New York Magazine (Vulture)'s Scores

For 308 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 42% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Hannibal: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Dads: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 162
  2. Negative: 0 out of 162
162 tv reviews
  1. Is Game of Thrones one of the great HBO series? It's too early to tell, though judged purely as an immense yet improbably graceful narrative machine, I'd have to say yes.
  2. From the moment I saw the pilot of Girls, I was a goner, a convert.
  3. Louie is the anti–Anger Management: bizarre, inventive, and bold.
  4. A triumph of writing, directing, and acting.
  5. There’s a solid, patient, confident quality to this movie that’s rarely seen in modern mainstream cinema. It’s better than most American films playing in theaters, and better than most of HBO’s films, too.
  6. At its best, Futurama blends raised-eyebrow postgraduate-thesis humor and fifth-grade-lunchroom spit-take humor. That’s not a combination you see every day--and as a bonus, Futurama stirs in unironically beautiful, at times thrilling visuals.
  7. Whoopi Goldberg presents Moms Mabley is simple but perfect--one of those documentaries that's about what it seems to be about, but is also about something else.
  8. This is one of the best movies about the artistic process I've seen--a film that can engross and illuminate even if you know nothing of Sondheim.
  9. Sherlock (and Sherlock [the show]) is that good, we do forgive his callousness, and yeah, we'll wait for two years for his return and never let our fervor flag. In exchange, when the miracle happens and he (and the show) come back, he's as good or maybe better than ever.
  10. You could say it’s as close as a broadcast network has gotten to the personal artistry of the best premium-cable shows, if it weren’t bolder and more elegant than anything on pay cable right now, including HBO’s own serial-killer drama, True Detective.
  11. The storytelling seems to have hit a new peak of relaxed confidence. In every scene you get a sense of steady forward motion. New characters are introduced and old characters deepened, and devious new plots are laid out so deftly that it's not until midway through episode three that you look back over everything that came before and laugh at yourself for not having seen a particular surprise coming
  12. The film has poetry and vitality, too, and its greatest virtue is that it seems not to give a damn if you approve of any of its creative choices as long as you connect with it emotionally and intellectually.
  13. The best of the new fall sitcoms.
  14. Splendid television.
  15. Episodes is great--the sharpest sitcom debut this year. Among other excellent qualities, it's actively funny, with none of the dramedy lumpiness that spoils other half-hour offerings (bad camp, faux-energy badinage, heavy-handed sentimentality).
  16. Sherlock is a wonderful series. Just thinking about it makes me smile.
  17. This series is Burns doing Guthrie, bringing a lifetime of experience and craft to bear on a story of people struggling through hard times. He's picking up a guitar and telling us a story--a great one.
  18. For all its gore, gunfire, and criminal nastiness, it's a joyous show; even when the characters are scowling, the show seems to be grinning at you.
  19. It lets you simultaneously laugh at and with the characters, and feel justified for laughing, then ashamed, and then the pendulum swings back again; this is a much messier and more fascinating set of reactions than what sitcoms typically evoke.
  20. The physicality of the visuals and the performances helps power Game of Thrones past any rough patches--not that there have been that many.
  21. Oh My God is animated by deep skepticism and an appreciation of joy, qualities that don’t normally mix in comedy and that might seem, in a different context, incompatible. But they aren’t incompatible--not here, anyway.
  22. I suspect it might be a classic that deserves a spot in the pantheon of great, long-delayed follow-ups, though I need to watch the whole thing again and live with it and then write about it again to be sure. That I’d want to rewatch the whole season immediately is, of course, another, possibly higher compliment.
  23. Rick and Morty won't get us any closer to a workable definition of Harmon's genius, but at least it clarifies that the unhinged quality that Community once had wasn't accidental.
  24. The first four episodes sent out for review become stranger and less “realistic” by the hour, not to mention more stereotypically HBO-like (artfully arranged corpses; drug-thug posturing and handgun-waving; gratuitous T&A) and less concerned with the case that Cohle and Hart are allegedly trying to solve. But the show’s time-shifting structure is so painstaking that even when True Detective spirals into lurid madness there still seems to be purpose behind it.
  25. It's these deeper questions [Deciding to live the day-to-day performance of an ideal, a belief, an emotion, a set of principles, a faith?] that give the action and melodrama a bit of existential heft, and redirect our vicarious enjoyment away from fantasy and back towards reality.
  26. The show’s version of machismo is hilarious, and feels new. Silicon Valley captures the pack-wolf preening of guys whose muscles are located mostly above their necklines.
