The New Yorker's Scores

For 127 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 33% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 64% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Behind the Candelabra
Lowest review score: 10 Ghost Whisperer: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 77 out of 77
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 77
  3. Negative: 0 out of 77
77 tv reviews
  1. It took five episodes for me to get interested--three too many, in these days of television glut. And only after the seventh and eighth did the cruel and clever plot twists (which include graphic torture) become truly gripping. In the early episodes, the pacing was logy and the action muddy, with several subplots that itched to be trimmed or recast.
  2. A slapdash, invigorating, flawed-but-delectable mini-series with a premise of brass balls.
  3. The stories feel like polished fables, not precisely realistic.
  4. Cucumber is the toughest series to take, but it’s also the most ambitious--and, at its heights, it is emotionally wrenching and acridly funny, an audacious and original expression of Davies’s challenging, often critical ideas about gay male identity.
  5. 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.
  6. Compelling, if not quite riveting.
  7. Like many newbie sitcoms, Kimmy Schmidt stumbles, at times, to find its tone--and, with thirteen episodes launched at once, it doesn’t have the freedom to rejigger itself.... When it comes to jokes about trauma, however, the show takes more risks.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Mr. Robot may be self-serious, but it’s also a rarity on TV, capturing a modern mood, an ambient distrust based on genuine social betrayals. For all its flaws, it feels like an alarm going off. It’s worth paying attention to.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. The three alters are broad stereotypes, but Collette makes the moments of transition surprisingly touching, and sometimes subtly comic.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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."
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Season 3--the full season was sent to reviewers--has indelible sequences, but it's a mixed bag.
  24. For what it is, “Million Dollar Listing” is a well-crafted series.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Watching “The Nine” is like trying to do a crossword with only the Across clues. But it promises to reward our vigilance.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.

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