Alessandra Stanley
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For 453 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 57% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 41% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Alessandra Stanley's Scores

Average review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 The Office (UK): Season 2
Lowest review score: 10 Hellcats: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 28 out of 453
453 tv reviews
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Alessandra Stanley
    [It] may be the most creative and richly imagined [season] yet: it begins by going over old ground and yet something new and totally surprising happens.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Alessandra Stanley
    Television's funniest show. ... On a less carefully written show, the [mockumentary] conceit would almost certainly pall after a few episodes. 'The Office' is instead addictive, less because viewers grow to love David and his batty employees than because the show refuses to let those characters grow too lovable.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Alessandra Stanley
    As wickedly, painfully funny as the first two seasons and, in tiny, fleeting doses, as delicately tender.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    It takes at least two episodes for David's TV persona - the cantankerous, self-absorbed Hollywood writer whose best intentions always go horribly awry - to regain some degree of cozy familiarity. And that discomfort is one of the things that make Curb Your Enthusiasm so unusual and so funny. [3 Jan 2004]
    • The New York Times
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    Remains bracingly rude and funny.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    Viewers who never saw it or gave up after the first season now have a chance to get a fresh start. '24' is not as richly woven as 'The Wire' on HBO, but it is still one of the best shows on television. [7 Jan 2005]
    • The New York Times
    • 95 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    One of the best shows on television. ... The show, which prides itself on unvarnished realism, is almost willfully jagged and hard to follow. But it is just as hard to turn off.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    Deadwood is indeed small and brackish, and it is in its own way as absorbing and addictive as "The Sopranos."
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    Nip/Tuck is a shrewdly written drama without intellectual pretensions. It is a dark satire that manages to be as engrossing as a soap opera.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    Irresistibly, corrosively funny.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    Luckily for NBC, which bought the rights to the British comedy, only a relatively small number of viewers in the United States have seen the BBC version. Those happy few should try to erase every trace from their brains -- Eternal Sunshine of the Digital Cable Mind -- because the NBC series, though it pales in comparison, is still funnier than any other new network sitcom.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    As pleasurable as its tale is grim.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    The writers do a good job of layering surprises and plot twists. It may not be Raymond Chandler, but Veronica Mars is nevertheless quite hard-boiled. [22 Sept 2004, p.E4]
    • The New York Times
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    "Thief" pays homage to all the conventions of a traditional thriller and weaves into it complicated issues of guilt, race and family. It's a little like some of the better dramas on HBO, but finds its own unorthodox way.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    Nothing on network television is as smart, original and amusing as Entourage.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    The second season of “Sleeper Cell” burrows even deeper into the mind-set of Muslim extremists than the first and is all the better and more troubling for it.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    A worthy and exhilarating new HBO companion to "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    Mr. Colbert's on-camera persona may not wear well over the long term, but for now at least "The Colbert Report" is a worthy spinoff, an icy-cold beer chaser to the shot of whiskey that is "The Daily Show."
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    It’s so compelling it deserves to be a hit.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    Mad Men beguiles like a Christmas catalog of all the forbidden vices, especially smoking, drinking and social inequity. Yet the series is more than a period piece. It’s a sleek, hard-boiled drama with a soft, satirical core.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    The original title, "Keep Hope Alive," is funnier, but Raising Hope better suits a very funny sitcom that leavens its satire with sympathy.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    Snobs may sneer that the series could more accurately be called "Remains of the Gosford/Upstairs/Brideshead Revisited Park." But there are times when a sincere imitation is not only better than nothing--it's nearly as good.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    The Killing is as bleak and oppressive as any, but it's so well told that it's almost heartening.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    Carrie is hard to like, but Homeland is almost impossible to resist.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    Lena Dunham's much anticipated comedy about four single women in New York is worth all the fuss, even though it invites comparisons to Carrie Bradshaw and friends, and even though it incites a lot of dreary debate about the demise of feminism.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    Everyone in this layered show has cover stories, divided loyalties, mixed emotions and hidden motives. The complexity of the characters drives the narrative as much as the car chases and ultrasecret missions.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Alessandra Stanley
    While there are some deeply disturbing images, The Honorable Woman is an astute, sensitive and at times delicate psychological drama that is evenhanded in the nonincendiary sense of the word: No side is entirely to blame, and there are villains, innocent victims and foolish dupes on both sides.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Now they are the last blinkered women in the bunker, hoarding designer shoes and awaiting an Evite back to the glamorous life. They don't belong there, and that's what makes them so welcome.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Both “Bored to Death” and Curb Your Enthusiasm have heroes who are hell-bent on doing the impossible and are doomed to fail. And it’s impossible not to prefer them just as they are.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    By 1:20 p.m. the series's third season is already as tightly coiled, clever and suspenseful as the first two. [28 Oct 2003]
    • The New York Times
