The Atlantic's Scores

For 391 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 45% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 51% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 Patrick Melrose: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Wicked City: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 241
  2. Negative: 0 out of 241
241 tv reviews
  1. With so much focus on the mechanics of moviemaking, the show, like the 1996 film, risks becoming too esoteric—as if Assayas were adapting François Truffaut’s Day for Night rather than riffing on a silent movie serial about a group of criminals who call themselves “The Vampires.” But the show exhibits a pleasurable lightness.
  2. The First Lady seeks to do little but superficially celebrate its subjects. Consequently—and ironically—it undermines each woman’s individuality, muddying the role it set out to clarify and repeating the history it’s trying to correct.
  3. The 12 half-hour episodes shrink away from ever tapping into Rooney’s grisly side, turning a biting novel into a standard melodrama that’s handsomely shot and finely acted but frustratingly sterile.
  4. The lack of epiphanies, life lessons, and intergenerational bonding is what makes the second season work so well.
  5. Amid the show’s ballooning scale and scope, Stranger Things finds an unexpected anchor not in its ensemble of fan favorites but in its latest villain: a supernatural serial killer dubbed Vecna after—what else?—a Dungeons and Dragons character. Vecna resides in the Upside Down, but unlike previous visitors, he’s humanlike, with a voice, a face, and, most chilling of all, a worldview.
  6. In his honesty and tenderness, Carmichael has created a special that blurs the line between comedy and confession, exposing how humor can relieve incredible tension while obscuring so much truth.
  7. The show is well intentioned and well made, and many scenes stirred my own memories of conversations with my grandparents about their experiences living through conflicts I’ve only read about. But if Pachinko returns for a second season . . . it would do well to be bold in its telling of Sunja’s story, to spotlight history through her eyes rather than in retrospect.
  8. It’s wacky, unsettling, and remarkably assured.
  9. The show carefully calibrates shtick and insight. “Tell the story a certain way,” Zoë says to Danner, solemnly, “and any one of us could’ve done this. But tell the story in a different way, and none of us did this.” Lines like that—blatant exposition, not of plot but of premise—could easily wear thin. But just as the show starts to seem overly enamored of its conceit, it remembers its own genre: comedy.
  10. In treating Anna with a shrug, Inventing Anna never quite justifies its own existence. Instead, it strings its viewers along with the possibility of reaching some profound revelation, but in the end, it’s a knockoff posing as couture.
  11. Despite some of its more predictable twists, The Girl Before is riveting, even counterintuitive. Brühlmann, the director, takes material stuffed with clichés and gives it a subtler texture.
  12. Critiquing Pam & Tommy as a single, unified work is hard because it’s such an awkward hybrid of genres and ideas. ... I enjoyed this show. It made me think about Anderson differently—as someone who’s survived extraordinary victimization and typecasting and who’s managed to redefine how she’s perceived. But the series, which so often feels like it’s trying to atone for our old mistakes, seems intent on pointing out ethical transgressions while looking right past the notable void at its own core.
  13. The whole thing feels much too rote and timid for HBO—even if the costumes deliberately evoke modern sensibilities and wouldn’t be out of place on the ladies of And Just Like That, who are trying as resolutely to assert their relevance in a changing world as Agnes is. The mood is too saturnine, the occasional nods to social criticism too stilted.
  14. The show demystifies him in the workmanlike way that today’s cinematic universes inevitably treat their bit players: by turning them into boring old heroes. ... But look to the margins, to the creatures who aren’t saying much, for the saga’s future, because they still hold the promise of stories that, just maybe, we haven’t been told before.
  15. A ponderous, melancholic muddle whose primary motivation seems to be making amends for sins of the past. I watched it all without stopping, occasionally hiding my head in my hands.
  16. For now, the show is about two people—one an idealistic newcomer, the other a practical veteran—debating, while fighting off bad guys, whether they should work to live or live to work. That’s a delightfully human (and pertinent) question to explore, and its answer thus far is deeply human as well.
