Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. 100
    A triumph of writing, directing, and acting.
  2. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Mar 18, 2013
    Despite the formidable technical mastery applied and the demanding sprawl of the multifaceted narrative, Campion's series has the unmistakable timbre of daring art made naturally.
  3. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Mar 18, 2013
    Top of the Lake [is] gorgeous and ambiguous and gripping like a hallucination.
  4. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Mar 18, 2013
    This six-part series is so layered and unexpected that nothing follows a tried-and-true formula.... This is great TV.
  5. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Mar 18, 2013
    Top of the Lake is Jane Campion and her cast at the top of their game.
  6. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Mar 18, 2013
    Top of the Lake is rivetingly odd, almost oppressively atmospheric and thoroughly entrancing.
  7. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Mar 15, 2013
    This haunting New Zealand miniseries boasts a strong, tense performance from Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss as a detective, but it's very much the work of director Jane Campion. [25 Mar 2013, p.44]
  8. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Mar 14, 2013
    Top of the Lake presents a dire portrait of the human condition, very much in line with many of the other most popular crime-and-family-driven television series of recent years. It’s also right up there with the best of them.
  9. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Mar 18, 2013
    This is an absolute: Top of the Lake is great.
  10. Reviewed by: Karen Valby
    Mar 15, 2013
    The mystery of just what happened to the child unspools almost languidly against the backdrop of wild and gorgeous New Zealand country. The ugliness of humans amid such beauty resounds like a cold slap.
  11. Reviewed by: Jace Lacob
    May 30, 2013
    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.
  12. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Mar 18, 2013
    By rooting Top of the Lake in the real, Campion gives her more fanciful inspirations legs, and the mystery--which is, needless to say, not merely or even mostly the mystery of a missing girl--room to breathe. I have no idea where any of it's headed. But I am going along.
  13. Reviewed by: Tirdad Derakhshani
    Mar 18, 2013
    A stunning, richly textured, feminist existential epic.
  14. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Mar 18, 2013
    Creepy and cockeyed, unholy and unnerving, Top Of The Lake is riveting stuff.
  15. Reviewed by: Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Mar 14, 2013
    The narrative is so intense and the details are so rich that you can forget to breathe.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 112 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 23
  2. Negative: 7 out of 23
  1. Mar 26, 2013
    Having watched the first two episodes of this series, I am astonished at the general positivity of the reviews it has received. I can only speculate that the characters and plot look more credible from afar than they do for anyone who has any familiarity with New Zealand as a place and the people who inhabit it. It's obvious (or at least I hope that is the case) that Jane Campion is aiming for some kind of pastiche of Twin Peaks, with a bit of Mad Max and The Killing thrown in for good measure. Yes, it really is that horribly confused. So much so that much of the time it's impossible to tell what is supposed to be funny and what is supposed to be serious. Elizabeth Moss' attempt at an Australian accent is awful and distracting and the vast array of mystifying characters that surround her only add to the sense of displacement. Holly Hunter is (for fans of Portlandia) like the store owner from 'Women and Women First', while the angry Scottish/Kiwi father figure and his three dopey sons appear to have been conjured out of a high school screenwriting project; they are all at once gross stereotypes and completely unrecognizable as 'real'. If this series is supposed to speak to New Zealand landscape and society (and I think it is), it fails dismally and it would be sad to see it taken seriously on that front. Excruciating viewing. Full Review »
  2. Apr 16, 2013
    This plot simply has no credibility! It is full of holes. Would a young girl who had been raped be immediately released into the custody of her father and brothers who are suspects in her rape? Not Likely. Would the New Zealand Police allow a junior Australian police officer who happened to be on holiday in the area to lead the team investigating a potential murder case? Highly Unlikely! Are there places where a load of abused women who hate men live in communal shipping containers? Highly unlikely! are here really places where all of the men are rapists, crooks and vile? Not likely! Will this pretentious dross improve or will the ending be plausible? highly unlikely! I suppose this is art as Jane Campion is involved but the only redeeming feature of the whole sad show is the stunning scenery. Full Review »
  3. Apr 30, 2013
    Mediocre, no wait, it was slightly below mediocre. What it lacks is a
    good story line, the plot is just so painfully obvious; Detective goes

    back to her home town to solve a case (sound familiar?), the town is
    small and quiet, ruled over by a rural gangster who controls pretty
    much everything which leaves our detective wondering who to trust
    (sound familiar?), during the course of the investigation our detective
    discovers truths about her own dark past (if it doesn't sound familiar
    to you by now, you really haven't been watching much TV/films over the
    last 20 years). The plot twists (if they can be called that) are just
    as obvious, I figured out who the bad guy was half way through this and
    then just sat around waiting for her to figure it out.....which was
    sort of dull.

    Apart from being a bad story, it's also badly told. A lot of the times
    you are left confused over who these people are and what exactly their
    relations are with each other. So when something actually happens to
    them you don't really find yourself caring much about it. Speaking of
    characters I almost feel like I have to mention the women on the lake
    top; a bizarre collection of horny, middle-aged women who follow some
    guru like figure who gives them bashful, plaintive advice. The entire
    thing is so stupid that you're just left there gaping at the screen
    thinking "what the Hell?"

    The acting is okay, nothing to boast or complain about that.

    To sum up, for a suspense/thriller there is really little actual
    suspense or excitement, just the plaintive progression of a plaintive
    storyline. The only possible reason you might have to watch this show
    is to see the stunning beautiful New Zealand landscape.
    Full Review »