New York Magazine (Vulture)'s Scores

For 391 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 3.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Futurama: Season 10
Lowest review score: 0 Liz & Dick
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 201
  2. Negative: 0 out of 201
201 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. It feels lived-in, confident. That's a good sign.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Pushing Daisies will drive you crazy or make you smile.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. It's the most engrossing cop series since season one of NBC's Homicide, and maybe the most raggedy and real.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Family Tree is less belly-laugh funny than wry and occasionally poignant.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. It's magisterially trashy: sweet, glorious madness.
  24. The Americans might take a while to find its footing--most shows do; but it already has a personality, a pulse of life.
  25. The show is perfectly cast, and it certainly seems like there's plenty of story to be had.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Corden did a perfectly solid job. Last night's premiere went about as well as a premiere can go.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. There's a sweetness to the series, an almost admiration for the various crummy behaviors.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. I did love Mildred Pierce, mostly, for much of its nearly six hours.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. This is still a charming series, and the cast gets plenty of mileage out of the role-reversal at the show’s heart.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. Gregg's the best thing in the pilot.... the pilot definitely has its moments.
  45. 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."
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. Everybody... will love Betty as much as her widowed father does.
  51. The pilot is funny but exhausting, but I doubt the show's ability to sustain this tone and these characters over the long term.
  52. What makes Deadwood so fascinating is not the action we put up with; it’s the language we listen to.
  53. Dirty Sexy Money so far lacks either Aaron Sorkin’s Gatling-gun wit or Alan Ball’s mordant mortuary humor.... That’s the bad news. The good news about Dirty Sexy Money is that we sorely require a show of its sort.
  54. Nothing shameful here, but nothing either to prize it above Ang Lee’s marvelous 1995 version. This new Sense is, in fact, somewhat of a drag.
  55. You may be surprised to hear that it works.
  56. The show's passionate aberrance can be charming and sweet, menacing and creepy, sometimes enchanting and sometimes deeply off-putting.
  57. This show isn't art quite yet, but it's artful. Tiresome as it sometimes is, there's something to it.
  58. Paradise Lost 3 never loses sight of the sickening black humor of it all--how Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley became, in effect, mere extras in a shadowplay about the omnipotence of the state. In the shadow of such sickness, all the personal dramas can't help but pale, but there are still surprising and powerful moments.
  59. A lot of the strong moments on the show resonated because of how much they reminded me of stronger moments on stronger shows.
  60. [The first three episodes] contain no evidence that it'll rival or exceed season four, an intricately wrought and unexpectedly spare and bluesy batch of hours whose quality exceeded anything that Terence Winter's gangster saga had given us in seasons one through three.
  61. A preposterous premise...only somewhat distracts from an agreeable escapism and first-rate performances by Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Dexter treats extreme violence much in the same way that GoodFellas did: as something horrifying, intoxicating, seductive and thrilling, all at the same time.
  62. The show is more successful when the Donovans are interacting with rich or otherwise spoiled people than when they’re dealing with their own problems, because the problems, however sympathetically written and acted, are a potluck stew of elements you’ve seen in other stories about South Boston Irish-Americans.
  63. Just as we begin to wonder whether Life is intended to be, um, wacky, it takes a darker turn.
  64. Everygirl Amber Tamblyn is miscast as a cop with a fancy Upper East Side pedigree, but the rest of the ensemble is great, including Harold Perrineau as a paranoid cop and Adam Goldberg as his self-destructive partner. Quirky feels like a curse word, tainted forever by the legacy of David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, etc.), but The Unusuals might actually turn the word back into praise.
  65. It's fair to say that there isn't a single element in The Flash that you haven't seen before. It should all be a big yawn. And yet it's not. The earnestness puts it over.
  66. I wouldn't say season two of The Newsroom is a big improvement over season one, but the show's definitely more measured and confident--and now that we've accepted that certain tics, such as setting the stories in a recent, real past, aren't going away, it's easier to appreciate what Sorkin and company do well.
  67. The show is derivative but passionate, verging on corny. It means what it’s telling us and showing us, and there’s a sense of curiosity and commitment in every frame.
  68. The supporting cast is excellent, even though their characters feel a bit one-note right now.... As long as Andre Braugher is employed, it's a force for good in the universe.
  69. There are times when it takes itself too seriously as modern mythmaking, as if we haven't already seen tales like this before. But even when the momentum flags or the rhythm seems slightly off, the show's sheer gorgeousness is compelling, and it's clear that Darabont has a vision for this thing, even though we can't deduce every detail based on two episodes.
  70. This is still a cheeky, trashy, nasty series, one that'll do or show pretty much anything if it thinks it'll get a rise out of you. But its sense of itself has become more refined.
  71. You don't immediately sense how all of the characters are connected or how they might eventually become connected--most of the pilot is scene-setting and mood-building--but what's onscreen is compelling.
