RogerEbert.com's Scores

For 323 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 1.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Game of Thrones: Season 4
Lowest review score: 0 Stalker: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 189
  2. Negative: 0 out of 189
189 tv reviews
  1. Ezra Edelman’s stunningly ambitious, eight-hour documentary is a masterpiece, a refined piece of investigative journalism that places the subject it illuminates into the broader context of the end of the 20th century.
  2. Hannibal is thematically brilliant and dense in ways that most network television is not, but it wouldn't remotely work without its committed, incredibly talented cast. Dancy and Mikkelson continue to redefine these characters to the point that they're making them their own while Fishburne, Caroline Dhavernas, and another great guest turn by Gillian Anderson elevate the overall ensemble.
  3. Veep starts with four episodes as perfectly conceived and executed as ever.
  4. HBO’s Show Me a Hero is the TV event of the Summer, a mini-series that plays like a great American novel or a lost Sidney Lumet movie. Over six hours, writer/creator David Simon and director Paul Haggis craft a piece dense with political machinations that somehow never loses its focus on the people who get caught up in the web of public policy decisions and the people who make them.
  5. Fargo is back and it’s still just as smart, fun, shocking and brilliant as anything on television.
  6. You’re the Worst is one of the best.
  7. The show feels more thematically, almost philosophically, confident this year.
  8. It sounds like something out of NBC’s Must-See TV but Glover and his talented team of writers not only make it feel real, they make it feel essential.
  9. The filmmaking always crackles. Every song choice, every intimate home movie, every personal moment--they have been carefully chosen from eight years of research for maximum impact.
  10. This is confident, clever, fantastic television. It doesn’t have a trio of characters as instantly vibrant as the three at the core of season one, and it doesn’t have a premiere episode that will make jaws drop like last time around, but the first four episodes develop into something remarkable of their own, again thematically referencing back to the last trip to the snowy North, but in its own, mesmerizing way.
  11. It is distinctly its own fascinating thing. And with the addition of great supporting performers like Frank Langella to a narrative arc that grows more captivating with each episode, it could end its third season as the best drama on television.
  12. It is Agatha Christie meets "The Wire," and it's one of the best things on TV in an already-great year.
  13. The writing on Better Call Saul is as tight as any show on television, with every scene feeling like it has thematic or narrative purpose without being overwritten.... Of course, the writing is helped by a cast who seems even more confident this year.
  14. They are father, mother, friend, co-worker, husband, wife—as well as being spy and killer. It is that depth of character and nuance in the writing that elevates The Americans, along with its willingness to offer stunning narrative developments.
  15. Every element of this show remains among the best on TV, but what struck me most about the first two episodes of season three was the deliberate, confident pacing.
  16. By now, it feels like we know Philip and Elizabeth, but there are shades to these characters that the writers and actors are still exploring, still developing, and still revealing to viewers. They are two of the richest characters not just on TV now, but in the history of the medium. And they still have more stories to tell.
  17. Nearly everything about The Night Manager works, from the high-powered cast to the gorgeous locales. And it’s thematically dense as well, as le Carré and Bier examine the games people play with each other to get what they need, and how far we’re willing to go to deceive for the greater good.
  18. The Knick is the most detailed show on TV, but by grounding the characters in timeless themes--addiction, class, race, desire, competition--the show transcends its undeniable craftsmanship to become something even greater, something uniquely incredible in today’s TV world. In arguably the best year of television to date, it still stands out.
  19. By the end of the season, Master of None is so confident in its tone and execution that it almost feels like a show in its fourth or fifth year.... Yes, this year of Peak TV continues. And this is one of its best shows.
  20. American Gods will be an overload of personality for some people. And yet there’s more powerful, memorable ideas and images in these first four episodes than most shows contain in their entire runs. It’s a series that defies traditional description or viewing. As Anderson’s character says to Shadow Moon, “Don’t fight gravity.” This show is gravity.
