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  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 9, 2005
  • Season #: 1
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Mixed or average reviews - based on 4 Critics What's this?

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  • Starring: Krista Allen, Bryan Greenberg, Frank Langella
  • Summary: Hollywood. From the bottom up.

    HBO presents this new improvised dramedy about the everyday lives of three young actors trying to make it big in Hollywood. The series stars up-and-comers Krista Allen (Anger Management, "Days of Our Lives"), Bryan Greenberg (The Perfect Score, "One Tree
    Hill") and Jennifer Hall (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, "All My Children") as young actors who when not trying to land roles that could lead to stardom are taking acting classes taught by Goddard Fulton (stage and screen legend Frank Langella).

    Although the three leads play themselves and the series has a strong documentary feel, it should be noted that the show is actually fictional and not a reality series. The stories were inspired by real life situations from the lives and careers of both the stars and producers. These situations are then recreated by the cast in unscripted scenes where the actors must make up their own dialogue in order to lend the show a sense of realism.

    From executive producers George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh, the same team behind the big screen hit Ocean's 11 and HBO's short-lived K Street. Joining Clooney and Soderbergh are executive producer Grant Heslov (K Street) and co-executive producer Matt Adler. Clooney also serves as director.

    Unscripted has been rated TVMA for Adult Content and Adult Language.

    Here is some of the critical acclaim the show has received

    Most of the critics agree that television has become saturated with "inside showbiz" type of shows (HBO alone has given us Larry Sanders, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Project Greenlight, Entourage and their upcoming Lisa Kudrow comedy) but they also agree that Unscripted is still a welcome surprise nonetheless.

    Time magazine calls Unscripted "clever and fun." As a show that is "sophisticated and sympathetic, Unscripted has a lot going for it."

    Variety writes that producers Clooney and Soderbergh "have created a compelling document on the struggles of Hollywood actors." It features some of the same "light-hearted" spirit that made Sex and the City a hit.

    According to The Washington Post, Unscripted is "promising" with a cast that is "engaging" and "likable." Tom Shales writes that "it definitely grows on you the way good but quirky shows do. By the end of the first half-hour, I was utterly embedded."

    The New York Times calls it a "rewarding" show that "has funny and clever moments. And it perfectly captures the insane vanity and yearning that fuel the real Hollywood."

    The Boston Globe proclaims that "HBO's bittersweet new Hollywood comedy" is "surprisingly involving" and that "it unfolds with a freshness and sly humor that should make it a cult favorite. It has the intimate charm of an indie film -- cynical, slight, and unexpectedly touching."

    The Rocky Mountain News writes that the show has "a strong touch of reality rarely found in television's often faked reality genre."

    Rick Kushman of The Sacramento Bee calls it "hypnotic" and "surprisingly arresting."

    Matthew Zoller-Seitz of The Star Ledger admits "I like almost everything about Unscripted, from the restless hand-held camera work to the expressive editing and sound design to the lead performances by Krista Allen and young actors Bryan Greenberg and Jennifer Hall."

    But nobody gives the show higher praise than The New York Sun's David Blum who dubs Unscripted "The Best Show About Television On Television." In his glowing review of the "dazzling" new series, he states "Unscripted delivers an emotional charge unlike anything else on television today, and deserves instant status as a classic." He also gives credit to director George Clooney "who has shot Unscripted with the kind of controlled chaos that resembles Robert Altman at his best."
  • Genre(s): Comedy, Drama
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jul 1, 2013
    Sophisticated and sympathetic, Unscripted has a lot going for it... But it also finds HBO--the network for people who disdain formulaic TV--falling into a formula.
  2. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Jun 18, 2013
    'Unscripted' is a small thing, but it has funny and clever moments. [7 Jan 2005]
  3. Reviewed by: Gillian Flynn
    Jun 18, 2013
    Unscripted is a puzzling show — and not in a good way. ... Having actors play overripe versions of themselves can create great balloon bursts of comedy — David Duchovny on The Larry Sanders Show comes to mind. But Unscripted feels like a very subtle mockumentary... so subtle it's devoid of laughs or insight.
  4. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Jun 18, 2013
    A faux documentary on actors who are not famous but who are struggling to be isn't inherently interesting to nonactors. ... 'Unscripted' isn't a complete flop. It's just rare that HBO fails like this. [9 Jan 2005]