User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 126 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 97 out of 126
  2. Negative: 18 out of 126

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  1. Apr 30, 2013
    3
    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
    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.
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  2. Jul 21, 2013
    2
    Absolutely ludicrous plot. A bunch of scenes designed for sensational effect. I. e. the chimpanzee story --shameless exploitation of a tragedy, not even an attempt to fictionalize.
    I'd recommend BBC's Luther or Prime Suspect way above this for acting, action, drama, believable multidimensional characters you can care about.
    Moss's accent came & went & was awful. Didn't she ever watch
    Absolutely ludicrous plot. A bunch of scenes designed for sensational effect. I. e. the chimpanzee story --shameless exploitation of a tragedy, not even an attempt to fictionalize.
    I'd recommend BBC's Luther or Prime Suspect way above this for acting, action, drama, believable multidimensional characters you can care about.
    Moss's accent came & went & was awful. Didn't she ever watch Flight of the Conchords to pick up pointers?
    Unbelievable critics fell for this horsedoodle and gave it 100--how'd that happen?
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  3. Mar 26, 2013
    1
    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 isHaving 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. Collapse
  4. Apr 16, 2013
    3
    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!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. Expand
  5. Jun 11, 2013
    1
    Apparently this was an interesting series. I only saw 2 full shows. The last two shows were scheduled together on a Monday night. And, as far as I can tell, never scheduled again. At best I saw a third of the series. Still see ads saying how wonderful it all was. Not if it is never shown, Did Y'all cave in to right wing complaints? Link's Borgan is the only other series really worthApparently this was an interesting series. I only saw 2 full shows. The last two shows were scheduled together on a Monday night. And, as far as I can tell, never scheduled again. At best I saw a third of the series. Still see ads saying how wonderful it all was. Not if it is never shown, Did Y'all cave in to right wing complaints? Link's Borgan is the only other series really worth watching. I should pay the BBC how much to buy Top of the Lake? What happened? Expand
  6. Apr 3, 2013
    1
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Being a fan of New Zealand I thought I'd give this series a chance. Then Elizabeth Moss shows up with an okay accent. She's an excellent actress,but how about a kiwi? It worked well for Spartacus. Next, the episode meanders along, okay I can handle that. After a while I notice that EVERY man is a straw man/cypher. They are all bad, stupid, evil, and ones not showed but implied are rapists and/or pedophiles. Hummmm, this is begining to sound familiar. As I look more closely at the guru I go "Is that Holly Hunter sure enough it is. I must have missed the credit of Jane Campion. On episode two I see, yep its her. Fine, if you like quirky, visually interesting TV ,this show has it and she uses her NZ landscape well. But after a while I grew tired of the fact that ALL the men are crap, despite an excellent performance by Peter Mullan. Jane, you can make your point, but in the real world not all men Yeah, I know many are right bastards, but not all.) are evil monsters who wish to rape, kill, sodomize or genrally treat women in a horrible way. I suggest a little counseling for your apparent hatred for all things male. Jeez, you really hate us don't you? This really detracts from what promised to be an interesting show. Sign me had enough of this. Expand
  7. May 10, 2014
    1
    wow.. I don't know where to begin. The plot and characters were so contrived and manipulative in that tired, dated, man-hating mode, I'm shocked that it received positive reviews at all. Kindof a scary commentary on
    the level of blind hostility, and absurd characature people are willing to swallow. Jane Campion should be
    ashamed of proliferating such sub-standard and revolting propaganda.
  8. Jan 17, 2015
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. How does anyone think this is good? Both my wife and I struggled to finish it. Too many story lines that barely intersect. In one scene they track a guy into the woods, then while tracking him spontaneously have sex, 2 guys just happen to be walking by to film it. If I had a nickel for every time that's happened to me... No one on the entire thing is normal, the kid helping girl with food, bangs his head on the wall and smacks himself, why? Crazy woman who had a chimpanzee as a boyfriend, guy who whips himself while talking to his dead mom, another crazy woman in charge of a storage container commune, her husband who flies into the middle of nowhere in a helicopter, their daughter attracts people in the woods with her guitar playing, drug dealing motorcycle gang. I know it was written and directed by the same person but it seemed more like it was written using the mad lib process. Expand
  9. May 21, 2015
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Unbelievable plot and characters saturate this nightmare. Most of the scenes don't link up with each other and many of the relationships in this story Make no sense. There are constant errors, such as at the end of episode one, the lawyer was reported as a 'Man Overboard' after being killed, then the next day, Moss and the half-brother find the lawyers body while inexplicably jogging in the woods together after having met the day before during investigation.

