User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 108 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 84 out of 108
  2. Negative: 14 out of 108

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  1. Mar 26, 2013
    9
    Dark, twisted, weird and mysterious, you won't see any similar show on TV right now. Not only its plot is well-weaved and tense, the characters are played out beautifully. It has a great potential for awards!
  2. Mar 22, 2013
    9
    Perhaps above all in a time where even good TV drama is broad and familiar and cliche Top of the Lake is specific. It's moody. It's subtle and ethereal and existential. It's intense and unnerving without the writers trying to figure out how many F bombs they can fit into a sentence.
  3. Apr 17, 2013
    10
    watched the whole series yesterday.......woot woot!!!! Loved Elisabeth Moss...she did her typical great job....Cant wait for Copper and Hell on Wheels to start again...
  4. Apr 18, 2013
    10
    Flawless. Masterful writing, a really smartly interlocking mystery with a satisfying conclusion, pitch perfect acting, tons of atmosphere and the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen in a television show. I didn't want it to end.
  5. Mar 31, 2013
    10
    Simply amazing show! Fantastic acting, cinematography, story, characters and especially atmosphere.

    While watching the first 3 episodes I had flashbacks of Twin Peaks and the foreign version of The Killing.

    Great directing to, the area where this is taking place is interesting, as are the characters.
    Best new show since Homeland imo! Check it out, top notch tv!
  6. Apr 11, 2013
    10
    Directing, acting scenery are working together perfectly to create a realistic drama. I really enjoyed the first 4 episodes and i am looking forward for next ones to come!
  7. Apr 21, 2013
    9
    Visually stunning, TotL is different from most short series in mood and pacing. Back stories are more 'inferred' than put on display so that the main investigation stays in focus. This show treats viewers like they're smart and paying attention. Actors are capable and characters are often bizarre. Understated performances keep things interesting. Very well directed and shot. Could there be a more for these characters? Collapse
  8. May 18, 2013
    10
    Watched this straight through after I discovered a post-it reminding me that this was coming on in March. Loved it.

    I'm looking at you, "The Killing" people when I say, This is how an atmospheric, locale-centric mystery is done. This down under gothic gets a 10.
  9. Jun 13, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Top of the Lake is a unique and captivating mini-series that offers great writing, acting and direction, and a fantastic setting. At first glance a crime drama, it defies genre conventions, but the tip of the hat to the horror genre in the opening sequence and music is not to be ignored.

    Make no mistake; Top of the Lake is about New Zealand. Any local will tell you that New Zealand is Paradise; Top of the Lake tells us about the dark side of that paradise. Yes, there is an Appalachian (for example) version of this story but this is a distinctly New Zealand story.

    Top of the Lake is a portrayal of New Zealand culture and its problems as few other films or series have done. “Once Were Warriors” is a notable exception, and it is no coincidence that that film also deals with issues of misogyny, violence, rape, teen suicide, child abuse and child molestation.

    There is a lot of feminism in Top of the Lake, but it is New Zealand culture that is indicted, and men and women are both guilty. There are many victims in Top of the Lake, but there are few innocents. Women seem to limit their sins to denying, defending and otherwise enabling the behavior of men, and the dark side of the culture in general, but Top of the Lake wants us to question whether they are any less guilty. We probably see this most clearly in Campion’s main character Robin Griffin, played by Elizabeth Moss.

    There are many good reasons to like Robin, and to identify with her. But the viewer suspects Al Parker (David Wenham) early on, and grows uncomfortable as Robin fails to follow up on some fairly clear warning signs, especially when she blacks out and wakes up in his bed and clothes, but fails to have a rape kit done, or a blood test, or to do anything more than give Al a light questioning. She has suspicions, but she fails to follow through on them. It begins to resemble the denial and willful blindness that is so much a part of the local culture, and a strong theme of the series.

    Robin continues to get drunk in bars filled with overtly misogynist men, including one who actually raped her as a teenager. She rekindles an old relationship with an old flame, Johnno (Thomas M. Wright) in a no-means-yes moment in a pub toilet. This old flame had abandoned her at a high school dance just before she was raped by four drunk local men. He comes clean about being there, but refuses to deny planning it with them ahead of time. She continues seeing him.

    When the local drug lord, Matt Mitchum (Peter Mullan), the most obvious villain of the series, reveals to her that he is her father, and that her lover is therefore her half-brother, we feel her horror as she realizes that many of the local demons are inside of her as well, and have been all along (Al has DNA testing done, and reports that Johnno is not Matt’s son. However he also reports that Tui’s baby is Matt’s, almost certainly a lie. We never know for sure).

    As ugly as this all might sound, I continue to have a lot of sympathy and patience for Robin, as do most viewers I think. Credit this to the acting of Elizabeth Moss, but of course Campion knows that it is important that the audience care about even such a deeply flawed character.

    Campion may have less patience for Robin than we do. GJ, the reluctant “guru” of Paradise, played by Holly Hunter, is inspired by the late Indian philosopher U.G. Krishnamurti, a friend of Campion’s. GJ has no more patience for Robin than for any of the “crazy living at Paradise. Robin is apparently the “crazy that broke the camel’s back, sending GJ off to Reykjavik, about as far from New Zealand as a person can get.
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  10. Aug 24, 2013
    10
    Top of the Lake is one of the most intriguing shows I've seen in long time, the quirkiness of the characters (especially Elisabeth Moss) enhanced the intertwined and un-nerving story-line. The characters were mysterious yet believable and scenery stunning. Another Campion New Zealand masterpiece.
  11. Oct 19, 2013
    10
    A perfectly done series, portrays a rural area with "warts and all" approach, and leaves you guessing until the final scenes. The visuals are fantastic, a perfect backdrop for such a dark tale.
Metascore
86

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.