Sonia Saraiya
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For 60 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 58% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 41% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 6.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Sonia Saraiya's Scores

Average review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 The Hollow Crown: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 I Wanna Marry Harry: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 60
  2. Negative: 3 out of 60
60 tv reviews
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Sonia Saraiya
    The FX comedy’s fifth season reveals a show that is as confident and distinctive as ever, a sitcom that is not quite like anything else on television.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Sonia Saraiya
    With Masters and Johnson occupying a space in between love, work, and friendship, the heart of the Masters feels like it is finally beating; the joy of the show is watching the two of them interact with each other, and Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into their roles. Ashford and her team have also become more confident with pacing and plotting.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Sonia Saraiya
    Outlander succeeds admirably, and partly that’s because it follows the bent of both of its creators: It refuses to sit comfortably in any genre.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Sonia Saraiya
    This isn’t just a story, it’s a history, and admirably, the work of the players has brought it to life.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Sonia Saraiya
    Fortunately, it continues to be fascinating.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Sonia Saraiya
    The series is ambitious and shaggy--those two go hand-in-hand--but despite its blurry spots, The Honorable Woman is hard not to watch all the way through. The story sucks viewers in farther and farther down a rabbit hole that does not end.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 91 Sonia Saraiya
    Penny Dreadful is a surprising show, one that offers both some putrid rotting at the core of London’s soul and a way of going about excavating humanity’s inherent darkness in a different and unexpected way. That is easily worth a penny, and maybe more.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 91 Sonia Saraiya
    As of right now, Satisfaction is actually suspenseful--leaving the audience unsure if its protagonists will embrace their better natures or succumb to their special version of suburban ennui. And though some of that suspense is a result of some messy decision-making, those types of messes look a lot like life.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 91 Sonia Saraiya
    Game Of Thrones has not moved away from “sexposition,” prostitution, and casual rape as titillating plot points, and that will always tarnish what is otherwise a groundbreaking show. But the good outweighs the bad. Game Of Thrones was and is an astonishing achievement.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Sonia Saraiya
    Burton And Taylor is not comprehensive or perfect as a film--the direction in particular is lackluster--but as a character study in both writing and acting it is, as Burton says of Taylor herself, “peerless.”
    • 67 Metascore
    • 91 Sonia Saraiya
    The result is a show that isn’t always “ha ha” funny, but is scathingly brilliant.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Sonia Saraiya
    In the fifth season, the story has been distilled to just the moments of pathos and characterization and gorgeous direction that make the story work.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Sonia Saraiya
    The drama is not perfect, but the ambition behind it is breathtaking.... As if the scope of the show weren’t enough, American Crime ups the ante with surprisingly affecting directorial choices.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 83 Sonia Saraiya
    Black Box doesn’t have that show’s [HBO's Enlightened] subtlety, but it’s certainly demonstrated an interest in creating a portrait of a contradictory and flawed, but powerful and engaging female character.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 83 Sonia Saraiya
    It’s not doing a whole lot of work to examine the role of women in society, but it is a show with a single and still-novel goal: to entertain women, without patronizing them.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Sonia Saraiya
    Now, three seasons in, Dunham and her team are better at doing what they’ve been trying to do all along: create a string of lovely character vignettes, with a deliberate disinterest in plot and a fascination with a certain zeitgeist. This is specific enough that it has its disadvantages, but now that the characters have been around for two seasons, it’s become easier to understand their different versions of cluelessness.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Sonia Saraiya
    Where Bletchley succeeds is in its unapologetic, decidedly feminine take on British life in the ’50s.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 83 Sonia Saraiya
    Fargo is a singular idea with, so far, not-so-singular execution, perhaps suffering from the fact that what was revelatory in 1996 might be just humdrum in 2014.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 Sonia Saraiya
    Madam Secretary is not perfect, but it could be. There are seeds of something excellent in this pilot, one that’s able to tell a character-driven story in a world that’s constantly changing.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Sonia Saraiya
