The A.V. Club's Scores

For 282 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 56% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 41% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Black Mirror: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 The 1/2 Hour News Hour: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 175
  2. Negative: 0 out of 175
175 tv reviews
  1. It’s an episode of television that exists at the intersection of Marvel’s superpowers-as-puberty metaphors and the half-baked cultural upheaval of True Blood—with a Whedon-esque anti-authoritarian streak thrown in for good measure. The show could devolve into a grab bag of familiar themes and tropes down the line, but its pilot does a remarkable job of synthesizing a cohesive introduction out of those disparate parts.
  2. The script by Laurie McCarthy and Stephanie SenGupta never finds a wholly convincing Venn diagram intersection between period piece and teen soap, but it also doesn’t bother trying, hoping it can turn insane tonal shifts into a virtue by stepping on the gas. That this approach mostly works is thanks to their script being unafraid to unleash the crazy and the surprisingly beautiful direction from Brad Silberling, who makes the most of an Irish location shoot the rest of the series won’t have the advantage of.
  3. For now, though, it’s comfortable, but inessential. The performances blur together, as actors deliver lines in a competent, polite way, and everything is filmed in a hazy glow. There’s nothing wrong with any of it.
  4. The Toy Story franchise has always operated best with a note of existential panic, and there’s some of that here, but it feels like the special leans awfully hard on the films that gave rise to it.
  5. Rothenberg and company are sneaking in a surprisingly sophisticated look at a world filled with want.
  6. Baldwin and Toback’s bloviating can grate, and the whole project comes across as pretty frivolous when all is said and done. But for film buffs with an interest in the frustrating business side of things, it’s a rare glimpse into a crucial part of the moviemaking industry.
  7. While Ground Floor achieves its deliberately modest aims, it also leaves the viewer wondering if something more might have been accomplished with that premise, particularly with the enjoyable Heelan in the female lead.
  8. Goldberg whets the appetite for what Mabley can do, but it’s Mabley, not Goldberg-as-director, who delivers.
  9. Silverman has never been sharper or seemingly more confident as a comedian and performer, and the laughs are there--just not quite as many as might be expected.
  10. Six By Sondheim is just barely more than the sum of its parts, but when it finally adds up, it feels like many of the master’s best songs and shows: a puzzle that assembles itself right in front of your eyes.
  11. It’s got some of the same appeal [as Scandal], but at its core, it’s a strong spy thriller with a few fascinating characters, not a splashy nighttime soap. And that’s okay.
  12. Reproduction isn’t The Spoils Of Babylon’s comic strong suit, absurdity is. Crummy special effects are cute, but the miniseries finds its voice by bursting Jonrosh’s bubble, illuminating his shortcomings as a filmmaker through mealy mouthed dialogue, incomprehensible blocking, and continuity errors.
  13. Sure, the show’s “politics” feel ripped from a Politico comment section, and yes, the show’s plot doesn’t really go anywhere until the final handful of episodes. But the season also tosses an incredible number of balls in the air and manages to keep juggling them, which is impressive in and of itself.
  14. Fred Armisen is a surprising choice as bandleader, but he brings unequaled improv chops to the table, and his little banter with Seth every night has already proven one of the more reliably funny bits. Integrating him as much as possible is certainly a smart idea. Meyers, like Fallon, is also a more-than-capable interviewer.
  15. Favored storylines get sufficient weight and heft, but balancing its disparate narratives has never been Vikings’ strong suit, and though it feels as though there’s a definite endgame in mind, the middle can occasionally be rough going. Still, with a cast as game as ever and plenty of plot to slash through, this year’s Vikings promises a sometimes-messy season as swiftly entertaining as the last.
  16. The politics are surprisingly complex ... That’s a lot of heavy lifting for a fluffy teen sci-fi romance, but so far the show acquits itself well, sticking the landing with its romantic moments and politically minded scenes in equal measure.
  17. The dialogue often crackles; the educational aspect even makes exposition fun to watch. Zahn is quite good, and the supporting cast already has an entertaining ensemble energy.
  18. It’s focused on Mrs. Watts’ personal journey home, her escape from the small bubble she’s come to know. As it is, it’s wonderful to watch Tyson make that escape.
  19. Even though the father-son territory has been trod before--in Halpern’s body of work alone!--it’s also where the show feels most alive.
  20. In the grand tradition of Mike Judge projects, HBO’s new comedy, Silicon Valley, is a bit messy, a bit shambling, and often very funny.
  21. Creature Shop Challenge is about doing the most in the least amount of time, and while there’s some impressive work on display in the premiere, the impulse to keep watching comes from the sense that the best, most stunning creatures are yet to come.
  22. Built on a blockbuster framework, Years Of Living Dangerously comes off more like a word-of-mouth sleeper, a documentary that’ll drop science on people drawn in by the promise of Harrison Ford berating a foreign minister like he’s a Russian terrorist who’s not welcome on Air Force One.
  23. While that loving relationship between these two women is Playing House’s strength, to unlock its potential, and go beyond delightful sitcom, it needs to be about more than that, and there’s certainly potential for that growth.
  24. At best, it reminds sitcom fans that quality work is still being done in multi-camera; at worst, it’s a decent distraction during the hiatus for Heelan’s other show, the final link to a comic dynasty that wasn’t meant to be.
  25. Halt And Catch Fire has a great cast, a neat title, a solid pilot script from Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers, and some intriguing direction from Juan José Campanella that turns both the human face and circuit boards into things to be broken down into component parts and understood. But it lacks a suggestion that it will reassemble the parts of better dramas that it has gathered into something uniquely its own, instead of a mostly functional knockoff.
  26. As an actors’ showcase, The Escape Artist is a distinct success. The fact that that very clearly was not its primary artistic goal only matters so much.
  27. Replicating the beats of that previous show isn’t as important to Girl Meets World’s potential for success as reviving the spirit of its inspiration. It’s there in measured doses in the pilot, bolstering the broader jokes, staged performances from child actors, and requisite feints toward classroom puppy love.
  28. Seed has a solid sitcom foundation, but suffers from limited ambition and a complete lack of promotion that makes it feel like a low priority for the network.
  29. The Chair has lots to show us about the changing face of independent media production, but it’s not confident enough in that material’s appeal to let it stand on its own.
  30. Already there’s a wistfulness underneath the light surface. Half the scenes in the pilot are rooted in sadness, and the other half are rooted in Eliza aggressively covering up for her sadness. Eliza may seem vapid, and Selfie may seem broad, but there’s more to this one than meets the eye.

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