  27. To watch any engrossing drama is to feel for fictional people the way we feel for real-life friends. Even when they piss us off, we wish them the best.
  28. Entertaining... What [Nagy] has done is tailor this tabloid material to several different narrative tastes, which alternate as the movie shifts from love affair to temper tantrum to gunfire to murder trial and back again.
  29. State of Mind will be worth a careful watching as much for the writer as for the star.
  30. It relies on intelligence and resourcefulness rather than divine providence.
  31. Dark comedy suits insouciant Duchovny.... Here he delivers a tousled sort of aw-shucks Huck Finn, lighting out for erotic territories. McElhone, à la Rene Russo, manages to convey the notion of adult womanhood without being either drippy or schoolmarmish about it.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Like any good reality show, Kid Nation's strengths are in its characters, and the most remarkable aspect of these characters so far is their intellectual superiority to adults on reality shows--they use big words and make funny jokes!
  32. San Francisco shifts shapes nicely, and there’s sufficient tension in the pilot to keep our nerves strung out, and since executive producers Kevin Falls and Alex Graves are West Wing veterans, it’s no surprise that the characters pass for adults.
  33. Pushing Daisies will drive you crazy or make you smile.
  34. With a calculation of word and image that’s almost elegant, Five Days gives us sociology and anthropology instead of shock and awe.
  35. Laura Harris as Jill Bernhardt, the platinum-blonde district attorney, Paula Newsome as Claire Washburn, the surprisingly jolly medical examiner, and Aubrey Dollar as Cindy Thomas, the impossibly young newspaper reporter, do not add up to a Kaffeeklatsch or a therapy group. I’m not saying that they don’t occasionally discuss emotions (usually Angie/Lindsay’s), but it’s more grad-school seminar than touchy-feely hot-tub hangout.
  36. Project Runway appears to have saved itself (and its audience from boredom) by showcasing a crop of designers that is--as Gunn has not unjustly declared--"the strongest group ever."
  37. In these last innings, as The Wire ties up its gnarled threads, it also makes its most daring departure yet, introducing yet another institution, and a brand-new cast of characters to disappoint us.
  38. The Sarah Connor Chronicles is mostly chase scenes. And very nicely staged they are, by director–executive producer David Nutter (Supernatural, Smallville), an adrenaline junkie equally adept at terrorizing a classroom, blowing up a city, rebooting a cyborg, or time-warping a bank vault.
  39. The resulting series features trick photography, murder, romance, and--much like the Fox "Terminator" series--more clever ideas and witty jokes, not to mention cool jazz, than the audience expects or deserves.
  40. We’re in excellent company, from the Boston Massacre to the Declaration of Independence to Adams’s plenipotentiary missions to Versailles and the Court of St. James to his unsought but extremely gratifying vice-presidency in the first Washington administration.
  41. The Reformation is what this equally entertaining second season is about, plus ditching the brunette, Anne Boleyn (Natalie Dormer), in favor of the blonde, Jane Seymour (Anita Briem).
  42. Meanwhile, some remarkable television has been made. To report on a new generation of young warriors raised on hip-hop, heavy metal, and video games, Wright went to Iraq as Michael Herr before him had gone to Vietnam, like Dante to hell with a cassette recording of Jimi Hendrix.
  43. Although generally witty, always absorbing, and invariably violent, True Blood isn’t really a big surprise until its fifth hour.
  44. Trust Me is a neat spin on this ancient tradition--and in fact, I shall grandly state that it is, in both its lovable and off-putting elements, a workplace drama for our time.
  45. This is unusual fare for HBO, sunny and serene and easy to dismiss. But I think it will find an enthusiastic audience for its benign vision of the detective as feminine healer, grounded in the show’s lovely lead performance by singer Jill Scott as Precious.
  46. It’s really located at that dirty crossroads HBO discovered long ago, smart enough to be uninsulting, but obsessed enough (and graphic enough about) sex and wildness that it is addictively watchable, not so much a guilty pleasure as a binge food. Cable catnip, in other words.
  47. With British accents and a refreshing dash of homoeroticism, it works nicely for a midsummer binge.
  48. Curb Your Enthusiasm takes its own internal dare and does somehow manage to make us care about this world-class sufferer of impacted pettiness, with his endless bickering about the thermostat, the etiquette of blow jobs in cars, the horrors of vacuum-packed plastic.
