Emily VanDerWerff

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For 256 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 54% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Emily VanDerWerff's Scores

Average review score: 72
Highest review score: 100 Master of None: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Dads: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 11 out of 256
256 tv reviews
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Emily VanDerWerff
    Station Eleven takes Mandel’s book and amps up its sense of a cozy post-apocalypse, where humanity comes together, rather than drifting apart. I entered the series deeply skeptical, and I left it feeling at least semi-hopeful for what humanity might yet become, even after the end. ... The alternation between storytelling modes also gives the show a pleasant rhythm once you fall under its spell.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Emily VanDerWerff
    While Yellowjackets is far from perfect, and while it is absolutely the kind of series that will irreparably fall apart somewhere along the line (my money is on the season four premiere), I feel as jazzed by its first six episodes as I did by the first few Lost episodes back in the day.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Emily VanDerWerff
    The season struck me as too artistically conservative in many places. In particular, Moments in Love requires you to be all in on Denise and Alicia’s marriage early on for the later strife they face throughout the fertility treatment process to land. ... The tight frames of this season don’t imprison the characters. They imprison the show itself.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Emily VanDerWerff
    The Underground Railroad made me feel things about my own life and personal pain very deeply, while never letting me forget that while I could relate to aspects of this story, it is not my own. ... The show’s achievement is making every episode feel so full as to allow you to watch an individual installment, walk away for a while feeling like you’ve got a complete story, then return when you’re ready for another story featuring some of the same characters.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Emily VanDerWerff
    It is not a perfect show, but it’s a lovable and endlessly watchable one. Sometimes, when you just want to watch a fun TV show, “lovable and watchable” is better than perfection anyway.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Emily VanDerWerff
    It is comfort food TV right down to its bones, and it is comfort food TV that works, even for a curmudgeon like me.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Emily VanDerWerff
    Taylor-Joy’s cerebral acting meshes perfectly with Beth’s story. She’s an actor of micro-expressions, of flickers of eyes and twitches of lips, and what makes The Queen Gambit such a good fit for her is the way she keeps both the viewer and Beth’s opponents at arm’s length.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 83 Emily VanDerWerff
    If I have an issue with this first episode, it’s that too much of the storytelling is driven by coincidence.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Emily VanDerWerff
    For one thing, the cast was stellar. To play the four oldest siblings, Keyser and Lippman found Matthew Fox, Scott Wolf, Neve Campbell, and Lacey Chabert, all of whom would go on to have significant careers elsewhere and all of whom almost immediately started acting like a semi-functioning family unit.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Emily VanDerWerff
    The Mandalorian is perfectly fine entertainment. But it’s also fundamentally empty entertainment and not a great harbinger for many Disney+ original programs to come.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Emily VanDerWerff
    It’s honestly pretty fun to watch, all glossy and zippy. But it’s also fundamentally at war with itself.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Emily VanDerWerff
    For All Mankind is nowhere near perfect, but it’s deeply watchable — eventually.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Emily VanDerWerff
    Calling it the best new show of the fall feels too limiting, because it’s trying to be so many things to so many people. It left me dizzy from its audacity, its delight, and its occasional lack of taste. Your mileage may vary.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Emily VanDerWerff
    Even when The Politician is flailing all over the place, its heart is tapped into the pain of living in a world full of rich white people and forcing down everything that makes you a little bit different. Like Murphy’s best shows, The Politician is about how sad being happy can be.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Emily VanDerWerff
    Undone is a frequently beautiful and thought-provoking ride.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Emily VanDerWerff
    Not everything about this series works, but everything about its lead performance does. And for a first season, that’s more than enough.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Emily VanDerWerff
    This sense of coming together perversely helps excuse some of the show’s excess.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Emily VanDerWerff
    A compliment, even if it might not sound like one: Deadwood: The Movie feels like the best TV episode of 1997. ... There is so much here that will be rich and meaningful to any TV fan, and its story is self-contained enough that you could use it as an entry point to the entire series. (That is, if you don’t mind being spoiled on several major events from all three seasons, which are depicted in flashbacks.)
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Emily VanDerWerff
    It’s one of the best seasons of TV I’ve seen in ages.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Emily VanDerWerff
    A terrific start to the series’ final run.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Emily VanDerWerff
    Fosse/Verdon can never quite escape its deteriorating orbit, plunging closer and closer to the black hole that is its central subject, because it knows, deep down, how essential he is to American art. That could have tanked the whole project. And yet ... it doesn’t. Because, deep down, this is a fantastic show about a marriage.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Emily VanDerWerff
    It manages to find some middle ground between the typically cynical, technology-obsessed Black Mirror and the original Twilight Zone. The stories have been updated for the modern era in theme and content (sometimes people swear, which is honestly a little jarring), but the visuals continue to suggest more than depict.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Emily VanDerWerff
    Season three is as good as the show has ever been — even better, really.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Emily VanDerWerff
    Even though the season clocks in at around six hours in total, it feels more momentous than that, and in a good way. By grounding its laughs, its tears, and its storytelling in the ups and downs of a family, One Day at a Time avoids feeling gimmicky. ... The episodes themselves are beautifully constructed, too, with some of the best third acts in television today.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Emily VanDerWerff
    The series is probably too weird to win a bunch of Emmys, but God willing, Lyonne will be nominated. She’s so good. ... Already one of the best shows of the year.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Emily VanDerWerff
    Good Trouble strikes me almost as TV’s first good Gen Z drama. It’s forthright and earnest, and it wears its politics on its sleeve. It understands that the world is filled with junk, but sometimes you can make something beautiful out of that junk. And it knows that even if the end is near, it’s not quite here yet. There’s still time.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Emily VanDerWerff
    The five episodes I have seen take the best stuff about True Detective and finally wed it to a story that proceeds in a mostly satisfying fashion.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Emily VanDerWerff
    Whenever Midge gets up on the standup comedy stage, her scenes are electrifying. ... It’s also a show that can never quite see past its own blinders on anything that doesn’t relate to a 1950s battle of the sexes. It knows issues around race and class exist. It even knows that issues around religion exist. But it never knows what to do with them, because it needs them to remain off camera, so that it might construct a more perfect, candy-coated world.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Emily VanDerWerff
    Book fans may be at a slight advantage, since if you’ve forgotten who someone is in a book, you can always go back a few pages. That is a minor complaint in the face of a series that gripped me from frame one, despite telling a very small, intimate story that occasionally amounts to two girls learning lessons about how the world works and little else.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 30 Emily VanDerWerff
    By the time the last three episodes roll around, House of Cards’ final season has abruptly buried itself in a whole host of weird, borderline anti-feminist tropes. ... Every time season six starts to build some momentum behind either of its other two major ideas, it lumbers backward to ponder what Frank would have done, or what Frank would have wanted, and it kills that momentum immediately.

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