  21. HBO's program is not just an actor's showcase for two greats. It is dense, complex, rewarding storytelling, heightened by a sense of location from its writer and director that is mesmerizing and a character-driven storytelling aesthetic that brings to mind great films like David Fincher's "Zodiac" and Bong Joon-ho's "Memories of Murder."
  22. Breathtaking. ... Great visuals, complex themes, incredible performances—maybe there are ways to write about The Leftovers. And yet there’s still something about this program that can’t be put into words. There’s something almost religious about in the way you just need to see it, feel it, and believe.
  23. As they have for three years, the blend of function and character within the dialogue is breathtaking. One of the best shows of the last several years feels as creatively vital as ever.
  24. On every level, Bryan Fuller and the team behind Hannibal are elevating what we should expect from network television.
  25. It is a work of art that connects both moment to moment, many of which are as funny as anything I’ve seen on TV this year, and something that works as a comprehensive whole.
  26. Overall, this is not a piece designed to “expose” the truth behind the OJ Simpson case. It’s more about how exposed the case was in the first place. It’s also just flat-out entertaining television, filled with strong performances from top to bottom and razor-sharp writing.
  27. With an amazing ensemble driven by great performances from top to bottom, an incredibly smart writers’ room, brilliant callbacks to the original that feel more inspired than forced, and a filmmaking style that feels as cinematic as this grand Minnesotan tragedy deserves, Fargo is one of the most addictive new shows of the year.
  28. What stuns me still about Louie is the complete unpredictability of it all as all four episodes defy TV comedy’s habit of going from point A to point B by taking viewers on another trip altogether.
  29. Sarah Polley’s adaptation of Alias Grace accomplishes something “The Handmaid’s Tale” did, but in an even more effective manner: it tells a story of one woman that’s also a story about women as a whole, and about the roles, fictional and otherwise, they’re forced to play.
  30. There’s a confidence in the writing in this episode that’s been missing the last few years, in which it sometimes felt like we were spinning our wheels.
  31. There are times when “Transparent” will run into a narrative convenience that it often seems too good for--someone stopping by a party at just the right time, someone running into someone in public, etc. Or a character will express something that seems just a bit too self-aware in an argument. I like these characters so much that I really just want to sit around and listen to them talk naturally to each other, examining the dynamics between one of the most fascinating families on TV.
  32. The memorable characters, playful tone, and subtle examination of culture, gender, and social roles continue to impress, as does the underrated ensemble, led by more confident work from Taylor Schilling than in the first season. If anything feels different, that’s it. There’s a striking sense of confidence across the board.
  33. While Rectify may rightly be called a drama, it doesn’t feel like any other.
  34. The show is often shot in a flat, predictable manner, which is likely a choice made to place emphasis on the deep emotion of the piece instead of a perceived “comic book look,” but it results in a show that has almost no visual language at all.... Luckily, it’s never dull in every other department. From Ritter’s totally engaged performance--this character could have been pure snark but she never gives into that impulse--to the aforementioned themes that Rosenberg so captivatingly weaves into her narrative, Marvel’s Jessica Jones works.
  35. Clever. This is a funny, smart comedy for fans of documentaries or even just those who wish they had more time to watch non-fiction filmmaking. In fact, Documentary Now! is so good that it should spark more interest in the very art form it satirizes but also clearly loves.
  36. It is a riveting, heartbreaking, fascinating drama, taking a subject that could easily have been turned into a Lifetime TV Movie melodrama and making it real with its subtle, character-driven grace notes and the breakneck speed of its elaborate plotting.
  37. This is risky, unique television, the kind you don’t see on every network, although don’t be surprised if they don’t all try to copy it soon.
  38. The best show on network television. Michael Schur’s hysterical deconstruction of karma is reaching for new levels of brilliant absurdity in its second season after blowing people’s minds with the twist at the end of the first.
