The Daily Beast's Scores

  • TV
For 131 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 5.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Rectify: Season 1
Lowest review score: 10 Zero Hour: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 97 out of 97
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 97
  3. Negative: 0 out of 97
97 tv reviews
  1. It’s a breathtaking work of immense beauty and a thought-provoking meditation on the nature of crime and punishment, of identity and solitude, of guilt and absolution. It is, quite simply, the best new show of 2013.
  2. A perfectly mixed cocktail equally parts menacing and suspenseful, washed down with surprising notes of hilarious satire and pulpy violence, FX’s version of Fargo is most certainly not a pale imitation of the gruesome dark comedy.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Rectify is the best series I have ever seen on television. Not may be. Not might be. It just is.
  3. Judging by the initial installments, it's not only one of the most riveting and provocative series I've seen in the last few years; it's one of the most riveting and provocative series I've ever seen. Period.
  4. What it accomplishes in its third season is a triumph of concept, entertainment, provocation, cinema, acting, and often even fun that trumps any and all genre- and content-related turn-offs.
  5. A gorgeously realized and emotive thriller.
  6. It is--and continues to be in Season 4--a total storytelling masterclass.
  7. The Americans itself has never been better.
  8. Season 4 is just as brilliant as the seasons that preceded it.
  9. Much like with Louie, we’re in uncharted territory with Rectify. Each episode offers up wondrous new surprises, whether it’s a dream sequence, a stunning revelation from a new character, or a sly moment of levity from an unexpected source.
  10. The result is something extraordinary and compelling, a first-rate drama for Showtime.
  11. This season is more concerned with continuing to make its way through the lives of the women who occupy Litchfield Prison, and, with a few misses here and there, is so lived-in in its narrative voice and settled in its “Backstory of the Week” format that you’re quickly at peace and on board with the season’s new direction and slightly more upbeat tone.
  12. Most importantly, the show is terribly funny this season. Louie is back at the top of its game.
  13. Numerous story strands--Robin’s dark past, the venomous Mitcham and his ne’er-do-well sons, a New Age women’s camp run by the mysterious guru GJ (Holly Hunter)--all coalesce into a taut and provocative thriller about damage, vengeance, and escape.
  14. A beautifully realized and dazzling re-creation of our collective past and a glimpse of the infinite and unknowable.
  15. Like many classic sitcoms, it has taken Silicon Valley until its third season to truly hit its stride.
  16. Southland remains one of the most morally complex and insightful dramas on television today.
  17. The plot itself isn’t particularly complex.... The satire, on the other hand, is exquisite.
  18. It’s better than the breakout first season, even, finally equalizing the wildly--though thrillingly--undulating tones and sprawling cast of characters into a streamlined and balanced, but just as original and bracing, mode of storytelling that makes the 13 episodes more bingeworthy than ever.
  19. The Fall is a top-flight mystery that taps into political tensions in Northern Ireland and the troubling undercurrent of violence against women.
  20. Its power comes from its electric inventiveness and gleeful inscrutability. An inimitable stew of the romantic and the demonic, the cartoonish and the crazy, it is, in the purest sense of the term, Lynchian. Peak TV, indeed.
  21. In a summer that’s offered new programs that pretty much all sit on the spectrum from “silly, but still curious” (Extant, The Strain) on one end to “just plain silly” (Dating Naked) on the other, Manhattan is the most grown up, worth-watching new series we have.
  22. It’s been a subculture critique of a decidedly hilarious sort. That hasn’t changed for its fourth season, which once again locates the dark, ridiculous heart of the tech industry through the saga of its clownish wannabe-moguls.
  23. Sunday night’s premiere featured some of the best writing the show has produced. More and more, Hannah Horvath is resembling a character we no longer identify with, but so clearly recognize. She’s annoying and hard to tolerate, but grounded enough to be endearing.
  24. Though its title screams Christmas flick, HBO’s absorbing new miniseries is a pitch-black procedural that combines the system-is-broken outrage of Making a Murderer, the menacing atmosphere of Oz, and the shameless topicality and plot twists of Law & Order: SVU. And the first of its eight hour-long chapters plays like an elegant, extended version of the first three minutes of SVU.
  25. It uses the creative breathing room to dial up and embrace the show’s inherent weirdness--this is a comedy about a cult survivor, after all--and then have the luxury to bring things back to a relatable, human level again.... [Fey and Carlock] solidified themselves as not just bravura comedy writers--which we already knew they were--but industry risk-takers, too.
  26. The Americans is already reinventing itself. Why? Because it has the confidence to know that it's about more than the relationship between two specific characters. Rather it's about the idea of relationships in general, in all their intricacy and weirdness--the secrecy they require, the comfort they create, the confusion they entail, the danger they can unleash. And that never gets old.
