Matt Zoller Seitz

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For 541 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 48% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 48% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Matt Zoller Seitz's Scores

Average review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 Atlanta: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 37 out of 541
541 tv reviews
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Matt Zoller Seitz
    All in all, Salem's Lot is a serious, elegant piece of work that provides plenty of shocks and creep- out moments without lingering over brutality and gore - which makes it feel less like a contemporary horror picture than a lost treasure from the 1940s or '50s, when filmmakers had to find imaginative ways to suggest what they weren't allowed to show. It's a feast of horror you can sink your teeth into. [19 June 2004, p.9]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Matt Zoller Seitz
    If you know where this story is eventually going to end up, geographically as well as emotionally, it can seem as if the writers are unnecessarily running out the clock in order to get the next binge-tailored ending to land at the 55-minute mark. But there’s enough going at the level of performance and characterization that you rarely feel as if a given scene is devoid of purpose.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 90 Matt Zoller Seitz
    To find a network drama that bears sustained comparison to ABC's Kingdom Hospital, you'd have to go all the way back to 1990, when the same network premiered David Lynch's "Twin Peaks." Alternately random and brilliant, the 15-hour, limited-run series "Kingdom Hospital" has a similarly indescribable vibe. Set in a huge Maine hospital, it plays like a cross of "M*A*S*H," "Six Feet Under" and "The Shining." King, his talented ensemble cast and his capable director, Craig R. Baxley, have created one of the creepiest locales in TV history. But they don't limit themselves to mere spookiness. They go wherever they please, and their brazen confidence demands that we follow along. [3 March 2004, p.39]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Matt Zoller Seitz
    Spectacular, cartoonish ultraviolence becomes less of a selling point as the series goes on. Its replacement — a parable of toxic masculinity about men making the most savage possible choice to avoid appearing “soft’ in front of other men — becomes tedious. But it’s worth waiting out Gangs’ less distinguished bits to get to those Evans setpieces.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Matt Zoller Seitz
    We Are the Brooklyn Saints is beautiful, not just in terms of its subject matter, but in its look and sound and rhythm: the vibe of the thing. ... We Are the Brooklyn Saints reclaims dignity and urgency for its characters, not only by centering their stories, but by consciously looking for beauty, even poetry, in outwardly unremarkable big-city locations.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Matt Zoller Seitz
    The Good Lord Bird speaks to the present as well as the past. This is one of the most thoughtful and surprising series of an already impressive year: a historical epic of real vision.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 30 Matt Zoller Seitz
    Season four of Fargo isn’t interested in subtext unless it can be turned into text, underlined and boldfaced, with directional arrows. ... Anachronisms sink otherwise serviceable exchanges (the Twitter-certified warning “slow your roll” shows up twice), and lit’ry word-clots fail to translate from page to screen.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Matt Zoller Seitz
    The series is what academics would call a “rich text,” and one that the literal-minded would ding for being “unrealistic.” It footnotes itself as it goes, though rarely so ostentatiously that it denies viewers the pleasure of figuring out where certain influences came from and what the show is trying to say with them. With each new episode, we gain more appreciation of the thought that’s been put into every aspect of Lovecraft Country’s production.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Matt Zoller Seitz
    The mystery of her demise looms over this reclamation project like low-hanging storm clouds, and the film suffers from its decision to avoid looking up unless it has to.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Matt Zoller Seitz
    Mrs. America’s smartest move was deciding to be a TV show first and a history lesson second, although it takes a while for that distinction to take hold. ... By the time you hit hour three, the actors have settled into their characters and internalized their co-stars’ rhythms and the story is on rails. The addictive energy of the ensemble infuses every scene.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Matt Zoller Seitz
    It’s the most frustratingly not-quite-there show on TV: structurally bold, visually arresting, often brilliantly acted, show-off-ily erudite (to the point of having three rich folks argue the accuracy of a Plutarch quote during a society gala), and woefully predisposed to turn subtext into text. But its sense of dread is so effective that it draws even skeptical viewers into its narrative mazes.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Matt Zoller Seitz
    Season four of Pamela Adlon’s FX series Better Things, created, directed by, and starring Adlon as an actress and a single mom raising three eccentric, steel-willed girls, boasts four episodes that are stone-cold classics, endlessly rewatchable and rewarding. The rest of the season is pretty good too — so nervy yet exact that it makes almost every other American TV show, even excellent ones, seem formulaic and timid in comparison.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Matt Zoller Seitz
    This is the most uncompromising and stylistically innovative approach to TV drama since "NYPD Blue" maybe since "Hill Street Blues" 20 years ago. [30 March 2000, p.57]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Matt Zoller Seitz
    Odd as The Beat may seem on first glance, it's of a piece with the rest of Fontana's work, which aims to shake up TV storytelling by any means necessary. [21 March 2000, p.37]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Matt Zoller Seitz
    Beyond the embellishments and reimaginings of the source material, the biggest hurdle this Watchmen will face is the way it tells its story. Although each chapter has the feel of a stand-alone, à la The Leftovers, it’s ultimately a highly serialized tale, though one that takes its sweet time easing you into its world and making you work to understand who’s who and what’s actually happening. It’s easy to imagine viewers who aren’t already invested in the very idea of a Watchmen sequel growing impatient with the show’s gradual doling out of exposition.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Matt Zoller Seitz
    Season four is the culmination of everything Esmail has built to date, plus everything he learned on his best work as a director, the Amazon military-conspiracy thriller Homecoming. Perhaps the most impressive thing about it is that Esmail’s virtuosity is laser-focused, to the point where he can toss off flourishes that would’ve been the look-at-this centerpiece of a season-one episode.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Matt Zoller Seitz
    Just when it seems to be settling into a kind of Alan Ball–on–Prozac groove, it’ll throw a delightful curveball. ... Loss has enough smarts and sincerity to potentially rise to that level [of Six feet Under or The leftovers].
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Matt Zoller Seitz
    It’s the most neutered possible version of a story that’s otherwise ripe with potential to challenge, move, and confound the audience. The fault doesn’t lie with Goggins. ... Only Breaking Bad co-star Betsy Brandt, as a truth-telling, cage-rattling member of the widows group who catches Wade’s attention, finds authenticity in this pile of network notes masquerading as something fresh and honest.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Matt Zoller Seitz
    It’s so aggressively kitschy and cutesy that, on the rare occasions when it calms down and tries to be earnest and affecting, the sincerity comes across as calculated, like a politician tearing up while delivering the same campaign speech for the fourth time in a week. Considering the show’s many irritating and exhausting qualities, it’s a small miracle that The Politician hangs together, much less that it manages to produce some touching and insightful moments.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Matt Zoller Seitz
    Netflix’s Criminal is a thought experiment that’s been turned into a TV show. ... Fans of formal experiments will eat the show up — at least at first. At a certain point, though, the lack of narrative and visual variety starts to leach away the novelty.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Matt Zoller Seitz
    This is, all things considered, one hell of a show. Even the stoniest resolve tends to crumble whenever Burns’s sensibility intersects with screenwriter Dayton Duncan’s tumbling Faulknerian sentences and narrator Peter Coyote’s matter-of-fact delivery of them (which dries them out and makes them paradoxically even more affecting). The three of them together are as crackling an ensemble as the bands they profile.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Matt Zoller Seitz
    It’s a great show about work, about the place of the individual within history, and most of all, about the faceless indomitability of money over human affairs.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Matt Zoller Seitz
    I am here to tell you that there is no way this show won’t satisfy you. ... Age of Resistance is like an immense, ten-hour magic show, engrossing down to the very last wondrous detail. This is an altogether staggering artistic achievement, and a joyful continuation of the Henson tradition.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Matt Zoller Seitz
    Long stretches of this season of The Terror don’t quite work, but you always appreciate the attempt to confront an era that has largely been avoided in American popular culture—one that now comes bubbling up through our collective subconscious like a monster visible beneath layers of ice.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Matt Zoller Seitz
    You feel for a Kendall or a Shiv in the way that you might feel for an apex predator in a wildlife documentary that fell off a cliff while chasing prey. You watch the Roys with something akin to scientific fascination. We’re learning about how the monsters live and reproduce and dominate us, generation after generation. They’re up in the hunting towers, and we’re the boars.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Matt Zoller Seitz
    Some subplots and characters get lost along the way, but here, too, there are gems of dialogue and performance and a breakout performance by a new cast member, Griffin Michaels, who plays D’unte. ... This might be a train wreck of a season in some ways, but it’s a glorious one, spilling food for thought everywhere.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Matt Zoller Seitz
    Clever, laid-back, and sneakily weird, the new IFC series Sherman’s Showcase will be catnip to pop-culture-history obsessives. ... But what makes this series stand out is how it weaves in a utopian fantasy element. Its invented gallery of African-American entertainers are contextualized as part of a thriving black culture that’s obviously part of the mainstream, not operating adjacent to it, or struggling to claim a little corner.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 30 Matt Zoller Seitz
    This is an earnest but hard-edged drama about extraterrestrial first contact and deep space exploration that Frankensteins together bits of classics and near-classics. But the the whole never congeals into an original statement. And the storytelling is so ungraceful that I got whiplash from the first four episodes.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Matt Zoller Seitz
    The biggest rap against Hollywood dramatizations is that they treat history as a series of white-hot personality conflicts when it's really about slowly building waves of collective action. "From the Earth to the Moon" is a rare exception. There are recurring characters and motifs, but none that appear in every episode, and the writers have resisted inventing an audience surrogate to guide us through the maze. [5 Apr 1998]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Matt Zoller Seitz
    Though it gets a bit ludicrous as it shoehorns nearly every family member into the heart of current events (in the manner of an old-fashioned epic historical soap like The Winds of War or North and South), it remains gripping. And when it’s firing on all cylinders, it plays like a fusion of This Is Us and Children of Men.

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