TV critics' early strong praise of "MSCL"

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Greybird
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TV critics' early strong praise of "MSCL"

Post by Greybird » Aug 25th 2004, 6:43 pm

For the ten-year anniversary of "MSCL," a compilation originally posted on the alt.tv.my-s-c-life Usenet newsgroup (now sadly spammed). Roboteer is still active (as am I) after all these years on what is now the PlanetClaire Yahoo! Group. -- Steve

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From: roboteer1@[...] (Roboteer1)
Date: 13 Aug 1995 22:35:23 -0400

As we sadly discovered, success on TV is more dependent on escapist entertainment than quality. Unlike the film critic, the TV critic is often ignored.

That caveat given, I still think it worthwhile to give an overview of the critical success MSCL achieved. For its short run, it garnered more acclaim and ebullient praise than any series before it.

I've collected all but a few of the major articles. Only three have been negative. One of these reviewers later recanted and another couldn't seem to keep the characters straight. All three critiqued MSCL on levels most other TV only aspires to.

If anyone can be an objective arbiter on quality, it's the professional critic. So, for what it's worth, here is a collection of reviewer quotes on MSCL and its driving force, Claire Danes. When future couch potatoes ask what was so great about MSCL, this is as good an answer as any. All quotes are made without permission, but credited wherever possible.

== What they said about MSCL: ==

"... a marvelous ensemble both in concept and performance."
Bruce Weber, New York Times

"Best kid's show? Best show, period."
Susan Stewart, Entertainment Weekly

"... intelligent television ... wonderfully literate."
John Leonard, New York magazine

"The most extraordinary new show of the new season. Just watch this, will you?"
Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly

"... incisive writing, heartbreakingly good acting, lively plots."
James Martin, America

"... it's a provocative, profound, strangely comforting and achingly funny examination of real life, compelling and complex, one of the most moving one-hour dramas in recent memory."
Mark Morrison, US

"... remarkable ... sophisticated"
Matt Seitz, New York Times

"It's not just extraordinary television -- it's the best piece of filmmaking I've seen anywhere this year."
David Hiltbrand, People Weekly

"... cuteness free and rendered without condescension or contrivance. Rarely has the home escape hatch disgorged anything so unflinchingly real."
Harry Waters, Newsweek

"... richly moving story lines ... unusually affecting."
Ginia Bellafante, Time

"... an intriguing and strong success. I can't help watching."
Jeff Jarvis, TV Guide

"MSCL fills a gaping black hole in an otherwise mindless TV universe. This show is so damned brilliant."
Anonymous reviewer, Sassy

"... a compelling new drama portrays [teens] with savvy and sensitivity. The characters have life and authenticity, they really seem to live and breathe."
Tom Shales, Washington Post

"... bitingly realistic, a mirrored snapshot of life as it is."
Jennifer Magan, Chicago Tribune

"I love that show. I'm impressed by the emotional richness. It has a terrifically complex character at its center."
Diane Middlebrook

"... visual depth, literate style, fluidly seductive camera work, impeccable acting, meticulous writing of aching inarticulation."
Matt Roush, USA Today

"MSCL resonates with universal teenage experiences. There's nothing else on TV like it."
John Kieswetter, Cincinnati Enquirer

"MSCL sparkles in writing, in acting, in direction. It has earned enough critical acclaim to make Alfred Hitchcock blush."
Steve Johnson, Chicago Tribune

"Deftly written, expertly directed, and exceptionally acted."
John Lippman, Wall Street Journal

"MSCL came to represent something all too rare, a network show that connected profoundly [with viewers]."
Harry Stein, TV Guide

"The pilot is remarkable TV. It's a self contained short film on middle American family life, as profound as it is funny, as painful as it is honest."
Drew Jubera, Atlanta Constitution

"A superb, absorbing drama that charts adult confusion as well as it does teen angst."
Steve Hall, Indianapolis Star

