absorb.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    In its first season, Difficult People distinguished itself with such fast-paced, snippy dialogue, but the show has become more than just a series of quick jokes. The writing has grown increasingly intricate.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Neil Genzlinger
    Where Sagan’s narrative often approached poetry, Dr. Tyson’s can sound like an overwrought, overamplified planetarium show.... The animation used to present his story resembles low-budget anime and isn’t terribly absorbing. Bruno deserves better. Nit-picking aside, if the new Cosmos doesn’t deliver quite the punch of the original, it’s because this isn’t 1980.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Neil Genzlinger
    The core portion of Jackie Robinson’s story is so familiar that Part 1 of the new Ken Burns treatment of it may not seem like vital viewing. But Part 2 examines Robinson’s later, less celebrated years, completing a portrait of an eventful life that, in the popular mind, is often confined to the ball field.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    The program has a fair amount of feel-good filler about the bond between the dogs and their handlers, but when it comes to showing these pairs at work, it is blunt and disturbing.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    As with all of the best examples of this genre--this film was not made to provide a feel-good moment that enables us to go back to forgetting about the bombing and those most affected by it. It was made to remind us that recovery is far harder and more complex than we realize.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Absurdity is the only real agenda here, and The Tick hits that target. Whether that is enough remains to be seen. The daffiest shows sometimes flame out early, and in its aggressive incongruity The Tick is certainly a descendant of "Police Squad," an experimental classic that lasted just a few episodes.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Maron may not delve that deeply [into substance abuse]--by Episode 2 of the new season, Marc is showing signs that he’s the same irksome guy in rehab that he was before. But if nothing else, the premiere does effectively, yet comedically, show two truths of substance abuse: Addicts need enablers who fuel their problem, either deliberately or inadvertently, and most need someone to intervene to help them climb out of the pit.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    It’s an exceedingly watchable history lesson.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    This is a thoughtful series that lingers over death rather than using it for shock value; one that finds its story lines in small power struggles rather than gruesome palace coups.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    The whole enterprise is wrapped in a big-budget look and served with a respect for the ability of young minds to perceive offbeat, incongruous humor, the very quality that made the books so successful in the first place.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    It’s a fine show, relying on slow-building tension rather than the gory shock value of series like “The Following,” and the five-episode arc now on Netflix is worth a look if you haven’t had your fill of cat-and-mouse dynamics.... Oddly, the character developed the least may be Ms. Anderson’s.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    The smooth telling of Russo's story juxtaposed against the present day, when gay marriage is sanctioned in some states and gay characters are all over prime-time television, drives home how different the cultural landscape is from the one Russo knew.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    The advice here is to forget the politics and enjoy the performances and the trip back in time.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    This quietly addictive program isn't really about what goes on inside the Big Apple's single ring. It's about the people, both under the lights and behind them, who make those performances possible.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Though these people may not resemble any job seekers you know, the portraits feel about as honest as reality TV gets.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    We have perhaps grown to expect a certain rhythm in these accounts. A mission accomplished amid much bravery and loss. Memories of horror and heroism carried silently for decades. The Ghost Army reminds us that in a conflict as sweeping as the Second World War, not every story fits that template.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    The Challenger investigation story doesn’t have quite the level of malfeasance or the cloak-and-dagger undertones of other movies about real-life government or business debacles. But it still makes for an absorbing tale, one that seems well timed for our current moment of bungled websites, unrestrained eavesdropping and public skepticism.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Once the annual avalanche of Halloween-themed episodes, specials and movies overtakes TV, you probably don't expect to be using the word "charming" very often. But charming perfectly describes one such entry, Toy Story of Terror!
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Neil Genzlinger
    The language is supposed to be realistic and maybe it is realistic, but it often feels self-conscious, like an overly thick Southern accent. That's too bad, because when Mr. Simon and Edward Burns, who are credited with the writing of the first five episodes, pull back a bit, they sometimes achieve a rough eloquence.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    It's unlikely to achieve television greatness like "M*A*S*H" did, but by Episode 3 it shows signs of becoming an addictive pleasure along the lines of this season's "Revenge."