  27. It's richer than ever. It's more nuanced. Whereas it used to be buzzy and contentious, it's now simply good.
  28. While House of Cards has always explored both the personal and political sides of life in Washington, D.C., my early sense is that, in Season Two, it’s gotten better at both.
  29. Review is high concept, yes. But it’s also incredibly clever, and really funny.
  30. Banshee isn’t reinventing the wheel. But unlike, say, Homeland, which no longer makes much sense as a show given the departure of its finest asset (Damian Lewis), this Cinemax series knows it’s crazy. It delights in its trashiness, its pulpiness.
  31. The Season 3 premiere of Girls is good. It isn’t brilliant and life-changing nor is it terrible trash. It’s not as profound as we force Girls to be, nor is it meaningless. It’s just good. Sometimes it’s very good. It’s certainly enjoyable. But it’s neither the best nor the worst thing ever.
  32. While Episode 1 is a bit of a bore, the second episode is flat-out hilarious.
  33. As a comedy series, Man Seeking Woman is more inspired than it is flawlessly funny. But what it lacks in consistency of tone and laugh-out-loud one-liners it makes up for in sharp writing, acute cultural commentary, gleeful weirdness, and sheer creative balls.
  34. Kail’s boundless ambition and meticulous execution was the premium gasoline that made not just “Greased Lightning,” but the entire genre, race off towards the future.
  35. Santa Clarita Diet is gross. It’s also very good.
  36. Some of the show’s episode-by-episode plot threads do come across as perfunctory filler. And Daredevil has a tendency to stretch out its conversational scenes to the point of enervation, especially with regard to Fisk’s attempts to romance an art gallery owner (played by Man of Steel’s Ayelet Zurer). However, the show makes up for those missteps with its clear and compelling voice.
  37. I Am Cait is as moving as you hoped it would be, and as serious and educational as it needs to be--featuring a very controlled message about what it means to be transgender in the year 2015 and what Caitlyn Jenner’s journey does and, more importantly, does not have in common with that reality.
  38. Ultimately Baer and Vaughan’s efforts point toward Under the Dome offering an alternately effervescent and tense viewing experience, one that’s perfect for the long, hazy days of summer.
  39. It’s a story at once familiar and unique, and most captivating in its portrait of amateur athletic life as a series of constant challenges--in and out of pads--and a gauntlet of ever-present uncertainties.
  40. Overall, The Bridge is a taut thriller mystery that is compelling and thought-provoking, much as Broen was.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In other hands, this scenario might have degenerated into a caricature-filled freak show. The fact that it doesn’t is attributable to Soderbergh’s relatively restrained direction and Douglas's and Damon’s intelligently modulated performances.
  41. The experience of being special needs and loving someone who is special needs isn’t exploited here. It’s illuminated here--and humanized, satirized, and, most importantly, laughed along with.
  42. While Season 3, like the novel on which it is based, takes a little while to get going, when it does pick up speed, it soars--particularly in the sensational third and fourth installments.
  43. It’s a lot of exposition, sure, but it goes by breezily. The scenes are all incredibly short, packing emotional jabs in rapid sequence all of which, after an hour of using your heart as a punching bag, leaves its intended bruise.
  44. The hotly anticipated second season of Girls, which returns to HBO on Sunday, builds on the strengths of its stellar first season and captures the quicksilver magic of Dunham at her best, with the first four episodes supplying a mighty kick to the heart.
  45. The strength of Season 3 is marred somewhat by its relatively lackluster season finale.
  46. American Crime is nothing then if not ambitious. At times perhaps over-ambitious: a pace that’s too slow, a cast of characters too large, and too many points to make to possibly bring them all home. But watching to see which ones do strike you--well, we lied. That actually is fun.
  47. It’s the kind of blank canvas needed to host Sorrentino’s compelling strangeness, making The Young Pope alternatingly addicting and infuriating, like the most interesting ambitious dramas competing to make noise in the age of #PeakTV.
  48. This, folks, was a very good production of Hairspray!
  49. The show grows ever more confident each week. As Jimmy and Gretchen grapple with their relationship, their conflicts seem authentic and not contrived.
  50. Now armed with cool intelligence, a weathered savvy, and the kind of controlled ruthlessness that the past six years have built in her, Alicia is an even more interesting underdog than before.
  51. It has matured, but it is still dark and funny, its characters flawed, and its depictions of sex and friendship startlingly but refreshingly bleak.
  52. Lindsay was the most stressful hour of television I’ve ever seen. And I loved every second of it. Credit Winfrey, first, with adding gravitas and objectivity to what is ultimately a blatant and shameless grab for ratings.
