New York Magazine (Vulture)'s Scores

For 287 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 3.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Futurama: Season 10
Lowest review score: 0 Liz & Dick: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 149
  2. Negative: 0 out of 149
149 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. Just as we begin to wonder whether Life is intended to be, um, wacky, it takes a darker turn.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    United States of Tara, a flawed but fascinating series about a women with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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?
  9. 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    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.
  10. 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.
  11. I did love Mildred Pierce, mostly, for much of its nearly six hours.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. The pilot is funny but exhausting, but I doubt the show's ability to sustain this tone and these characters over the long term.
  15. the film is as smart and sexy as it is extravagantly silly; its silliness is knowing and affectionate.
  16. 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.
  17. This A&E miniseries is exuberantly batty.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Ben and Kate is enjoyable enough if you don't mind a severe case of the cutes.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. This show isn't art quite yet, but it's artful. Tiresome as it sometimes is, there's something to it.
  26. 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.
  27. Pacino and Mirren’s teamwork keeps Phil Spector watchable even when it’s dousing itself in dramatic ethanol and lighting a match.
  28. This is still a charming series, and the cast gets plenty of mileage out of the role-reversal at the show’s heart.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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."
  36. 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.
  37. Gregg's the best thing in the pilot.... the pilot definitely has its moments.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. Not so funny but genuinely touching.
  49. The first five hours feel more soapy than salacious.
  50. I suppose some of it is funny, as in a Kafka/Beckett/Pinter soft-shoe shuffle of grotesques. Still, what’s so far much more mesmerizing about The Riches is class war and caste hate.
  51. Reaper is strictly for fans of movies like Superbad.
  52. The unnecessary reimagining from executive producer David Eick, is a lot darker than the 1976 original
  53. Which isn’t to say that State of the Union is merely wicked fun, mean games, and goofy looks. Ullman’s America needs work.
  54. This is a flabbergasting cast, so far called upon to do not much besides posturing. But my fingers are crossed, and my eyes too.
  55. Like Huck and Jim, or Ishmael and Queequeg, Crusoe and Friday embody the triumph of homoerotic male bonding over the steeps of race, culture, and ethnicity.
  56. The series is primarily goofy formulaic fun, and so far, Katic is no Deschanel, but like its twin, the series uses that shockingly durable Remington Steele DNA--peacock dude, furrowed-brow femme--to build neat puzzles out of human suffering.
  57. It's possible The Big C will get better, even if (maybe especially if) Cathy never does. And if it takes two seasons to become a great sitcom about dying? That might be worth the wait.
  58. Both the new actor and the revamped series take some getting used to.
  59. The movie is better than you've heard but not good enough to linger in the mind.
  60. Missteps are balanced by bits that ring oddly true.
  61. It's the new Revenge, but so much goofier and more shameless that it makes Revenge look comparatively measured.
  62. It's all rather weightless: just your usual sitcom-style misunderstandings and bruised egos and "complications ensue," with no sense that anything larger is at stake.
  63. Too much of Political Animals feels like good-enough-for-government-work drama, and I can't help believing it would have been more compelling, maybe genuinely subversive, if it had replaced some of the scenes that attack the show's main themes head-on with pick-axes, and substituted ones that showed the female characters simply doing their jobs, commanding more than reluctant respect from men.
  64. It's knowingly dumb and aiming for smart-dumb, and over time it might get there.
  65. Hell on Wheels didn't turn into a great drama, but it settled into a distinctive groove, growing more relaxed and confident by the week.
  66. The weak link is Jesse Bradford's Chris.... The other couples are more humanely drawn. Because they make emotional and psychological sense, the chirpy sitcom banter goes down more smoothly.
  67. The pilot for ABC's extraterrestrial silly-fest feels half-baked, and parts of it just sort of lie there, but this shouldn't be a deal breaker.
  68. Still, for all its flaws, this is an intriguing show, packed with atmospheric details and Easter-egg-style grace notes.
  69. Chicago Fire gets better week-to-week, finding its own vibe, one that mixes TV-14 gore, soap opera entanglements, and working-class-hero earnestness. Sincerity puts the whole thing over.
  70. Arrow is sincere and energetic but visually undistinguished.
  71. The series' bludgeoning aesthetic is silly, but it works. Much of History's programming aims to intrigue viewers who might never crack open a book, while assuring literate history buffs that the filmmakers know what they're talking about.
  72. While it's emphatically not a great show, it is an overheated yet intriguing one, driven more by visuals than words--and if you don't mind that its gory action and soap-opera plots aren't yet matched by dialogue and performance, it's worth a look.
