New York Magazine (Vulture)'s Scores

For 499 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 41% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 55% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Transparent: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Truth Be Told (2015): Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 267
  2. Negative: 0 out of 267
267 tv reviews
  1. For the most part, Murphy & Co. are content to mine this familiar material for pathos and corrosive satire. There isn’t a bad performance anywhere in this production, and while a few of them fail to rise above the level of a very good imitation (Travolta’s Shapiro is all sculpted eyebrows, puckered smirks, and constricted body language), most of them go far beyond that.
  2. Raylan Givens is off his game, but Justified is as sharp as ever.
  3. Stranger Things tries to strike a tricky balance between going fully meta and creating a piece of paranoid, magical, terrifying realism that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the works of Spielberg, Stephen King, John Carpenter, and Wes Craven that it so overtly references. At times, it wobbles in that effort. But it manages to right itself pretty quickly by effectively hooking us into its central mystery and so evocatively conjuring up a not-so-long-ago yesteryear when walkie-talkie conversations were our Snapchat and what’s now considered free-range parenting was just called parenting.
  4. A series whose undercurrent of fatalism might be unpleasant if the characters weren’t so corrosively funny.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. 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."
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. This is one hell of a debut, and the last seven minutes are brilliant, hitting emotional notes that you might not expect.
  11. Masters of Sex is an intelligent, assured drama that gets better and better as it goes along.
  12. Louis-Dreyfus is her usual Swiss-watch self, so confident that she seems to glide through her scenes.
  13. The show is savvy and hilarious and I was completely sold on it, but I'm also not surprised that NBC ultimately decided not to air it.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. It does not feel focus-grouped; sometimes it doesn’t feel second-guessed. Julie and Billy and many of the other characters talk to each other the way best friends talk to each other when they think nobody is listening. Every other scene contains a line that could keep the outrage/apology cycle humming for at least a half-day.
  17. For a show that shouldn't really work at all, Last Man works pretty well. A lot of that is Forte, who makes Phil kind of dumpy and sad and gross, but also clever and resilient.
  18. Heroes Reborn and Scream Queens are both good. They're both dead-on in doing what they've set out to do, and both two-hour premieres (Scream today, Heroes Thursday) are voice-driven, exciting, and very much themselves.
  19. It relies on intelligence and resourcefulness rather than divine providence.
  20. Heroes Reborn and Scream Queens are both good. They're both dead-on in doing what they've set out to do, and both two-hour premieres (Scream today, Heroes Thursday) are voice-driven, exciting, and very much themselves.
  21. While this fourth chapter in the saga of Litchfield Penitentiary gets off to a bumpier start than usual, it ends on such powerful notes that if you’ve ever been a fan, you simply have to view all 13 episodes.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. All in all, this is an impressive piece of work, absorbing provided that you're willing to meet it on its own storytelling terms.
  25. 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.
  26. Although generally witty, always absorbing, and invariably violent, True Blood isn’t really a big surprise until its fifth hour.
  27. With British accents and a refreshing dash of homoeroticism, it works nicely for a midsummer binge.
    • 53 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!
  28. It still feels, moves, and thinks like the Community you know. It has changed, yet it hasn’t. Its essence remains.
  29. 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.
  30. It's a refreshingly un-miserable show, and while it covers a range of human emotions and identities, none are "murderer" or "super murderer."
  31. 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.
  32. The 100 is better than it has to be, a little more exciting and surprising and intense.
  33. The early arc of season two is as interesting as anything on TV in ages--absorbing, complicated, textured. The composition of the show feels more stable, too.
  34. 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.
  35. Outlander is never more engrossing than when a scene emphasizes Claire's reactions as she's forced to decide whether to say what she really thinks of a man's behavior or assertion or recitation of policy, or err on the side of silence.
  36. This is also a lovingly wrought series. Every frame is intelligently composed, lit, and decorated, every camera move is purposeful and sometimes startling.
  37. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has a very difficult to-do list in terms of maintaining its tone while finding a little more character clarity than the pilot managed--plus the musical numbers. Rebecca's self-absorption is almost thrilling, but the show itself falls prey to it, so we don't quite get a clear read on the supporting characters in the first episode.... The craziest thing about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is how boldly itself it is when so many other shows are attempting to be each other.
  38. The Night Manager knows exactly what kind of entertainment it wants to be: escapism with just enough of a dark edge to pass for art. And it stays as focused on its mission as Pine does on his.