  53. Red Band Society is by no means the perfect network drama. (That would be The Good Wife, for those who are keeping count.) But there is something admirable about what it is doing, and about the fact that it has no qualms about it.
  54. The ball of manic, depressed, negative energy that is Jimmy is a perfect match for Odenkirk’s comedic (and newfound dramatic) chops, as he lends plenty of pathos to this mesmeric loser with a heart of fool’s gold. He’s not Saul Goodman just yet, but the journey there should be a bumpy, thrilling ride.
  55. For all the camp you might expect from a project like this, the whole thing plays out with remarkable dignity.
  56. All the silly family drama has finally taken a back seat to the CIA wheeling-and-dealing that made the show so damn scintillating in the first place. I’m as surprised as anyone, ladies and gents, but Homeland is back.
  57. Forget everything you assumed about the lives of classic musicians. Turns out, they’re not so boring. Mozart in the Jungle, then, is like Girls meets Amadeus.
  58. Orange Is the New Black itself, which has grown richer, more surprising, and ambitious in its fourth season. That doesn’t always mean it’s better than ever--often it isn’t--but is just as admirable as ever.
  59. The show retained enough of its integrity and beauty to make us want to follow again.
  60. It’s all warm and lovely and cozy and caustic and motherly and daughterly.
  61. In its third season, Orphan Black is both falling victim to its complexity and is all the stronger for it.
  62. The show is, first and foremost, incredibly well written, with astute observations about pop culture, particularly as it relates to ethnic identity.
  63. Sure, Sesame Street has been gentrified, but it hasn’t lost its charms. How you get to Sesame Street might be different, but the destination? As familiar as ever.
  64. The [premiere] episode is sweet and sharp and clever and everything The Mindy Project was when it was at its best, and perhaps deserves even more admiration for finding a way to pair its two leads together and dismiss all notions that TV characters that graduate from will-they/won’t-they status to committed relationships are creative time bombs.
  65. Clay’s conduct sometimes borders on the insufferable. And while Hannah’s traumas are authentically dramatized, she’s forced to endure so many indignities that, in total, she occasionally comes across as a symbolic vessel for an important message, rather than a flesh-and-blood human being. Fortunately, Langford’s wounded-yet-bold lead performance is altogether charming, and Minnette is equally credible.
  66. We’ve seen this all before. The good guy’s descent into darkness, the cat-and-mouse thriller, the escapist action series, the on-location porn. Does The Night Manager do it any better than we’re used to? Sure, quite often. But at least it almost never does it any worse.
  67. Cranston delivers a titanic fill-the-screen turn, capturing the man’s bombast and sincerity in equal measure. In the process, he dwarfs his castmates.... Though it presents a captivating look at the nuts and bolts of high-stakes politicking, it suffers in such inevitable comparisons, in part because Roach’s direction is so stifling that the film feels small at the very moments it should be grand.
  68. Extant is laying some intriguing groundwork and doesn’t shy away from difficult conversations about humanity and artificial intelligence, particularly in John’s heated debate with a board that is considering financing his android work.
  69. They say that it’s bad form to judge a new late-night series based on the first show. That at least a month of shows need to air before you get a proper sense of who the host is and what the show will be. That’s certainly true, and yet there’s a sense watching the premiere of Full Frontal that it has arrived fully realized.
  70. It was a nice, easy watch, and they didn’t bastardize anything--which, honestly, in today’s world of awful reboots is the highest praise.
  71. For all that he would shamelessly borrow from them across the hour, he seemed markedly different from that pack he’s lumped in with. In fact, he was even refreshing.
  72. Once you commit yourself to the trashy abandon of The Royals, the one critique of the show might be that the abandon isn’t reckless or campy enough.
  73. Escape for a while into the world of these horrible, vapid people, and let the phenomenal performances by the likes of Kidman, Woodley, Dern, and especially Witherspoon delight and distract you. It’s their respective star turns that keep you from being bored by the otherwise monotonous show--which is a pretty ridiculous detractor for a thriller about a murder.
  74. Flawed but fascinating. ... At times it can seem too proud of its virtuous noncommerciality; its slowness can seem shallow, its artiness willful. I'm still not sure what kind of show it wants to be ... But I'm going to stick with it.
  75. Hotel is as deranged and uneven as ever, making watching Gaga’s performance a positively nerve-wracking experience.
  76. The bittersweet hilarity of all of this is where “Repilot” succeeds. Longtime fans of the series will delight in how it is just so Community. Newcomers there to watch a “pilot” of sorts of a series just won’t get it.
  77. Claire, whether she’s riding an inebriated Frank like Seabiscuit or throwing down in a game of beer pong, does exhibit some of that killer instinct we’ve come to know and love.... Given that House of Cards is a series designed to be binge-watched in its entirety, it’s too early to tell whether or not it too has fallen victim to the third season curse.