  49. He may be sicker than Hank Moody or Larry David, but he’s also a far richer figure, and in his own strange way, just as universal, thanks to the transcendent performance of Michael C. Hall, who deepens every sick joke and raises the stakes on every emotional twist.
  50. By refueling with the Madoffs, the show’s writers have brought a titillating jolt to the show’s by-now-established riffling of silvery, half-concealed trauma flashbacks. Even if, in the end, it’s nothing more than highly lacquered candy, it’s tasty stuff.
  51. Best of all, we seem to be done with the weakest element of the series, those abusive-hillbilly flashbacks. Instead, we've been left with a Madonna-whore set of blondes: all-embracing Anna and her icy counterpart, Betty of the Little White Nose in the Air.
  52. Lights Out starts slower but has an even more intriguing anti-hero dad: Patrick "Lights" Leary (in a beautiful and subtle performance by Holt McCallany), a retired heavyweight champion with itchy fists.
  53. Shameless also has a rough and original charisma of its own, emphasizing as it does the freedom and not merely the deprivation of its family of quasi orphans.
  54. The show may be ridiculous, but the humiliation and panic feel real. And there's something to be said for surprise.
  55. Raylan Givens is off his game, but Justified is as sharp as ever.
  56. It's the most engrossing cop series since season one of NBC's Homicide, and maybe the most raggedy and real.
  57. The cop stuff feels like it could be happening in any other NBC cop show; I kept expecting Prime Suspect's Maria Bello to show up in that cute hat. But given the originality on display, and the venue, those are minor complaints.
  58. NY Med is filled with warm, honest moments--some poignant, others comic--and characters who would be plenty compelling even if they didn't keep revealing surprising new sides.
  59. Boss' mix of deft footwork and bull-in-a-china shop clumsiness can be off-putting, but it's always anchored by Grammer's alternately scary and mournful lead performance, and you're never in doubt that there's a fully formed sensibility behind it.
  60. It's grindhouse and art house, and it carries itself as if it doesn't give a damn what you think of it. And its infuriating push-pull quality is still fascinating.
  61. This is one hell of a debut, and the last seven minutes are brilliant, hitting emotional notes that you might not expect.
  62. It feels lived-in, confident. That's a good sign.
  63. The Hour has never pretended to be anything other than a very classy potboiler filled with attractive people, one that puts its heroes into predicaments that wouldn't be out of place in a silent film while sneaking social and historical commentary into the margins.
  64. The melodrama is deliciously engrossing and occasionally wrenching--two episodes in the middle of season three may empty local Rite-Aids of Kleenex--but in the end, it's a light series: "light" as in the opposite of dark, not insubstantial; warm, hopeful, inspiring.
  65. Contemporary TV is suddenly filled with shows starring charismatic yet ostentatiously flawed heroines: Homeland, The Mindy Project, Girls, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23. Enlightened stands out because its vision is so much wider.
  66. The Americans might take a while to find its footing--most shows do; but it already has a personality, a pulse of life.
  67. Smash got the memo from viewers. I don’t think they read all of it, necessarily, but at least they got it, and they’ve changed just enough to raise the series from a C+ to a B. So: progress.
  68. For the most part, though, what we see and hear is all we’re allowed to know, and it’s enough, just as the accumulation of moments in a fly-on-the-wall documentary are enough to make us feel for the subjects.
  69. [A] clever, at times tricky season opener. In Lost-like style, it strategically withholds key information that would help us make immediate sense of Don’s behavior, which by turns suggests a prisoner, a sleepwalker, and a ghost.
  70. It’s not rushing us to the next plot point. It’s content to be present. It breathes.
  71. Family Tree is less belly-laugh funny than wry and occasionally poignant.
  72. It's the kind of work that I like to classify as "deep shallow," in that it deals in familiar tropes and simple themes but articulates them in a clever, stylish way.
  73. We stay interested because executive producers Graham Yost (Speed) and Jon Avnet (Fried Green Tomatoes) know what they're doing and have conscripted a crackerjack cast to do it.
  74. For all its comedy, this is a serious show, one that’s keenly attuned to the damage that women do to other women, and that men and women do to one another, and that the state does to its people before, during and after they go to prison.
  75. Thanks partly to the writing, but mostly to Elba's performance, Luther rarely comes off as one of those swaggering CBS crime-show smarty-pantses, dumping wisdom on subordinates--and that's good, because even at its sharpest, Luther feels a bit too CBS for my taste.
  76. Mom is about shtick, and it has hired a core group of actors who know how to do it.... The whole cast is just about perfect.