"... its uncanny ability to capture the emotionally charged rites of adolescence."
Jane Stevenson, Canadian Press

"... relentless realism."
Ferdinand De Leon, Seattle Times

"... brilliant cast, including Claire Danes."
Frazier Moore, Associated Press TV

"The first show to get adolescence right."
Anonymous reviewer, Village Voice

"An island of realism and sophistication amid ABC's interchangeable sitcoms."
Anonymous reviewer, Variety

== What they said about Claire Danes (in MSCL): ==

"Everyteen: radiant and confident one moment, gawky and insecure the next."
Deborah Seibel, TV Guide

"Claire Danes has more phases than a moon: skeptical, goofy, morose, romantic -- an unfinished symphony."
John Leonard, New York magazine

"... fascinating."
Matt Roush, USA Today

[Angela is] "marvelously played by Claire Danes."
Marvin Kitman, Family Circle

[Danes plays] "one of the most provocative characters to emerge on television in years."
Elizabeth Kolbert, New York Times

"Newcomer Claire Danes gives a luminous performance, perfectly conveying the adolescent paradox of halting awkwardness and blinding grace."
David Hiltbrand, People Weekly

"... deep and mercurial and strikingly complex."
Tom Shales, Washington Post

"... remarkably self-possessed. Garbo in baggy denim."
Tom Gliatto, People Weekly

"... an amazing actress, too young to be this good."
Jeff Jarvis, TV Guide

"... Holden Caulfield in Doc Martens."
Harry Waters, Newsweek

"... a face that can deliver more emotional variations than Marcel Marceau's. Danes is eerily talented."
Jacquelyn Mitchard, TV Guide

"Start remembering her name. You're going to need to know it."
Mark Marvel, Interview magazine

"The brooding self-consciousness ... so genuine in Angela [is] a credit to Danes' effortless performance. Her nervous body language speaks volumes."
Howard Rosenberg, Los Angeles Times

"Danes is unlike any network teen, suggesting a cross between Winona Rider and Juliette Lewis, though subtler than either."
Amy Taubin, Village Voice

"At times beatific, [she] looks like she's lit from within."
M.D., US

"Gawky adolescence has probably never been as poignantly portrayed on TV as by Claire Danes."
Anonymous reviewer, TV Guide

"... the compelling Claire Danes."
John Kieswetter, Cincinnati Enquirer

"Danes' uncannily literate face expresses everything American teenagers feel, but rarely say. [She] burns like some glowing controlled flame."
Drew Jubera, Atlanta Constitution

"... Claire Danes' peculiar radiance as Angela ..."
Phil Rosenthal, (L.A.) Daily News

"Claire Danes ... an actress surely destined for great things."
Steve Hall, Indianapolis Star

== What some significant others (non-critics) said about Claire Danes: ==

"She is going to be a meteoric overnight success."
Bess Armstrong, MSCL co-star

"A lot of the work Claire does comes from a very deep place. When we did the death scene [from Little Women], some people had to leave the set."
Gillian Armstrong, director

"She's living proof that reincarnation exists. She's such an old soul."
Tom Irwin, MSCL co-star

"Best Actress in a Dramatic Series, 1994"
Golden Globe Awards

"Danes is one of the most exciting actresses to appear in 10 years. I don't really understand why she's captured my heart. She just has an amazing honesty to her presence."
Steven Spielberg, director

"I talk to her for hours and you would think this girl has been married 25 times. I mean, she just knows."
Devon Odessa, MSCL co-star

"I wasn't sure we could find an actor to play this type of material. When Claire Danes walked in stopped looking."
Winnie Holzman, MSCL creator and writer

"You can look at her and she's the teen that she is, and in the next moment she projects a much older person. It's frightening."
Scott Winant, MSCL director

"What Claire Danes knows can't be taught. She inhabits the words."
Ed Zwick, MSCL executive producer
Greybird of Starhaven
"MSCL" crazy since March 1995

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