The A.V. Club's Scores

For 821 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 61% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 36% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 The Leftovers: Season 3
Lowest review score: 0 Pacific Heat: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 553
  2. Negative: 0 out of 553
553 tv reviews
  1. 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.
    • 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. It’s beautiful work that speaks to the storytelling power of Burns. This isn’t just a history lesson; it’s cinema.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. The fifth season of Veep doesn’t just win the expectations game, it just wins. The rapid-fire, acid-tongued dialogue hasn’t changed, nor has the almost unfathomable ratio of zingers per minute. With a cast this talented--Julia Louis-Dreyfus remains at the height of her talents--the only thing that could go wrong is the writing, but it’s as assured and hilarious as ever.
  8. Montage understands Cobain as an icon, but also as the mixed-up kid who got too famous too fast, and it seems content revealing, rather than reconciling, his contradictions.
  9. This prequel is worth watching because it asks more of itself. And the amount of jailhouse imagery in the season three advertising campaign, coupled with the trajectory of the two episodes screened for critics, suggests that Jimmy’s and Mike’s paths will continue diverging. But there is this force that we know unites them in the future.
  10. It’s not that Portlandia has lost its sharp comic edge; rather, it has added a complementary sweetness that is somehow just as funny.
  11. The experience remains as incisive and intimate as that of listening to Robinson and Williams crack jokes through your earbuds, thanks in part to Tig Notaro’s direction of all four episodes.
  12. Thanks to the six-hour order, there’s no shortage of subplots for the many returning faces, all of which still smartly stay close to the community hearth.
  13. Despite the exciting reboot, UnREAL still falls short of the expectations set by Rachel and Quinn, because their relationship is more crystallized than anything else on the show. Everlasting’s production process remains as frustratingly opaque as its contestants, and it isn’t always enough that the vagueness gives Rachel and Quinn a wide-open playing field for their mind games.
  14. By delving into the darkest recesses of the marriage--now graduated from whinging squabbles in season one to adulterous rumors in this one--The Crown achieves a groundbreaking, intimate look at a legendary union far beyond their many official portraits.
  15. True Detective might be finding itself in the first half of its first season, but few processes of discovery are so enthralling to watch.
  16. Veep has become the clearest heir to 30 Rock and Arrested Development, and specific bits throughout the season recall both series.
  17. Once the show establishes its new rhythm, one in which it’s impossible to guess who or what the next scene will consist of, Orange is thrillingly off-kilter.
  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. Wolf Hall’s efforts to capture the same mood as its source material ultimately serve it well.
  20. As impressive as Sam is--a teenager trapped inside an old man’s body who never seems bothered by his circumstances--when the documentary focuses on his mother, it easy to see where he gets it from.
  21. From episode three on, [Sheen] begins to give one of the most fascinating performances on TV.
  22. Instead of laying Maria’s (and Bamford’s) heart bare every half hour, Lady Dynamite is now building a protective layer around it. For all the cathartic comfort we’ve found in her struggles, Bamford is transcending the need to suffer for--and in--her art. And the show is all the better for it.
  23. Fargo is a singular idea with, so far, not-so-singular execution, perhaps suffering from the fact that what was revelatory in 1996 might be just humdrum in 2014.
  24. Naturally it prepares for its own end like a pro, not with sound and fury but with moments and gestures that recommit to the show’s belief in the dignity and absurdity of life, made all the more poignant by the knowledge that this is the end. The gravity of death and the parade of life combine to give Getting On an uncommon mood.
  25. The show’s creators get just as caught up in this sordid albeit entertaining world as viewers, but Simon and Pelecanos take care not to forget what’s underneath it all.
  26. It isn’t always easy to watch, but it’s always compelling, and almost unfairly stocked with stellar performances.
  27. Gilligan and Gould have been wise to set the show far apart from its ancestor, such that it becomes a draw for its clever writing, inventive direction, and nuanced performances rather than its proximity to another story set in the same universe.
  28. A show that relies so heavily on self-awareness has to have a beating heart and a big helping of humanity, and by focusing on Bamford’s mental health struggles, Lady Dynamite turns into something deeper, more challenging, and ultimately, more rewarding than a winking self-parody.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It’s not just well-written and lovely to look at. It’s downright immersive. ... Outlander feels important--even moreso in its second season.

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