• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 19, 2014
  • Season #: 1
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Jan 14, 2014
    100
    With its strong performances, subtle details and believable situations, Looking presents a convincing portrayal of everyday life--either gay or straight.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd VanDerWerff
    Jan 17, 2014
    91
    For the most part, Lannan and Haigh have crafted something that’s bittersweet and funny and surprisingly quiet, willing to simply let the characters hang out and try to figure out what the rest of their lives are going to be like.
  3. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    Jan 13, 2014
    90
    [Andrew Haigh & Michael Lannan] collaboration is a real beauty, the standout among several smart series launching in January.
  4. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Jan 17, 2014
    83
    Looking isn’t a comedy, but it’s much bouncier on its feet. Not slap-happy, but comfortable in its own skin as the three principals.
  5. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Jan 15, 2014
    83
    Patrick is the only one of the three leads to come entirely into focus over these early episodes.... But there's some excellent raw material in here, even if at times I found myself admiring Looking more than I was liking it.
  6. Reviewed by: Jeff Jensen
    Jan 10, 2014
    83
    Looking's naturalism, resonant sexual themes, and winsome performances lead to wise, appealing entertainment that can get even better and more real the deeper the show digs into its characters. [17 Jan 2014, p.63]
  7. Reviewed by: Billy Nilles
    Jan 21, 2014
    80
    Some won't find it gay enough, others will likely wrinkle their nose at the word "gay" and avoid it like the plague. That's a shame, because with this quiet, sincere little show is quite revolutionary on its own. And that's something worth looking at.
  8. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Jan 21, 2014
    80
    Looking doesn't make the mistake of arguing that gay men are just like straight women, or straight men, or gay women, or even each other. Instead it tells the story of three guys who are friends in a strangely wonderful and difficult time and what that looks like. To them.
  9. Reviewed by: Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Jan 16, 2014
    80
    After the stage-setting of the first two episodes, however, Looking becomes less frenetic and begins building emotional resonance.
  10. 80
    There's nothing formally or dramatically groundbreaking about it, except for its "no big deal" attitude. But that in itself is striking. It should be counted as progress. That Looking doesn't seem to be terribly concerned with words like progress should count as progress, too.
  11. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Jan 16, 2014
    80
    Patrick’s moment of light self-flagellation didn’t feel boring to me. Like the rest of his show, it felt real.
  12. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Jan 16, 2014
    80
    Unlike “Girls,” it feels less self-conscious about being provocative, with the situations flowing organically out of the characters. It is also, happily, occasionally pretty funny.
  13. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jan 16, 2014
    80
    Refreshingly, Looking doesn’t contort itself to create a character to represent every different aspect of “the gay experience.”
  14. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Jan 15, 2014
    80
    There's a nice balance of humor (Groff in particular gets to milk the comedy) and emotional drama coursing through it (like Girls, which makes a fine pair for it on Sundays).
  15. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Jan 15, 2014
    75
    [Looking was] filmed entirely in the Bay Area, which is a big part of why the story rings so true. The other parts are the delicately detailed direction by Haigh and the pitch-perfect performances of the cast. All of these elements work together to present a convincing, multidimensional portrayal not only of contemporary gay life but also of contemporary life in general.
  16. Reviewed by: Neil Drumming
    Feb 3, 2014
    70
    Patrick is fidgety, disturbingly intense and possibly a bit snobbish to boot--not unwatchable, but, as yet, far from endearing. Fortunately, Looking has plenty else going for it.
  17. Reviewed by: Jethro Nededog
    Jan 21, 2014
    70
    Looking is a good show. It will reward viewers who can hang on beyond the first episode and can adapt to its much slower pace and more naturalistic shooting style..... But, Looking will make you work to get there.
  18. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Jan 17, 2014
    70
    I don't know that Looking starts out being very good at what it thinks it is, either. But it's intriguing enough to be worth a second or third date before deciding.
  19. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Jan 17, 2014
    70
    The show makes an admirable effort at transcending gayness without compromising it. Groff is fine but not fascinating as the naive yet manipulative Patrick, and Alvarez gives Agustin a certain bohemian flair. The real standout--and best-realized character so far--is Bartlett’s Dom. Actually, the more I think about it, the show’s real standout is San Francisco itself.
  20. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Jan 16, 2014
    70
    The performances are nuanced and subtle.... Bakula's presence and air of experience add weight and depth to a show that occasionally seems too slight for its ambitions.
  21. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Feb 7, 2014
    63
    The one thing lacking is writing that goes beyond fondness into truly funny. [17 Feb 2014, p.45]
  22. Reviewed by: Eric Henderson
    Jan 16, 2014
    63
    Looking carries with it the potential to pick up the baton from something like Travis Mathews's explicit I Want Your Love, another gay short that was later expanded (in this case, into a feature film), but time will tell if it can't look beyond those hypnotic treasure trails.
  23. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Jan 17, 2014
    58
    Looking occupies some fuzzy ill-defined middle ground filled with uni-dimensional characters.
  24. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Jan 21, 2014
    50
    Looking might be the most provocative series of 2014. It’s just not original or memorable.
  25. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jan 17, 2014
    50
    Never as heightened or melodramatic as Queer as Folk (British and Showtime versions), Looking also isn't terribly distinctive and is only sporadically engaging.
  26. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Jan 10, 2014
    50
    Looking has a premium-cable mandate to be daring, and is indeed sexually unbound. But almost everything else, including dialogue, plotting and humor, is muffled.
  27. Reviewed by: Christopher Muther
    Jan 16, 2014
    40
    Looking isn’t just disappointing, it’s infuriating. Looking offers one hopelessly out-of-date idea about gay life after another.... All of that said, Looking is still a unique moment in gay television.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 77 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 19
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 19
  3. Negative: 4 out of 19
  1. Jan 21, 2014
    10
    Couldn't believe the authenticity and delicacy of this show. This is the type of television that can save lives. Bravo to the people involved. Can't wait to watch more. Full Review »
  2. Feb 24, 2014
    7
    When I first viewed "Looking's" first 2 episodes, I was extremely disappointed by its lack of plot and seemingly cliché characters. However, I must say that by its third episode, the show found its footing. There is still no plot to talk about, but the characters are now developing into fully realized men, and their interactions with each other ARE the plot. Once I understood that, the show became a lot more accessible, and I learned to appreciate its style. I still believe the show needs a little bit more of a pulse to reach the greatness that it could become, but for now I recommend giving the show a second try (skip the first 2 episodes because they suck). If you do, you will see some of the most frank and intimate conversations about gay life ever portrayed on screen. It's just too bad the pacing almost killed the show for me. Full Review »
  3. Jan 22, 2014
    10
    The series covers various topics experienced in gay communities, dealing with real, without masks. The characters live their dramas becoming more real fiction. The pilot of 2014. Full Review »