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Neil Genzlinger
    Sure, it all makes for pretty filmmaking, but isn't not having to risk your life for a simple meal one of the benefits of civilization? There's something unsettling about glorifying subsistence living for the sake of our high-definition televisions.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Valentine Road, directed by Marta Cunningham, is clear in its sympathy for Mr. King, but it is also bracingly willing to explore other sides of this disturbing case and complex subject.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Beneath the light moments and the spy-versus-spy stuff, the series has a perspective that makes it refreshing.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    The premiere episode tends to lapse into a "You go, girl" mode typical of shallow treatments of disability, with fist-pumping and treacly background music.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    A teary, perfectly tolerable collection of interlocking stories featuring lots of recognizable actors and two particularly well-etched segments.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    The work is different, but personality-wise, Archer and his comrades are much the same. At least at first. The show seems to be giving itself license to explore.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    The series is structured as an ever-evolving medical detective story, but the filmmakers give it heart as well by juxtaposing the history lessons with present-day personal profiles of cancer patients.... It’s a well-conceived approach to a subject that in other hands might have been dry. Still, be prepared to give it your full attention.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    The series has a sprawling cast and high production values, yet it starts off rather generically--bearded men playing with swords, battling over territory.... Hang around until Episode 3, though, and substantive themes begin to take shape that give this series a distinctive personality.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    The change in structure [expanding to four POVs] certainly helps the series, which though one of TV’s more ambitious writing experiments was beginning to seem limited by its own gimmick.... True, the consequences of the affair that set the series in motion are substantial and never-ending, but it’s all coated in an idyllic sheen.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Mr. Cranston keeps it watchable with a performance that grows ever more fervent but never goes over the top.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    [David Holbrooke] puts just enough of himself and his extended family into The Diplomat to give it some audience-friendly poignancy.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Neil Genzlinger
    Yes, the show will be funny, in an innocuous sort of way, if it continues to stay off that pulpit. But if it becomes a little less cautious occasionally, it might rise from merely diverting to important.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    If the longstanding "SNL" segment is a sort of introductory course in wringing humor from headlines, and Mr. Stewart's "Daily Show" is the advance-level class, Onion News Network is graduate school, requiring much quicker thinking and a greater tolerance for comfort-zone invasion.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    This is a deceptively difficult form to nail; often those who try end up with little more than a collection of flatulence jokes. Done right, though, as it is in "Galavant," a mindless comedy is not the same as a dumb comedy. It’s smart, just in a carefree way.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    If your own family is anything like the clan in this delightfully demented show, seek help immediately.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    It’s built on sharp writing and equally sharp acting, as any good series needs to be.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    The Detour is the kind of show that is best consumed in extended viewing. Individually, its episodes can seem slapdash and gratuitously crass. But there’s a theme beneath the ribaldry, one that may leave you pondering just how much you really know about that person sitting or sleeping next to you.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Neil Genzlinger
    John Oliver, a graduate of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” didn’t exactly break the mold when he rolled out his new show, Last Week Tonight, late on Sunday on HBO; he just tugged at it a bit.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Neil Genzlinger
    The revisiting of Ripper lore, though, is relatively painless, especially since the most interesting character in this series is Edward Buchan (Steve Pemberton), the Ripperologist who tips Chandler to the similarities between the then and the now.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    For the most part, though, The A Word feels true and honest. Other shows that have used characters with disabilities for secondary plotlines have often seemed simplistic or glib, going for quick tears or feel-good moments. This one’s unblinking, and more powerful for it.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    If you are reaching the saturation point with this type of sketch work, The Birthday Boys may cause you to sigh at the sameness of it all. But if you’ve stayed away from those other yucksters, these ones provide fairly consistent midlevel laughs.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    A well-chosen supporting cast rounds things out.... And yes, they are self-absorbed, hypercritical people who you would and should hate. But the reason the show works is that, very subtly, it’s mocking them. Julie and Billy are all about self-loathing, and they invite you to loathe right along with them.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    The list of people who have been reviled and labeled, explicitly or subtly, as something less than human is long: blacks, Jews, foreigners, people with AIDS, people with disabilities. Zombies notwithstanding, this appealing series, created and written by Dominic Mitchell, works this territory as credibly as any more conventional drama.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Mr. Moura is inscrutably brilliant at the center of it all.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Harder is capturing the tone of another era. The Duffers manage that quite well, too, thanks to a fine sense of restraint that increasingly seems a lost art these days. There are a few good shocks here, but mostly there is patience. None of it would work without solid acting, and the series has that in abundance.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Just when the crowd thinks it knows where he’s going, he jerks the string and sends things in a different direction, to great effect. It’s a gimmick that takes a refined sense of timing and a mastery of misdirection, and Mr. Cosby, who is 76, shows that he still has both.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Neil Genzlinger
    This grab-bag approach has certainly worked well enough for other prime-time soap operas, and it will no doubt find an audience here, but the strands interweave awkwardly in the early going. Some genuinely lazy scene-making saps the show of credibility.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 40 Neil Genzlinger
    Bessie shows us an assortment of moments from that life but doesn’t really make us feel it, despite Queen Latifah’s best efforts. Blame a choppy presentation that checks off points in the Bessie Smith timeline but doesn’t probe them or knit them together.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Neil Genzlinger
