New York Magazine (Vulture)'s Scores

For 346 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 2.8 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 179
  2. Negative: 0 out of 179
179 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. Louie is the anti–Anger Management: bizarre, inventive, and bold.
  4. Splendid television.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Transparent's major achievement is putting itself on the map.
  8. 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.
  9. Sherlock is a wonderful series. Just thinking about it makes me smile.
  10. The physicality of the visuals and the performances helps power Game of Thrones past any rough patches--not that there have been that many.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Raylan Givens is off his game, but Justified is as sharp as ever.
  16. 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.
  17. The program works so well as curdled Americana, you might not be inclined to peel back the other layers, much less delve into what’s happening at a storytelling level (which is even more impressive); but that’s a part of what makes Olive Kitteridge so pleasurable: its unobtrusive ambition.
  18. 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.
  19. The best of the new fall sitcoms.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. [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.
  23. It should still be said, however, that pretty good Burns is pretty great, provided you more or less agree with his take on things.
  24. 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.
  25. [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.
  26. It's the most engrossing cop series since season one of NBC's Homicide, and maybe the most raggedy and real.
  27. A triumph of writing, directing, and acting.
  28. From the moment I saw the pilot of Girls, I was a goner, a convert.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Pushing Daisies will drive you crazy or make you smile.
  32. Masters of Sex is an intelligent, assured drama that gets better and better as it goes along.
  33. 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.
  34. What makes Deadwood so fascinating is not the action we put up with; it’s the language we listen to.
  35. It feels lived-in, confident. That's a good sign.
  36. 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.
  37. This is one of the year’s very best TV programs, hard as it sometimes is to endure.
  38. 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.
  39. The show’s alchemy stems from its skillful use of smartly cast actors whose poker-faced sincerity makes us take whatever version of this story we happen to be hearing as gospel.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  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. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. All in all, this is an impressive piece of work, absorbing provided that you're willing to meet it on its own storytelling terms.
  51. It’s not rushing us to the next plot point. It’s content to be present. It breathes.
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. Reaper is strictly for fans of movies like Superbad.
  55. [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.
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. With British accents and a refreshing dash of homoeroticism, it works nicely for a midsummer binge.
  59. 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.
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. With a calculation of word and image that’s almost elegant, Five Days gives us sociology and anthropology instead of shock and awe.
  63. 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.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. 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.
  67. 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.
  68. 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.
  69. 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.
  70. 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.
  71. 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.
  72. 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."
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. The Americans might take a while to find its footing--most shows do; but it already has a personality, a pulse of life.
  76. We have to put up with characters whose brainpower compares unfavorably with a fire hydrant, but Lee is funny even in a gay bar.
  77. 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.
    • 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.
  78. In its own sweet way, this is a landmark show.
  79. 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.
  80. This series feel like a fifties leftover, chock-full of unimportant secrets.
  81. 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.
  82. 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.
  83. 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.
  84. 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.
  85. 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.
  86. 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.
  87. 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.
  88. 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.
  89. 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.
  90. Everybody... will love Betty as much as her widowed father does.
  91. 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.
  92. 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.
  93. Not since Deadwood has a period-drama production designed to a fare-thee-well and steeped in nasty atmosphere been so politically astute about who has power over whom and why--although the subtler brand of gallows humor and Soderbergh’s fondness for intricately choreographed long takes aligns The Knick with a different TV classic that Deadwood creator David Milch worked on, Hill Street Blues.
  94. Problem is, these same episodes lurch between nuanced observation of real-world trivialities and goofy sketch comedy exaggeration, and their flashes of spiky personality don't alleviate the feeling that, content-wise, the show is stuck in that regrettably familiar commercial cable bind: not safe, exactly, but not dangerous, either.
  95. 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.
  96. 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.
  97. Family Tree is less belly-laugh funny than wry and occasionally poignant.
  98. Gregg's the best thing in the pilot.... the pilot definitely has its moments.
  99. 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.

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