Todd VanDerWerff

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For 148 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 50% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 48% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Todd VanDerWerff's Scores

Average review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 Show Me a Hero
Lowest review score: 0 Dads: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 148
148 tv reviews
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    The mood develops exquisitely from the first frame.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    Everybody inside and outside of Litchfield’s walls matters. That shouldn’t feel revolutionary. That it does speaks both to how essential this show is and how much most other TV shows will have to do to catch up to it.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    Show Me a Hero always feels thrillingly alive and attuned to the way that all politics is personal.... One of the year's very best TV programs.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    Season four is shot through with some of The Americans' most plaintively touching moments yet.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    The first five episodes of that third season are as good as anything I’ve seen on TV this year.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    This is, if anything, a sequel to season one, one that shares some of the same cast members, a bit of the same tone, and a general sense of the world tipping off its axis, ever so slightly. It's a show that wants to provoke a reaction in you, whether it's admiration, hatred, or just bafflement. It's HBO's best drama--and thus must-see TV.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    I’ve seen a few episodes of Rectify’s fourth season, and they’re as sweet and soulful as the show has always been. They contain passages of stark beauty, and moments of dreamlike simplicity. And above all else, they’re guided by McKinnon’s unfailing empathy for each and every character on screen.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    Hannibal has always been beautiful, and that’s still the case. It’s also always featured dialogue and plots that stay just on the right side of being too pretentious, and that remains the case. If there are any notable steps up from season one, it’s both in the tension that mounts thanks to the great game played between Will and Hannibal and in the better use of the show’s supporting cast.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    The obvious comparison point is The Twilight Zone; that Black Mirror is a worthy successor is the highest praise that can be paid.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    None of this would work without compelling characters. Fortunately, The Leftovers has bunches of them.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    Transparent's second season is the best television of the year.... Season two was an improvement in every way, small and lovely and achingly resonant.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    Netflix's BoJack Horseman has found its footing beautifully in season two, earning the title of not just the streaming service's best show, but of one of television's best shows.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    The Americans is also the best show on television, by a fair amount.... The show now has the best of its first season — when Philip and Elizabeth were often at odds--blended with the best of its remarkable second--when the two found common cause but discovered that made them less effective spies.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    O.J.: Made in America might be the most essential TV series of the year.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Todd VanDerWerff
    Where other TV shows avoid the weight of all that death, Hannibal turns the horror into opera--bold and beautiful and over-the-top and opulent.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Todd VanDerWerff
    It’s a quiet, deliberate show, but it contains multitudes and a willingness to go for broke with religious symbolism or Southern gothic overtones, right smack dab in the middle of stories about normal people going about their lives.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Todd VanDerWerff
    The show’s beauty is not in big moments, or exquisitely written scenes (though it has both), it comes in the pauses between, the semicolons and commas that make up the bulk of many lives, but which TV has trouble giving full heft.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Todd VanDerWerff
    Orphan Black is better than almost any show on TV at feeling like it’s constantly building toward something, no matter how perilous and rickety its structure becomes.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Todd VanDerWerff
    For the most part, Lannan and Haigh have crafted something that’s bittersweet and funny and surprisingly quiet, willing to simply let the characters hang out and try to figure out what the rest of their lives are going to be like.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Todd VanDerWerff