  39. There could be a precipitous drop in quality in the next few weeks, for all we know. But what’s onscreen here is intelligent, sensitive, and sure-footed, and altogether promising.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. It feels lived-in, confident. That's a good sign.
  44. 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.
  45. It’s too early to say for sure, but the first episode of the first post-Martin season already feels more woman-friendly, indeed a tad warmer and more embracing overall, than the preceding 50 episodes, which could feel thrillingly atavistic and occasionally inspiring but also cold, manipulative, and needlessly vicious.
  46. I’m not sure the whole thing gels perfectly just yet. But BrainDead is still engaging, deliciously weird, and well worth adding to your DVR rotation.
  47. Empire is cynical and sincere, kidding and not kidding, dumb and smart, and to watch it is to be constantly amazed by what it gets away with.
  48. 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.
  49. The episodes are so briskly paced and the tone so expertly judged that you tend to enjoy it all in the spirit in which it was intended. The show is a jar of bittersweet jelly beans. You can’t eat just one.
  50. 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.
  51. This is my dream for all shows: that they have a clear idea; a way in which that idea is uniquely theirs; a cast that can give a rich, full life to those concepts; and the savviness to use both comedic and dramatic elements to explore and enrich those characters and the articulated world they inhabit.
  52. The result is a conventional drama lit, shot, and edited with maximum cinematic oomph, in ways that tease out or add meanings that might not have been carried by dialogue and performance alone.
  53. Pushing Daisies will drive you crazy or make you smile.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. It's the most engrossing cop series since season one of NBC's Homicide, and maybe the most raggedy and real.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. 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.
  61. 11.22.63 is sprawling and rather leisurely, to an extent that might prove a deal-breaker for some.... But the net effect is ultimately intoxicating if you accept that the digressions are the point of the story, and are in fact inevitable given the sort of person Jake is.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. Family Tree is less belly-laugh funny than wry and occasionally poignant.
  65. 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.
  66. 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.
  67. It's magisterially trashy: sweet, glorious madness.
  68. This season, Survivor’s Remorse seems to knows more clearly what it is, and is confidently aware that it’s becoming what it always wanted to be.
  69. The Americans might take a while to find its footing--most shows do; but it already has a personality, a pulse of life.
  70. We're left with just a sense of promise. And Quantico is a hell of a promising pilot.
  71. The show is perfectly cast, and it certainly seems like there's plenty of story to be had.
  72. The fourth hour immediately went on my list of the year's best drama episodes; at least half of it is eye-rollingly silly, but the other half is magnificent. Just when you think the Underwoods can be written off as comic strip political cousins of the Macbeths, they do or say something that's genuinely moving, and that makes you realize they have hearts after all, even though they're probably tiny and ice-cold, and only beat for one another.
  73. There's a lot to like in these first two episodes: Dana and Jessica's scenes have greater psychological weight than before, thanks to Brody's absent presence, though they do raise the uncomfortable question of how interested we need to be now that the family isn't directly connected to the show's central institution anymore (the Betty Draper problem on Mad Men). The episodes also give us a clear, at times unnerving sense of how hard it must be for somebody as gifted but volatile as Carrie to work in such a button-down environment, and how easy it must be to write her off as merely unstable or merely crazy.
  74. Corden did a perfectly solid job. Last night's premiere went about as well as a premiere can go.
  75. The show is a compendium of high-octane clichés, just clever enough that you can't call it stupid and just stupid enough that you can't call it clever.... There are three saving graces. One is the premise, which is enjoyably ludicrous.... The second saving grace is the multicultural cast and international flavor.... The third saving grace, certainly not to be underestimated, is Luna, who's got a marvelous Everyman quality.
  76. As sitcoms about talented, self-defeating assholes go, though, Maron is pretty good, though it has yet to plumb the sublime depths of self-loathing showcased on the likes of Louie, Girls, and Veep.
  77. Quality-wise, it's closer to Child's Play 2 or The Kiss than it is to Re-Animator--which truly is awesome, as anyone who's seen it will testify--but I love the fact that The Strain seems to be trying to evoke these sorts of better-than-government-work horror midnight time-wasters.
  78. There's a sweetness to the series, an almost admiration for the various crummy behaviors.
  79. At times, there's a dangerous undercurrent of anti-sentimentality, a risk of sentimentalizing curmudgeonliness itself. But for all these flaws, I still found the series excitingly ambitious--funny, sexy, strange.
