Salon's Scores

  • TV
For 478 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 45% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 53% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 The Leftovers: Season 3
Lowest review score: 0 Zero Hour: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 281
  2. Negative: 0 out of 281
281 tv reviews
  1. The FX comedy’s fifth season reveals a show that is as confident and distinctive as ever, a sitcom that is not quite like anything else on television.
  2. Archer is the next generation version of "Get Smart," with a similarly thickheaded, overconfident, horny hero whose petulant deadpan lines are funnier than they have any right to be.
  3. Game of Thrones is as complete a universe as exists on television, whatever its rhythm. More drama and more bloodshed are certainly forthcoming, and I have every confidence they will be served up as delicious and sopping as a rare steak.
  4. Mildred Pierce is a masterpiece.
  5. Rarely if ever has watching psychological torture felt so goddamn enticing.
  6. From its breathtaking cinematography to its meticulous period costumes to its smart, snappy dialogue to its talented cast, Boardwalk Empire presents a TV program that's so polished and beautifully executed, each episode feels as rich and memorable as its own little Scorsese film.
  7. In showing us the sum of Forrest’s travails, Review has given birth to something extraordinary: a bleak, serialized tragedy that inspires spasms of unrestrained laughter.
  8. Treme is a true gift, a way to finally appreciate and embrace one of our most beloved but neglected cities.
  9. The series' thriller engine turns on, turns over and begins to purr.
  10. Game is a genuinely mind-boggling piece of adaptation, cast more or less perfectly (except for Kit Harington's Jon Snow, who relies too much on the soap opera actors handbook of serious faces), with expert control of the story lines, gorgeous and diverse settings, and such seriousness of purpose and consistent internal logic that I find the least realistic thing about it to be that the men of [N]ights Watch don't wear hats.
  11. [Homeland] sounds as though it could have been pitched as "The Manchurian Candidate: The Series." But set that aside, if you can, and look at what's on-screen, because it'll reward your attention.
  12. The conscientious visual style that Fuller honed on “Hannibal” achieves riotous new heights of sensuality in this series. Green, a DC Comics veteran whose television credits include serving as an executive producer on “Heroes,” aids in harmonizing the story’s surfeit of histories and personalities into an intelligible and spellbinding structure.
  13. No other series so poignantly probes the human condition and our concept of reality, identity, what we know and what is true with such alluring complexity. In a just world, more people would watch Rectify. That it existed at all, and leaves four tremendous seasons to savor and contemplate, is its own lovely blessing.
  14. Yes, it's tough to trace the relationships between various ranks within the police department and the city and state governments, but that doesn't mean this is an incredibly serious drama it takes a degree in literature to understand. "The Wire" is funny and odd and sad and, above all, engrossing.
  15. A film-quality drama series about zombies? Somebody pinch me!
  16. It wants to entertain you, to draw you in with exciting, exacting plotting, and precisely drawn characters.
  17. All the hype leading up to the final approach of The Leftovers has merit. The seven episodes HBO provided are consistently brilliant, sure and mindful about tying up loose ends.
  18. The first time you watch the show, you really don’t believe what you’re seeing. Each moment feels so real, it’s hard to tell if the actors are improvising brilliantly or just delivering their lines with incredible conviction. Like the best moments of 'This Is Spinal Tap' or 'Waiting for Guffman,' 'The Office' offers up breathtaking slices of deadpan humor and amazing comic timing.
  19. Even though Party Down features a steady flow of absurd jokes and funny situations, it still offers more of a consistent, realistic, lively story than dramedies like "Weeds," "The United States of Tara" or "Glee."
  20. Each episode provides everything you would want from a comedy: originality, elegantly crude humor, genuine warmth and heartbreak.
  21. Top of the Lake [is] gorgeous and ambiguous and gripping like a hallucination.
  22. 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.
  23. LeBlanc is brilliant; the writing and direction are brilliant; the show is brilliant.
  24. Girls is smart, bracing, funny, accurately absurd, confessional yet self-aware, but it is also undeniably about four white chicks with, relatively speaking, no worries in the world.