    From episode three on, [Sheen] begins to give one of the most fascinating performances on TV.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    What FXX has bet on isn't the usual cheery, good-time sitcom. It's a show that unleashes the dark heart of the romantic comedy.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    Yes, all of this has been done before. But at every turn, Price’s writerly flourishes give The Night Of’s characters more depth than the usual stock figures. The result is surprisingly invigorating.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    Everything that was always good about Game of Thrones is still good. The ensemble cast remains one of TV's richest, from top to bottom, and even actors who seemed weak in the past (like Sophie Turner, who plays increasingly embittered Sansa Stark) continue to rise to the level of much better material.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    It's a sprawling small-town saga that, nonetheless, feels lived-in and intimate. And even as it succumbs to some of true crime's greatest faults, it's always less interested in the gruesomeness of the crime than in the impossibility of finding the truth, something that serves it well. This is grim television, but it's also necessary television.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    There's nothing revolutionary here, but man, what is here is some of the funniest, most soulful TV of the summer.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    UnREAL is a great many things, including a dark satire of reality TV, a satisfyingly comedic soap opera, and the ultra-rare female antihero drama.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    What makes Atlanta special is the way it adds texture and flavor to a core you already know, and the reason the show is so compulsively watchable is that it perfectly executes that core.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    And yet for all its mess, for all its sprawl, for all its shagginess, Transparent remains one of TV’s most vital shows and one of its most artful.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    It's the most unusual new comedy of the year, and it's also one of the best.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    In season two, it's altogether richer, more daring, and even more fun.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    It wasn't as immediately satisfying as season two, but it was, in some ways, even more important to the run of the show as a whole, and it built to a final set of episodes that are as good as anything Orange has attempted so far.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    The series is stronger and more fully realized through four episodes of season two than it was at a comparable point in season one.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Todd VanDerWerff
    In some episodes, it's really good, and even when not everything clicks, it's relentlessly addictive, returning the primacy to a story that was ceded to the tabloids long ago. The miniseries digs deeper than you'd expect, poking at the messy intersections of race, gender, and class that so much TV still shies away from, and it will remind you, time and again, of bits and pieces of the trial you'd completely forgotten about.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 Todd VanDerWerff
    The show may have been simplified due to budgetary concerns, but that makes its core themes shine all the brighter.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 Todd VanDerWerff
    The series’ cast remains one of the better sitcom ensembles of the past decade.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 83 Todd VanDerWerff
    True Detective might be finding itself in the first half of its first season, but few processes of discovery are so enthralling to watch.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 Todd VanDerWerff
    In its pilot form, at least, Trophy Wife is surprisingly self-assured and confident, the sort of show that seems ready to hit its stride in just a week or two.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 Todd VanDerWerff
    Enlisted hasn’t realized all of its potential, but that it already has its characters in such good shape suggests much to anticipate for its future.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Todd VanDerWerff
    The many tones should produce whiplash, but the series works because it’s always able to go back to its central idea of a lower-level government employee living in a sleepy small town and getting wrapped up in something bigger than he would ever have anticipated.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Todd VanDerWerff
    The Address ultimately can’t nail its ending.... ut so much of The Address accomplishes what it sets out to do and is so different from Burns’ typical work that it becomes a fascinating sidebar in his filmography.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Todd VanDerWerff
    Getting On captures the drudgery of work and life in this ward, but it also catches glimpses of the beauty, and it’s in those moments that it feels like a series that deserves better than it’s going to get.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    Fortitude turns out to be an intriguing blend of things a bunch of different nations' television networks do really well.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    Togetherness is a really, really well-executed version of this particular story [somewhat affluent white married couple in Los Angeles], with the Duplass brothers' inimitable directorial style meshing perfectly with the sorts of comedies HBO often embraces.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    The first episode is packed with juicy moments, in terms of both character and unexpected plot twists. By the end of the pilot, the show's combination of thematic thoughtfulness, buddy criminal character moments, and shocking blood spatter are very much in place.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    It’s formulaic as can be, yet still incredibly compelling.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    When the show focuses on that best version of itself, it feels brilliant and paranoid and, above all, prescient.