    These kind of unexplainable errors in writing are rife and rampant throughout this crappy, crappy show. All of the women, even the main character are ugly, unintelligent and introverted, making many of her character's appearances on screen pointless and dull. I can't see how anyone that has ever watched TV before could give this show a 10/10 let alone a 100/100. This show is terrible and it was apparently written by morons or crazy people.
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  10. Jun 12, 2015
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. From the synopsis and first episode of the show, we are lead to believe that this is a gritty, crime, mystery that centers around a backwoods town in New Zealand, where a 12 year old girl is found trying to kill herself in a frigid lake. A big city detective, who happens to be in this town (her hometown) is called in to talk to this girl. Turns out she is pregnant, which means that somebody has committed statutory rape, and there is a possibility that this girl is a victim of a gang rape. The real problem is, is that nobody in the police department seems to care except for the main character (Robyn). And even her capacity for caring is limited to only the times where she isn't at a bar getting pissed, or having sex with her high school boyfriend, who may or may not have been complicite in her own gang rape. None of these issues in the show are resolved, and we spend hours wondering what happened to the plot. Even after the 12 year old girl runs away into the frigid, dangerous wilderness, nobody seems bothered, and just assume she is dead. When the main character discovers that she is alive in the wilderness after two months, she seems hardly impressed or motivated to do anything about it, except for hang out in a storage unit commune with middle aged pseudo-feminist wierdos with troubled pasts of their own. Only the backwoods bully redneck leader of a drug dealing biker gang seems motivated to search for this girl, and that takes him 2 months to build up to. When it is revealed to the main character that the man she has been sleeping with may be her half-brother, she seems hardly bothered and tries to sleep with him again. Nobody does DNA tests in this town for any reason, and nobody is held accountable for rape, assault, or possible murder. It is a bizarro world of weak characters with, if existent, opposing motivations for everything they do, if they get around to it. There is no sense of urgency, and plot holes surface constantly. In the first episode, a guy drowns in the lake while being pulled by a boat full of rednecks. They report this dead guy to the police, and the whole town knowns that this guy drowned. A few days later, the detective stumbles upon his body drifting in the lake. So, the police and everybody knew he drowned in the lake but didn't have his body? Even when it was attached to a boat by a rope? The boat belonging to the guys that reported his death? This makes no sense. Also, the main antagonist has a meth lab in the basement, where he makes meth to sell to the town's people, which coincedentally everybody in the town knows about, even the police. By the end of the season, all mystery surrounding this town is just exposed in messy dialogue with the main character's maybe-boyfriend maybe-half-brother-but-not-bothered-to-find-out guy. The chief of police is obviously evading all attempts to hold people accountable of crimes in his town, and hangs out with drug dealers on yachts drinking wine in front of the main character, who is a detective (i'm not kidding) and this is never shown to be important. The main detective never builds a case against anybody, and is oblivious to the obvious nefarious plot surrounding her which includes a barista training school for at-risk youth, who are found with bottles of Rohyphnol, and hang out with the chief of police in his basement while he gets drunk (i'm not making any of this up). This show couldn't get any worse, in my opinion, it makes no logical sense and is a dull excercise. This could have been an interesting movie, in the right hands. I'm shocked at the PERFECT SCORES that this show was given by 'critics', a show that features the most overbearing "men are terrible, and women are not" narrative I have ever seen in any form of media. Men are described, in dialogue, as being sick, terrible, perverted, monsters, and demons. This could have been used as motivation for the main character to really get out there and find this 12 year old girl who is 7 months pregnant and alone in a wilderness that kills people because she reminds her of herself being a victim of gang rape, but she would rather have sex with some guy that ditched her at prom so she could get raped by his friends, or SIT ON THE FLOOR LIKE A CHILD in the police department with papers and pens everywhere, pretending to be solving a crime that is obviously being enabled by the police chief that she works with for months. Do not watch. Expand
Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Jace Lacob
    May 30, 2013
    90
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Jeanne Jakle
    May 29, 2013
    80
    The miniseries is full of striking characters, some brutish and scary, others vulnerable with painful secrets.
  3. 100
    A triumph of writing, directing, and acting.