Channel Zero slowly turns a creepy nightmare into a surreal action-thriller

B

There’s a moment in the premiere episode of Channel Zero: The Dream Door, the newest installment of Syfy’s horror anthology series, that’s as good a jump scare as any this year. Newlywed and new homeowner Jillian has ventured through a mysterious door that has suddenly appeared in the basement of her new suburban…

Season 2 of Making A Murderer begins to reckon with its success, but becomes Reddit bait

B

The second season of Making A Murderer attempts to grapple with the deep scars wrought by the success of its first—for about six minutes, encompassing the montage of news headlines and local TV clips that open the season premiere. It comes across as well-intended but half-hearted, though it still frames one of the…

What’s old is new—and great—again in season 3 of Marvel’s Daredevil

B

The third season of Marvel’s Daredevil finds the series and its hero getting back to basics. New showrunner Erik Oleson (of Arrow and The Man In The High Castle) sends Matt Murdock, a.k.a The Devil Of Hell’s Kitchen (Charlie Cox), back to the streets—and rooftops—of the city he’s sworn to protect, trading the…

Though it takes its time, Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina will put a spell on you

B+

Debuting later this month on Netflix, Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina already has a built-in audience. Fans of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s work in the world of Archie Comics, both on the page and screen, will definitely want to see what kind of magic the Riverdale creator casts away from the land of network standards and…

Sorry, Hereditary, but The Haunting Of Hill House is the most traumatic horror story of the year

B+

Haunted-house stories are, by their very nature, self-contained. So it’s especially impressive that The Haunting Of Hill House, the newest in a series of collaborations between Netflix and director Mike Flanagan, manages to be both sprawling and terrifying at the same time. Flanagan and the show’s writers take pains…

Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men follow-up, The Romanoffs, is a handsome pretender to the throne

B-

The last (and first) time Matthew Weiner created a TV show, it was one of the great American works about a great American pastime: pretending. The characters in the Mad Men showrunner’s latest are bonded by that act as well: Each episode of the Amazon anthology series The Romanoffs features at least one character…

Resistance is a kid-friendly glimpse at the grimy underbelly of the Star Wars universe

B

It takes a few minutes of post-viewing reflection for the most radical thing about Star Wars Resistance to set in: no Jedi. There’s not one laser sword on display in the new Disney Channel series, no evidence of magical powers. Nobody tells anybody to use the Force, or even mentions that quasi-mystical energy field.…

The Good Cop is charmingly simplistic—and totally forgettable

C+

There’s nothing innovative or remarkable about The Good Cop, which, for a Netflix series, almost becomes remarkable in and of itself. The series’ mundanity—especially enhanced by sharing a release date with the delightfully strange Maniac—feels out of place on the prolific streaming service, instead playing more like…

I Feel Bad brings a distinctly female voice to issues-based comedy

B

The #MeToo movement is still going strong, historic numbers of women are up for election this fall (and voting and protesting across the country), and between Crazy Rich Asians and Netflix’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, the stereotypically “female” genre of the rom-com is back with a vengeance. American pop…

Even with a lot on its mind, the TV adaptation of The Purge is mostly bloody good fun

B

Over the course of four movies, the alternate reality of the Purge has slowly taken shape: a dystopian America in which, for one night of the year, all crime is legal. It’s an appropriately blunt political allegory for our own time—which often reads like satire itself— making the Purge arguably the most relevant…

Netflix’s The Innocents weaves a sci-fi mystery through the story of young love and discovery

B

A lot of the buzz surrounding Netflix’s latest TV original, The Innocents, seems focused on comparing the show to Stranger Things. From a corporate perspective the comparison is smart. It’s a straightforward way to reel in an audience that might otherwise shy away from genre shows with sci-fi influences. Outside that…

Jack Ryan nails the globe-trotting thrills, but struggles with its leading man

B-

While the Bond franchise hunts for a new director (and maybe even Daniel Craig’s successor), Amazon is hoping to move from niche programming to blockbuster productions with the help of a different household name. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, from Lost alums Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland, presents the fifth screen…

Amazon’s Ordeal By Innocence is a gloriously trashy take on an Agatha Christie classic

B

For all her gifts as a master of the modern detective novel, Agatha Christie was never terribly comfortable with the insides of the human head. In Christie Land—that glorious old world realm of murder, righteous neighborhood busybodies, and fastidious little Belgians—the motives for killing are rarely complicated. If…

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