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Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 25
  2. Negative: 3 out of 25

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Oct 10, 2018
    75
    [“The Violet Hour”] takes some unexpected and some predictable turns along the way, but it’s ultimately an enjoyable, charming story. ... “The Royal We” is less involving than “The Violet Hour.” Shelly’s story proves more compelling than Michael’s and the Romanoff theme is more pronounced and bizarre. ... [The third episode is] the second best of the first three episodes made available for review.
  2. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Oct 10, 2018
    75
    "The Violet Hour" is an elegant and surprising love story, while "The Royal We" is a sour disappointment. But the best news: A Matthew Weiner show is back on TV.
  3. Reviewed by: Darren Franich
    Oct 3, 2018
    75
    The three Romanoffs episodes sent for review all run feature-length. Those episodes are sweet, beautiful to look at, very sincere, kinda dopey: neither armageddon nor second coming.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd VanDerWerff
    Oct 12, 2018
    70
    The most salient detail I can share about all of these episodes is that they’re all at least 15 minutes too long. ... Still, the qualities that made Mad Men so good are present here, if buried a bit beneath all the excess.
  5. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Oct 2, 2018
    70
    The first three suggest it can comfortably hold a wide range of stories and tones, albeit with flaws.
  6. Reviewed by: Caroline Framke
    Oct 2, 2018
    70
    By layering his new series with the weighty significance of the Romanoff history, Weiner fuels that same narrative fire [as Mad Men]. Anushka’s insecure boasting, Michael’s restless longing for satisfaction on his own terms, and the strange and incisive take in the third episode (currently under embargo, but the best of the bunch) are areas in which Weiner excels. Even when they’re maddening--and they are more often than not--they feel startlingly, painfully real.
  7. Reviewed by: Erik Adams
    Oct 10, 2018
    67
    There’s something potent there, something fundamentally Weiner-esque. But it just doesn’t connect in these three episodes. And so the show mirrors its characters in yet another way: It falls short of those which came before it.
  8. 60
    The first two episodes are content to operate on perhaps two levels simultaneously, where Mad Men rarely settled for less than five, and the third episode is a satirical horror movie that plays like an unholy fusion of The Shining, Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, and François Truffaut’s film-about-filmmaking Day for Night. ... If the first episodes are representative, The Romanoffs is looser and more relaxed than Mad Men in ways that both please and frustrate.
  9. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Oct 2, 2018
    60
    [The Romanoffs] comes across as a work of simultaneously boundless artistic ambition and ego, a project capable of amazing and infuriating.
  10. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Oct 10, 2018
    58
    We get three long hauls that mostly test a viewer’s endurance. The performances aren’t at fault, but the stories themselves easily could be trimmed to an hour apiece or less. Left free to indulge himself, Weiner gorges too much on empty calories.
  11. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    Oct 16, 2018
    50
    They’re fables, not operas--undeveloped vignettes with plot twists that slam the door on ambiguity. Neither of the stories [“The Violet Hour” and “The Royal We”] was fully satisfying, but both had moments of eerie beauty. ... [The third episode, “House of Special Purpose” is] a spooky, gamy, kinky story that felt like a lesser “Black Mirror.”
  12. Reviewed by: Sophie Gilbert
    Oct 15, 2018
    50
    Amazon’s new series--the first time the streaming service has elected to release a show in weekly portions--is extravagant and ambitious, intermittently brilliant and baffling.
  13. Reviewed by: Lorraine Ali
    Oct 12, 2018
    50
    The Romanoffs asks a lot of viewers, with far-flung narratives that lack tonal consistency from episode to episode.
  14. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Oct 11, 2018
    50
    Three extremely uneven installments (all that were made available for review). ... The first, the very bad “The Violet Hour,” reveals itself to be a toothless and deeply unappealing romantic comedy. ... The second episode, the decent-by-comparison “The Royal We.” ... That third episode--the only one made available to me that I would describe as “good.”