  77. It's probably a mite too ridiculous for the dire tone it sometimes affects, but it's confident, verging on brazen, and one tends to respect that quality in entertainment.
  78. The show’s chilled-out confidence (as if it were starting its second season rather than its first) is appealing, and the cast’s Swiss-watch timing makes even lackluster exchanges crackle, but The Michael J. Fox Show’s selling point is its multivalent comic richness.
  79. Masters of Sex is an intelligent, assured drama that gets better and better as it goes along.
  80. The show has a knack for Godfather-style plots and counter­plots, as well as for sixties Hammer-horror violence that doles out gore and suffering strategically: a dollop of blood here, a severed head there. There’s a bracing wantonness to the writers’ inventions here.
  81. Some of the encounters evoke the returned abductees in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, while others have the nasty, bone-deep chill you associate with John Carpenter’s stalk-and-kill classics. Beneath it all is an air of existential dread. The universe is out of order. Life itself has gone haywire.
  82. Far From Finished isn’t an instant classic on the order of Bill Cosby: Himself or his stand-up albums Revenge, Why Is There Air?, and Wonderfulness. It’s more like a pencil sketch by a master painter or a late film by Woody Allen or Clint Eastwood.
  83. It's still the sort of show that makes you reach out to it, rather than reaching out to you--a characteristic that Treme shares with a good many of its characters, a mostly obsessive and intractable bunch who are inclined to monologues about art, work, family, mortality, and the characteristics of the perfect po-boy.
  84. Throughout, there’s a sense that ­Community is building, or rebuilding, toward something big and bold--that what you’re seeing is not so much a revamp as a restoration. Few live-action sitcoms are so aware of their artificiality and yet so ­singularly alive.
  85. For the most part, this is a light, bouncy service comedy in the spirit of The Phil Silvers Show, Gomer Pyle, USMC, and Stripes, It's a high jinks–heavy but psychology-driven show that wants to please a general audience while also seeming halfway credible to viewers who've served in the armed forces or know somebody who has.
  86. Girls is well aware of the conundrum Hannah and Adam and other characters are trapped in--we're all trapped in it, to some degree--and it has sense enough to let us figure this, and a lot of other things, out for ourselves.
  87. There's nothing formally or dramatically groundbreaking about it, except for its "no big deal" attitude. But that in itself is striking. It should be counted as progress. That Looking doesn't seem to be terribly concerned with words like progress should count as progress, too.
  88. The 100 is better than it has to be, a little more exciting and surprising and intense.
  89. Review is more of an experience than a statement; if you ask yourself, "What's the point?" you'll probably never get an answer, and you'll miss out on the agonizing pleasure of this most unusual series, which imports a style of TV comedy that was perfected in the United Kingdom and its far-flung colonies, and somehow Americanizes it without snuffing its daft spark.
  90. The pilot can be alienating, and not in a good way. It's often too schematic, too obvious.... The next three episodes get incrementally weirder, stronger, and more original, to the point that you forget to measure this Fargo against its namesake, or against any of the Coens' masterworks, and simply enjoy the odd, sour, frightening, occasionally splendid thing in front of you.
  91. Yes, the conspiracy is well-crafted, and yes, it's an engaging critique of society in the way that lots of cool speculative fiction tends to be.
  92. There were several very strong bits, but the best was Oliver's rant about the U.S. media's disinterest in the Indian elections.... At this point, my main complaint about the show is that it's not an hour.
  93. Live Another Day's drone story extends Bush-era mechanized warfare into the age of Obama. It's another example of 24's knack for mixing left- and right-wing assumptions into a ferocious action film cocktail.... Welcome to one more day.
  94. This is also a lovingly wrought series. Every frame is intelligently composed, lit, and decorated, every camera move is purposeful and sometimes startling.
  95. The problem isn’t the sentiments but the clunky way they’re expressed--as if the writers are reserving the good dialogue for the regulars, along with the empathy.... The missteps are easy to forgive because, in content as well as form, ­Orange is a modestly revolutionary show.
  96. Don't let [Dr. OZ's] presence dissuade you from enjoying what's otherwise an almost freakishly absorbing series.
  97. He has a light touch, and his camera's gaze is warm and kind. This movie is knowing, and sometimes ruefully ironic, without ever seeming smug.
  98. All in all, this is an impressive piece of work, absorbing provided that you're willing to meet it on its own storytelling terms.
  99. A preposterous premise...only somewhat distracts from an agreeable escapism and first-rate performances by Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell.

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