Kathryn VanArendonk

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For 148 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 37% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 58% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Kathryn VanArendonk's Scores

Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Couples Therapy (2019): Season 2
Lowest review score: 10 The Time Traveler's Wife: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 90 out of 148
  2. Negative: 9 out of 148
148 tv reviews
    • 44 Metascore
    • 10 Kathryn VanArendonk
    The most off-putting thing about The Time Traveler’s Wife, right from the jump, is how strangely chintzy and thin it looks. ... Bad news. It does get more sad, but it absolutely does not know how to make that emotional gravity tie into the silly fun stuff.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Kathryn VanArendonk
    The new sketches manage to surprise amid the wash of familiar allusions.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Kathryn VanArendonk
    This is a Myers show, and it offers all the comfort and eye-rolling fatigue you’d expect from that, regardless of what year it is. That’s the resilience of juvenile humor: It never ages.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Kathryn VanArendonk
    Two of Girls5eva’s greatest strengths are its discipline regarding the sitcom format — compact drama on an episodic basis but slow transformation on a longer timeline — and its belief that comedies need jokes, and those undergird this successful second season.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Kathryn VanArendonk
    In spite of its overfamiliar rhythms and fancy murder-show aesthetics, there are elements of Under the Banner that achieve something distinct and idiosyncratic.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Kathryn VanArendonk
    Season two of The Flight Attendant has demonstrated it understands how to build up to an inevitable emotional crash. Whether or not it ultimately achieves another smooth landing, it’s fun to see the show return to dizzying heights.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 50 Kathryn VanArendonk
    Season two is bigger, in terms of time, geography, riddles, and mechanisms. But there’s a perverse backward effect to all that new roominess. Russian Doll wants to be more sprawling, leaving its emotional resonance smaller and emptier. Nadia’s frantic attempts to make her life right again start to feel myopic, and meanwhile there is not nearly enough Alan.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Kathryn VanArendonk
    It is a remarkable piece of conceit, craft, performance, and vision, and it’s a truly astonishing way to probe so many ideas that have been bubbling up over the past several years about the role of comedy and how we value authenticity.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Kathryn VanArendonk
    Yes, Julia has some flaws, but its good qualities outweigh the missteps. Most importantly, the show feels like the Julia Child it wants to portray: warm, generous, driven, imperfect, charming, and in love with feeling good.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Kathryn VanArendonk
    It’s funny and a little heightened and very smart, but it’s more interested in ordinary things than grand gestures. Which is lovely, because when Starstruck does finally land on a grand gesture, the surprise and pleasure of it is all the greater.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Kathryn VanArendonk
    Its pace is urgent but measured. Gaps in Sunja’s life allow Pachinko to leave room for surprise and discovery, but the series avoids the clean, overly ordered logic of a jigsaw puzzle. ... Throughout, the series is transformed by the performances of each Sunja. Youn is excellent as the elder iteration, and Kim is absolutely astounding as Sunja in her youth. ... I do wish watching Pachinko could last forever.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Kathryn VanArendonk
    For these first five episodes, though, Minx itself is still too close to its central character: good ideas, potentially great execution, with a few parts that are just straight bummers. We should all cross our fingers that Minx pulls it together.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Kathryn VanArendonk
    The Dropout succeeds because of Seyfried’s work as Holmes, but it’s also a messier portrait of Holmes’s youth, one that leads to a much more nuanced and multifaceted image of her by the time Theranos is in full swing.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Kathryn VanArendonk
    The best moments in Ali Wong’s new Netflix special Don Wong are the ones where she embraces that problem and puts it front and center. The weakest sections are the ones where she pivots back toward the comfortable, familiar, or unsurprising.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Kathryn VanArendonk
    It’s an uneven hour of comedy, but the most compelling and notable moments are the ones that let viewers sit with the purposeful discomfort Ms. Pat creates. Yet at almost every turn, the special itself tries to smooth over those bumps and to eliminate what makes this performance distinctive.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Kathryn VanArendonk
    Arnett’s flexibility and playfulness are key to making Murderville work, but strong celebrity casting is what keeps its fairly predictable shtick from getting boring. Murderville manages to be as adaptable as its players.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Kathryn VanArendonk