  17. He still effuses charisma out of his pores, still reels viewers in with the lone hook of a skeptical eyebrow. He’s still brutally sarcastic. ... But the tone has changed. A panel discussion in the first episode, among veterans who say their lives and lungs have been scarred by burn pits, is urgent in a way that feels more suited to the nightly news than to comedy TV. ... The second episode, “Freedom,” is more emblematic of what the series could be. It’s a withering take on the American right’s response to the coronavirus pandemic that counters shouty talking points with acute logic.
  18. A wacky premise and judging panel (will.i.am, Alanis Morissette, Nick Lachey, and the “musician, innovator” Grimes) just disguise the same schmaltz and strained belting that have been common on network TV ever since American Idol premiered in 2002.
  19. Chastain and Isaac are the last performers to need a director’s flourishes to enhance their roles.
  20. It’s a scattered, frivolous confrontation with history that neglects the more crucial parts of the Clinton impeachment. ... Even when the series does allude to larger elements within American politics, it does so with such an emphatic tone that the point itself is hard to take.
  21. About four episodes into the new season of Apple TV+’s The Morning Show, I stopped expecting it to have the qualities of a prestige television series—narrative complexity, emotional resonance, logic—and began simply appreciating it for what it is: one of the most batshit-expensive soap operas ever made. ... If you can meet The Morning Show on those terms, its second season is quite a ride. ... The Morning Show is camp: earnest, schlocky, nonsensical drama that’s not ruined by its excess and ridiculousness, but redeemed by it.
  22. In pitting Martin and Short’s established routine opposite her [Selena Gomez's] wild-card casting, the show evolves from a straightforward parody of true-crime podcasts and their devoted listeners into a goofy yet endearing examination of the generational divide. ... The detective work is satisfying, but watching the investigation force the characters to reveal themselves and build an unanticipated bond is the real reward.
  23. Within its tight frame, the series packs in more than shows three times its length. It’s particularly rewarding in its portrayal of Ji-Yoon’s personal life. ... What truly sells The Chair, though, is how fast and funny it is while throwing around a legion of informed ideas about a well-trodden subject.
  24. The series, as it cycles through satire, horror, and prestige psychodrama, can’t quite decide whether the wellness industry is a virulent scam or a desperately needed curative for broken souls. ... Nine Perfect Strangers connects only occasionally with its characters as human beings.
  25. For all its quirkiness, Reservation Dogs remains emotionally resonant because its central foursome is so instantly, vividly drawn.
  26. A a mournful mishmash of a ceremony that only emphasized its dark context. ... It was a celebration suited to an Olympics that many aren’t sure should exist at all. ... The moments that drew viewers into rapture were outnumbered by jolts back into distressing reality. More egregiously, the four-hour ceremony devoted multiple minutes to John Lennon’s “Imagine” as arranged by Hans Zimmer and sung by performers around the world, including the overexposed celebrities John Legend and Keith Urban.
  27. The introduction of an actual therapist into the mix of characters in Ted’s orbit—she does professionally what Ted prides himself on doing informally—allows the show to explore the nuances of its own convictions.
  28. The White Lotus seems to fit within a spate of recent HBO shows about rich people rotting in their own toxic privilege—Succession, The Undoing, Big Little Lies—but it’s baggier than those shows while also being, in fleeting moments, more insightful.
  29. Apart from the setup, which implicates viewers more than anyone—the obsessive investment of a bunch of so-called grown-ups in the lives of beautiful young adults feels creepy at best—the new show is a carbon copy of the old one, only less white and less straight. ... The reboot rarely connects with its characters; instead, it seems to feel faintly sorry for these icons of doomed youth, as constrained by their self-presentation as they are.
  30. The series traffics in true comic-book storytelling. It’s an experimental, self-contained, and thoroughly welcome reprieve.

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