  72. This A&E miniseries is exuberantly batty.
  73. the film is as smart and sexy as it is extravagantly silly; its silliness is knowing and affectionate.
  74. These subplots aren't inherently dull, but they're not as compelling as the sight of a singer belting a new ballad while its authors and their patrons look on.
  75. hat's tough on Manhattan is that things really are substantial, which means the show can find itself at a moment of dramatic excess very quickly.... And yet that's what Manhattan is going for, and it often succeeds, particularly in the second episode, as the emotional, personal side of things starts taking hold.
  76. Pacino and Mirren’s teamwork keeps Phil Spector watchable even when it’s dousing itself in dramatic ethanol and lighting a match.
  77. Slater, whose career has gone pretty much downhill since "Heathers" (1989) and "Pump Up the Volume" (1990), is surprisingly perfect as both of them, adjusting not much more than the brow of an eye, the curl of a lip, and the hiss of a sibilant to indicate the seismic shift from James Bond to Willy Loman.
  78. Vegas isn't art and doesn't knock itself out pretending otherwise. But its no-fuss directness is appealing, and Quaid's ropy scowl keeps it centered.
  79. Gracepoint is a good show--not great, but good.
  80. Party Down’s satirical aim is unsteady, and the second episode (featuring Young Republicans) is so dated it’s practically unwatchable. But there’s sharp dialogue and insight into the nature of snuffed ambition.
  81. We have to put up with characters whose brainpower compares unfavorably with a fire hydrant, but Lee is funny even in a gay bar.
  82. The more frequently Birthday Boys returns to seemingly unfunny or barely funny bits, the funnier they eventually become--another Python borrowing, and a good one.
  83. As science and as detection, Bones has a way to go before it's more than a bug in Grissom's Vegas eye. But the screwball romance is promising.
  84. There are so many familiar ideas and stories in BMJ that it's easy to miss some of the show's more daring and interesting moments. Mercifully, though, they're in there.
  85. If the season-three premiere is any indication, although AHS has lost its novelty, it still has that seventies and eighties grindhouse/drive-in/midnight movie feeling.
  86. This mini-series actually improves on the original 1969 Michael Crichton sci-fi non-thriller, which spent too much time in a fab lab in the desert and not enough inside the icky green virus—or outside, where the government was covering up its biological-warfare experiments.
    • New York Magazine (Vulture)
  87. A to Z glides, mainly because its stars, Mad Men's Ben Feldman and How I Met Your Mother's Cristin Milioti, are a flat-out great couple, with an understated screwball energy that Howard Hawks would've known what to do with.
  88. Despite cast changes, rewrites, and producer musical chairs, this brainy soap checks in with promise.
  89. The best I can wish for is a vehicle worthy of Parker’s prodigal talents ... By this standard, Showtime’s new sitcom Weeds is at least adequate, verging occasionally on inspired.
  90. There's still a sense that The Walking Dead is shambling along too lackadaisically. Great pulp is propulsive, ruthless. But the show's embrace of "B"-movie values is a heartening sign.
  91. It’s hard to imagine Hannibal scaling new peaks of originality as drama--not with characters and situations that have, in more than one sense, been done to death. At least there’s life in the acting and in the show’s inventive visuals.
  92. United States of Tara, a flawed but fascinating series about a women with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
  93. [Mirren] delivers big-time... Congratulations should also go to Nigel Williams, whose screenplay for Elizabeth I is as sassy as Tom Stoppard’s was for Shakespeare in Love.
  94. What we have here is accomplished and absorbing television.
  95. The six-part miniseries, premiering Sunday on PBS, is indeed largely excellent.... But that sense of dramatic conservation gets just a little bit stifling, and sometimes Peter Kosminsky's staid direction makes the series feel like a top-collar button begging to be undone, even just for a second, while no one is looking.
  96. When you’ve got Peter O’Toole in a Masterpiece Theatre mini-series, who cares how many liberties teleplaywright Russell T. Davies took with the confabulations of Giovanni Giacomo Casanova?
  97. The first two installments of House of Cards are smartly acted and written, crisply directed by Fincher, and sumptuously photographed by Eigl Bryld (In Bruges), but they’re not mind-bogglingly great, or even particularly surprising or delightful--just solidly adult, with moments of dark wit.
  98. Not enough of Breaking Bad was available for preview to decide whether the supporting cast will eventually satisfy as much as "Weeds" regulars like Elizabeth Perkins, Kevin Nealon, Tonye Patano, and Justin Kirk, but Cranston’s Walter is already a winner.
  99. Four years in the making and ten hours long, it's a remarkable, if dense and often difficult program--at once the most stylistically stripped-down thing Stone has done and (somehow) the most Oliver Stone-y.

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