For 42 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 0% same as the average critic
  • 53% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 5.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Caryn James' Scores

Average review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Gideon's Crossing: Season 1
Lowest review score: 30 Dharma & Greg: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 42
  2. Negative: 2 out of 42
42 tv reviews
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Caryn James
    Even this early 'The Sopranos' has displayed the depth that is its most stunning quality.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Caryn James
    Display[s] more wit, emotion, humanity and brutality than ever. Even measured against insanely high expectations, the series is as good as it has ever been.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Caryn James
    With a deep and perplexing hero, a wide social reach and uncommon eloquence, it instantly takes a place among the best dramas on television.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Caryn James
    At times "Freaks and Geeks" tried too hard to create jolts of recognition. Here the frantic characters regularly call one another idiots, yet Undeclared always seems smart and effortless.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Caryn James
    An extraordinary 10-part series that masters its greatest challenge: it balances the ideal of heroism with the violence and terror of battle, reflecting what is both civilized and savage about war. [7 Sept 2001, p.E1]
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Caryn James
    Combining dark comedy and psychological drama, the show achieves a fresh tone to match its irresistibly winning concept. [8 Jan 1999, p.E1]
    • The New York Times
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Caryn James
    The Shield does not quite have the depth to make Mackey's actions more than a shock tactic. It doesn't have the moral or artistic complexity of "The Sopranos," the obvious model for a series whose hero does indefensible things. But it echoes reality closely enough to create a chilling resonance and an often gripping show. The Shield is a mix of daring accomplishment, obvious cop-show strategies and orchestrated envelope-pushing, down to its cable-ready reliance on rough language and nudity. But the smooth mix makes the series intriguing, and its energy is relentless even when its freshness lags.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Caryn James
    Though the show happens to be about sports, it works even better as a shrewd sendup of the culture of money, hype and celebrity.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 90 Caryn James
    'The Wire' has become one of the smartest, most ambitious shows on television. With its attention to detail and its shifting points of view -- we spend equal time inside the heads of cops and criminals -- it is also one of the most novelistic, now more than ever before. [19 Sep 2004]
    • The New York Times
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Caryn James
    All the actors are wonderfully credible, even when forced to deal with the occasional creaky line. (Brenda says Nate doesn't know her, and he answers, "Yeah, because you won't let me.") Freddy Rodriguez adds humor as Federico, so talented at restoring corpses that he puts the Humpty Dumpty who was chewed up in the mixing machine back together. And Ms. Conroy's portrayal of the mother is subtle, funny and painful. [1 June 2001, p.E25]
    • The New York Times
    • 53 Metascore
    • 90 Caryn James
    "Family Guy" stands to become the best satire of all-American dysfunction next to "The Simpsons." [29 Jan 1999]
    • The New York Times
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    It takes a lot to make an I.R.S. agent the good guy in a series -- a lot of nerve, imagination and clever writing, a combination that sets the inspired Push, Nevada apart from every other new show of the season.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    An inventive, likable comedy. [7 Jan 2000]
    • The New York Times
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    The series may not be original, but it is swift, engrossing and escapist. Sometimes that's all you want. [13 Jan 1997, p.C15]
    • The New York Times
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    [A] sleekly made, absorbing series.
    • The New York Times
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    The series is acted with razorlike timing. [21 Sept 1998, p.E5]
    • The New York Times
    • 52 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    Each slight, breezy half-hour is fresh and funny.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    With her clear-eyed gaze and Pre-Raphaelite hair, Felicity (Keri Russell) is immensely likable yet down to earth as she struggles to stand up for herself. Ms. Russell's sincerity and naturalness take the curse off the series' calculated, prepackaged feel.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    "EZ Streets" may sound depressing, but its fiercely dark vision keeps viewers off-kilter and engaged and makes this one of the season's most exciting new series. [26 Oct 1996]
    • The New York Times
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    The real-time approach can't seem as innovative the second time around, but it is still used to great effect ... The glaring weak spot is Jack's teenage daughter, Kim (Elisha Cuthbert). [29 Oct 2002]
    • The New York Times
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    As forced as its concept seems, John Doe is alluring because it flows so easily from humor to drama then back again and because Dominic Purcell's smooth performance as John is perfectly in tune with that fluid style. [20 Sept 2002, p.E26]
    • The New York Times
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    Oz can also be unpleasant to watch, it is so gruesome and claustrophobic. Yet over the first few weeks, as the series moves beyond its introductory shock value, it becomes more serious, disturbing and gripping.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Caryn James
    Though there are action heroines all over television today, Birds of Prey is much closer to the wit of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" than to the banal witchcraft of "Charmed," or the earnest, overpraised C.I.A. drama "Alias."