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    The series might be made up of disparate stories that seemingly have nothing to do with each other, but the more time you spend ruminating on Black Mirror and turning it over in your head, the more those stories start to seem like part of the same thing, a world we’re all marching toward, like it or not. The episodes work sans context; they’re better when consumed as different viewpoints on the same unnamable future.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    Stranger Things might be a hodgepodge of lots of other things, but there’s a sincerity to it that’s hard to fake. And in its appropriations of those other things, it somehow becomes something new that rises above its collage-like origins.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    The show overexplains here and there--especially in the first episode--but after some early jitters, it settles in and simply lets its world be.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    With American Crime, ABC and Ridley are at least trying something. That they succeed far more often than they fail is worth praise in and of itself.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    If you want a solidly executed version of the [cop drama] form--or just enjoy a good detective novel--then Bosch season two should do the trick.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    The point is that Gibney and his collaborators have synthesized all of this information, put it in one place, and turned it into an emotional arc that will leave you as seething with fury at the church as any of those interviewed for the film.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    Casual is more wry than funny, but it has some sharp observations and moments. It's also got a secret weapon in Watkins.... Casual definitely gets better as it goes along.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    Stories the writers have obviously been wanting to tell for years are ramping up, and the actors are in peak form. Even if you tuned out of this show somewhere in the intervening years, it's worth coming back to see how it all ends.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    The Crown struggles at times, but there’s something within it — a slumbering beast, deep beneath its waves, just waiting to surface. You catch glimpses of it here and there--when Elizabeth betrays someone in the name of the crown, especially--and those glimpses are enough to animate this first season.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    There are also times when Kemper seems to be playing a thin gloss on 30 Rock's protagonist, Liz Lemon. Yet give Kimmy Schmidt enough time, and it reveals that the real comparison point to make here isn't with 30 Rock. It's with Bewitched.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Todd VanDerWerff
    The individual sketches themselves are things of beauty, running the gamut from old-school setups with one big joke that's repeated in a variety of ways right on up to those that make fun of current trends and pop culture.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Todd VanDerWerff
    Six By Sondheim is just barely more than the sum of its parts, but when it finally adds up, it feels like many of the master’s best songs and shows: a puzzle that assembles itself right in front of your eyes.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Todd VanDerWerff
    Rothenberg and company are sneaking in a surprisingly sophisticated look at a world filled with want.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Todd VanDerWerff
    Halt And Catch Fire has a great cast, a neat title, a solid pilot script from Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers, and some intriguing direction from Juan José Campanella that turns both the human face and circuit boards into things to be broken down into component parts and understood. But it lacks a suggestion that it will reassemble the parts of better dramas that it has gathered into something uniquely its own, instead of a mostly functional knockoff.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Todd VanDerWerff
    The new first episode is good enough to suggest Tolan and creator Peter Duncan will be able to get at least a season out of the world punishing Keegan. There might not be enough here to go beyond that initial episode order, but just watching Kinnear play the sad asshole—wandering around L.A. without a car or getting beaten up due to gambling debts—keeps things rolling smoothly for now.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Todd VanDerWerff
    For better or worse, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the best network drama pilot of the fall, but that’s mainly because so many of the other network drama pilots don’t even seem to be trying. There’s good stuff in S.H.I.E.L.D.; there are also things that feel curiously muted and cautious.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Todd VanDerWerff
    Sure, the show’s “politics” feel ripped from a Politico comment section, and yes, the show’s plot doesn’t really go anywhere until the final handful of episodes. But the season also tosses an incredible number of balls in the air and manages to keep juggling them, which is impressive in and of itself.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Todd VanDerWerff
    While Ground Floor achieves its deliberately modest aims, it also leaves the viewer wondering if something more might have been accomplished with that premise, particularly with the enjoyable Heelan in the female lead.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Todd VanDerWerff
    The script by Laurie McCarthy and Stephanie SenGupta never finds a wholly convincing Venn diagram intersection between period piece and teen soap, but it also doesn’t bother trying, hoping it can turn insane tonal shifts into a virtue by stepping on the gas. That this approach mostly works is thanks to their script being unafraid to unleash the crazy and the surprisingly beautiful direction from Brad Silberling, who makes the most of an Irish location shoot the rest of the series won’t have the advantage of.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Todd VanDerWerff
    In the grand tradition of Mike Judge projects, HBO’s new comedy, Silicon Valley, is a bit messy, a bit shambling, and often very funny.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 75 Todd VanDerWerff
    The dialogue often crackles; the educational aspect even makes exposition fun to watch. Zahn is quite good, and the supporting cast already has an entertaining ensemble energy.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Todd VanDerWerff
    The Toy Story franchise has always operated best with a note of existential panic, and there’s some of that here, but it feels like the special leans awfully hard on the films that gave rise to it.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Todd VanDerWerff
    But where the storytelling seems occasionally forced—intent on ending every episode with a moment of heart, no matter how unearned—the dialogue is weird and funny. With time for the stories to settle down and match the performances, the series should find a nice groove.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    Too much of those first nine episodes is taken up with vague hints of something dramatic happening just over the horizon.... Chandler, Mendelsohn, and Spacek all give searing performances. In particular, the final confrontation between Chandler and Mendelsohn is filled with meaty moments that both actors sink their teeth into.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    A well-done cop show that doesn't reach for too much and mostly accomplishes what it sets out to do is the sort of thing just about anyone can have on in the background.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    If Breaking Bad gained dramatic tension from viewers feeling trapped between wanting Walter to redeem himself and wanting him to do even more horrible things, Saul can't really have that tension, because we know Saul's worst impulses will win out.... And yet there's so much about Better Call Saul that clicks, it's hard to hold too much of this against the program.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    Sense8 is a show forever trapped between two things--its core artistic impulses and its need to over-explain everything that happens within its confines. That makes it at once beautiful and maddening, either a complete travesty or a whacked-out masterpiece--and sometimes both in the same scene.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    Sutherland perfectly captures the dizzying nausea anyone would feel in this situation. ... But there’s every chance the conspiracy stuff takes over, and if there’s one thing about Designated Survivor that gives me pause, it’s that.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    With per-episode running times of 25 minutes or longer (around four minutes more than a standard network animated show), there are some pacing issues and general fuzziness here and there. But for the most part, it's a neat little series with potential to be a whole lot more.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    Homeland might have learned how to turn its history into an asset, but it also can’t escape the fact that, like most shows with long runs, it can do little to surprise us anymore. Danes keeps Carrie watchable through the sheer force of her charisma, and Patinkin is always a treat.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    By the time you reach the cliffhanger--which did not leave me excited to check out season two, even though I generally liked season one--you’ll probably have recognized Sneaky Pete for the largely fun, largely inoffensive, largely unnecessary trifle it is. But, hey, TV needs trifles too.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    Mad Dogs, in other words, is trying something that's really complicated and ambitious and failing as often as it's succeeding. But in my book, you get at least a few points for effort. It might not be great television, but at least it's not content to do the same thing everybody else is.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    It's still a little clunky, particularly in terms of editing, and it feels as if all involved are figuring out the right ratio of jokes to information. Yet there's a lot to recommend here.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    For all its obvious weak spots, the show has turned out pretty well. It's silly but emotionally resonant, and able to call back on Muppets lore without getting lost in it.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    In Curtis and Dickens it has two of the best performers the franchise has ever featured, and it knows how to use them. Both are able to balance the sense that they're simultaneously terrified for the state of society and worried they won't be able to save their kids from becoming zombie chow.... Fear probably can't do the slow-pocalypse thing forever, but for a first season of just six episodes, it might be just about right.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    The second season of Narcos, Netflix’s historical drama about drug lord Pablo Escobar and the law enforcement officers who worked to bring him down, is a marked improvement over the first.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    As The Walking Dead began its second season, the characters became mired in an endless storyline at a small farm in rural Georgia, a farm where they stayed for almost the entire season. The comics had done it, so the show did too. Fear the Walking Dead tells what appears to be a similar story, but it's over within an episode. Sometimes not having anybody to copy is the best thing that can happen.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    What it wants to be is a surprisingly effective collection of one-act plays that are sprinkled with laughs but mostly dramatic in nature. What it is is an occasionally effective (but always daring) sitcom, filmed before a live studio audience and packed with smutty jokes.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    Vinyl feels like it's still doing its mic checks, but somewhere along the way, it just might burst out into a blistering solo. And it's worth paying attention until it does.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    Even if One Mississippi doesn’t return for a second season, season one works beautifully as a muted story about what it means to come home and realize the person you once were, the person you thought you packed up in a box and stored away somewhere, is waiting right there for you to discover all over again.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    Mozart in the Jungle is at its best when it's being whimsical. It's at its worst when it's trying to force laughs.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    The crime solving sometimes seems perfunctory, and some of the characters feel purely functionary. But the series is still having a ton of fun throwing many ideas at the wall to see what sticks. That so much is sticking already is cause for anticipation of even better things to come.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    Yes, it’s self-indulgent. But A Year in the Life succeeds despite its "getting the gang back together" vibe.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    It's a wild, weird blend of influences, and not all of it works. The Path is not a great TV show--not yet--but it's great-adjacent.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    This is full-throttle, blood-soaked television, and even when it's not hitting every mark, it's still a great time.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    Divorce is very much going to be an acquired taste. ... But I also think Divorce has something interesting to say about the marriages of people who stay together not for love, or for the kids, but for their money.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    Kelley and Shapiro are a little too in love with their quirks to create a show that doesn’t occasionally tip over into unearned melodrama and/or Gothic horror, and the series’ understanding of lesbian relationships, in particular, is straight out of 1992. But at its core, where it counts, Goliath does more good than bad.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Todd VanDerWerff
    It's not as good as it wants to be, but it's still just propulsive and ridiculous enough to be entertaining. It's good shitty television, and that's something we all need in our lives.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 67 Todd VanDerWerff
    Despite the structural problems, there are considerable delights in each one of these episodes. All of them contain a handful of belly laughs, and the dialogue is sharp and pointed even when it’s not riotously funny.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 67 Todd VanDerWerff
    The series seems equally pitched between good--Lowe, a solid writing staff, and that mournful tone--and bad--Michael Socha as a helpful rogue who joins Alice on her quest and is already wearing thin by the end of the first episode--but for those who’ve enjoyed the parent series, even ironically, it stands as just enough of an improvement to recommend.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 67 Todd VanDerWerff
    While all of the moments when civilization retreats in the face of the apocalypse are nicely handled, the overall plot is filled with pointless mystery, simply there to obfuscate whatever the season’s real story is.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 67 Todd VanDerWerff
    There are four or five different shows crammed into Mom. At least one of them is a potentially great show. One of the others could make for a largely enjoyable time-waster... But the others are all varying degrees of messy to distractingly awful.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 67 Todd VanDerWerff
    [The pilot is] very much a patch job on a project that needed more than a quick fix, but the direction it takes is encouraging.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 67 Todd VanDerWerff
    The series still has several marks against it--particularly in the acting and dialogue columns--but good sci-fi shows are thin on the ground right now, and there’s just enough that works in Helix to make it worth following for now.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 67 Todd VanDerWerff
    Jack Bauer started this story as a family man trying to get back into his wife’s good graces; now, he’s a grenade with its pin pulled, others diving away from him for cover. Live Another Day is best when it understands that. Pity that it brings everything else about the show along for the ride.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Todd VanDerWerff
    Season four's sweep is, in some ways, a little cheap (when you've written off as many characters as this show has, it's easy to buy gravitas by bringing a few back), but it's also entertaining.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Todd VanDerWerff
    Once you start looking at the individual characters’ storylines--Jack and Rebecca are going to be parents, Kate struggles with her weight, Kevin wants his acting career to have meaning, Randall tracks down his biological father-- they feel less like actual stories than like placeholders, characters to be filled in later. It’s hard to hold too much of this against the show when the characters are played by great actors, and when the pilot has a script as emotionally adroit [as] the one crafted by Dan Fogelman.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Todd VanDerWerff
    Most of Humans' characters are bores, and the story unfolds with the stately pacing of the typical cable drama.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Todd VanDerWerff
    Even though it’s sleek, frequently thoughtful, and always cool, Westworld’s scattered self never coheres into anything.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 58 Todd VanDerWerff
    It’s gloriously stupid, but not always aware that’s what it’s doing, which leaves it in a messy middle ground--too bad to be good, too good to be bad.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 58 Todd VanDerWerff
    Night Shift doesn’t really have another gear, but it refuses to go full Grey’s Anatomy and ramp up the sexy complications so much that it attains the lift off of fun melodrama.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 58 Todd VanDerWerff
    It’s hard to look at Resurrection and not see all of the nerve that broadcast networks have lost.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 58 Todd VanDerWerff
    There are a handful of lines in every episode that are worth a smile or two (as well as a celebrity cameo in episode two that works surprisingly well in this regard), and the acting is largely solid (though everyone seems to be in different shows). But there’s a serious lack of a core to About A Boy.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 58 Todd VanDerWerff
    In choosing to center its story of Revolutionary War-era spies on relationships (particularly between Abraham and Anna and Abraham and his father), it has a fighting chance at finding its way to something compelling. The problem is that the show has yet to figure out a way to make those relationships fresh or interesting in the slightest.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 58 Todd VanDerWerff
    Being like a video game gives The Last Ship some nifty visual aesthetics and some good forward momentum, but it can’t give the series characters or storytelling worth giving a damn about.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 58 Todd VanDerWerff
    Generic cop heroes aren’t always a problem if the show around them boasts other interesting characters or an intriguing premise. Almost Human has both, but, sadly, everything else in the show’s universe takes more after the Urban side of things than the Ealy.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    It’s possible that The Mindy Project will settle down a bit once it’s done reversing the course of season one’s cliffhanger, but the flaws of the first two episodes are so similar to those of season one that it’s hard to imagine some sort of remarkable turnaround.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    Though Bernthal, Ventimiglia, and Davalos all look their parts, there’s little thought to their characters beyond “detective” and “mobster” and “femme fatale.”
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    When Emerald City builds much of its narrative around how weird and edgy the place is, it just feels tired. You’ve seen this take on Oz before--and done better.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    You, Me and the Apocalypse is a character-driven piece that's awkwardly shoehorned into a plot-driven piece, and that means neither side entirely works.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    It wants to be a stupid time travel show about people chasing a bad guy into the past to preserve American history. And on that level, I think it succeeds!
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    This is one that is built so thoroughly around a personality that it seems like someone forgot to fill the actual show in around the edges of that personality.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    Black Sails is a handsome illusion at times, but it rarely finds its way beyond that.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    On the whole, however, the show simultaneously feels like it has too much going on--in that there are eight regulars to service, all with their own season-long story arcs--and too little--in that there's rarely any real conflict between the characters.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    Roadies isn’t all there yet, but it’s trying something different.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    In many ways, House of Cards has become an entirely different show between season two and season three, and in ways that seem mostly half-hearted.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    The world has so many series about dark humans doing dark things that it becomes all the more difficult to stand out, and Those Who Kill is so generic it doesn’t even seem interested in trying.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    Fallon fits into that dichotomy as a sort of older brother who’d really like to get everybody together just this once, because it would make mom and dad happy. There’s a way to make that work within the more stringent requirements of The Tonight Show, but Fallon hasn’t found it just yet.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    There’s enough spooky and goofy stuff going on here to placate the Pretty Little Liars faithful, but it seems unlikely to win any new converts.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    It's an okay cop drama, to be sure, but it's definitely a cop drama you have seen many, many times before.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    Ballers isn't bad, per se, but it doesn't really try for anything, either.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    Gang Related ultimately confuses being grim with being sophisticated, and it too rarely stops to think about what it’s trying to say beyond, “Man, being a dirty cop sure would be tough!”