  39. The energy this season feels a little unfocused at times, but when Veep is smart, it’s very smart.
  40. It is ambitious, rich, complex, beautifully made television. It may take a couple episodes to really show you what it has to offer, but then you won’t be able to turn away.
  41. If anything, Silicon Valley feels more confident, less uncertain of its identity or place in the TV landscape, and more willing to utilize its excellent supporting cast, especially Kumail Nanjiani and Martin Starr. The lack of notable female characters continues to be a bit alarming.
  42. The first episode is riveting, driven by cinema-caliber direction from Niels Arden Oplev, a razor-sharp script from Sam Esmail and a fantastic performance from Rami Malek.
  43. Better Call Saul is not only a great show in the context of the program that birthed it into existence, but would be a great show with or without Walter White.
  44. Clearly, The Crown doesn’t come close to experiencing a second-season slump. In some ways, it tops the highs achieved in its initial run, building on the already-complex relationships between Elizabeth, Philip, Margaret, the Queen Mother, and other members of the Royal Family and their retinue to create something even more layered and rich.
  45. Working with a repertory cast of excellent actors, American Crime feels like one of network TV’s most essential shows. It is proof that adult drama can still work on the channels that spawned it.
  46. The writing is still incredibly crisp, so smart, and never boring, and the deeper focus on relatable emotion, particularly in the definition of the relationship between Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman), could even bring in new fans to this international phenomenon.
  47. The program is physical, visceral, and consistently intense. Even the dialogue sounds smarter.
  48. Few films have tapped into the seemingly conflicting emotions that exist in the human soul at exactly the same moment as HBO’s stellar Olive Kitteridge, a delicate, beautiful mini-series starring Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, Rosemarie DeWitt, Peter Mullan, Bill Murray and more.
  49. The first must-watch series of 2015.... Togetherness is one of those programs that starts off interestingly enough to warrant a recommendation from the premiere, but it also really improves as it goes along.
  50. While there’s a lot to like in Schenkkan's smart script, All the Way is really a vehicle for Cranston, and he delivers in ways that make it much easier to forget “Trumbo.”
  51. Wormwood is not merely a Greatest Hits; it’s a fascinating piece of filmmaking that challenges the form in new ways as it recalls themes its director has been interested in his entire career.
  52. At times, it's almost overwhelming in its detail and varied subject matter, chronicling so many facets of how film and war intertwined during World War II. ... This is a must-see.
  53. Big Little Lies offers a modern take that is consistently engaging and artistically rewarding. Narratively, it could have been one or two episodes shorter than its seven-episode length (the plot doubles back and spins its wheels a few times). But this world has been so fully-realized and perfectly calibrated by the cast and crew that you’ll probably wish it was one or two episodes longer.
  54. It has such adrenaline that you imagine it could be longer, and the movie doesn't give much to take away aside from memories of laughing.
  55. Orphan Black can be a little overly reliant on camera tricks and loud music to sell its action but it’s undeniably addictive in its plotting, pushing viewers from one revelation to the next with breakneck speed that doesn't allow for consideration of plot holes.
  56. Ryan’s writing, collaborating with Cris Cole, is typically razor-sharp, but the real draw here is the cast, all of whom find ways to stand out in a show that’s very plot-driven. Neither do they blend together into one character nor feel like they’re trying too hard when they get their chance in the spotlight. And that subtle dynamic is really why the show work.
  57. At its best, Atypical allows its drama and comedy to come from that genuine, relatable place. It may have a rocky start, but stick with it. Atypical lives up to its title.
  58. Daredevil is an intelligent, well-crafted drama series that may be a little thin on actual action for those expecting the CGI orgies associated with the modern Marvel logo but contains the nuance and character that has been missing from most of those blockbusters.
  59. Westworld gets a little cluttered as the four episodes sent to press unfold. And it’s a really difficult program to judge without knowing where it’s going. In other words, this could be totally goofy nonsense by Thanksgiving. But what I’ve seen so far has stimulated me philosophically while also just being incredibly entertaining, well-made, well-performed television.
