New York Magazine (Vulture)'s Scores

For 649 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 52% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Game of Thrones: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Dr. Ken: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 370
  2. Negative: 0 out of 370
370 tv reviews
  1. Superb final season of The Leftovers. ... Suffice to say that Lindelof, Perrotta & Co. have continued to think about ways to make the fantastic seem mundane and vice versa.
  2. Practically every moment of its seven-and-a-half-hour running time is thought-provoking, astonishing, sobering, hilarious, tragic, and sometimes all of those at once.
  3. Season two is one of the better TV dramas of an already excellent year, and that series creator Noah Hawley, his filmmaking team, and his cast have perfected what was already a promising spinoff of the Coen Brothers’ 1996 classic.
  4. Nearly every frame of it is about strengthening our ability to connect individual experiences with bigger, more universal outlines. It is the rare message that’s both pointed and strikingly understated, which, right now, feels like a balm.
  5. 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.
  6. It has a knack for creating metaphorically or symbolically rich situations that never strut about announcing themselves as such. It’s all there if you care to delve into it, but it’s never in the foreground and affixed with a tag; often you catch it hiding behind, or within, the characterizations and plot twists, as spies hide in plain sight.
  7. Genndy Tartakovsky is the world’s greatest living action filmmaker, and Samurai Jack, which starts its fifth and final season on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim March 11, is the most aesthetically daring series on TV. Amazingly, both statements were true back in 2004, the last time Samurai Jack aired new episodes.
  8. 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
  9. Everything that was a big part of the first season is back, but more: The show's loose fantasy boundaries are even more permeable, the Judaism is more present, everyone's worst trait is more squarely front-and-center, the primacy of the sibling bonds more exclusionary. The winky pokes at academia poke harder. The flashbacks flash farther back.
  10. Louie is the anti–Anger Management: bizarre, inventive, and bold.
  11. As always, The Americans does complex work that never calls attention to its complexity. The associations and connections are there if you care to make them, but the show maintains plausible deniability as a good spy should, walking briskly from scene to scene as if it’s just here to get the job done and get out.
  12. Splendid television.
  13. 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.
  14. Halt and Catch Fire has officially shifted into the early 1990s, exploring the days when the internet was still being invented and, in the process, cementing its place as one of the most confident shows on television. ... Like its four protagonists, it is damn good at what it does. If you don’t take the time to appreciate it while it’s still here, you might regret it.
  15. Every shot and cut seems timed for maximum impact; you get a little bit of beauty here and there, but for the most part it's go, go, go, comrade, onto the next thing, and don't look back.
  16. A faithful adaptation of the book that also brings new layers to Atwood’s totalitarian, sexist world of forced surrogate motherhood, this series is meticulously paced, brutal, visually stunning, and so suspenseful from moment to moment that only at the end of each hour will you feel fully at liberty to exhale.
  17. Transparent's major achievement is putting itself on the map.
  18. 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.
  19. The level of craft and intelligence is so high here that Thrones earns the right to think of itself as doing for sword and sorcery what Coppola's Godfather trilogy did for the gangster picture: taking it seriously as modern myth without sapping it of old-fashioned entertainment value.
  20. If Master of None isn't perfect, it's awfully damn close. Along with recent shows like Catastrophe, Transparent, and Broad City, Master feels like the point of contemporary half-hour narrative television.
  21. The new batch of Master of None episodes is on my short list for scripted show of the year. ... Season two hones the show’s distinct cultural vision and adds stylistic heft.
  22. 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.
  23. Sherlock is a wonderful series. Just thinking about it makes me smile.
  24. The physicality of the visuals and the performances helps power Game of Thrones past any rough patches--not that there have been that many.
  25. Season three, so far, feels like it’s returning closer to that core mission after a second season that felt slightly less focused. Transitioning, for Maura and those who love her, is a process. Transparent season three shows us that the work is nowhere near done.
  26. 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.
  27. It follows the Slow TV template recently perfected by the likes of American Crime and The People vs. O.J. Simpson, giving each scene maximum space to breathe, often more than it needs. But the net effect is hypnotic, like reading a fat crime novel filled with memorable characters and atmospheric details.
  28. 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.
  29. Atlanta and Better Things take C.K.’s refinements to a new level, merge them with worldviews that you rarely see represented on TV, and tell their stories with such economy and grace that you might feel as if a new language were being worked out before your eyes.
  30. 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.
  31. The risk in this kind of show is that viewers will complain that “nothing happens,” but that never feels like the case here because Rae and her co-stars shape every scene into a perfectly formed bit of social interaction, built around a core of conflict, but with fascinating bits of business happening in the margins.
  32. 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.
  33. Louis-Dreyfus is her usual Swiss-watch self, so confident that she seems to glide through her scenes.
  34. I’m grateful that a series like this one exists in the first place. That it’s so intelligently written and shot and thoughtfully acted is a marvelous bonus.
  35. Rectify is such a quiet, patient series that it takes awhile to realize how radical its storytelling is. Near the end of season two it seemed to rethink itself, and the first couple of episodes of season three suggest that the show is about to reinvent itself and shift its focus while trying to hold on to the qualities that made it so special--and frankly, peculiar.
  36. 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.
  37. Raylan Givens is off his game, but Justified is as sharp as ever.
  38. With its mix of curveball innovations and very BoJack elements, season three of Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s cartoon sitcom set in a species-mixed world of humans and animals might be its best overall, though it necessarily lacks the aspect of jaw-dropping surprise that made it so beguiling in its first two outings.
  39. 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.
  40. Even if some of the characters seem familiar or we recognize some of the narrative beats before they’re hit, we know from the very moment it begins that Fargo once again has a great, big story to tell us, and that means it’s time to settle in for the ride, wherever that old “Ace Hole” Corvette may take us.