  78. Some jokes fall flat, a few scenarios seem uninspired, and Arnett’s horse does seem strikingly similar to his hilarious man-child/magician Gob in Arrested Development, but this bizarre dreamscape where humans and anthropomorphic animals commingle and cohabitate is filled with promise, providing a fun, delightfully gonzo take on Hollyweird.
  79. In its second and third episodes, the material periodically drags to a crawl while laying the bedrock foundation for forthcoming action. And its habit of leaving key details and interpersonal dynamics vague borders on irritating. Though it resumes building momentum by the end of its fourth chapter, there’s a sense that the show requires somewhat more vigorous storytelling.
  80. You begin to accept, even adore, these wooden aspects of the show as a litany of twists begin entering at whiplash pace.... [Lopez] and the rest of the show’s creative team make you care about what happens to Harlee while still making you feel like she’s in real danger.
  81. The television mockumentary format may be reaching oversaturation. But for Family Tree, the result is nonetheless appealing, what I like to call "tea-cozy television"--nothing too precious or too taxing, but comforting to watch all the same.
  82. As for the two episodes themselves, they are good, if perhaps missing the same levels of confidence that Community exhibited during its run thus far
  83. That the show finds new humor and life in these done-to-death scenarios is its biggest strength.
  84. Change is afoot at Downton, and with it a redirection back to the frenzied elegance that defined its first few surprisingly engrossing seasons. The progress is with a grain of salt, though. The plot development is back, but it’s more obtuse than ever.
  85. Girl Meets World is a perfectly pleasant Disney Channel show.
  86. The strength of Shots Fired is in its willingness to pause the often dizzying pace of Preston and Terry’s investigation to let the more emotional human moments simmer. ... We only wish that naturalism was as evident in the writing, which, as the episodes unfold, introduces an unwieldy number of characters, witnesses, conspiracies, theories, and cover-ups.
  87. A bold, bedazzled, cheesy-as-hell and inevitably polarizing attempt to revive the variety hour.
  88. It takes a full three episodes (the full extent of what Netflix gave critics to watch in advance) for characters to develop more than a single bland personality trait each.
  89. Even if occasionally baffling and a little disjointed, the very idea of the show and the production value is worthy of investment, even if there’s a lack of feeling to provoke intense passion for it.
  90. It’s hardly [his crowning achievement], lacking the aggressive whimsy and emboldened storytelling that’s made him the pied piper to a nation of TV-watching weirdos, mocked and ignored. But there’s a seriousness with which he’s given this first Freak Show outing that actually piques more of a curiosity than trotting out the expected onslaught of spooks, one-liners, and cheekiness could’ve possibly be done at this point in the American Horror Story run.
  91. The result was a TV special that felt every bit as dated, but also every bit as joyous, as those variety series, when the likes of Dinah Shore and Julie Andrews and Judy Garland and the Jacksons would serve up entertainment comfort food in the ’60s and ’70s. Rudolph, though, peppers the format with the necessary spice and quirky flavoring that, throwback as it is, keeps that comfort food from feeling stale.
  92. This respectable, illuminating View was also--let’s face it--kind of boring.... It’s kind of a comfort, and even exciting, that these four very intelligent, very congenial women with an abundance of respect for each other are going to be the ones helming it.
  93. Katy Mixon is a star. It’s honestly her intense likability that makes this show so watchable, for of all of the non-fat joke-related mistakes it makes (chiefly its Alex P. Keaton knockoff older son character).
  94. Strong as the writing is--and it’s way smarter and has a stronger point of view than your typical web spoof aspires to be--it’s hard to shake the feeling that it’s a web spoof, something that’s in stark contrast to the lavish and extravagant production Netflix is putting forth.
  95. It was overstuffed with some awkward introductions and anxiety over first impressions, and because of that sometimes a little boring. ... The premiere is often very fun, especially when Handler’s eye-roll-driven plain-talking sense of humor slips in off the cuff. (At one point she laughs directly into Pitbull’s face.) But it didn’t probe in the way we’ve been sold, and still expect from future episodes.
  96. My Roanoke Nightmare is a fascinating new direction in that mission. We’re not sure quite yet if we’re applauding the new direction; to be quite honest, we found the premiere to be so heavy on explanation that we were slightly bored.
  97. So how is the Halt and Catch Fire pilot? Surprisingly good in some ways—and fairly typical in others. Surprisingly good in some ways--and fairly typical in others.
  98. That balance of gimmicky and profound undulates throughout the season. ... But the cuckoo is stitched together by the heft of Fonda and Tomlin’s performances and the intimacy of the writing when the show manages to take a step back and give the characters a beat for self-analysis.

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