  60. There’s sort of a “fill-in” character for Gregory this season on whom I’m not yet sold after three episodes, but the saga of Pied Piper still promises to be one of the most interesting, and hysterical ones of the Spring.
  61. How do you balance the game that you’ve played and loved since a child with the obligation to become an adult? That’s the question that hums through Last Chance U, and the show is cleverly structured in the way that it devotes the final act of at least the two episodes I’ve seen to that week’s game.
  62. As with all anthology series, Electric Dreams is hit-and-miss, but the hits far outweigh the misses. A large majority of Electric Dreams is worth your time, especially if you’re a fan of Dick’s work, with only one episode that really misfires, offset by one that’s a mini-masterpiece. And the eight in between are what could safely be called “pretty good.”
  63. It is a rock-solid crime drama with film caliber production values, intriguing plotting and great performances.
  64. It’s an engaging mystery full of twists and turns that may not make complete sense when all put together, but moves quickly enough that you don’t care as it’s unfolding. Mystery fans shouldn’t miss it.
  65. One of the reasons that You’re the Worst works so well is that we buy this relationship instantly. Geere and Cash have chemistry.
  66. Scorsese and Tedeschi’s film is more than a traditional non-fiction document of what happened in the intellectual circles that inspired and were inspired by The New York Review, but a relevant, vital film about the importance of journalism and commentary.
  67. It’s a lot to ask, and I worry that the show’s structure will define the program more than the characters within it or the themes explored by it. Having said that, there’s just as much reason for hope that this will be the next great cable drama. Most notably, the cast clicks.
  68. These are fascinating, smart guys who really know the business but the flashy production of the show distracts from the points they’re trying to make. It’s a minor complaint for a really good show. There are so many remarkably interesting scenes in the first two episodes alone.
  69. Some of the beats are a little too broad--the flashbacks feel particularly like devices instead of the realism of the present-day material--but there’s so much to like here that any missteps are quickly forgotten.
  70. Things are more subtly chaotic on Boardwalk Empire this season as well, marked by a season premiere that feels more menacing and violent than the HBO hit often has in the past.
  71. Bolstered by as A-list a cast as anything on TV (with the exception of “Westworld” perhaps) and tighter, less showy writing than we’ve come to expect from Kelley, Goliath cruises through boardrooms of billion-dollar law firms and seedy bars populated with lowlifes with equal amounts of confidence.
  72. The comic situations and commentary on how difficult it is to find love in the era of Twitter and texting feels organic to the three people at the center of this remarkably well-crafted and well-acted piece.
  73. The greatest thing about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is that it keeps getting weirder and funnier.
  74. It’s clever, quick-paced and, well, fun.
  75. The premiere is weighed down with a lot of character set-up, taking place mostly at the reunion and focusing on the dynamic between John and Danny. While the next two episodes are tighter, thanks in no small part to an interesting narrative twist that ratchets up tension in the family, there are things that work right from the very beginning, mostly thanks to the cast.
  76. Murphy is a fascinating dichotomy in that he works expertly with actors and actresses (even in a mess like "Eat Pray Love" and undeniably in every season of "AHS") and so the performances he draws from his inevitably-Emmy-winning cast play tug-of-war with his melodramatic leanings and, ultimately, win the fight enough to allow his film to resonate.
  77. The final sequence in the premiere doesn’t quite work like it did in the original, and the small-town atmosphere of dread isn’t quite the same, but these are minor complaints for a surprisingly effective drama.
  78. I’m not sure how long they can keep up that intensity. It can also feel messy at times, as if the genre jumping and confusing aesthetic aren’t quite as refined as they could be. However, these are both minor complaints for yet another major show from FX.
  79. As you may have been able to tell from the ads, the program a bit too often wears the banner of “Very Important Show” but a grounded, talented cast carries it over those melodramatic speed bumps.