    Ultimately it’s that frisson of complication that makes Manhattan worth watching--the performances are good, the writing is good, and the premise is good, but the complication of our own history is involving and fantastic.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 83 Sonia Saraiya
    There’s something lighthearted about the proceedings, murder and mayhem aside, because the show is more interested in the character drama than the procedure. Taxi Brooklyn embraces the New York-ness of both its main characters, and that bodes well for its future--and provides something fascinating to watch through the summer, in the meantime.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 Sonia Saraiya
    It’s not perfect, but it’s never boring.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Sonia Saraiya
    Despite what feels like risky storytelling, Homeland is staying true to its characters, following through on its fireworks to examine the ashes as well. It’s hard to tell which way it’s going to go, but for its performances and sheer courage, it’s worth watching.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 83 Sonia Saraiya
    It’s not exactly groundbreaking, but it’s fun to watch and slightly addictive.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Sonia Saraiya
    Corden and bandleader Reggie Watts make a fantastic team, but they bear eerie resemblance to Fallon and his bandleader Questlove.... The total randomness of the stars made for some of the show’s alchemical appeal.... So, so often, these pre-recorded videos or rehearsed segments look and feel excruciatingly awkward or boring. It bodes very well for Corden, and for CBS, that he made these excursions into the absurd look like a lot of fun, both to be in and to watch.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Sonia Saraiya
    Rather than break down each episode into sketches, each episode is its own, contained sketch, focusing on one particular set of characters and their stories. It makes Portlandia a lot easier to watch--and a bit more profound, too.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Sonia Saraiya
    Adam Reed--creator, showrunner, voice actor, and writer--seems to have composed Archer both as a love letter to douchebags and as a set of instructions for destroying them. Having a baby might be the final nail in the coffin. Then again, maybe not; Sterling’s the resilient type.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Sonia Saraiya
    Metatextual commentary aside, the third and final season of Kroll Show starts off strong.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Sonia Saraiya
    This is a sumptuously produced, beautifully executed show, and if the story doesn’t always make sense, the metaphysics always does.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Sonia Saraiya
    The result is a show that is lushly intimate, the second season building on the foundation of the previous.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Sonia Saraiya
    It’s fantastically made--a clearly written, beautifully rendered story of misdirected energy, bad science, megalomaniacs, and the many good intentions on the way to hell.... Still, it’s odd: In many ways, Going Clear is a collection of alleged abuses that have been reported on many times in the past; it’s revealing little to no new information on the church. Instead, it’s really an exercise in effective packaging.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Sonia Saraiya
    Wayward Pines is a splashy, melodramatic thriller: smart enough to stay ahead of itself, well-made enough to keep the audience engaged; creepy enough to be delightful.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Sonia Saraiya
    The Jinx can be a tad too self-referential at times, and unlike the hot-blooded thrill of the podcast “Serial,” this is a story whose particulars can all be found—albeit presented far less well—on Wikipedia. But it’s absorbing, due to the exhaustive research underpinning it and the hook of Durst’s actual, shiftless presence.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Sonia Saraiya
    In this third season, Inside Amy Schumer’s satire is sharper than ever, taking the contradictions of our world’s approach to gender and pushing them to the farthest logical extent.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Sonia Saraiya
    It’s got some of the same appeal [as Scandal], but at its core, it’s a strong spy thriller with a few fascinating characters, not a splashy nighttime soap. And that’s okay.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Sonia Saraiya
    Even though the father-son territory has been trod before--in Halpern’s body of work alone!--it’s also where the show feels most alive.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 70 Sonia Saraiya
    Broad City is still very funny. That being said, though, the second season is where the flaws in the show’s premise start to become more apparent, as more and more pressure is put on the structure.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Sonia Saraiya
    It remains to be seen if the strength of the performances from the rest of the cast (which includes another Academy Award nominee, Gabourey Sidibe--it might be hard to find work as a black actor, hm?) will balance out the show’s pulpy premise.... Empire is notable for doing something different, in a landscape populated by dramas of an entirely different stripe. For that, and that alone, it’s worth checking out.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Sonia Saraiya
    Vince Gilligan and his team, as usual, have surprised me. I haven’t totally fallen for the prequel series Better Call Saul--it doesn’t quite feel like its own show yet--but it did make me care about the man who becomes Saul Goodman in a way I never did in “Breaking Bad.”