  73. Nothing in this pilot promises how fascinating the show will ultimately become, and unfortunately, the show is more efficient than truly good. ... The first four episodes contain no aesthetically pleasing shots or sequences, just tedious coverage of talk and action, and too many of its 'shocking' moments are dependent on visual/aural shortcuts. ... Nevertheless, The Following fascinates, thanks to soulful lead performances by Bacon and Justified's Natalie Zea (as Carroll's ex-wife) and the nervy way it develops and sustains its central flourish.
  74. Broadchurch excels at showing the awkward moments between the briskly delivered plot points, and the small details of voice and gesture that define communities in mourning (or guilty panic), and it has the good sense not to overdo anything.... And yet there's something fundamentally unsatisfying about the whole thing, as smart and intricately structured as it is--and it has nothing whatsoever to do with any writing or acting or filmmaking issues, and everything to do with the fact that we've just been to this particular narrative well too many times in 2013.
  75. Derek is engaging and sometimes very funny. Parts of it are ostentatiously sentimental, verging on gooey.
  76. So, concept, story, dialogue: just okay. Cast: outstanding. Sean Saves the World is on my "wait and see" list for sure.
  77. At its best, Brody Stevens: Enjoy It! taunts viewers into wondering if sanity and insanity are both merely artifice, and proves that in the hands of a capable enough performer, they're often indistinguishable from each other. The show is definitely interesting. I'm just not sure how entertaining it actually is.
  78. Meyers's first monologue was all down-the-middle one-liners, delivered in the exact "Weekend Update" cadence.... Meyers settled in more once he sat down at his desk.
  79. A series that’s not as impressive as its lead actor’s performance.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The show’s greatest drawback, in fact, is Spade’s own influence: There are now a thousand TV comedians and a million Websites that toss off dismissive one-liners, so Spade’s snide voice is just one in a deafening din.
  80. We don’t yet know if Thief will go anywhere surprising.
  81. I like [the characters] all enough to hope they can float this so-far-leaky dirigible.
  82. There is nothing in Dirt to look at or think about that we haven’t looked at and decided not to think about before.
  83. [It] telegraphs its most important punch too early on, and the rest is loud music, strobe lights, nose candy, and debauched dancing.
  84. The show seems to take forever to get anywhere.
  85. K-Ville’s co–executive producers are both cop-show veterans--Jonathan Lisco of NYPD Blue and The District, Craig Silverstein of Bones and Standoff--who know how to yank our chains with close-ups, jump cuts, booster shots of adrenaline, and low-rent noir.
  86. With the exceptions of a furious Denis Leary as Michael Whouley, chief political strategist of the Democratic National Committee, and an over-the-top Laura Dern as Katherine Harris, Florida’s hothouse secretary of State, a splendid cast mostly just sits around watching the bad news on television, dutiful to the letter of Danny Strong’s conscientious script yet insufficiently roused to righteous spirit even as, before their eyes, our republic gets banana’d.
  87. Since Swingtown isn’t even peekaboo, much less dirty, I wish I could say that it’s played for laughs. But I don’t know what it’s played for.
  88. Raising the Bar is professional television, but no more than that. Passion and purpose are among the missing.
  89. In the end, it turns out that Homeland Security so desperately needs Olivia on their side of the freak wars that they show her their top-secret Mulder-Scully-esque X-files and recruit both Bishops as her own mercenary team of pattern pods. And I am the queen of the Nile.
  90. And so far, so-so.
  91. The original documentary may have been predatory, but it captured something powerful, the face of failed optimism, the many meanings of the word “spoiled.” Sometimes it’s better to let strange be strange.
  92. It’s not impossible that the show might become, as it seems intended to be, a sitcom take on Susan Faludi’s Stiffed, a perverse fable about the way a man emasculated by the economy learns to strut. But to do that, it would have to have a grander, more empathic vision of the world around Ray. Right now, it just doesn’t go deep enough.
  93. If there are rare moments in Boardwalk Empire that do pay off (the story of Jimmy's mother has some sick kick this season), it's hard to feel the stakes, beyond the catharsis of the show's bi-weekly throat slashings.
  94. What's on the screen is a likable but dumb TV version of what the film scholar David Bordwell calls a "network narrative."
  95. It's reasonably clever and well acted and has strong atmosphere and a few good scares, and the concept--a found-footage voyage into the Amazon to locate a mysteriously MIA scientist--is catchy. But the format of the show may prove a dealbreaker for me.
  96. Despite very slight improvements, this series still seems deluded as to what it is and blind to what it could become.
  97. NYC 22 isn't the best or worst show you'll ever see.