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 Olive Kitteridge
Lowest review score: 0 Pacific Heat: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 668
  2. Negative: 0 out of 668
668 tv reviews
  1. Frankenstein oscillates between so many bits, asides, moods, and ideas that it can sometimes feel like a blur, and its ending arrives with an abruptness that doesn’t feel earned. But, despite the ego of the theater being a familiar target, the special nevertheless feels fresh in both the specificity of its satire and its surprising cast.
  2. At nearly four hours, Shangri-La does occasionally feel overstuffed, and it can jump from navel-gazing philosophy to brass-tacks music history too abruptly. ... But there’s enough fascinating history in this place—and in the man—to make it worthwhile.
  3. Everything about the production of Right Now is incredibly well considered, from the special’s more intimate setting (at least, compared to MSG) to Ansari’s casual wardrobe to Jonze’s choice to remain onstage with the comedian, where he personally captures even the briefest of pauses. His energy shifts up and down, but his act-outs—which run the gamut from impersonating performers of “wokeness” to succinct racists to his 25-year-old self—remain a reliable source of humor.
  4. The documentary makes extensive use of exclusive footage from Carter’s trial, where Carr’s crew were the only camera operators permitted in the courtroom. It’s this journalistic edge that makes up for I Love You, Now Die’s limitations, both as a character study and as a piece of filmmaking. (The cliffhanger/reversal structure, while exceptionally well executed here, is after all quite common in true crime.)
  5. They don’t have everything flawlessly calibrated in Stranger Things 3, but there’s enough of the taste that got viewers hooked in the first place to keep them cracking open one episode after another.
  6. The Loudest Voice blends West Wing-style operatics with a darker narrative about power most corrupting those who were already corrupt, and if it lacks Sorkin’s gift for whip-crack pacing, its excellent cast and dependable focus on the machinations of backroom deals keeps it fleet and engaging.
  7. At its best, Years And Years is like a limited-series-as-ant-farm; more frequently, however, it feels like it’s sadistically frying those ants under a magnifying glass.
  8. Unlike the 1981 Das Boot, the TV version only spends about a third of any given episode following the crew of a submarine. And whenever it gets out of the boat, it doesn’t really feel much like Das Boot.
  9. City On A Hill is watchable enough, with strong production values and some great location work, and it’s possible that the show will find its footing after a shaky start, as Billions, its predecessor in this Showtime slot, did. In its first three episodes, however, it’s far too dependent on what has come before.
  10. Comedically, Baskets has basically remained the same, minus some of its more abrasive shades exhibited early on. ... Baskets has always been comfortable playing itself as an unfussy drama, often privileging melancholic portraiture over punchlines. However, this season trades in depression for self-improvement, and the results are more poignant than ever before.
  11. Outside of a few poignant character moments, Euphoria tries so hard to be provocative that it doesn’t stir up much at all. It’s a gorgeous, empty thing that mistakes external beauty for inner depth.
  12. With so much being communicated through the subtitles, the storytelling has to stay relatively simple. But as the show starts playing up its characters and playing down their paranormal hijinks, a tidy fable about the nature of collaboration emerges, underlining the critical role each individual Espooky plays in the operation.
  13. Pose applies the lessons learned from real-world history as well as its own to deliver a second season that’s just as lovingly crafted as its first, but with even grander spectacle and greater urgency—and in so doing, makes wearing your heart on your sleeve look downright fashionable.
  14. All in all, this was a mostly satisfying, if not completely exhilarating year for the Tonys.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Claws continues to deliver an experience that is suspenseful, unorthodox, and relentlessly fun while testing its own boundaries
  15. The third season is a marked improvement over the two that preceded it; this is still not a show that can manage to be three shows at once, but at least now some of those shows are marginally interesting.
  16. Though its focus is more scattered this time around, Big Little Lies recaptures much of the magic of the first season, especially in the performances. ... Kelley is once again writing every episode, it seems, so the barbs are just as acidic, often more so when they’re delivered by Streep, who deftly adjusts Mary Louise’s sparring strategy with each new combatant.
  17. It’s about the progression of entropy to organization, individual agents of chaos coalescing into a civilization—collections of cells, each aggregate a smaller, separate life. David Milch is also a believer that time is the true subject of all stories. Deadwood: The Movie is both of these philosophies in practice, in addition to an emotionally nourishing, necessarily abbreviated conclusion to a show that went a decade and change without one.
  18. When They See Us is DuVernay at her best: urgent, unflinching, and political. But like 13th before it, it’s a gutting viewing experience, one that probably benefits from binge-viewing, but makes doing so nearly impossible.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 33 Critic Score
    The total lack of tonal creativity amplifies what is perhaps the show’s biggest problem: a complete lack of dread. There’s nothing creepy or atmospheric about NOS4A2, a show that takes itself deadly seriously without earning it.
  19. Good Omens soars when it focuses on the buddy comedy between Aziraphale and Crowley, who are tasked with keeping mortals on the straight and narrow and luring them away from it, respectively, neglect their duties, either by aiding the first couple cast out from Eden, or by partaking of the many wonderful things humans have created. ... It’s when the series looks elsewhere for its drama and humor that it starts to falter.
  20. The series has many faults, often gets lost in its own self-indulgence, but it’s easy to admire how much effort they’re putting into making something for a queer audience—both new and old.
  21. Maybe the second half of the season will turn things around. Unfortunately, six hours is a long time to slog through a story that just seems to get more and more depressing. June glaring into the camera with apparent promises of revolt, backed by a revolutionary-themed rock song (which happens more than once), doesn’t count as actual plot progression.
  22. There’s enough suspense and distress here to make The Hot Zone an engaging, if not exactly fun, summer viewing experience. If it sometimes turns into a PSA, that’s forgivable. The message makes it clear such a warning is well worth issuing, so mission accomplished.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 25 Critic Score
    Nola’s stance as an artist isn’t that interesting, and making it the focus of the entire season makes for uninteresting TV. ... Overall, it’s hard to say why any of it is happening or if we really needed this extension of She’s Gotta Have It to happen.
  23. If you can get past the thorny, sticky dialogue (a big if), What/If has an interesting premise about ostensibly good people doing bad things.
  24. The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience is joke-dense and visually rich, but comes up short on a key factor for making the Lonely Island big leagues: It doesn’t invite the type of repeat viewing that built the cults of Hot Rod and Popstar.
  25. These episodes held up well, and it was enjoyable to see them this way. But it would’ve been just as enjoyable for ABC to turn over an hour of primetime to airing the originals (even though both were CBS shows).
  26. Although the show occasionally gets tripped up in its world-building, the story it’s telling remains one of the most vital, heartwarming, and fraught on TV.
  27. Some bright spots aside—moments of inspired physical comedy from the erstwhile Dr. Doug Ross; a properly crackling translation of the promotion and closed-door policy of the fortunately named Major Major Major (Lewis Pullman)—settle instead for a tone that’s less about the maddening pointlessness of war and more about its bloody horrors, complete with mournful instrumental score.

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