TELEVISION

Natalie Martinez in THE I-LAND (Netflix)
FIRST LOOK/LAST LOOK

THE I-LAND

The I-Land wants desperately to be Lost. Dull, derivative, and dumb, it should be lost, and it should stay lost.

Arya Stark in Game of Thrones 8x05 - The Bells
GAME OF THRONES

GAME OF THRONES 8×05: "THE BELLS"

The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones demands that we reconsider everything—including our investment in this show and these characters.

Ser Brienne of Tarth in GoT 8x02 - A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
GAME OF THRONES

GAME OF THRONES 8×02: "A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS"

"A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" is Game of Thrones at its absolute best. It is a last chance to remember—before all hell breaks loose—that this show was always about people, not special effects.

Jon and Daenerys in Game of Thrones 8x01 - Winterfell
GAME OF THRONES

GAME OF THRONES 8×01: "WINTERFELL"

"Winterfell" feels a little too much like a box-checking prologue to the final season of Game of Thrones, not the exciting opening chapter.

Vinette Robinson in Doctor Who 11x03 - Rosa
DOCTOR WHO

DOCTOR WHO 11×03: "ROSA"

"This ain't history here," Doctor Who reminds us in the smart, powerful, and horrifyingly timely "Rosa."

GAME OF THRONES 7x06 - Beyond the Wall
GAME OF THRONES

GAME OF THRONES 7×06: "BEYOND THE WALL"

"Beyond the Wall" might just be the dumbest episode of Game of Thrones ever, but there's good stuff here if we look beyond the contrivances.

GAME OF THRONES 7X05 - EASTWATCH
GAME OF THRONES

GAME OF THRONES 7×05: "EASTWATCH"

"Eastwatch" is something of a table-setting episode, but it also looks at how fathers live in their children, for better or worse.

GAME OF THRONES 7X01 - DRAGONSTONE
GAME OF THRONES

GAME OF THRONES 7×01: "DRAGONSTONE"

In "Dragonstone," the Season Seven premiere of Game of Thrones, survival may depend on reconciling the sins of the past with the needs of the future.

DW10X12
DOCTOR WHO

DOCTOR WHO 10×12: "THE DOCTOR FALLS"

The tenth-season finale fails Pearl Mackie's Bill, but "The Doctor Falls" is a strong episode that sets Steven Moffat up to say his final word on Doctor Who.

DOCTOR WHO

DOCTOR WHO 10×06: "EXTREMIS"

Steven Moffat's "Extremis" inspired some thoughts on River Song, death, and the problem of endings in Doctor Who.

DOCTOR WHO

DOCTOR WHO 10×05: "OXYGEN"

"Doctor don't you call me, cause I can't go/ I owe my soul to the company store…" Workers of the world unite behind the Doctor in Peter Mathieson's "Oxygen."

DOCTOR WHO

DOCTOR WHO 10×04: "KNOCK KNOCK"

Delivering nothing, saying nothing, and meaning nothing, Mike Bartlett's "Knock Knock" is a forgettable and regrettable hour of Scooby Who.

DOCTOR WHO

DOCTOR WHO 10×02: "SMILE"

New companion Bill learns what it means to travel with the Doctor—and proves her mettle—in a strong second episode.

TV LISTS AND ROUNDUPS

MY FAVORITE TV SHOWS OF 2016

There are many ways in which 2016 was a terrible, no-good, very bad year. But television provided a ridiculous embarrassment of riches.

GAME OF THRONES

GAME OF THRONES 6×08: "NO ONE"

"No One" ever thinks they're the bad guy, but there comes a time when everyone has to ask themselves the question.

GAME OF THRONES

GAME OF THRONES 6×03: "OATHBREAKER"

In "Oathbreaker," we are reminded that the game of thrones is largely a game of words. Control the stories, and you can control the world.

GAME OF THRONES

GAME OF THRONES 6×02: "HOME"

In "Home," everyone grapples with how the mistakes of the past have led to the horrors of the present.

TELEVISION

HORACE AND PETE 1×01

In Louis C.K.'s surprise new work, history is a nightmare from which the characters, the country, and TV itself are trying to awaken.

TV LISTS AND ROUNDUPS

MY FAVORITE TV SHOWS OF 2015

There are more good shows now than a beleaguered critic can possibly watch, but here are my 20 best TV experiences of 2015.

DOCTOR WHO

DOCTOR WHO 9×04: "BEFORE THE FLOOD"

The conclusion of Toby Whithouse's two-part story left this reviewer with a massive headache brought on by confusion and frustration.

HANNIBAL

HANNIBAL 3×01: "ANTIPASTO"

The season premiere of Hannibal has a serious question for us: are we observing, or are we participating?

GAME OF THRONES

GAME OF THRONES 5×08: "HARDHOME"

Game of Thrones has always been about "us vs. them," but former enemies are finding common ground as the walls tumble down around them.

LOUIE

LOUIE 5×06: "SLEEPOVER"

Louie is surrounded by screaming children, in an episode that's ultimately about childhood's end.

MAD MEN

MAD MEN 7×12: "LOST HORIZON"

Mad Men has always been about individuals, but at its end it may be about a changing culture that has little room for individualism.

LOUIE

LOUIE 5×03: "COP STORY"

With its trademark precision, sympathy, and discomfort, Louie takes a sideways look at police brutality.

LOUIE

LOUIE 5×02: "A LA CARTE"

Moving from poop jokes to relationship wisdom to exploring the essence of comedy itself, Louie refuses to be locked into any one model.

GAME OF THRONES

GAME OF THRONES 5×01: "THE WARS TO COME"

The good lords are dead, and the rest are monsters. But in the new world order, individuals have the freedom to choose what kind of world they want to live in.

LOUIE

LOUIE 5×01: "POT LUCK"

As I begin my coverage of the fifth season of Louie, we learn—not for the first time—that life is a shitty pot luck.

MAD MEN

MAD MEN 7×08: "SEVERANCE"

At the beginning of the end of Mad Men, the characters—and we—are already asking: is that all there is?

BINGE WATCH

BREAKING BAD Binge Watch – 5×01–5×08

As we enter this final season of Breaking Bad, it's no longer even a question whether Walter White is redeemable: it's just a question of how he will ultimately be punished, and how many lives he will destroy before he is.