The New Yorker's Scores

For 92 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 30% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 67% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Behind the Candelabra: Season 1
Lowest review score: 10 Ghost Whisperer: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 45
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 45
  3. Negative: 0 out of 45
45 tv reviews
  1. The plot is difficult to follow - shot sequences, at least in the first two episodes, often pair sex and death (an FX trademark, practically; it’s the network that looks our animal selves in the eye), whether or not their pairing helps the story--but you’re strung along deftly enough so that you do want to know how it’s all going to play out.
  2. Breaking Bad is very well done, but it has a bleakness that seems to be manufactured for no good reason. In its spiral down toward nothingness, Breaking Bad pulls viewers down with it, just because it can.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    At its best, the storytelling itself manages to accommodate a sense of historical contingency.
  3. The three alters are broad stereotypes, but Collette makes the moments of transition surprisingly touching, and sometimes subtly comic.
  4. Not all the tweaks in the plot work well, but most of the series’ flaws are masked by the excellent casting and the good writing for three central characters.
  5. Revenge is too juicy to write off as junk. It's got strong performances, from actors who don't condescend to their flamboyant dialogue.
  6. The British series, about the aristocratic Crawley family and their titular home, goes down so easily that it's a bit like scarfing handfuls of caramel corn while swigging champagne.
  7. A slapdash, invigorating, flawed-but-delectable mini-series with a premise of brass balls.
  8. The L.A. Complex is maddeningly low-rated, but it's worth seeking out: it's no masterpiece of cinematography, and can veer into melodrama, but at its sharpest moments the show has as much "Midnight Cowboy" in it as it does "Melrose Place."
  9. I found the first two episodes handsome but sleazy, like a C.E.O. in a hotel bar. Yet by Episode 5 I was hypnotized by the show’s ensemble of two-faced sociopaths. Episode 8 was a thoughtful side trip into sympathy for Spacey’s devilish main character, but by then I was exhausted, and only my compulsive streak kept me going until the finale--at which point I was critically destabilized and looking forward to Season 2.
  10. Much of the show’s appeal lies in the cast’s shaggy, naturalistic chemistry, which papers over the occasional imperfect plot turn.
  11. Individual scenes are terrific, but a few plotlines strain credulity. If it weren’t for Tatiana Maslany, the show’s star, Orphan Black would be just a likable-enough thriller, with Toronto local color--enough to recommend it to a Canadaphilic sci-fi buff like me, but maybe not to you.
  12. he series doesn’t have the best pacing, or the best dialogue (“Well, if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, we’re going to the morgue”), and in some areas it doesn’t even try: never has a show set in New York but filmed in Toronto felt more like a show set in New York but filmed in Toronto. (When Astoria appeared, full of burning garbage cans, all of Queens raised its eyebrows.) And yet the show overflows with greasy satisfactions, simply because it commits so fully to its own goofiness.
  13. The narrative flow is murky and chaotic, and at times it chokes up.... But The Leftovers builds in potency.
  14. Colbert is very skillful at parodying people who are already parodies of themselves, and his show is a lot sharper than most of what passes for comedy on TV. At the end of the day, though--a day, say, on which a President says something foolish, or a Supreme Court nominee has to step aside, or a White House aide is indicted--the voice you’ll most want to hear is still Jon Stewart’s.
  15. Despite the mostly awful dialogue, “Sleeper Cell” succeeds on the strength of its plot.
  16. A sitcom doesn’t have to break new ground to be good, but it does have to make you feel that it isn’t just going through the motions. "Christine" satisfies on that score to some extent, but you just want more from it.
  17. For what it is, “Million Dollar Listing” is a well-crafted series.
  18. The lapping tide of gooeyness would be more tolerable if Stark’s empathy made him lose a big case, and if that loss got messy. “Shark,” though, wants to have it both ways: he keeps winning, but now for the right reasons.
  19. Watching “The Nine” is like trying to do a crossword with only the Across clues. But it promises to reward our vigilance.
  20. The notion that the Empire ran on pillow talk and poison--the Great Woman theory of history-was also at the heart of the BBC’s 1976 "I, Claudius," but "Rome," with its spitting catfights, is closer in spirit to "Dynasty."
  21. While the ideas behind “The Riches” are often satisfyingly satirical, Izzard’s role—he plays Wayne Malloy, a husband and a father of three, eager to escape the marginal life that he and his family have been living—is stagy and overblown.
  22. There’s no question that the creators of The Pacific set out to honor the marines’ experience; they haven’t exactly failed to do that, but neither have they succeeded in leading viewers to a deeper appreciation of this--then and now--faraway war.
  23. There are many of them [good moments] in Parks and Recreation, in fact; virtually every scene in the first two episodes contains good bits, with quotable quotes, twists of language that viewers feel smart for getting, and visual gags. But the minutes don’t flow; they merely accrete, one bit on top of another.
  24. In general, there's a pat, familiar quirkiness to The Big C that keeps you at a remove from it, and too many easy appeals to your emotions.... Still, with Linney at the heart of The Big C, there's reason to think that the series will improve.
  25. It's a big production-the first episode alone cost nearly twenty million dollars-and it looks authentic in a way that, paradoxically, seems lifeless. You're constantly aware that you're watching a period piece, albeit one with some vivid scenes and interesting details.
  26. The new shows are more concerned with hitting their marks and getting the sociology right than with character, but Pan Am has a bit of style to it, and a note of darkness, and the formula might just work.
  27. Season 3--the full season was sent to reviewers--has indelible sequences, but it's a mixed bag.
  28. It’s not that much fun to watch an actress who, except for the occasional times when she lets loose one of her charmingly loud second-soprano laughs, seems always to be asking more of us than she’s giving, but Secret Diary of a Call Girl does get better as it goes along, although it doesn’t greatly distinguish itself from most other shows you’ve seen about young single women in the big city
  29. If we got to know any of the characters in Generation Kill, the show might be more interesting, or, at least, more memorable.

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