For 1,595 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 32% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 64% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 11.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Brian Lowry's Scores

Average review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 Murder One: Season 1
Lowest review score: 10 The Last Templar
Score distribution:
1595 tv reviews
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Brian Lowry
    As with all Bochco series, the writing and intricacy of the characters sets apart Murder One. The show deals in shades of gray that ultimately may work to the series' detriment commercially but nevertheless are dramatically riveting. [19 Sept 1995]
    • Variety
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Brian Lowry
    Simply put, there's no more unpredictable series, and its delicate handling of combustible ingredients will be admired and studied by writers for years to come.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Brian Lowry
    Those along for the ride since the beginning have rightly come to savor this as one of TV's premier hours --- a meticulously written, superbly acted program that demands undivided attention. [16 Sep 2004]
    • Variety
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Brian Lowry
    When television history is written, little else will rival "The Wire," a series of such extraordinary depth and ambition that it is, perhaps inevitably, savored only by an appreciative few.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Once the narrative begins hitting its stride in the second episode, it's clear the program remains on a rarefied creative tier, tantalizingly mixing terrific performances with anything-can-happen edge.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Brian Lowry
    [Writer-director Ezra Edelman] has responded with, even in the annals of ESPN’s “30 for 30” docs, what feels like a master opus.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Brian Lowry
    Either appropriately or ironically for a show about meth cookers, Bad is simply one of TV's great addictions.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Not all "The Sopranos'" flights of fancy pan out... but it never fails to fascinate, creating a completely organic world in which it's easy to forget the art and artifice that go into realizing Chase's vision.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    FX’s frost-covered drama appears to have equaled its splendid predecessor, capturing the same off-kilter tone while actually enhancing the comedy quotient. If the first series deftly approximated the spirit of its movie namesake, this one works in a cheeky Quentin Tarantino vibe, with results as refreshing and bracing as the region’s abundant snow.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Planet Earth again provides a pretty spectacular view from almost every angle.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Brian Lowry
    Martin’s fantasy world, with its ruthless lust for power, is surely not for the faint of heart, and the sheer number of subplots invariably means that one or two start to sag. Such criticisms, however, amount to nitpicking on a show that operates at such a consistently high level, from the spectacular cast to the sweeping and diverse backdrops, consistently conjuring a summer-tentpole feel.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Deadwood will never be everyone's cup of tea, but it stands as one of HBO's most fully realized dramas since "The Sopranos" and exhibits no signs of fading in the second leg of its run. [3 Mar 2005, p.4]
    • Variety
    • 93 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    Inevitably, not everything works, including some of the material devoted to Louie’s interactions with his young daughters, as he seeks to balance his standup career and parental duties. More often, though, the show is wonderfully absurd.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    Those who wade through the slow-going first three or four hours of this stately production will be richly rewarded by the engrossing final four.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    This hour finds the cast in fine form, but the most interesting crumb to emerge might be Weiner's apparent rumination on the program's success and--speaking through his protagonist--his own heightened profile since the series took off.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    The Americans picks up pretty deftly from where last season’s cliffhanger left off, while advancing that storyline at a relatively slow pace.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Series creator Ray McKinnon manages to incorporate various elements associated with serialized drama into the narrative (such as the local sheriff, played by J.D. Evermore, investigating the beating), while infusing the show with poetic qualities, aided immeasurably by Young’s exquisite, tightly coiled performance.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    Like "Manchurian Candidate," Homeland does some of its best work via flashbacks to Brody's time in captivity, sprinkling additional tidbits with each glimpse into the past.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Filled with striking imagery and a nagging sense of dread, the series also exhibits a disarming darkly comic streak, as Offred's looks and asides underscore the absurdity of her situation.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Transparent takes an idea that feels pretty well played out--from “Parenthood” to “Brothers & Sisters”--and invigorates it not through a gimmick but rather via strong writing and performances.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    Not every beat works, but after watching an hour it was hard not to stick with The Returned for the full ride.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Featuring wild swings in tone, Louis C.K.’s deeply personal, frequently melancholy vision of life opens with what amounts to a mini-masterpiece of awkwardness, then proceeds to deal with his ongoing peculiar romance, a troubled friend and finally an unexpected encounter that’s both raw and disturbing. Almost nothing else on TV--certainly in half-hour form--rivals the particularity of C.K.’s approach.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Brian Lowry
    There are so many fine performances here it’s difficult to single out just a few.... Benioff and Weiss have become inordinately adept at juggling an almost dizzying assortment of plots, but the manner in which those narratives intersect this time around has only enriched the show.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    In short, coming off the first season's solid ratings, Justified pretty much looks like a home run for FX, which has been getting by lately on singles and doubles.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    While the show’s payoff is likely to strike many as strained and unsatisfying, as well as disturbing, its raison d’etre is as much about the atmospherics and the getting there, with the twists trumping the actual whodunit.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Granted, parts of the series feel like a rehash of "March of the Penguins," but there's enough jaw-dropping footage in this seven-part undertaking--including one installment devoted strictly to how the footage was captured--that nobody with even vague interest in the subject matter should be left feeling cold.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Sherlock weds the old and new in much the way Holmes solves his cases--making a complicated process look almost effortless.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Brian Lowry
    At its best, it’s big, bloody and downright glorious.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Brian Lowry
    From virtually any angle, though, Downton Abbey is an almost peerless piece of real estate.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    Always fun, the first two hours of the FX drama's fourth season are also meandering, introducing several new players, but as yet failing to betray much about how or when they'll intersect. Fortunately, star Timothy Olyphant by himself remains ample reason to tune in.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Arresting from the get-go, the performances in this limited series are almost uniformly superb (with one glaring exception).