  80. Sagan was on record as being agnostic, but he carved out a space within the 1980 Cosmos for believers as well, and some of his more oracular turns of phrase convinced many people of faith that he was, if not an ally, then at least not an adversary. This new Cosmos is not so easygoing.
  81. Political comedies tend to work best when they're absurdist (like Duck Soup, or HBO's Veep) or much, much subtler (the gold standard being Tanner '88, a collaboration between Trudeau and Robert Altman). Alpha House falls somewhere in the middle and gets stranded there, though the company is so likable that it's a limbo you may not mind being stranded in.
  82. The biggest change is that the show is a half-hour, not an hour. Still, it's close to business as usual, or at least as usual as in the last several years. Still, it's close to business as usual, or at least as usual as in the last several years: It's still incredibly Elmo-centric, to the chagrin of those who preferred the more Big Bird–focused early years, though our fuzzy red friend grates less than the lavender fairy Abby Cadabby, introduced in 2006, whose true purpose remains unclear.
  83. I did love Mildred Pierce, mostly, for much of its nearly six hours.
  84. You’ll probably miss the humor of the first True Detective but the brooding sourness of this one is fascinating in a different way, though it loses points for showing us a world that feels far more familiar than the one showcased in season one. When Ani, Ray, and Paul are drawn together as a unit, it takes a while to establish any kind of chemistry between them, because they’re all variations of the Mann-style, soul-sick badass.
  85. The two investigate love stories, not homicides, a clever conceit that injects the procedural form with the dizzy spirit of a Drew Barrymore film festival.
  86. It's good again. Not great, but good: smarter than you expect, more patient with its storytelling, less interested in the characters' plotting and counter-plotting than in their often miserable inner lives.
  87. The TV version of Gomorrah feels like an antihero-driven American crime drama that would have been unveiled with great fanfare ten or more years ago.
  88. It's TV designed for people who watch a lot of TV and know a lot of TV, and aren't necessarily coming into Wayward Pines to be stunned by its novelty but to see if a group of talented actors, writers, and filmmakers can stitch a crazy quilt of influences into something coherent and pleasurable. They do. But it takes a while.
  89. An unsteady but very likable debut. ... That's about as good as anyone can expect from a talk show that debuted on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and that's going to spend the next few weeks or months perfecting itself while shouldering the burden of immense and mostly unreasonable expectations.
  90. This is still a charming series, and the cast gets plenty of mileage out of the role-reversal at the show’s heart.
  91. There are a few lackluster characterizations and performances, and scenes in which supposedly hardcore professionals seem more naïve than they might be in life, presumably to make it easier for The Bridge to set up little lessons in sociology, history, and politics. But this show’s worth watching regardless of how you feel about its bits and pieces. It’s an attempt to make an epic on an indie-film budget.
  92. This feels like a "two steps forward, one step back" storytelling strategy, not unlike what you'd seen in almost any other sitcom that has a rather slight story and needs to pad things out. If not for the droll and frequently profane byplay between Richard, Erlich, and housemates Gilfoyle (Martin Starr), Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani), and Jared (Zach Woods), Silicon Valley's paralyzed feeling might grate more and feel too obviously like an attempt to run out the show's storytelling clock until the writers can figure out what the next really good move is.
  93. Gregg's the best thing in the pilot.... the pilot definitely has its moments.
  94. It's witty but never overly pleased with itself, and even when it's predictable, it's predictable with a wink that says, "Come on--you know you needed that to happen."
  95. Buried beneath the frenzied, too-eager-to-please surface is a comedy that, at its best, evokes the colorful bustle of Malcolm in the Middle and the worn-down wisdom of Men of a Certain Age. There's life in it.
  96. Juarez, is unfortunately the weakest of the episodes.... Next week's follow-up, Libya--directed by Abdallah Omeish--is in the same vein. But like the other three episodes of Witness, it runs an hour and merges its disparate parts more smoothly.... The third installment, South Sudan, is even better.
  97. The show's antic energy and aggressively kooky heroine may not hit everyone's sweet spot, but the pilot is a brisk, confident piece of work, made by people with a clear vision.
  98. The Newsroom is the worst of Aaron Sorkin and the best of Aaron Sorkin.... Mostly I like Sorkin's optimism, the very quality that many of my colleagues are hanging him with.
  99. Everybody... will love Betty as much as her widowed father does.

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