  25. The confident, acerbic new sitcom The Mindy Project is easily the best freshman comedy of the season.
  26. The kid is funny, the mom is funny, the dad is funny, the stories are funny, and Rock's voice-over is fantastic.
  27. In the fifth season, the story has been distilled to just the moments of pathos and characterization and gorgeous direction that make the story work.
  28. This is damn fertile soil for a comedy, and creator Jenji Kohan and the writers of "Weeds" farm it for all it's worth in the show's second season, cultivating vivid, surprising stories that naturally transcend the typical limitations of the half-hour format.
  29. This season has done a much better job at focusing on the characters and stories that really pop, and sidelining or writing out the relationships that were boring.
  30. Outstanding on all fronts--acting, cinematography and script are all top-notch--but it happens to be unrelentingly depressing as well.
  31. The acting on this show is so incredible that it's hard to remember that there's any acting going on at all.
  32. Orange Is the New Black [is] Netflix’s hilarious, addictive, fantastic new series about the goings-on at a low-security women’s prison.
  33. Not only does Colbert maintain his persona without skipping a beat throughout the entire show, but he's got great comic timing, the show's writers are brilliant, and the whole thing is pure foolish, bizarre, idiotic fun at Bill O'Reilly's expense.
  34. 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.
  35. It’s quietly brilliant, as we have come to expect from Simon.
  36. Gervais' timing remains impeccable, and Ashley Jensen is wonderful as his shallow, lazy friend Maggie.
  37. Instead of the usual family sitcom curse of clichés and bad "Full House" jokes, Modern Family captures the absurdities, quirks and freakish flaws of today's extended family in ways that feel lively, unique and just dark and mean-spirited enough to be...well, accurate.
  38. Its larger accomplishment of showcasing Rae’s talents and underrepresented characters in a sublime comedy is worth celebrating.
  39. Any viewer, regardless of political stripe, can [have] something to embrace in the Alvarez family, which is true of Lear’s oeuvre in general. By taking the classic family sitcom and making it feel vital and relevant, the show has invited us to connect to the truths we hold in common. Sometimes refreshing the familiar is precisely the entertainment we need.
  40. 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.
  41. FX's Justified translates the intense interactions of author Elmore Leonard's characters into dialogue that's unpredictable, dynamic and positively riveting.
  42. As the title implies, GLOW wins top ranking by serving up a sensational story that’s brilliant for summer, but timeless as well. Wrestling may be fake, but the relationships these characters forge throughout the story ring true.
  43. The unflustered audacity of the plot is just one of the elements that makes Queen Sugar a rare act of beauty and bravery on television. While it caters to the tropes and archetypes that television viewers want in addictive storylines, each episode is unquestionably cinematic in scope and execution as it weaves an enticing and unapologetically political narrative.
  44. The drama is not perfect, but the ambition behind it is breathtaking.... As if the scope of the show weren’t enough, American Crime ups the ante with surprisingly affecting directorial choices.
  45. The deliberate pacing and dreamy, surreal tone of Atlanta may prove too off-putting for viewers searching for easy entertainment. But those thirsting for a fearless, fresh perspective in comedy will find much to appreciate here.
  46. Happily, Nashville, with its unexpected intelligence and surprisingly low-key attitude, not only met all my cockamamie expectations, it exceeded them.
  47. Sherlock is an elegant updating of Conan Doyle's stories, not an overhaul.
  48. Witty, airy, convoluted Lady Dynamite is no exception, showcasing a brilliance of concept and bizarre execution that would be hard sells on many other networks.
  49. Regardless of where we are in this strange voyage, it’s obvious that Gilligan and Gould are accelerating Jimmy toward his grimmer future. The third season opens with a heavier atmosphere leaning more into the drama of the tale, so much that one may forget that it was originally conceived as a half-hour sitcom.
  50. There are elements of this new series that have a quirkiness that might seem deliberate or overly clever against a different backdrop, but that feels natural in its own gracefully odd environment.