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    HBO has the ingredients for a series that puts nearly every other genre offering to shame.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    Almost everyone speaks in the same rat-a-tat voice, which, as some discovered with Aaron Sorkin on “The Newsroom,” can begin to yield diminishing returns. The series also remains a bit too precious in sidestepping issues of partisanship, a conceit that has grown somewhat more tolerable over time. For all that, the Emmy-winning Louis-Dreyfus remains an inordinately gifted comedic actress.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    "Deadwood" remains a series like none other.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    The latest American Crime doesn't initially feel as strong dramatically as two prior editions, but the central premise -- and the show's underlying approach to explore an issue, sympathetically, through the perspective of disparate characters -- couldn't be timelier.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Brian Lowry
    Rectify has established itself as a trip worth taking, and for a discriminating few, at least, the protagonist’s slow road to redemption remains an utterly absorbing one.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 50 Brian Lowry
    The new season’s highlights feel more scattershot, and the plot offers less urgency.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    The CBS drama continues to provide evidence that quality isn’t necessarily defined by blood, guts or exposed flesh. All it really takes is brains--and in this case, you don’t even have to eat them.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Brian Lowry
    The show keeps delivering the kind of mind-expanding dramatic highs that ought to require a prescription.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    he come-on of the title notwithstanding very little about that is groundbreaking, or even surprising. But it is, almost without exception, highly watchable and entertaining.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 Brian Lowry
    Fargo's "Wow, they did it again" second season has given way to a more mundane and familiar third installment -- pleasurable enough, but initially feeling more like a retread of what's come before than anything that builds on it.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Although the program isn’t as showy or heralded as the network’s other dramas, its sixth-season start reinforces a sense that Justified will be sorely missed when it rides into the sunset.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    Far from running out of tricks, the fifth season of "24" opens with a bang, incorporating an element of mystery that promises to be more satisfying than the somewhat disappointing fourth day in Jack Bauer's very busy life.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    Each time-lapse introduces more wrinkles in the show's world, but the premiere offers a sketchy road map of what's to come, and won't expand Men's footprint beyond its solid arthouse niche.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Based on the seven episodes previewed, it's every bit as cynical, riveting and brilliant as the four flights that preceded it--a searing look at the decay of a major American city that puts most of what's on television to shame.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    "Life on Mars" has the makings of an intoxicating treat, proving how far a little atmosphere can go in breathing life into a format that occasionally appears close to flatlining.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    The show succeeds, to the extent it does, thanks to the braininess of its characters, Mikkelson’s positively reptilian approach to Lecter--taking a character with which the audience is so familiar and making it his own--and the clever use of a bracing season-opening sequence that frames essentially everything to come as an extended flashback.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    Series creator Joe Weisberg--who wrote the Thomas Schlamme-directed season premiere along with Joel Fields--and company have done about as well as is possible in keeping the plates spinning while adding new ones to the act. Even so, it’s hard to escape a sense that if this series runs much beyond a second season, it’s less about serving up art than it is about bowing to the needs of old-fashioned capitalism.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Brian Lowry
