Todd VanDerWerff

Select another critic »
For 209 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 54% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Todd VanDerWerff's Scores

Average review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Master of None: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Dads: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 209
209 tv reviews
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    Burns and Novick are less interested in scoring political points than they are in the idea that world-changing events look so different when you’re trapped in them. More than in any other Burns miniseries, The Vietnam War lets you feel what it’s like to be crushed under history’s heel.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    In its assemblage of footage from Snapchat feeds and other social media sources, as well as its collection of solid teenage performances, American Vandal gets at something true about our obsession with whodunits and how every generation finds a new way to commit very old crimes.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    Vice Principals season two is beautifully shot by director David Gordon Green, and the performances (especially from Goggins) carefully walk the line between funny and infuriating.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    It’s mostly about getting through the day, about getting through the week, about getting through life. It’s angry but never bitter. Joyful but never saccharine. It feels a little like magic.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    It’s impeccably acted, written, and directed, and no matter how ridiculous “a series about the 1970s porn industry with two James Francos” might sound to you, this is somehow not just the best possible execution of that idea, but the most thoughtful one, too. It’s the best show of the fall, by a wide, wide margin.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    It’s one of the best made series on TV, in terms of writing, performance, and direction, but it rarely bothers with anything that would immediately call attention to itself.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    An often thrilling look at what TV can be when it looks to its past and finds ways to update old formats for the future.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Todd VanDerWerff
    Ozark’s insistence on presenting the grimiest version of its story possible stands in the way of explaining why anything within its universe is happening. The presentation and the characters and the smug tone eventually coalesce into something deeply irritating. ... Ozark is offensive and doesn’t understand why it’s offensive.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 30 Todd VanDerWerff
    Like eating a stale Hydrox cookie when all you want is an Oreo. Combine that lack of inspiration with general Netflix bloat--this thing is 10 hour-long episodes, and its story doesn’t really start until the last five minutes of the whole season--and you have a series that feels like a single-handed indictment of Netflix’s entire creative model.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    Snowfall doesn’t get all the way there in season one, but it comes further than you’d expect. And inside its veins runs something vital and alive and different.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    This season of Orange gets better and better the longer it goes (though, weirdly, the slasher homage is dropped into the middle of the otherwise very good back half of the season), and the final three episodes go from strength to strength. ... There are a lot of plot holes and missteps along the way. But that doesn’t negate the power of the closing passages of the season.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Todd VanDerWerff
    After five seasons, but especially in 2017, House of Cards’ curdled cynicism feels less and less like weary wisdom and more like a high school student flipping off a civics teacher.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    This might be the show of the year. ... Even the benefits of giving itself space to experiment, or of having those funny jokes, aren’t what makes Master of None’s second season as good as it is. What really makes it work is its endless faith in the idea that people will take care of each other in the end.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    The best thing season two does is dig into both how alluring and how dangerous the sensates’ connection is.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    A show operating at the peak of its powers. ... It feel[s] very much like a series that has found its moment in history.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    None of this would work without a great performance at its center, and as Offred, Moss is astonishing. ... At every corner, The Handmaid’s Tale brims with invention.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    For now, the series functions much the same as the oil the McCullochs desperately seek in the early 1900s storyline: It’s obvious something is there, but nobody has figured out how to get to it.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    While not every moment works, Brockmire the TV series offers a world worth visiting, and characters worth rooting for, even when they stumble.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 30 Todd VanDerWerff
    In its new miniseries incarnation, it wants to be a dumb show, full of clichés, that has something to say, and you’d be surprised how easily that tilts over into outright offensiveness.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Todd VanDerWerff
    It feels, in every way, like a broadcast network TV show about the investigation of a police shooting.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    The third season of the anthological miniseries, which debuts Sunday, March 12, is nothing short of breathtaking in the way it attempts to show every single level of economic comfort--or lack thereof--in and around a small North Carolina farming community. From migrant workers to big wheels in agribusiness, the season covers them all.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    Fortunately, The Americans’ fifth season succeeds in addressing our current world by being its assiduously careful self. This is still a show about how, beyond politics, beyond economics, beyond nationalism, people are people. How beautiful, and how terrifying.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    In short, Making History is supposed to revolve around the character with the least at stake, which isn’t terribly interesting, and in every episode it has to find ways to get around that problem. Pally’s a very funny guy, and Dan would make a fine supporting character. But as written, he’s not dynamic enough to carry the show.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    It’s fitfully funny, occasionally sad, and fond of long digressions that seemingly have nothing to do with anything--but might be the whole point.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    [The Kings'] writing remains sharp and witty. Their knack for telling stories through crisp visuals gives The Good Fight a high-gloss sheen. And their antennae are still tuned to hidden vibrations in the country’s subconscious, picking up on the tremors that are about to become earthquakes.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    Lots of times, they would baldly state what they were thinking or feeling, leaving nothing to the imagination, and even 6-year-old children were often deeply aware of their buried psychological motivations. The cast’s performances are good enough to compensate for much of this, but it’s still a bummer to get to the end of a juicy scene and have it conclude with dialogue that’s desperate to sum up everything that preceded it.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    A story demands that it be led by its most compelling characters, and in most cases, that means the oppressed, not the oppressors. Humans can be intriguing, even enthralling. But it’s always held back by its title.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Todd VanDerWerff
    Hawkins is a compelling presence, and his handling of the show’s signature action sequences suggests an actor who can carry a show. But as a character, Eric Carter is a bit of a dud, with a snooze of a backstory that does little to enliven him.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Todd VanDerWerff
    It could get very good in the future, even though it’s not there yet.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    In season two, The Magicians is darker, deeper, and just plain better than it was in season one, and it makes a claim for being one of the most unexpectedly great shows on television.

Top Trailers