  41. 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.
  42. Every conflict or showdown is emotionally or physically concrete yet at the same time metaphorical, the stuff of future legends. And the My Dinner With Andre and His Guns dialogue is so off-the-charts lyrical that you can hear the writers chuckling.
  43. Nothing in the first few episodes of the new seasons rises to that level of madness [in the first season], but give the show another week or two, and I'm sure it'll get there.
  44. 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.
  45. Every member of the ensemble cast is still performing at his or her peak, adding just the right amount of salt on dialogue that’s already high in sodium. ... Veep: it’s no longer just a brilliant satire. It’s almost--almost--something to which we can aspire.
  46. The best of the new fall sitcoms.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. [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.
  50. It should still be said, however, that pretty good Burns is pretty great, provided you more or less agree with his take on things.
  51. 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.
  52. The whole show is a study of this woman’s personality, and talking to the audience feels integral to who she is. Because of Waller-Bridge’s delivery, that talking also can be funny as hell.
  53. [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.
  54. Regular viewers can expect to encounter all the usual Baking Show elements: a weekly series of challenges focused on different types of baked goods, from cakes to breads to botanically inspired concoctions; competitors who come across, without exception, as likable, decent humans; dashes of humor and encouraging pep talks from hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, for whom this is also the last season; and that huge wedding tent of a set that appears to have been set up in Lady Mary Crawley’s sprawling backyard.
  55. It's the most engrossing cop series since season one of NBC's Homicide, and maybe the most raggedy and real.
  56. That’s [fleshing out the supporting players and introduce new wrinkles into the main relationship] more or less what Catastrophe does this time out, with varying degrees of success, but always with enough wit and energy that you’ll want to keep watching even if what’s onscreen is not as blazingly fresh as what you saw last time.
  57. A triumph of writing, directing, and acting.
  58. The second season of UnREAL continues to work from that same multilayered template [of season one], but with even more confidence and a greater sense of ambition.
  59. From the moment I saw the pilot of Girls, I was a goner, a convert.
  60. Of the two parallel narratives that unfold in the first five episodes, Jamie’s is the more eventful and, because of when and where it unfolds, the one that feels more in keeping with the Outlander sensibility. ... Both of their [Balfe and Heughan's] performances feel deeper and more emotionally resonant than they have before.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. After delivering one of last fall’s most assured, instantly delightful debuts, in take two, the series solidifies its status as the most intellectually engaging comedy on television.
  65. 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.
  66. 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.
  67. Despite the best efforts of the writing staff and Gyllenhaal (who became a producer on the series partly to make sure that her character was well served), there are moments when The Deuce seems to lose its grip on the leash of its worldview and the situations take on a hypnotic power that is presumably not meant to be exploitative but comes across that way anyhow. ... Its most salient virtue is its stubborn refusal to serve up any character who represents a supposedly enlightened, 21st-century-liberal point of view.
  68. Pushing Daisies will drive you crazy or make you smile.
  69. There are times when things feel just a little off. Perhaps because of pressure to meet the high expectations set by season one or just some minor challenges finding its footing in season two, the writing occasionally comes across as forced, especially with regard to the Rebecca-Josh-Greg triangle.
  70. Masters of Sex is an intelligent, assured drama that gets better and better as it goes along.
  71. 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.
  72. This series continues to excel on all the black comedic levels it has before. The dialogue is still sharp as a serrated knife, the situations in which the characters find themselves still amuse and surprise.
  73. What makes Deadwood so fascinating is not the action we put up with; it’s the language we listen to.
  74. It feels lived-in, confident. That's a good sign.
  75. 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.
  76. The splintering of the group enables the series to open new channels of competitiveness between the principal characters while also continuing to do what it does best: develop admirably intricate story lines about high-tech-sector politics as well as the inevitability that those who either possess or covet power will engage in petty behavior.
  77. It doesn’t just have a setting and a story, it has a philosophy and a vision of life. This is so rare in any art form that the show’s less-than-subtle aspects (and there are many) feel like features rather than bugs. ... Loosely based on Simien’s 2014 same-titled independent film but superior to it in almost every way.
  78. This is one of the year’s very best TV programs, hard as it sometimes is to endure.
  79. Viewing it is therapeutic and wonderful, but also like going through an additional step in the stages of grief.
  80. 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.
  81. 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.
  82. 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.
  83. 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.
  84. Scene for scene, it feels more attuned to the daily realities of life in 2016 America than any other drama on network TV. And because it’s a self-contained story that bears no relation to season one, you can jump right into it. I urge you to give it a shot if you aren’t already a fan. Just be patient. It’s one of those shows that needs a bit of time to work its peculiar magic.
  85. Bee's program is one more "publication" added to an increasingly crowded TV newsstand, but it already feels distinctive enough to merit regular check-ins, if not yet a DVR season pass.
  86. 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.
  87. It's as engrossing as they come, impactful and devastating, and it left me with a hollowed-out despondence generally treatable only with alcohol and ranting.
  88. Few series have conveyed such a clear sense of all the different people that black professional women are required to be, and none has done such a fine job of conveying this visually as well as in performance and dialogue.
  89. This show and Bernal exude so much warmth and zest for life that both are a pleasure to watch. That continues to be true in season three.
  90. 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.
  91. 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.
  92. 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.
  93. 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.
  94. As it progresses and its narrative deepens, viewers are left with plenty of substantive matters to ponder, especially after its conclusion.
  95. 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.
  96. This Roots isn’t as altogether strongly acted as the 1977 version--though there are still plenty of standouts.... But the unmistakable spiritual dimension, an aspect lacking in the original, compensates, and it comes mainly from the writing and direction.
  97. 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.
  98. 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.
  99. A powerfully charming rom-com in all the best ways (including being British).
  100. 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.

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