    Expectations were certainly sky-high for Boardwalk, but the producers have risen to meet them--in a series that grows richer, deeper and more absorbing with each of the six episodes previewed.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    For those who have studied the Roosevelts, many of the stories will be familiar. But the beauty of the writing (“No other American family has ever touched so many lives”) and eye-opening video nevertheless make much of this feel fresh.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Mostly, the show deserves to do well because it’s so bloody good--smart, whimsical and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, finding fresh, distinctive avenues into this venerable character, even with multiple incarnations currently in circulation.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Despite mining what appears to be a played-out lode (yet another showbiz-insider comedy, complete with self-effacing celebrity cameos), the pair find hearty laughs in discomfort, elicit riotous turns from their guest stars and even manage a touch of pathos in the travails of the show's hapless hero.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    If you're not enamored of jazz, Treme's extended musical interludes will play like something of a slog, and keeping track of the disparate stories is nettlesome at first. Fortunately, the talent on display--particularly Goodman, Alexander, and "Wire" alums Pierce (a New Orleans native) and Peters--is such that watching them read the phone book would be superior to much of what's on TV.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    As with any great series, Mad Men is becoming richer as these plot strands grow, establishing an engrossing serialized life beyond the hip, reverberating cultural references that demonstrate the smoking-drinking-closeted '60s aren't necessarily "good ol' days" to be mourned, despite the cheery Norman Rockwell image that cultural conservatives proffer.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    Without giving anything away, the guest cast is unusually strong, offering the prospect of fertile subplots going forward, while some of the regulars don’t figure prominently at first--again, pretty par for the course.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    Foremost, the series operates on a number of levels, beginning with its effortless, nostalgic cool and subtle re-litigation of the culture wars -- revealing how the pre-Vietnam era wasn't always so grand for women and minorities. Those tiers smartly coexist with big-business shenanigans and sudsy family drama--an intoxicating stew for demanding viewers, but one likely forever destined to blunt the show's broad mainstream appeal.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    If "Tiny Furniture" filmmaker Lena Dunham's series is in places too mannered, it's also fresh, honest and raw.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    The storytelling is spare, with few of the by-now customary compromises to reality-TV (or dramatic expectations weaned on "ER" and "Grey's Anatomy"), other than the oncamera interviews and musical flourishes that close each hour.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Brian Lowry
    Rich and absorbing, this eight-part drama quickly vaults into elite company, offering a singular voice that’s unlike almost anything else on TV.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    Veep remains pretty well defined by its protagonist’s inherent plight: noteworthy, yes, but still a significant step away from true greatness.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Brian Lowry
    What the production most sorely lacks, though, is a strong sense of cohesion, which often makes the hours play more like loosely assembled snapshots of the war without a compelling hook to pull the audience along. Nor do any of the key performers really distinguish themselves, dwarfed as they are by the general sense of pageantry--the sound and fury--that usually surrounds them.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    Silicon Valley has impressively built into its storyline a real-life development that struck the show, and come away not only unbowed but with perhaps a renewed sense of vigor.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 20 Brian Lowry
    This basically feels like the fifth best cop drama of the 1978 TV season.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 10 Brian Lowry
    The show falls thuddingly flat, feeling tired, gratuitous in its dirty doings and a trifle narcissistic.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    [It manages] to be extremely entertaining, packed with amusing details and highly relevant to today's politics.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    It’s a showcase for Tyson.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Anchored by Mark Rylance’s towering central performance, Wolf Hall is a very quiet “Masterpiece.”
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    Flitting among three storylines, it's smart, nimble and best of all, funny, while actually making a point about the evolving nature of what constitutes "family."