    Like several of the other series in this genre, Pam & Tommy struggles to land on an ending. ... Still, until that point, its cultural excavation is entertaining and comically sexy and scary and sad, a bit provocative. It’s enough to satisfy that cultural-revisitation urge: the desire to be surprised by a story you thought you already knew.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 30 Kathryn VanArendonk
    Without much in the way of interesting ideas, all that’s left for Nightclub Comedian is the look, and in moments it is beautiful. ... Except if you look closely, all the faces around him change. The crowd is different from one shot to the next. It’s not one authentic performance; it’s many of them stitched together. ... But the look of this special — its claim of being real — is all that it’s about. When that part of it crumbles, what’s left?
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Kathryn VanArendonk
    It’s a confident story about a woman who lacks confidence, full of the pleasure and tentative uncertainty of new adult friendships, with only brief swerves into sentimentality.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Kathryn VanArendonk
    There’s excess, excess everywhere, and it’s incredible that something so flowery and deliberately overwrought could also feel almost fragile. ... But it’s also grown more confident in its diversions, and as the show’s Catherine and Peter veer further from their historical analogs, they become more themselves.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Kathryn VanArendonk
    It’s a curious combination of glorious, terrifying genre storytelling with the plodding dramatic rhythms familiar from many other Apple TV+ hour-long series.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Kathryn VanArendonk
    You is the best it’s ever been — every bit as dark and stinging and cheerfully willing to screw with its audience, but now outfitted with a glorious foil for Joe’s monstrousness.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Kathryn VanArendonk
    The show is most intense and horrifying, most fully and confidently itself, at the moments when there seems to be no end to the abyss. The show’s gorgeous, intense visuals work best early, when it’s still full of mystery. ... As Squid Game’s ending reaches for answers and for a future, it gets less surprising and less visually virtuosic. It’s not the kind of apocalypse story that longs for hopeful human resilience; it’s most eloquent on the topics of financial despondence and weaponized nostalgia.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Kathryn VanArendonk
    Not much about Foundation sticks, either emotionally or narratively. There are cause-and-effect relationships between one event and another, but they’re stretched across long-attenuated frames, spun out over distances that are short enough to roughly remember there was a relationship there, but too long for that relationship to retain any urgency or heft.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Kathryn VanArendonk
    It is captivating in its stilted strangeness; almost arresting in its capacity to identify the least recognizably human direction for any story to go and then head unerringly toward it. “Bad” isn’t the right word, because it doesn’t capture how hilarious and striking the show can be. “Good” isn’t a great fit, either. ... This season of The Morning Show is just plain weird. Characters make choices that make no sense whatsoever, and they do it with a regularity that’s half the show’s appeal.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Kathryn VanArendonk
    There are no surprises, but it fits a mold in a way that makes the mold itself suddenly visible, and that’s satisfying in its own way.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Kathryn VanArendonk
    The series is rapt by [Linda Trapp's] role in this famous presidential scandal, and though its depiction of her is flawed, sometimes deeply, its detailed obsession with Tripp is nevertheless so utterly caught up in her that the show manages to leap past all the reasons why it absolutely, unequivocally, should not work. ... Impeachment is imperfect, but its excavation of this era in American history is nonetheless transfixing, and it’s not least because there is now a mythic quality to the story it tells.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Kathryn VanArendonk
    Effectively, but not effortlessly — you can still sense the moments where Only Murders works better in concept than in execution, the places it leaps and then lands with a bit of a wobble. But its flaws do not make it any less charming. For a show that seems born out of the spirit of “wouldn’t it be fun?”, the answer is clearly “yes.”
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Kathryn VanArendonk
    Heels would be a better show if it could quit with the hand-holding, if it could stand on the power of its own convictions without needing to fold in a CliffsNotes summary of its every move. And yet Heels can win you over despite the clunkiness.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Kathryn VanArendonk
    It’s challenging to look into the future and imagine what this series might become. Still, there’s every reason to hope and believe that this is a show that’s only just finding its footing, and all the stuff that feels smart and unusual right now will only become deeper, more confident, funnier, and more distinctive.

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