  80. Preacher is a dark, funny and strange show, in the best way possible.
  81. The result is a showcase for six skilled directors, and if the series gave me plenty of reasons to despair for the future of the country, it also made me very optimistic about the future of documentary television.
  82. At worst, this is a familiar, “Broadchurch”-esque experience, complete with great performances and writing as precise as a whip. At its best, however, it’s a new way to experience a familiar story, and so when the answers you expect arrive, they’re somehow new, too.
  83. The Girlfriend Experience” allows for pauses that television (other than “Rectify”) often does not. Sometimes these pauses can be presented in a way that feels too self-aware, but it starts to become a show with its own voice around episode five.
  84. Believe is well-paced, clever, perfectly cast (Kyle MacLachlan always makes a supporting cast more interesting), and engaging. Even the action scenes, including a tense moment in a hospital hallway, are well-choreographed.
  85. It’s not quite as nuanced as "Mad Men," but it could be before the end of the season.
  86. As the show explores Nola's life and choices at its own pace, there’s a sustainable, lingering quality, even when certain subplots drag, or the filmmaking pushes the idea of “raw” right next to the idea of plain clumsy.
  87. Everything feels meticulously, lovingly plotted by the show’s creators, but as it’s happening it leads to numerous surprises and big laughs. Future Man is what happens when giddy, geeky and inspired storytelling is allowed to go full throttle.
  88. In its two-part, two-hour premiere, some problems from season one resurface, but, for the most part, this is entertaining, accomplished television that has to something to say.
  89. It’s something different, something stranger, something more relatable and bizarre at the same time. Not all of Jacobson and Glazer’s bits work, but I love that they’re constantly trying new things to see what does.
  90. Weiner anchors every episode around Don but lets the planets that orbit him change from episode to episode. Don’t worry. The season premiere isn’t all Ken Cosgrove. Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) and Joan (Christina Hendricks) get an interesting subplot that proves that Mad Men is not done discussing the changing role of women in the business world and the way they’re treated differently than their male peers.
  91. Brie and Maron are great, but what’s increasingly rewarding about the show is how much they cede to the rest of the ensemble. ... GLOW takes a bit of time to find its footing, but it becomes incredibly easy to watch as it develops its rhythm around episode four and one really gets to know the characters.
  92. It starts a little slow, but builds speed and tension at a remarkable, consistent pace--every episode is more entertaining than the one before.
  93. It may not feel fresh in 2017, but there’s something to seeing four comedic actors this talented just do what they do best, and it’s no understatement to say they have lost none of their timing or ability.
  94. Humans intelligently adds to this decades-long conversation [what it means to be human] with strong writing, interesting performances, and, most of all, an eerie, disconcerting tone that forces us to question exactly what we want to happen.
  95. Sometimes the tones clash with each other--although less so as the show goes on--but it’s the grounded performances that keep it connected to something sweet and genuine.
  96. It is unabashedly romantic, sentimental and crazy. At times, it is too much of a good thing, approaching total chaos in its non-stop flurry of activity. And yet it is one of the most consistently ambitious things that has ever aired on television, unafraid of the transformative power of love and art.
  97. At first, the relative inexperience of the cast shows, but they settle in over subsequent episodes, and the writing starts strong and gets better. Insecure is a remarkably observant show about “big issues” like race, class and education, but they’re woven into the fabric of a character study.
  98. Season two may not have the punch of the series premiere's bus crash and return, but it has a tonal grayness that matches the lost nature of its characters. It sometimes feels more meandering than moody--not unlike the now-tonally similar “The Leftovers” did in season one.
  99. Overall, it’s broad, ridiculous, silly humor that isn’t as daring or progressive as some of the best comedies on TV but it works more often than it doesn’t.
  100. The pilot sometimes takes a few broad strokes to cement its concept but there’s a believable dynamic in the core of this family that works to the degree that most sitcoms take years to develop.

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