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Sonia Saraiya
    The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore isn’t perfect, and it might not find its stride for a few weeks yet. But with this first episode, Wilmore and his team are demonstrating that they are not afraid of asking hard questions, whether those questions are about police brutality, representation in film, biracial identity, or how and when women feel safe in public. It takes a lot of skill to boil a complicated issue down to a single question; it takes even more to make that question funny.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Sonia Saraiya
    The show has dispensed with a lot of the real-world elements that made it so coldly compelling.... On the other hand, though, that purging of minor characters is setting the stage for a bigger drama entirely: the showdown between Claire and Frank.... It is a satisfying, slow build, and one that feels not just 13 episodes in the making but three seasons--not just three seasons but 30 years--for the inscrutable Claire Underwood.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Sonia Saraiya
    The rest of the show is built around her, and it’s her performance that is able to make the show’s softer parts work, even as the show’s best moments showcase her skills.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 67 Sonia Saraiya
    The original film’s strengths are washed out in this version, which is instead mining it for televisual drama.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Sonia Saraiya
    Galavant is extremely silly--but at least it knows it’s silly.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Sonia Saraiya
    Aside from being a vehicle for a fascinating performance, Nightingale doesn’t quite satisfy as more than a very well-executed student film--a one-trick pony whose trick we’ve seen before.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Sonia Saraiya
    The show isn’t great yet, though it has potential.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Sonia Saraiya
    Not every episode of High Maintenance feels groundbreaking or perfect; despite being a set of loosely connected short films, few stand alone entirely. The second season--which is now funded by Vimeo, who will be charging a nominal fee for the six episodes--lets the show experiment with better production values and bigger casts. At times that gets in the way of the show’s quiet, intimate charm.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 58 Sonia Saraiya
    Bad Judge is fine, but it’s unlikely that it’ll get the chance to be something good.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Sonia Saraiya
    A fourth season that, while competent, also feels somewhat beside the point.... This season the characters are making a concerted effort to change, but the show itself: not so much.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Sonia Saraiya
    It’s always interesting--Maslany is particularly transcendent when she acts as one clone disguised as another clone, which occurs again in season 3, and the show even finds a way to introduce waterboarding into its already politically charged narrative. But Orphan Black lost its grip on the story sometime early in season 2, and introducing even more characters has not proven to be a way to reclaim it.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 42 Sonia Saraiya
    The premiere tries to do too much with too little, and even though the cast gives it their all, Red Band Society never finds the right note.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 42 Sonia Saraiya
    The premise is ambitious and messily executed, as several contestants and judges are introduced without any clear metric of accomplishment or difference between the two.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 42 Sonia Saraiya
    For a show so bent on shock value, it has to this point failed to surprise much.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 40 Sonia Saraiya
    Downton Abbey is not even trying anymore.... despite its astonishing talent and productive values, took the path of predictable, repetitive soap opera.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Sonia Saraiya
    Allegiance does not demonstrate any of that careful planning; indeed, it is almost exactly the same thing as “The Americans,” except executed less well, with the complexities sanded off.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Sonia Saraiya
    Intriguing but unsatisfying.... The sketches aren’t thought out well enough; the lead, Jay Baruchel, lacks presence on-screen; and the drama lacks stakes. But above all, what struck me is that it’s a story that we’ve seen a thousand times.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Sonia Saraiya
    Their characters still do not feel particularly novel or real or interesting--or funny, sadly, which wastes both Fonda’s talent for physical comedy and Tomlin’s deadpan wit--but their friendship does eventually become real, which is something.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 33 Sonia Saraiya
    Ray Donovan is in the remarkable position of being a show that appears to be built entirely of moments that are gratuitous, provocative, and emptily thrilling.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 25 Sonia Saraiya
    It sits at the intersection of just enough sincerity and just enough script, which made shows like Laguna Beach famous. But clearly, the show hasn’t done enough to hide its PR tracks.
    • 23 Metascore
    • 0 Sonia Saraiya
    Instead of just creating the horror show that is 12 women competing for a man, it chooses also to play them for fools.

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