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    Taboo is essentially like its title. It teases and teases and teases something envelope-shattering and a little bit disturbing, but then it settles for the same old tropes you’ve seen before, albeit more handsomely delivered than usual.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    It's so relentlessly self-serious that it becomes increasingly tough to sit through. There's no levity or break from the insistence that what we're watching is a very important story about a family falling apart. If the characters were more active, or even just funnier, that might make them more palatable to hang out with. As it is, they're all mostly there to glower and worry about what they stand to lose.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Todd VanDerWerff
    The show is worth watching once to sample what Malkovich is up to, but it ultimately suffers from not following his performance to its logical conclusion and making the whole series a completely bonkers Blackbeard experience.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 42 Todd VanDerWerff
    Witches Of East End has the curious distinction of feeling at once underpopulated and way, way too busy.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 42 Todd VanDerWerff
    Too often subsumed by the show’s desire to make a grand statement and its inability to realize that often gets in the way of just telling a compelling story.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 42 Todd VanDerWerff
    It hasn’t yet realized that what was once groundbreaking is now wheezy and clichéd.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Todd VanDerWerff
    It feels like just leaving the TV on as rerun after rerun piles up. The laugh lines are predictable. The gags play out exactly as you'd expect.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 40 Todd VanDerWerff
    A lot of the qualities that still make Allen’s movies worth watching--especially his gift for crowding a bunch of actors into the frame and giving all of them something interesting to do--are present in Crisis in Six Scenes’ final episode. But the road to get there is so needlessly long, and so pointlessly convoluted, that many viewers will be forgiven for having abandoned it long ago.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Todd VanDerWerff
    Happyish, like so many other shows of its ilk, confuses mentioning weighty, philosophical topics with actually discussing or understanding them.... And worst of all, it's so, so derivative.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Todd VanDerWerff
    The Brink's level of satire never really goes beyond "the most obvious jokes you can think of about every possible group of people on the planet," and its political messages essentially boil down to the idea that the end of humanity wouldn't be that cool.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Todd VanDerWerff
    The project is also a bit of a mess. It feels like De Felitta never stops moving his camera, even when simply sitting still might do. And Robbins's script is filled with scenes where characters have largely inconsequential conversations... But at the very least, it's worth tuning in to the miniseries for five or 10 minutes to watch a great actor show off what made him so great in the first place.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Todd VanDerWerff
    Heroes Reborn is in a curious middle ground where it seems to be giving both too much and too little exposition.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 33 Todd VanDerWerff
    Sean Saves The World is almost completely devoid of laughs.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 30 Todd VanDerWerff
    The special ... didn't just irritate me; it made me actively angry at how it wasted a great idea in the name of pointless complications and fan service.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 30 Todd VanDerWerff
    This is a show that's unnecessarily bleak, far too impressed with its own edginess, and completely predictable to anyone who's watched television before.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 30 Todd VanDerWerff
    It's a leaden, soggy mess, that only gets messier as it goes.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 Todd VanDerWerff
    These jokes aren't funny ones. They're old, threadbare ones that Galavant does nothing to build upon. In fact, they might be Galavant in a nutshell: everything seems different, but this is the same old TV slop in a different suit of armor.
    • 27 Metascore
    • 20 Todd VanDerWerff
    The Briefcase features a truly terrible idea at its center, but what's almost worse than that is how dull and repetitive it gets almost immediately.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 20 Todd VanDerWerff
    It’s the worst TV show of 2016. ... By the end of its second season, The Man in the High Castle has essentially abandoned everything fascinating about its first season in favor of a junky sci-fi drama with reality-hopping characters and a bunch of caricature Nazi bad guys.
    • 15 Metascore
    • 0 Todd VanDerWerff
    At all times, Dads feels assembled by people who have sniveling contempt for their audience, figuring that this is just the stupid bullshit people who watch network TV might want. They may be proved right by that, but the American public rarely embraces shows as transparently awful as Dads.

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