HBO’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, based on the best-selling novels by Alexander McCall Smith, premieres Sunday, March 29, at 8 p.m. ET. Below is a selection of reviews from TV critics around the Web.
“This show has no vivid artistic ambitions, only transparent status-seeking aspirations. A prestige project, it’s one of the network’s excursions in hounding after industry esteem and dinner-party kudos at the expense of all else.”
-Troy Patterson, Slate
“It doesn’t feel like an HBO series, if there is such a thing…it created an innocent little series that would make the Hallmark people proud.”
-Tim Goodman, San Francisco Chronicle
“Most important, however, is the purpose of the show. Here is a slow and careful exploration of the dark and sunny rivers that run through the human soul, the ever-teetering balance between good and evil that keeps the world spinning.”
-Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times
“The charm is disarming…I’ll be interested to see whether the gentle, genial No. 1 Ladies can carve out a regular Sunday-night audience amid amazing races, cold cases, and desperate housewives.”
-Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly
Ladies is McCall’s attempt to counter some of the stereotypes many of us have about Africa, and to share and explain the affection he has for a world where gentility and formality still have a place.
-Robert Bianco, USA Today
“There is a slow-growth, artisanal quality to the franchise, and the series, which stars an excellent Jill Scott as Precious, remains true to it. Anyone impatient with languorous pacing on television is at orange-alert risk of feeling fidgety.”
Ginia Bellafante, New York Times
“It feels like the most vibrant and accessible new show the pay cable channel has introduced in years.”
-Alan Sepinwall, The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.)
Watch a promo clip below: