‘Crisis in Six Scenes’ reviews: Does Woody Allen translate to the small screen?

Woody Allen is a four-time Oscar-winner — three times for writing (“Annie Hall” in 1977, “Hannah and Her Sisters” in 1986, “Midnight in Paris” in 2011) and once for directing (“Annie Hall”) — so his first TV venture in decades comes with extremely high expectations. He wrote and directed all six episodes of “Crisis in Six Scenes,” in which he and Elaine May play a husband and wife in the 1960s and Miley Cyrus plays a radical hippie. It premiered its entire season on Friday, September 30, on Amazon.

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The reviews so far have been so-so, with the show scoring 46 on MetaCritic and 24% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes, but it nevertheless has its proponents. Check out some of the notices below, and click here to discuss this series and more in our forums.

Robert Bianco (USA Today): “The tone is completely familiar (think Allen in his Love and Death period), and he returns to his triple role as writer, director and star. The stammering, babbling, neuroticism, the wandering off into weird comic tangents — in short, the Woody Allen that many of us knew and loved from his peak film work in the ’70s and ’80s is on full display.”

Robert Lloyd (Los Angeles Times): “As may be said of Allen’s remarkably prolific and long-lived film career, it has its better and worse, its sharper and duller points; but as the work that has returned Elaine May to public view, it can only be welcomed, with rose petals and trumpets. And it does well by her.”

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David Wiegand (San Francisco Chronicle): “Allen is working in familiar territory here, eschewing the kind of character complexity that marks his better recent films such as ‘Blue Jasmine’ and ‘Vicky Christina Barcelona.’ Fact is, television can support more complicated characters these days. Allen might ponder that for future TV projects, but in the meantime, we’ll happily wallow in the inspired silliness of ‘Crisis.'”

Chris Cabin (Collider): “You have to believe in the importance of seeing Allen and May spar, two real-deal veterans of the comedy scene and two of the most sophisticated artists of cinematic comedies. Whether she’s sussing out marital troubles with Lewis Black as a marriage counselor or talking Chairman Mao with her elderly blook club, May’s sense of timing and delivery continue to make her a tremendous pleasure to watch on screen.”

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