Tell Me You Love Me: HBO

"Tell Me You Love Me" is a mosaic made up of hundreds of shards of intimacy, and it may put some people to sleep with its relentless focus on the emotional minutiae of middle-class lives. But I found it extremely intriguing, and even radical in the way that it explores only one thing: How the intimate bond between couples waxes and wanes." - (CHICAGO TRIBUNE)  "Tell Me You Love Me" is a strange amalgam. As HBO has said, the project is an exploration of intimacy, a soap that should theoretically appeal primarily to women — provided that many aren’t alienated by what occasionally feels like gratuitous writhing and moaning. In short, if you come for the sex, you’ll only stay for the characters, and those represent an intriguing but decidedly mixed bag." - (VARIETY)  "It’s a peculiarity of long-term relationships that a couple can have the same fight for years, even decades, an elaborate set piece they re-enact time and again, never missing a mark…That the ambitious ‘‘Tell Me You Love Me’’ turns this emotional redundancy into a TV series is both its great strength and its weakness. This unusual new HBO drama intently focuses on four relationships and their dark struggles, the unsolvable standoffs most series about love miss. ‘‘Tell Me You Love Me,’’ which premieres Sunday at 9, doesn’t contain any of TV’s typical distractions from pure emotional tension — no music, no glitz, no humor, and very little star power." - (BOSTON GLOBE)  "["Tell Me You Love Me"] won’t let anyone be embarrassed about natural acts. Even better, the series accomplishes its dramatic feats with an exceptionally talented cast. Alexander is flat-out fantastic and Walker and Walger in particular are exceptional in their roles…the writing of creator and executive producer Cynthia Mort is spot on - it never flinches. She has absolutely nailed the small moments in every relationship - the not talking, the talking around, the quick, hurt expressions and forced intimacy. The series is shot with an almost uncomfortable cinema verite closeness, the camera probing ever nearer…Intriguing - but not especially enjoyable. The question is, then, can a show be really good but not a good time?" - (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE)  "The sex in HBO’s “Tell Me You Love Me” is bold, but not brave…the series is bold in its candor and unhurried attention to detail, but not quite brave enough to lay bare the bleakest, pettiest injuries that can scar a marriage…The series bores deeply and single-mindedly into the marrow of marital relations, and it does so with sympathy and insight. It’s daring but not revolutionary." - (NEW YORK TIMES)  "Rarely do the two lovers involved here approach the act, or view its consequences, from the same perspective. Physical connection is a lightning rod, or maybe a divining rod, able to pinpoint the cracks in our most intense relationship." - (NEWSDAY)   "Though those sex scenes go beyond all previous American TV bounds in frequency and intensity, the show isn’t pornographic. The sex, while revealing, is too workmanlike, too devoid of romance, lust or fantasy to be arousing…Yet, if you can look beyond that barrier or enticement and make your way past the first four or so subpar episodes, there is something worthy here. Despite its flaws, Tell Me  tries to explore issues facing real couples with an honesty seldom seen on TV these days." - (USA TODAY) (opens in new tab)

Compiled by Sarah Outhwaite