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Even in its sixth season, “24” remains remarkably compelling.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The final season of The Wire is committed to proving him wrong; by leaving nothing out it offers viewers as close a chance as anyone can get to everything.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Deadwood is not easy to watch. There is no musical score; the settings are relentlessly dull and depressing; and it is shot almost entirely in shades of sepia and gray. The series takes its own time establishing the characters, and the dialogue is muffled and indistinct. But once the story takes hold, it is hard to turn away. Like laudanum, a good western can be habit-forming.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    As it lurches to its conclusion, the politics of "Deadwood" keep growing more dense and colorful, and that magnificent obsession crowds out other primal forces.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Purists may be irritated by the pilfering of James Dean's classic film "Rebel Without a Cause," including, in the show's second episode, an entire plot line in which Ryan (Benjamin McKenzie) runs away and plays house with Marissa and another young friend in the unfinished model house of a new development. Yet the empty swimming pool, used by the boys as a skateboarding rink, is a rather amusing homage to that 1955 movie by Nicholas Ray.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The Bluth heirs are eccentric and warped, but they are not hothouse child prodigies like the Tenenbaum siblings. They are nouveau riche misfits, the Ewings of "Dallas" as seen by Bunuel. And they are quite amusing.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    One weakness in the show is that each character has a showoff story line that splinters the narrative rather than unites it. And sometimes the hyper-arch tone gets a little tiresome. But only sometimes. Mostly, a talented cast and funny, imaginative writing make each episode a pleasure. Arrested Development is watched by critics, but it deserves a bigger, perhaps better audience.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Las Vegas is as flattering to companies like the MGM Mirage Inc. as "The Love Boat" once was to Princess Cruises. Yet the show still manages to be slick, fast-paced and engaging, a remake of the remake of "Ocean's Eleven," in which all the good-looking people work for the casino, not against it.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    It is an odd and intriguing look at crime scenes, forensic labs and interrogation rooms as a backdrop to the family crises and growing pains of an unhappy teenage girl.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The series has something to offer besides sexual imagery and sophistry -- it is a well-written, entertaining show, with or without the L word.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    On "State of Play" and Prime Suspect, ordinary men and women take center stage and hold it beautifully. [16 Apr 2004, p.E1]
    • The New York Times
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    "The Apprentice" stands out [among the new reality shows] as one that takes a modest twist on the "Survivor" formula -- from jungle to urban jungle -- and improves on it. [8 Jan 2004]
    • The New York Times
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The multitude of exegeses and theories devoted to major plot twists and minor details attest to the series’s enduring egghead appeal.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    In this age of "Desperate Housewives" and "The O.C.," it is refreshing to see a television show whose heroines aspire to meaningful work as well as meaningless sex.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    There are very few series for young adults that deal with race as brazenly and defiantly as "The Boondocks."
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    "Entourage" is as good as ever in its third season, yet somehow different.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The show is bold, quite good and gets better as it goes on. But Huff is never truly great the way ''The Sopranos'' or ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' have been on HBO. Like other Showtime fare, ''Dead Like Me'' and ''The L Word,'' the series is enjoyable without being vital.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The premiere is a bit stiff, but the episodes improve over time, mostly thanks to two mesmerizing actresses in the lead roles.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    "Prison Break"... is more intriguing than most of the new network series, and it certainly is one of the most original.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Offbeat and utterly charming.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    "Everybody Hates Chris" is the first show in a long time centered on a teenager whose main problem is not adolescent angst, but real life. And Mr. Rock makes it funny, not maudlin or mean.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    It is unusually good: a harsh public-service message built into a clever, suspenseful thriller.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The remake has everything that those earlier versions had and something more: Tracey Ullman and Carol Burnett together and at each other's throats.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    There is nothing else quite like it on television, and that is actually saying a lot.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The series is a clever update, not to say rip-off, of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” set behind the scenes at an NBC comedy show rather than in a television newsroom, and it is very funny.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Damages borrows heavily from the front page, and that keeps it interesting.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    There is nothing supernatural behind the mystery, and there is no deep-rooted government conspiracy lurking behind seemingly mundane events. But suspense builds, personalities strengthen and change, and “The Nine” takes on a life of its own.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The next-best thing to "The Wire."
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Violence, like deficit spending, is a very American vice. “Dexter” is yet another temptation that is almost impossible to resist.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    State of Mind owes most of its appeal to Ms. Taylor, an accomplished indie actress with unusual jolie-laide looks who brings a wry charm and dignity to the inauspicious role of a wronged wife who is also burdened with an overbearing mother.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Five Days, made by the BBC and HBO, is riveting because it weaves the most familiar milestones of a major homicide investigation--the news conferences, police interrogations and family meltdowns--into a less predictable and intricately layered narrative that averts clichés without diluting the suspense.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Dirty Sexy Money lives up to its name.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The story of Ned (Lee Pace), a young man who can bring the dead back to life, is sweetly odd, but also oddly charming.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    This show is smart and rigorous, with a concentration that bores deep without growing dull.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    In many ways the second season is richer. The stories are again lifted from “Be’ Tipul,” but set in New York, the epicenter of post-Freudian civilization and its discontents.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The series is part spy spoof, part workplace comedy, and it is a genuinely engaging homage to the nerd hero.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    It’s a premise that in the wrong hands could be boorish and not at all amusing, so it is to the writers’ credit that Aliens is instead fresh, funny and charming in a tart, sardonic way, one of the best sendups of adolescent angst since "The Wonder Years" and "Malcolm in the Middle" (and perhaps even "My So-Called Life").