    It’s disappointing that two of the first three episodes are little more than familiar reworkings of overused formulas and plots. But Episode 2 indicates the concept’s promise; the show stops trying to be too many things and, for a half-hour at least, finds a groove.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    This isn’t crackpot conspiracy theory stuff; the documentary is as serious and somber as its title.... The film ends with a lengthy list of officials who declined to be interviewed, which leaves it one-sided, and it doesn’t go beyond merely asking that the crash get another look: the intent is not to explore who might have fired any missiles that were fired.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    It hardly needs saying that Ms. Silverman’s material is not for everybody.... But she isn’t spewing things out randomly, hoping to get by on shock value. The execution is fairly intricate.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Neil Genzlinger
    The actors did fine, but the characters and their arcs became secondary to executing the grand scheme. This, in other words, was a show that was more about individual moments than about building a story.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    A pleasantly dumb series.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    The show probably doesn’t need to resort to voice-overs as often as it does, but it’s generally pretty smart, witty and well acted, and not afraid to turn dark on occasion.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Neil Genzlinger
    Four hours may seem like a lot, and some of the commentary sounds as if it’s being read from a script, which doesn’t help the time pass quickly. But if anyone deserves a longer-than-usual television documentary, it’s Sinatra, who would have turned 100 this December. The film becomes more interesting the less far back your memory goes.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    The series ... is full of the same brutal weather and dubious quests as Discovery’s reality shows, but professional actors ... make it a much more compelling attraction than any of that other fare.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Humans, a British product based on a Swedish series, feels fresh nonetheless, thanks to a multiple-plotline approach, a deft cast and its refusal to be simplistic.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Neil Genzlinger
    It’s pleasant enough, with enjoyable guest stars, but it comes too late in the evolution of this genre to make much of an impression.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Neil Genzlinger
    There are interesting tidbits about the history of fashion photography--the racism, the drugs--but not much serious discussion about the cultural consequences of the evolution of the business.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    This looks like a pretty tasty fantasy drama.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    By the end of the second episode, this tasty show starts to reveal that it is not just another identity-swapping story. Something creepily sci-fi is definitely going on.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    In Sleepyhead, the better of the two, someone is killing women by inducing strokes....In Scaredy Cat the crimes are just as bizarre, though the outcome is more predictable.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    This would be a better, easier-to-follow series if it allowed itself to be direct from time to time, but it will reward those who like their television dense and brooding.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Every so often a staff member, usually DiDi, is shown in a quiet moment with a patient, providing actual care. These small scenes end up being surprisingly moving because this fictional hospital unit, in all its ridiculousness, feels somehow true to life.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    As it starts Season 3 on Monday night, it has evolved into a deftly acted story of small-town dysfunction, creepy when it needs to be yet far more wide ranging than the movie that inspired it.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Neil Genzlinger
    Entire scenes from the premiere look like an ABC Family series.... From the first two episodes of the new season, it seems as if finding a balance between career and family, especially for the women in this show, might emerge as a thread. That would put this season in some oft-mined territory. And, of course, just by moving into the ’60s it’s already eligible for a fatigue warning.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    It’s hard to imagine even the haters not enjoying Annie: It’s the Hard-Knock Life, From Script to Stage, a delightful documentary.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Neil Genzlinger
    It has lots of stunning images, but if there’s a unifying concept, it is apparently going to emerge more gradually than a single episode allows.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Neil Genzlinger
    This series starts out with promise but ultimately ends up ordinary, another historical drama with well-regarded actors, fancy costumes and not much to distinguish it from all the others.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Under the Dome gets off to an addictive start on Monday, so much so that it’s hard to imagine any second-episode falloff in viewership.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    The plotting and pacing are what draw you in. The series works like a good page-turner.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    We’ve come to expect an eclectic mix from the American Horror Story anthology, and the formula works particularly well in this installment, thanks to uninhibited work by the big-name cast.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Neil Genzlinger
    The shortcoming of NY Med isn’t Dr. Oz (who is not around much in the early episodes); it’s that the program doesn’t trust its own best vignettes, lingering too long on emotions that speak for themselves, tarting up inherently powerful moments with syrupy music.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    Vikings is a mini-series about a band of professional pillagers with a disregard for human life and a relentless focus on gratifying material desires. So it is somewhat surprising that it is also a refreshing study in restraint.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    An unpredictably enjoyable ride.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 30 Neil Genzlinger
    The series begins with a tenuous premise, uses it to leap to an inaccurate dichotomy and supports that with tired, unfunny stereotypes.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Neil Genzlinger
    The question is whether it has any depth or insight to offer once it [raises your eyebrows]. The evidence provided by the first three episodes is inconclusive.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    A documentary on PBS that has little to do with the war but is quietly revelatory, just as that earlier work was.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Neil Genzlinger
    This may be a case where a little more violence would help make the stakes seem more real. The main issues for these royals and would-be royals are when to bow and to whom.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Neil Genzlinger
    Hunted ends up being a competent addition to the high-stakes-snooping genre but not a very surprising one.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Neil Genzlinger
    Staking out a distinctive place within the genre isn’t easy. Penny Dreadful tries to do so with a combination of literary allusion, fine acting, patience and fearlessness, which, at least for the first two episodes, clicks deliciously.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Neil Genzlinger
    The problem for this series, besides making Kyle someone we care enough about to keep watching, will be finding original ways to cast out demons. By the end of the premiere, we’ve already had an “Exorcist” scene, and as the show goes along, Anderson does the cross-and-scripture thing we’ve seen a zillion times.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Neil Genzlinger
    The film had multiple writers, and keeping the many characters straight requires some effort, but it stays watchable to the end. And it stays relatively true to events, even those that don’t fit into a Scriptwriting 101 template.

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