The New Yorker's Scores

For 117 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 31% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 65% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Behind the Candelabra
Lowest review score: 10 Ghost Whisperer: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 68 out of 68
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 68
  3. Negative: 0 out of 68
68 tv reviews
  1. Somehow it still manages to find strangeness within its sentimentality. Fresh Off the Boat is unlikely to dismantle the master’s house. But it opens a door.
  2. 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.
  3. For a lot of viewers “Big Love” is going to need time to settle in; it doesn’t have much dramatic texture until about the fifth episode.
  4. It is probably too soon in the series to expect to see more complexity, or some sense of the grinding difficulty of the job of President, and the number of no-win situations that present themselves every day in the Oval Office. But “Commander in Chief” really does make things look too easy.
  5. The three alters are broad stereotypes, but Collette makes the moments of transition surprisingly touching, and sometimes subtly comic.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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."
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Season 3--the full season was sent to reviewers--has indelible sequences, but it's a mixed bag.
  15. For what it is, “Million Dollar Listing” is a well-crafted series.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Watching “The Nine” is like trying to do a crossword with only the Across clues. But it promises to reward our vigilance.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Despite the mostly awful dialogue, “Sleeper Cell” succeeds on the strength of its plot.
  23. There's so much potential here it kills me--a deep female friendship, raw humor about class, and a show that puts young women's sexuality dead center, rather than using it as visual spice, as in some cable series about bad-boy antiheroes.
  24. If there's a TV writers' version of Stockholm syndrome, Dexter is Exhibit A.
  25. 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
  26. Over all, the show has a little something, but it doesn’t have outstanding curb appeal, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a foreclosure notice in the window sooner rather than later.
  27. The Walking Dead might have been one of [the ambitious modern horror series], using a grotesque story to go deep, letting grief and repulsion rile and unsettle us. Instead, it stumbles forward, disguised as prestige TV but devoid of a soul.
  28. Rather than innovate, the series, on Cinemax, leans hard on cable drama’s hoariest (and whoriest) antiheroic formulas, diluting potentially powerful themes.
  29. If we got to know any of the characters in Generation Kill, the show might be more interesting, or, at least, more memorable.
  30. In Treatment, while offering viewers a seemingly intimate look at this process, doesn't capture the emotional mise en scène: the characters on the show have all too easy a time expressing themselves, and the element of suspense is mostly absent.

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