TV Review: NBC’s ‘The Slap’

Based on a book by Christos Tsiolkas and an Australian TV series, NBC’s The Slap premieres Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. The eight-episode miniseries stars Peter Sarsgaard, Thandie Newton, Uma Thurman and Zachary Quinto, among others. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“Novelistic in its approach — with a sober narration that brings to mind the movie “Little Children” — it’s the kind of admirable experiment that, for broadcasters, has seldom paid off. Hewing closely to the earlier program at the outset, The Slap will need good fortune to make a mark in this inhospitable Thursday timeslot.”
—Brian Lowry, Variety

“Well, I am here to tell you that The Slap is not a joke. It is humorless, pretentious, a waste of a number of good performances, and about as subtle as its title action, but it is also very real.”
—Alan Sepinwall, HitFix

“It's an agitating piece of work by design, hoping to prompt conversation and create first impressions that it might later be able to subvert, but the takeaway is that none of the characters are particularly likeable, a large portion of the audience will probably want to slap the kid in question before he actually gets slapped and the voiceover narration is so god-awful it seems like a prank.”
—Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

The Slap’s biggest positive—which translates well in this adaptation—is its ability to allow the quiet moments to last and to build at a slower pace.”
—LaToya Ferguson, A.V. Club

“But it's hard to breathe dramatic life into issues when they're pinned on characters who are both unlikable and unbelievable, mouthing dialogue that constantly hammers those issues home. It's as if every line in the script was written in capital letters — with the exception of the even more ludicrous narration, which was no doubt printed in florid italics.”
—Robert Bianco, USA Today

“But The Slap feels like a broadcast network took an HBO-style project–provocative premise, specific cultural milieu–and then killed it with a pile of ‘Make the subtext more explicit!’ notes.”
—James Poniewozik, Time