The A.V. Club's Scores

For 749 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 62% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 35% 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: 69
Highest review score: 100 The Americans: Season 3
Lowest review score: 0 I Wanna Marry Harry: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 504
  2. Negative: 0 out of 504
504 tv reviews
  1. You’d be hard-pressed to name a work of art, let alone another TV show, that balances such enormity so playfully, without also being glib about the ponderous questions at its core.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Louie season four is as good as ever, and sometimes it’s slightly different.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. [Elisabeth Moss'] take-and the show’s take--on the character is a distinct blend of what Atwood once identified as the main thrust of Canadian literature (survival) and a gumption most closely associated with the country Offred once called America. This can cause some tonal clash in the voice-over--the mission statement that closes episode one feels like it belongs in a different show--but it also gives The Handmaid’s Tale the necessary verve for an ongoing series.
  10. The mood develops exquisitely from the first frame.
  11. This isn’t just a story, it’s a history, and admirably, the work of the players has brought it to life.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. This batch demonstrates that Master Of None finds just as much inspiration from the people surrounding Ansari. That’s where the root of the Francesca problem lies. For everything Alessandra Mastronardi invests in the role, she’s playing an invention surrounded by lived experiences. There’s nothing wrong with a little fantasy, but it clashes with the entertaining way in which Master Of None reflects its creators’ realities.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. The series exudes warmth and grace even in its smallest moments without losing sight of its sense of humor.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Burns and Novick have engineered a staggering feat of filmmaking ambition, so overwhelming and raw it’s sure to rip open still-fresh scabs of those who lived through it.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. There are some truly shocking moments early on, but it all just feels a bit too familiar. Luckily, the cast picks up the narrative slack; Winstead and Coon might both be playing thwarted women, but they’re basically fire and ice. McGregor manages to carve out distinct personalities in his dual performance.
    • 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Mandel hasn’t squandered any of his comedy capital; he keeps the barbs flying and the crushing disappointment looming closely enough to maintain the momentum in his second term.

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