Salon's Scores

For 544 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 46% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 52% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Review: Season 3
Lowest review score: 0 So You Think You Can Dance: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 321
  2. Negative: 0 out of 321
321 tv reviews
  1. Season 2 makes room for Jimmy’s relationship with Kim, and to my mind, it gives the show a jolt of emotional resonance.
  2. Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal debuted last night with an acerbic, bracing premiere that felt like, in the best way possible, a much-needed slap in the face.
  3. Madoff is a miss, quite unable to measure up either on the outrage/explanation quotient (“The Big Short,” “Too Big to Fail”) or the reveling in billions quotient (“Billions,” naturally, as well as “Wolf of Wall Street”). As a piece of history, the miniseries is hard to follow and a bit too sordid; as a piece of fiction, Madoff feels rushed-off and incomplete.
  4. If there is just one thing that The People v. O.J. Simpson is, it’s maddening. Fascinating and involved and nuanced and sympathetic, too.
  5. It’s not easily definable as a format, being the love child of a passion for O’Neill, stand-up comedy, and the most available format C.K. has--a webseries. That makes for a strange and sublime episode, one that is gripping in both how different it is and how familiar it feels.
  6. Grease: Live was so crammed with anachronisms--and so weirdly faithful to other things that should have been turned into anachronisms--that it landed somewhere between ‘50s time capsule and ‘50s themed-party, with some ‘50s-themed karaoke tossed in.... But overall, Grease: Live was a lot of fun. There were some poor decisions made by the producers, and some brilliant ones, too.
  7. The 10-part series is the kind of layered sequential story that British comedy excels at, but is a bit too drawn-out and American to feel truly brilliant.
  8. An absurdity that is disturbing real, funny at times, and depressing at others.
  9. Literally everything in the show is ridiculous, in a way that is not even necessarily funny, just confusing; what eventually makes it work is how seamlessly it all fits together, from the cold opens in each episode to the completely absurd situations that Todd gets himself into.
  10. It carries a stronger sense of artful engagement with the viewer, through both direction and tone.... It’s still not exactly an easy watch, but it’s a far more engrossing one than in season one.
  11. Making a Murderer doesn’t have that arresting peg of the audience surrogate, which can so often be a galvanizing force in and out of a dense journalistic tale. But it’s worth observing that while Making a Murderer is more detached than those other docuseries—with a very uncinematic, nonfiction, brass-tacks style—the series also can’t help but evoke some other critically acclaimed series of the past few years.
  12. The Magicians tries to create three different worlds simultaneously--Quentin’s New York City, Fillory, and Brakebills, complete with different casts of characters and different sets of rules. It’s not as sloppy as it could be, but it’s hard to not feel rushed through the pilot.
  13. But where “Battlestar Galactica’s” story engine ran almost entirely on mystery, The Expanse is a little more like “Game of Thrones,” with its intensely detailed and ever-broadening world inhabited by very recognizable characters.
  14. The show could certainly stand to find some more rhythm to its comedy, as it hammers out the right tone for the tricky comedy of minimum-wage Middle America. It’s neither the wildly confident (and brilliant) “Carmichael Show” nor the wildly predictable (and bad) “Undateable,” both on the same network. But even its raw edges and sticking points are appealing.
  15. A Very Murray Christmas is ruminating over its own mingled loneliness and disillusionment and occasional flights of whimsy; mostly, it’s busy laughing at its own jokes.
  16. What makes Transparent season two different from last season--which was itself technically and thematically brilliant--is that creator, writer, and director Jill Soloway introduces a thread of historicity to the story, with flashbacks, of a sort, to 1933 Berlin.
  17. Jessica Jones would probably have been better adapted in 10 episodes, or eight; given the closed-endedness of Bendis’ and Gaydos’ four-volume arc, it might have made a hell of a movie, too. What makes it work is Ritter herself.
  18. Master of None is about grappling with a specific kind of privilege, and figuring out how to live with it; in that sense, it is the definitive millennial comedy.
  19. It’s enlightening, but rarely serves as more than a rah-rah rally for Rep. Frank, who is the subject and source material for the film.
  20. [Red Oaks] is executed with a lot of flair and sophistication--a nearly deceptive amount of sophistication, really.... But mostly, the story is scattered and unfulfilling.
  21. Casual is a weird show, and at first, it’s not entirely easy to go with its erratic flow.... The show is perplexing, but as evidenced by the care it shows for Laura’s fragile relationship with her father, or the siblings’ devotion to each other in the face of their egotistical, manipulative mother (Frances Conroy)--it has a poetry to it, too.
  22. Helen now has a perspective, which adds a lot of necessary depth (and gives us the added benefit of seeing Tierney do more things on-screen, which is never a bad thing). But the show is paralyzed by its own vision, at times; the problem with making a show about singular perspectives is that those people are necessarily self-absorbed.
  23. He neither excelled nor failed; it wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t flawed, either.
  24. It’s a lot of unwieldy plot points--borrowing indiscriminately from “Alias,” “National Treasure,” and “John Doe.” What keeps it together is Alexander’s performance.
  25. One thing is immediately clear about Stephen Colbert as the anchor of The Late Show: He’s very good at it. It’s impossible to take the measure of a show based on the first episode, but given the most superficial of impressions, the immediate takeaway is assurance. Colbert has this in the bag; it’s now just a question of letting him do his thing.
  26. It’s quietly brilliant, as we have come to expect from Simon.
  27. The eight episodes together make for just four hours of television, which is only a bit longer than a very long movie; the natural breaks of title sequences and credits serve to break up the gleefully disjointed adventures into bookended chapters. And because making a prequel series 15 years later with the same actors set on just one day is patently ridiculous, the style of humor that Showalter and his longtime collaborator David Wain bring to Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp is spot-on: It embraces that absurdity, and pushes it to every possible extreme.
  28. Review gets a solid rating. Forrest MacNeil’s life? Zero stars.
  29. An ultimately very well-produced after-school special--important and honest, yes, but unlikely to meaningfully reach its target audience.
  30. Perhaps this third one will exhaust the audience’s desire for sharks sliced in half by chainsaws; perhaps not. (Oh hell, no.)

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