The A.V. Club's Scores

For 1,208 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 61% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 35% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 70
Highest review score: 100 Fargo: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Pacific Heat: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 850
  2. Negative: 0 out of 850
850 tv reviews
  1. The Queen’s Gambit is actually aware that its protagonist can occasionally be a jerk. For all the assured direction and exotic locales—including a jaunt to Paris—Beth’s internal journey is the most captivating element of The Queen’s Gambit. The series may border on wish fulfillment at times, but at least it casts a spell.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The weight of so many of the country’s problems, all wrapped up in a single city, is palpable, but the filmmakers also leave space for lightness. ... James doesn’t offer solutions to the problems presented—how could he?—but lets the dark and the light exist alongside one another.
  2. The series’ weaknesses lie not with the capable cast, but in its writing.
  3. These act-break moments could have played cheesy (as one segment with Rob Lowe and Allison Janney teeters toward), but the special always stays on the right side of being a Very Special Episode. That’s in large part because Sorkin and Schlamme allow the meat of special—“Hartsfield Landing”—to remain sacrosanct. ... While some of [the actors] may have more gray hair and age lines, they all effortlessly step back into their roles as if it were 18 years ago.
  4. As Kipo’s third and final act, season three proves to be well worth the emotional investment that fans have made over the past 10 months since the show’s premiere.
  5. The central duo could stand to gain a little bit of comic book flair, especially if we’re supposed to accept that the various nightmares they deal with on a daily basis are as scary as Daimon and Ana insist they are. The show really is better off having exorcised any obvious comic book connections, but it struggles to find anything especially unique to fill that void.
  6. The setting and performances make for a solid period drama, but after the premieres of The First and For All Mankind, as well as the releases of First Man and Ad Astra, The Right Stuff looks more like an imitator than the originator, despite its groundbreaking source material.
  7. Although the series appears familiar in many ways to teen series that have come before it, these newcomers, amid the sheer chaos of high school in these rapid-paced episodes, also reflect the world as we know it now.
  8. Soulmates feels like neither an indictment nor a celebration of the concept of predestined lovers, but rather a cluster of underdeveloped ideas loosely held together by it.
  9. Like a comedy club roster overstuffed with comics of varying skills and styles, the docuseries never settles into the groove of a single tour de force set. The stories are great. ... But The Comedy Store never finds a way to tie all these individuals and their stories into a cohesive portrait. ... Binder’s undeniably watchable series sets out to craft monuments to a place and a woman he reveres equally.
  10. Although Monsterland does suffer from the unevenness that seems to be inherent in all anthologies (horror or otherwise), its highs are among the best genre work of the year.
  11. As travelogue and fashion inspiration, Emily In Paris makes for an enjoyable watch—but the familiar plights of its rom-com heroine are easily outshone by the gorgeous, glittering surroundings.
  12. There’s a lot of personality in the tent and plenty of talent, with first star baker Peter a particular one to watch. A lot will hinge on how the changes to the filming schedule impact the bakers, but for now, viewers look to be in for another entertaining, inspiring, and tempting season of The Great British Baking Show.
  13. The dialogue is primarily in Hebrew and Persian languages, but to paraphrase one of Bong Joon-ho’s speeches during his Oscar win, overcoming the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles leads one to a lot more valuable art. Tehran is a solid example of that.
  14. Console Wars never quite settles on the story it’s trying to tell.
  15. Fargo occasionally strains under the weight of what it’s attempting to accomplish: a lively examination of the history of different groups of Western European immigrants who have gradually been granted whiteness, and the many Black Americans, whose ancestors were brought here by force (and greed), but are now, as Doctor Senator puts it, a “part of this land, like the wind and the dirt.”
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    While inconclusive in many ways, A Wilderness Of Error is strangely satisfying.
  16. The result is a dizzying, overwhelming, yet compelling presentation of the different tactics the Russians employed. There is an effort to divide each aspect of Russian interference into easily digestible bites, but it proves to be an extremely difficult feat because of how convoluted it actually was. It’s a documentary that demands you actively engage with its content in order to keep track of every thread.
  17. Filthy Rich wants to be more clever than it is, but its overly dramatic plot twists (Eugene’s body isn’t discovered in the plane crash) can be spotted a mile away by anyone who’s seen even a single episode of Dallas.
  18. Camp Cretaceous is mildly diverting. There are pleasing videogame-like simulations of more complex movie-style dinosaurs, including the token cute-dino baby ankylosaurus and the carnotaurus that becomes the group’s default nemesis.
  19. The post-mortem passages of The Final Flight represent the series at its best. Like nearly every TV docuseries these days, this one is overlong, and broken up into too many parts. It could easily have been two tightly packed hourlong episodes, rather than three fairly shapeless ones that run around 40 minutes each followed by an excellent concluding one that runs around 50. But that last chapter is so moving—and at times enraging—that it justifies the whole project.
  20. Feels curiously stagnant in the seven of eight episodes provided for review. The series incorporates a slew of thematic elements that are eerily timely—an increasingly devastating pandemic, for one—but an overreliance on brutal violence masks the fact that Utopia doesn’t have much to say about the corporate overreach or government listlessness that inspired the show’s concept.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 42 Critic Score
    Your mileage may vary on how well it explores that idea and the cheap, convenient plot devices that pad it out into eight episodes, but if it’s a spectacle you want, that’s what Ratched somewhat delivers in its performances and production design. The overall narrative could have used a second opinion, though.
  21. As it races to introduce a whole host of characters and motivations in the first half-hour, The Comey Rule struggles under the burden of trying to explain who all these people are, and what role they play in the proceedings. But once we get into the fraught nature of the Clinton investigation—and just as the team, including Comey’s new second-in-command, Andrew McCabe (a superb Michael Kelly), realizes they’re standing on a land mine of partisan undermining of the FBI—the story gets compelling.
  22. There isn’t anything particularly refreshing about Knight and fellow creator Marshall Todd’s tepid comedy.
  23. The series recaptures the earnest, music-filled appeal of the High School Musical franchise far better than the sequel series Disney+ released last year. And what Julie And The Phantoms lacks in depth, it makes up for with an endearing cast and endlessly catchy pop tunes. Just be prepared to get a lot of new songs stuck in your head.
  24. Although Noughts + Crosses is an imperfect series, it features some compelling performances, particularly from Rowan, Joseph, and Baxendale. (Fans of the British rapper Stormzy will appreciate his small role in the show as well.) In the end, the acting saves the series from a romance that’s initially undercooked and a race-reversal narrative that could do more to complicate its alternate universe.
  25. The special’s true value as a showcase for a handful of terrifically shaded performances gradually emerges through the occasional overwritten staginess. Still, the relentless march of five separate monologues all about the maddeningly implacable evils each character faces in this America of COVID and Trump is, as stated, a lot to take in in one sitting.
  26. Getting to see these kids bounce off each other, and Howerton, is still a hoot, and while the show falls back into the run-of-the-mill rhythms of the sitcom more often than we might like, it’s still a flavor of “run of the mill” in which Patton Oswalt spins devil sticks in an effort to sexually out-display an ever-delightful Paula Pell. If the show’s coasting a bit at this point, at least it’s still doing so in roughly the right direction.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Everyone’s well-intentioned, fundamentally decent, and capable. There are no villains, only complicated situations. When someone suggests it’s better for an astronaut to die in space a hero than return home a coward, the argument feels profound, not diabolical. This makes the series dramatically frustrating at times, but given our current social and political climate, it’s also refreshing.

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