The A.V. Club's Scores

For 681 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 62% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 34% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 Take My Wife: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Pacific Heat: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 455
  2. Negative: 0 out of 455
455 tv reviews
  1. It’s atypical in the television industry for a show born of a larger creative trend to surpass the trend’s flashpoint, but with the new season, Fargo puts itself head and shoulders above its anthology peers. Bigger isn’t necessarily better, but can it be, when done thoughtfully? You betcha.
  2. If the fourth season reminds viewers of anything, it’s that The Americans has a masterful control of tone, doling out horror and slow-burn dread like very few of its contemporaries.
  3. Game Of Thrones has not moved away from “sexposition,” prostitution, and casual rape as titillating plot points, and that will always tarnish what is otherwise a groundbreaking show. But the good outweighs the bad. Game Of Thrones was and is an astonishing achievement.
  4. Impossibly, the show’s second 10-episode batch surpasses its first, and it does so by widening its focus on the Pfefferman family while keeping Maura’s journey central to the story.
  5. Louie season four is as good as ever, and sometimes it’s slightly different.
  6. Meticulous detail makes the difference between competent television shows and instant classics, and The Americans teems with period minutia, and treats it with a solemn respect not often paid to the ’80s.
  7. It’s a quiet, deliberate show, but it contains multitudes and a willingness to go for broke with religious symbolism or Southern gothic overtones, right smack dab in the middle of stories about normal people going about their lives.
  8. The mood develops exquisitely from the first frame.
  9. This isn’t just a story, it’s a history, and admirably, the work of the players has brought it to life.
  10. The first four episodes of Game Of Thrones’ fifth season are typically rich and rewarding, but for those seeking reassurance as the show heads for uncharted territory, there’s as much to love as there is to fear.
  11. Ansari and Yang come out of the gate strong, showcasing who they are and how they view the world with a clarity and assuredness that few others have been able to master.
  12. While not quite reaching the heights of the show’s first season, Transparent manages to deliver something a little more fully formed and contained in season three.
  13. Thanks to the grounded performances, The Night Of, like the similarly themed Serial, will have audiences ready to render their own verdicts, convinced they know the characters well enough to telegraph their actions. The only glaring flaw with The Night Of comes from Price’s efforts to humanize each character with novelistic quirks.
  14. The series exudes warmth and grace even in its smallest moments without losing sight of its sense of humor.
  15. It’s the equal partnership of intelligent, absurdist humor and biting drama that has elevated BoJack Horseman to one of the best shows on TV or the internet.
  16. Simpson so skillfully shapes each personality that in just a few episodes, they almost stop being real people and become televisual characters. It feels less like a true-crime miniseries and more like a rich, layered legal drama, and ironically, the fictional patina makes it easier to engage with and invest in a story the audience assumes it knows inside and out.
  17. Amid the precision-tooled dick jokes and the airtight comedies of errors, Silicon Valley cuts the compelling tale of a creator forging his own path through a frontier where every other maverick is a charlatan--or worse.
  18. Everybody inside and outside of Litchfield’s walls matters. That shouldn’t feel revolutionary. That it does speaks both to how essential this show is and how much most other TV shows will have to do to catch up to it.
  19. Because the writing and characterization on this show has been consistent (and superb), failures are often as hard-won as progress, a revelation that’s all the more stunning for its relatability. Most of the disasters are the result of minor missteps or oversights that snowball into untenable, albeit hilarious, situations.
  20. With Masters and Johnson occupying a space in between love, work, and friendship, the heart of the Masters feels like it is finally beating; the joy of the show is watching the two of them interact with each other, and Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into their roles. Ashford and her team have also become more confident with pacing and plotting.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There are many things that Olive Kitteridge gets right, but none so significant as how brilliantly it simultaneously captures the deep, pervasive stillness and the close, suffocating entanglement of small-town living.
  21. Tig
    Viewers need not be familiar with Notaro’s story to enjoy Tig, and Notaro is so likable that it’s hard not to be excited by her success—as the film shows, it’s well-earned.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Beyond anything else, the main reason to tune into MasterChef Junior is to watch talented people do amazing things, regardless of age.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Abbi and Ilana are back and as unapologetic and funny as ever. Broad City season two is simultaneously old and new, with the same madcap stoner hilarity and a handful of fresh new faces.... But even these great comedic actors never distract from who is really in charge.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Comparisons to The Wonder Years are inevitable, but Everybody Hates Chris scrapes away much of that golden nostalgia by putting a funny spin on frequently painful times.
  22. Hannibal has always been beautiful, and that’s still the case. It’s also always featured dialogue and plots that stay just on the right side of being too pretentious, and that remains the case. If there are any notable steps up from season one, it’s both in the tension that mounts thanks to the great game played between Will and Hannibal and in the better use of the show’s supporting cast.
  23. The series is at its most potent when it reframes the everyday in the context of the Cold War, like Philip comparing notes on home life with a Mossad operative or Elizabeth displaying a flash of vulnerability in front of a government-contracted dupe. (And then betraying that parental bond by turning it into a threat.) Other aspects of the show would do well to find this middle ground; they’re getting there in season two.
  24. It’s beautiful work that speaks to the storytelling power of Burns. This isn’t just a history lesson; it’s cinema.
  25. The season risks feeling like an epilogue to season two and a prologue to season four, but as both a sequel and a prequel Sherlock’s third season ultimately makes the series’ world richer, and a stronger foundation for more stories to come.
  26. Waller-Bridge has a bracing willingness to let entire scenes play out just to build to one absurd joke at the end, and she proves adept at giving characters and moments the touch of specificity that makes them feel real and human.

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