  15. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Oct 11, 2018
    50
    The first three installments are eclectic, sometimes beguiling and each, in a different way, ultimately frustrating.
  16. TV Guide Magazine
    Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Oct 11, 2018
    50
    An opulent enterprise often eliciting little more than a head-scratching "Is that all there is" after these over-long vignettes. The tone shifts gears from a trite tale of martial stagnation and temptation from the John Cheever playbook to a more successful attempt to evoke The Twilight Zone's Rod Sterling in a surreal and disorienting "House of Special Purpose." [15-28 Oct 2018, p.8]
  17. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Oct 11, 2018
    50
    In show-business terms, The Romanoffs certainly conveys its pedigree. But like so many who have claimed that royal lineage, the result turns out to be pretty pedestrian.
  18. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Oct 11, 2018
    50
    At nearly 90 minutes apiece, episodes of The Romanoffs play together like a nice long weekend at an independent film festival in the mountains somewhere. Enjoy them with a glass of something dry and white, and don’t expect to be blown away by what you discover.
  19. Reviewed by: Michael Haigis
    Oct 10, 2018
    50
    Amazon’s The Romanoffs, an anthology series co-written and directed by Matthew Weiner, is ambitious but disappointingly inconsistent.
  20. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Oct 9, 2018
    50
    It’s hard to believe that Weiner and company couldn’t have hit the same thematic beats and delivered tighter, more engaging drama in the run time of a standard episode of television, but there’s a sense that someone involved here considered length a sign of value. ... In the first two, Melab is particularly subtle and excellent as she steals the superior first film and Bishé reminded me how phenomenal she was on “Halt and Catch Fire” in the second one.
  21. Reviewed by: Krutika Mallikarjuna
    Oct 10, 2018
    43
    Matthew Weiner's grand return to television for the first time since his Emmy award-winning Mad Men went off the air in 2015 is unfortunately nowhere near the caliber of that period drama.
  22. Reviewed by: Allison Keene
    Oct 2, 2018
    40
    As great as these actors are, they can’t always save what are often thinly drawn characters, especially given their easily telegraphed motivations and schemes. Those waiting for twists won’t find them, which would be fine if that character drama landed.
  23. Reviewed by: Kelly Lawler
    Oct 10, 2018
    37
    It's a prime example of "prestige TV" run amok: all glitz, A-list stars and exotic filming locations with nothing substantive underneath. Hacky, navel-gazing and self-aggrandizing.
  24. Reviewed by: Ben Travers
    Oct 2, 2018
    33
    The writer (or co-writer) and director of every episode relies too heavily on the general mystery surrounding the family to drive interest, and his running times are unforgivably self-indulgent. While the production team has done fine work, from the elegant costuming to lush real-world locations, these episodes don’t deserve their length, especially with Weiner’s uninspired framings and tepid pacing.
  25. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Oct 11, 2018
    30
    The connections are faulty and the writing is weak; the Romanov/Romanoff conceit is like caviar on a ham sandwich. The three stories made available for review are slightly salacious, yes, but also narratively trite; it’s as if Mr. Weiner set out to create a hybrid of “Black Mirror” and “Hallmark Hall of Fame.”
User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 19
  2. Negative: 5 out of 19
  1. Oct 14, 2018
    5
    The pacing for Ep. 1 of this show (The Violet Hour) seemed to be all over the place. As a stand alone piece (within an anthology) it did notThe pacing for Ep. 1 of this show (The Violet Hour) seemed to be all over the place. As a stand alone piece (within an anthology) it did not work and the ending seemed glib and way too cute, given what had come before.

    The wider intent of looking at contemporary global topics (e.g. immigration and cultural diversity) through the mangled DNA of the lost Romanov herd, also felt pretentious and way too forced. Only the presence of Marthe Keller kept me engaged through out. I suspect the problem might have been that no one could quite match her talents.

    I'll persevere i think for 2-3 more outings more but I expected a punchier kick off.
    Full Review »
  2. Oct 17, 2018
    10
    Great show. It's like Black Mirror for people who read the New Yorker and don't want genre dreck weighing down a story.