  51. Even at its worst, Boss radiates intelligence and toughness, and an appreciation of politics as a nonstop performance in an unscripted drama.
  52. The ‘60s pop art-inspired style with which Hawley initially presents “Legion” speaks to an extraordinary level of creative intricacy and care in his storytelling. Aesthetically adventurous and candy-colored as the drama’s opening hours are, they’re also part of a compelling TV experiment.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    David is thoroughly disagreeable. And that’s what makes 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' so deliciously perverse, and so true to the impeccable nastiness of 'Seinfeld.' For those of us who’ve been making do with syndicated 'Seinfeld' reruns, 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' is the treat of the new season.
  53. BoJack Horseman is deeply, ridiculously funny.
  54. 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.
  55. Through careful direction and precise writing shaped by showrunner Bruce Miller, this is a drama that is remarkable in its ability to horrify while maintaining a delicate air. As threatening and oppressive as the world of Gilead is, the series has an energetic stamina about it that prevents the story from sinking under the weight of despondency.
  56. Sneaky Pete is a series made for devouring. As good as the premiere is, the next episode is better. The promises made in the second episode are delivered and expanded upon in the third. This is a show populated with enjoyable characters that spins a familiar conceit, the crime drama, in a way that feels bright and original.
  57. Langford and Minnette are the magnetic core of this drama. Separately and together, they have a dynamic chemistry that glows when they share the screen and energizes their scenes with others.
  58. Unlike anything else you've ever seen on TV.
  59. Every single scene of The Wire is meticulously scripted and dramatically riveting.
  60. The uninitiated may continue to write off "Battlestar Galactica" as the remake of a mediocre show, or as the domain of science fiction fans alone, but those who've watched the show more than once or twice know better.
  61. There's a sense of gathering gloom as this exceptional drama gains steam in its second season, a feeling that the individual and his or her high-minded goals and values will be dragged under by the wheels of industry and the restrictive norms of the culture, all in the name of modernity and progress.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Emotionally, the pilot of “Freaks and Geeks” feels just about right — touching, but not sappy, amusingly off-kilter but not crude. Sure it’s nostalgic — former freaks and geeks are notorious wound lickers, the better to savor their post-high school triumphs. And this affectionate nostalgia, this assumption that viewers have been through what the characters are enduring and come out OK, is the show’s greatest strength and weakness. Freaks and Geeks depicts its ancient bygone era so well, it’s hard to imagine actual teenagers — freaks or geeks — tuning in.
  62. It believes in the story it's telling and expects everyone watching the series not just to have a good time, but to commit. If every drama series had a tenth as much passion, TV would be a far more interesting place.
  63. The Crown is as superb and heavy as, well, the actual crown.
  64. 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.
  65. The stately new season unfolds as though it has never heard the phrase “hurry up,” closely tracking a serial killer who is no longer killing, a police department that makes no mistakes, and a narrative that contains no red herrings.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    What grabs you about Roswell is its lyrical depiction of being 16 and in love and feeling like everything you thought you knew about yourself has become alien to you. [4 Oct 1999]
    • Salon
  66. Surprisingly clever dialogue, great characters and an excellent cast will make you enjoy this very typical sitcom in spite of yourself.
  67. As odd and fast-paced as you'd expect from a show created by "Arrested Development" creator Mitch Hurwitz.
  68. What keeps these threads tight and advances the action is the input of Michael Mann, who directed the pilot and set the tone for the rest of the nine-episode first season.
  69. There's great energy and real laughs, and with any support at all from the network, this could mint as many new catchphrases as Chappelle.
  70. As charismatic and unfamiliar as Ramotswe is, after the first hour, it's hard to imagine becoming addicted to this series the way so many readers are addicted to McCall Smith's novels. But then, by the beginning of the second episode, we start to understand: This series is a dramedy, really, a more exotic, more absurd, more original version of "Grey's Anatomy," if you will.
  71. Performances by a stalwart cast ensure that Guerrilla works in spite of these shakier elements.
  72. What Rescue Me has shined and polished to a high gloss, though, is those scenes of aggressive camaraderie between men. They're smart, funny and utterly realistic in terms of the ways that men relate to each other.
  73. Each week the show is both intriguing and satisfying, as we watch Alicia piece together little victories while comforting her kids and confronting lurking demons from her old life. Despite the usual familiar courtroom shenanigans, the show's full, multilayered episodes keep us interested.
  74. The Hour's charms are many, but chief among them is its celebration of intelligence and diligence as cardinal, animating virtues.
  75. Girls has matured leaps and bounds, comedically and structurally, but it has jettisoned some of its ambiguity, its sweetness, its own affection for its characters. It's more coherent, but it's also safer.
  76. Although "The Good Guys" might sound like the sort of cliché-heavy dramedy unlikely to hold our attention for more than a few milliseconds, the show pushes its formula just past zany and lands in the far more appealing territory of downright absurd.
  77. McBride celebrates the Southern-fried dirtball culture of flyover America like some "Red State Diaries"; it's a veritable HBO "Hee-Haw."
  78. Corden and bandleader Reggie Watts make a fantastic team, but they bear eerie resemblance to Fallon and his bandleader Questlove.... The total randomness of the stars made for some of the show’s alchemical appeal.... So, so often, these pre-recorded videos or rehearsed segments look and feel excruciatingly awkward or boring. It bodes very well for Corden, and for CBS, that he made these excursions into the absurd look like a lot of fun, both to be in and to watch.
  79. Asylum dives right in on racism, homophobia and sexism, and wrings something emotional out of them.
  80. Don’t worry about its underlying themes too much because three seasons in, the humor in Kimmy Schmidt is still among the sharpest and brainiest on television.
  81. May be the most riveting and the most haunting drama to air this fall.
  82. While I realize my entire description makes the show sound hopelessly shallow and unrealistic (which it is), it's also smart and well acted and at times, funny.
  83. Season 2 makes room for Jimmy’s relationship with Kim, and to my mind, it gives the show a jolt of emotional resonance.
  84. The only bad thing about Summer Heights High is that it makes a lot of American comedies look pathetically unoriginal and lackluster by comparison.
  85. Skilled chefs, great dishes, a few doomed nervous Nellies and lots of petty squabbles ahead? What more could a loyal Top Chef fan ask for?
  86. Rather than break down each episode into sketches, each episode is its own, contained sketch, focusing on one particular set of characters and their stories. It makes Portlandia a lot easier to watch--and a bit more profound, too.
  87. Adam Reed--creator, showrunner, voice actor, and writer--seems to have composed Archer both as a love letter to douchebags and as a set of instructions for destroying them. Having a baby might be the final nail in the coffin. Then again, maybe not; Sterling’s the resilient type.
  88. Metatextual commentary aside, the third and final season of Kroll Show starts off strong.
  89. 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.
  90. Although Banks has a bad habit of tooting her own horn endlessly while the cameras roll, she may be justified in doing so, since, from the opening graphics to the hip-hop soundtrack, her show has been undeniably imaginative and engrossing.
  91. Watching Dexter endure the bubbly, enforced cheer of family life may make this the best season of the drama series to date.
  92. Veep remains one of the most rapid-fire and linguistically playful shows on TV— neologisms created in just the first episodes include “exhuastipated,” “procrasturbate” and “gestictionary.” But in the new season, the physical comedy is just as strong.
  93. One of the major strengths of "The Unit" is its ability to tackle the blurry ethical lines and confusing behavioral codes of the military during a time of war.
  94. The Americans is delightfully cunning, exactly the quality, along with fight scenes and ridiculous disguises, one desires in a spy show.
  95. This is a sumptuously produced, beautifully executed show, and if the story doesn’t always make sense, the metaphysics always does.
  96. Carefully crafted performances balance the hilarity with notes of trauma lurking within, adding a winning sincerity to People of Earth.
  97. 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.

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