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Standing head and shoulders above this fall's other seedlings.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    While enthusiasts of the genre might warm to the idea of an open-ended mystery, it's suspect how well the show will hold up without a more concrete sense as to what's really happening, barring Gilligan and the Skipper showing up to whisk them away.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    While Masters of Sex might not be a great show as yet, viewed strictly in terms of giving consumers something worth paying for--or at least an experience they couldn’t receive in quite the same way in many other places--it’s the equivalent of a master class in pay-TV development.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    Like its vague title, Men possesses a certain charm that's not always easy to characterize, but is, thankfully, easy to watch. And based on season two, the show, at least, is aging quite gracefully.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    Michael C. Hall's portrayal of the title character remains a towering achievement, one that eclipses the show's other shortcomings and rough patches.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Directed by Adam Bernstein, the 90-minute premiere is particularly taut and effective, with three subsequent episodes slightly less so; nevertheless, there’s enough going on (indeed, almost too much) and such a weird string of dominos that it’s hard not to imagine those sampling the opener won’t want to see things through to the finish.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    Clearly, there are few more durable figures in fiction, but capturing the fundamental appeal of Holmes is quite another matter. And on that level, Sherlock cannily cracks the case.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    A timely, nuanced look at class and race through the prism of events that transpired more than a quarter-century ago, Show Me a Hero is a sobering, spare and meticulously crafted HBO miniseries.... The performances are uniformly strong, although Isaac’s is particularly interesting as almost a primer on the psychology of politics, and how much Wasicsko’s identity is derived from his desperate thirst for validation from voters.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Crisp and tense, this Sci Fi Channel staple looks destined to make a headlong plunge toward the finish line in pursuit of that elusive place called Earth.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    Better Call Saul continues to display many of the same qualities as “Breaking Bad,” including its disarming quirkiness and embrace of stillness and quiet, as well as its unpredictability and occasional bouts of menace. That said, it’s so laconic, and less urgent in terms of its stakes at this stage, as to at times become a little too sleepy.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Brian Lowry
    The intent seems to be baiting a drama with a tantalizing marketing hook, but the resulting gumbo--despite a few promising ingredients--is all gristle, no beef.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    Africa feels somewhat victimized by having been there and seen that. Still impressive in moments, based on the premiere, it appears to be less memorable than some of this collaboration's recent nature projects.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    A Poet in New York is constrained in both its ambitions and rewards. That said, viewed strictly in terms of the poetry of the words and power of Hollander’s portraiture, it’s not a bad way to commemorate, as Thomas put it, the dying of the light.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    [ABC's] infatuation with translating the [country music] genre to series still appears questionable. Despite that, credit Nashville with crafting a reasonably catchy hook.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    While Rick and Morty isn’t necessarily the stuff dreams are made of, in its buoyant flights of fancy, it does betray a welcome attempt to dream just a little bigger.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    Dear White People works perfectly as a half-hour series, providing a sharp look at African-American students at a predominantly white Ivy League university while creating an assortment of appealing, well-defined personalities. Making the jump from 2014 movie to TV show, the Netflix show passes the test of juggling relevance and entertainment with flying colors.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    Spooning out details and forcing close audience attention to track how events have unfolded on a dual track, it’s the kind of premium drama any network would be proud to have--one in the mold of “True Detective” or “The Killing,” only from the grieving parents’ perspective.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Brian Lowry
    Julian Fellowes has created such a vivid group of characters and assembled such an impeccable cast--effortlessly oscillating from comedy to drama--that the hours fly by, addictively pulling viewers from one into the next.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    The translation from stage to screen also yields speeches that probably played better live, although the director has for the most part opened up the Tony-winning material into movie form. In its totality, this represents a powerful piece of work.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    Striking the right balance with such a character-driven construct can be perilous, but with the casting and initial tone, The Affair appears well ahead of the game, to the point where many will find further attendance compulsory.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    The start to the bifurcated final season feels more indifferently paced than most--and thanks to the gradual push further into the 1960s, perhaps too groovy and scattered for its own good.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    There are still moments when the writers' Geppetto-like manipulation is too apparent, but the revelations that pile on week to week help smooth over those excesses--as does the simple pleasure of watching the intellectual tennis match as Byrne goes toe-to-toe with Paul's resistant, each-damaged-in-their-own-way clientele.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    The series has settled into a nice groove thanks to the clever writing and strong interplay among the cast.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    It’s always challenging to capture the essence of such artistry on film, and Lapine comes pretty close.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    Sacrificing and caring for one’s family is expected, after all. What this challenging drama dares to explore is whether that relatively narrow focus leaves much room for extending a spirit of generosity--or even a mild benefit of the doubt--to strangers.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Brian Lowry
    It all speaks to a level of ambition that has become increasingly rare in the broadcast spectrum, as if abdicating to cable this level of quality, or at least the willingness to tackle serious issues in such a nuanced manner.... For those with the patience to invest in it, missing out on American Crime would indeed be criminal.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    Admittedly, nobody was really crying out for another show just like this, but funny is funny, and there’s a whole lot of time for Bee to work this terrain between now and November.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    There's considerable strength in the performances (Forbes and Sexton are especially good), while delivering a reminder how TV can tease out such a narrative in a way almost no other medium can.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    There is still, frankly, something confining (never mind morally questionable) about building a series around the Lecter character, although Mikkelsen’s magnetic performance and piercing gaze offer ample compensation.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    Those who love it aren't likely to get that itch scratched anywhere else. Like jazz, though, that's a relatively narrow audience, one that Simon--perhaps even more so than in "The Wire" and "Generation Kill"--has chosen, for better and worse, to uncompromisingly serve.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Brian Lowry
    It's a mildly unsettling mentality, to be sure, but thus far Bad's mercurial formula adds up to one really good trip.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Brian Lowry
    Season two finds more of the same, with strong moments surrounded by lots of irritating ones.

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