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Reaper is not at all grim; it’s actually quite rewarding.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Basically it’s a knock-off of TLC’s "What Not to Wear." But the Bravo version is watchable, mostly thanks to its host.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The premiere episode of Life on Mars, by contrast [to "Kath & Kim"], is strange and exhilarating.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    [Broadbent] is unrecognizable and remarkable in the role of Longford, capturing both the man’s dotty hauteur and his awkward, absent-minded chivalry.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Durham County, in short, is very, very creepy and unsettling, and entirely addictive, a modern murder mystery with a touch of Patricia Highsmith misanthropy.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    This spy drama is not as dense and psychologically intricate, but it has compensations, most notably the placement of fictional characters like McAuliffe and Torriti alongside real-life figures like Angleton and Philby, and inside real-life crises like the 1956 Hungarian uprising.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Mad Men is both a drama and a comedy and all the better for it, a series that breaks new ground by luxuriating in the not-so-distant past.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Those first fugues into Don's hidden past are not the most inviting way into a new season, however. Mad Men is essentially one long flashback, an artfully imagined historic re-enactment of an era when America was a soaring superpower feeling its first shivers of mortality.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Her comic style is familiar, but much of Ms. Ullman’s material is fresh and up-to-date.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Recount, an astute and deliciously engrossing film on HBO this Sunday night, retells the tale of Florida in all its bizarre and inglorious moments, from haggling over the “hanging chad” and “butterfly ballots” to the ruckus between the Florida secretary of state, Katherine Harris, and the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Generation Kill, which has a superb cast and script, provides a searingly intense, clear-eyed look at the first stage of the war, and it is often gripping. But like a beautiful woman who swathes herself in concealing clothes and distracting hats, the series fights its own intrinsic allure.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Fringe invokes some of the sillier forms of television devices-- teleportation, psychokinesis, transmogrification and even bionic prostheses--but still manages to seem smart and stylish.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    All three characters are highly appealing, but the charm of the show lies in the delicate balance of engrossing drama and disarming humor; the series is not campy or self-conscious, it’s witty in an offhand, understated way.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The pilot was shot on location in southern Africa and is dazzlingly filmed; the cinematography alone stands out. But it’s the hero’s duality--he’s a good Samaritan with a flawed personality--that helps make The Philanthropist an unusual and exhilarating network series.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Trust Me, a TNT series set in a Chicago advertising agency, is clever and likeable.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    It is a believable, sharply observed portrait of ordinary men who, through all-too-common bad breaks and missteps, feel that they are backsliding.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The series has humor and charm beneath its facile message, in large part (no disrespect intended) to a subtle, winning performance by Ms. Elliott.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Made jointly by the BBC and HBO, House of Saddam is well told and often lurid, a saga that blends the dirty work of despotism with the rituals of family gatherings, sibling rivalries and marital discontents.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    In the fog of war movies, some events are hard to follow, a few characters are easily confused, but the series is never less than spellbinding.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Little Dorrit is as rich at the margins as at the center with strange, and strangely believable, characters from almost all levels of society, rendered in quick, firm strokes.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The pacing is occasionally so slow and deliberate that it may test some viewers’ patience, but the series takes its time because the real mystery is Wallander and his uneasy inner life.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Housewives of New Jersey is more farcical, less phony and a lot more fun.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Bored to Death is as idiosyncratic and delightful in its own way as “Curb Your Enthusiasm."
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Tough-minded, suspenseful and shot in an unnerving bleached light, Southland is by far the better drama--Thursday’s pilot is one of the most gripping opening episodes of any network crime series.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Its a clever and engaging reinterpretation by Bill Gallagher, who shaped the script to contemporary tastes and sensibilities--notably, a postmodern fatigue with ideology and big thoughts.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Alicia’s shock and her sense of surreal detachment, is as vivid a depiction of personal crisis as any on television. But after this cleverly written series deconstructs the exact moment when everything falls apart, it imaginatively explores how one scorned spouse struggles to get past a life-shattering scandal.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    This is an elliptically told tale, and it takes a few episodes for the plot and the characters to pick up steam.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Covert Affairs is fun and clever and Ms. Perabo has panache in the role.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    While it is quite silly, it's silly in a clever and engaging way, which is the signature style of its creator, Matt Nix.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The latest incarnation, Nikita, which begins on the CW network on Thursday, is a surprisingly sophisticated and satisfying adaptation.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    By using a celebrity as a Trojan horse, Teach offers an engaging and intimate look at just how complicated and difficult teaching can be at a large, urban public high school.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    The mockumentary conceit has been done to death, especially in sitcoms inspired by "Arrested Development" and "The Office." But it's effective in this drama, lending the characters' monologues both poignancy and also a light layer of satire.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Alessandra Stanley
    Lone Star offers an amusing and novel television conceit, but in an age of Enron and Bernard Madoff, it takes a very persuasive actor to keep viewers rooting for a swindler. Mr. Wolk is well cast.