The A.V. Club's Scores

For 977 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 3.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 Orange is the New Black: Season 4
Lowest review score: 0 Marshal Law: Texas: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 668
  2. Negative: 0 out of 668
668 tv reviews
  1. By stripping most of the standard documentary crutches from his version of the story, Fuqua lays it all bare, and the resulting portrait is vividly detailed even as it’s understandably incomplete.
  2. When it gives itself over to big, loud sequences, L.A.’s Finest comes close to recapturing the bombastic spirit, if not the scale, of Bay’s films (such are the constraints of the small screen). But after blowing the budget on making a good first impression, L.A.’s Finest quickly sinks into mediocrity, unable to offer the same kind of big-screen thrills in a weekly format, or find much of anything new to say about odd couples and pasts that won’t stay hidden.
  3. In these first three episodes, it’s clear that Klepper is still finding his feet, even if the latter two make the convincing case that he’s actually joined the fight for real.
  4. Tuca & Bertie takes some time to find its rhythm, but once it does, it soars. Guest stars like Nicole Byer (who is a repertory company unto herself), Laverne Cox, Isabella Rossellini, Reggie Watts, and Awkwafina (as the Time’s Up-chanting breast) make an indelible impression, but Haddish and Wong’s performance are just as singular and key to the show’s success as Hanawalt’s surreal flourishes.
  5. There is a winning comedy along the lines of The Golden Girls and a poignant coming-of-middle-age story like Better Things hidden in Dead To Me; the real mystery is why they aren’t the focus of the show.
  6. The ambition is admirable. Episodes will jump forward and backward in time, teasing out elements of story in ways not often seen on television, and helping to keep the endless J.J. Abrams-style mystery-box tactics of the show from getting overly tiresome.
  7. It’s not until the second-to-last episode that anything approaching the goofball charm and wit of its freshman season arrives, and by then the entire narrative is so weighed down with the baggage of its sudsy dramatics that the show feels less like a witty relaunch of a beloved film, and more like a 2019 version of Beverly Hills, 90210 (but not, you know, the 2019 version of Beverly Hills, 90210), complete with hokey music sequences and soap opera-level plotting.
  8. Ramy is interested in the kinds of big political and cultural questions that TV comedies don’t often ask. ... Aesthetically and tonally, much of Ramy feels similar to other coming-of-age single-camera dramedies. In terms of the stories it chooses to tell, however, Ramy feels like nothing else on TV.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It should be said—not unkindly—that there is never a waning doubt that this is Beyoncé’s film. This is not an inherently negative thing, but a fair indication that we as an audience are only going to be granted so much access to her bubble of privacy.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 58 Critic Score
    Its tight runtime and straightforward message, mixed with infectious music, makes the film an enjoyable weekend-morning stream.
  9. [The season premiere] does a lot of work in a short amount of time, but unlike some previous episodes that engaged in significant table setting, it never feels too rushed or like characters are being given short shrift in the effort to hurry to the next beat. It plays as elegant, for the most part.
  10. Sometimes, it genuinely feels as if the viewer is being worked, as if the industry vets featured here are doing what they can to keep the ambiguities at the heart of their livelihood as obfuscated as they once were. In that sense, it’s as thrilling as a live wrestling show, though it does lack sports entertainment’s visual fireworks. From a cinematic standpoint, Dark Side Of The Ring unfolds like nearly any Investigation Discovery mystery, with shadowy reenactments accompanying the talking heads prodding the narrative.
  11. Despite a somewhat tedious pace, much of Reconstruction: America After The Civil War is revelatory.
  12. The ambition of the piece rises to the level of those vaunted credits, if not necessarily their quality. In a chronologically scrambled tale of its titular subjects coming together, splitting apart, and forever driving one another to new creative highs, Fosse/Verdon mimics the former’s cinematic panache, while occasionally moving with the grace of the latter.
  13. There are worse things than ambition, which The Chi also explores, but the show would benefit from joining its characters on the stoop to take it all in.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Anyone who thought the initial season of The Tick was good but mildly underwhelming will find quite a bit to like here. After years of people trying to tell this story and either failing entirely or succeeding when no one was looking (see the criminally overlooked 2001 series), this feels like the iteration of The Tick we’ve all been waiting for.
  14. The very nature of the anthology series allows for reinvention, and the reboot quickly regains ground after an uneven introduction. What’s most important is that the show’s ethos, one that was optimistic even as it shed light on another one of our foibles, remains intact. Disturbing and insightful, The Twilight Zone strips us of most of our bearings even as it offers a grounded center.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 67 Critic Score
    It’s an unfortunate irony that the TV series that shares its name, and the basic architecture of its plot, should feel so tepid and cursory, so very much like all the action-lady knock-offs glutting our screens for years now.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    Combined with reliably sharp writing and the actors’ comedic timing, it all makes for an immensely watchable show, even in its third season.
  15. The first impression of Abby’s is one as enticingly unrefined as its central setting. Sitcoms are often acquired tastes; this one just so happens to be reminiscent of the rare exception that tasted good from the very first drop. And while it doesn’t have everyone around the bar figured out, the sight of Morales so at home on a show with her name in the title is worth raising a glass to.
  16. There’s a lackadaisical appeal to the whole thing. Its ramshackle pacing and generic riffs on dude-bro mentality manage to emit a shaggy-dog charm, largely on the basis of its likable cast and their easy chemistry.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Three episodes in, the jury is still out as to whether the second season will find the urgency and emotional stakes that the first season had but things are looking up. At the very least, the new Smoothie-Hailey story arc is quite intriguing and has the potential to go to some interesting, entertaining and even dark places.
  17. Season two of The OA is both overstuffed and undercooked, a victim of its own commitment to expanding its universe in multifarious ways. Yet the performances are so solid, the commitment to its kooky worldview so earnest, and the smorgasbord of sci-fi curlicues so endearing, sacrificing your expectations of plausibility feels like a worthwhile price of admission to this odd little dimension of the TV universe.
  18. The gratification of The Act is in the telling. And the show, spread out over 10 leisurely hours that greatly expand on Lifetime’s condensed treatment of the story in the recent TV movie Love You To Death, only gets more compelling with every new reveal.
  19. Even when the series misses a beat or two, Bryant’s mega-watt personality keeps it moving. She’s one of the most winsome performers on SNL, and more than capable of holding down her own series; but Bryant and Shrill push beyond a slice-of-life comedy to set Annie on a compelling and hilarious journey.
  20. Now Apocalypse is equally as ambitious [as Kaboom], but not nearly as well executed. Where Araki and Sciortino do succeed, in addition to making sly, poignant commentary about power and relationships, is in subverting expectations, first in giving viewers a queer story that’s a bit fraught, but mostly fun.
  21. Although it starts a little bit rocky and unfocused, The Case Against Adnan Syed eventually does an admirable job of focusing--doubters might say shaping--the various stories into something plausible. It seems silly to hope for a huge revelation in its final hour, but with such a fascinating case, it would be even sillier to doubt that another unexpected twist might arise.
  22. As a meaningful meditation on grief, After Life is dead on arrival. As a comedy, it’s good only for a few passing chuckles. It wants so badly to be both comedy and drama--to be both funny and touching--that it fails pretty spectacularly at both.
  23. Like a lot of Gibney’s work, The Inventor functions most reliably as a fast-paced, involving summary, one occasionally enlivened by the little, revealing bursts of personality he captures from his various talking heads. But as in his Assange doc, We Steal Secrets, Gibney can’t entirely compensate for the (admittedly understandable) void at the center of his portrait—which is to say, for the fact that he couldn’t land an interview with his main subject.
  24. The show walks a tonal tightrope with ease, though there are some spots where it feels caught between television worlds.

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