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Caryn James
    It comes as close to resurrecting the old show as you can without hauling Jerry Seinfeld himself back on television.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Caryn James
    Socially, that reversal is a profoundly stupid idea. There's too much sexual stereotyping around, too much of a lingering sense that what makes a man a playboy makes a woman a slut. And The Bachelorette is hardly trying to explode those cliches. With its hokey title (a word no one ever uses) and its smarmy attitude (viewers are going to be looking for signs of sluttiness), this gimmicky series plays right into those stereotypes while pretending not to...The show also promises to be as irresistibly entertaining as "The Bachelor."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Caryn James
    The secret of "The Practice" is that it cloaks these workaday attitudes in just enough glamour and heroism to make an entertaining drama. [4 Oct 1997]
    • The New York Times
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Caryn James
    This quirky new Fox drama, with traces of wry comedy, sometimes tries so hard to be clever that it turns silly.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Caryn James
    [Its] sharp writing elevates it above its strained concept.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Caryn James
    This first episode won't grab new viewers by the throat either, although it does reveal David Boreanaz's immense attraction as the brooding, hunky, laconic vampire. [5 Oct 1999, p.E7]
    • The New York Times
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Caryn James
    Uneven ... The series often seems more crude than irreverent, and its satirical targets too familiar and easy to hit. ... However uneven it is now, "South Park" seems to have a future. [17 Aug 1997]
    • The New York Times
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Caryn James
    Erratic but promising ... So far the series lacks the sharp writing to match its actors' unflappable delivery and deft physical comedy. [9 Jan 1996]
    • The New York Times
    • 90 Metascore
    • 60 Caryn James
    Assuming the perspectives of its characters, the series avoids cliches and condescension; the performances are remarkably free of the cheap mannerisms actors often resort to when playing addicts. But this insiders' view is still undermined by the tone of a cautionary tale. The fact that the series makes a plea to understand the characters' humanity, rather than a judgment about them, doesn't make it less didactic.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Caryn James
    Offering prefab middle-of-the-road stardom, "American Idol" is entertaining, but not for the reasons its producers like to pretend. The open secret that the show's creators and its fans choose to ignore is that the music and arrangements are trite, full of wannabe Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder wails. Originality is a losing strategy. But the series does have a stroke of commercial genius, as it shrewdly combines elements from a smattering of other series into one big marketable soup. It's "Survivor" with a soundtrack.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Caryn James
    Absolutely ordinary. [21 Sep 1998]
    • The New York Times
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Caryn James
    If Queer as Folk worked better as drama, its characters would be more fully defined and would speak to both straight and gay viewers more easily. The series is not harmed by its gay perspective but by its limited aesthetic reach.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 40 Caryn James
    While The Fugitive is the most high-profile of the CBS crime series, it is also the most lackluster, mostly because Tim Daly is a lightweight Kimble. [6 Oct 2000, p.E1]
    • The New York Times
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Caryn James
    The District will either have to ignore race and lapse into television fantasyland or embrace its realism and become more sophisticated. (A tiresome political correctness would be worst of all. ) Either way, it's halfway there. [6 Oct 2000, p.E1]
    • The New York Times
    • 79 Metascore
    • 40 Caryn James
    That still makes the series more daring than most of what's on television; the problem is, its creators know that and the show's self-satisfaction becomes annoying. The floundering first episode (the only one available for preview) is sometimes smart, sometimes stupid, eventually gooey and, despite its sharp cast, not often entertaining. One of the season's most hyped and anticipated series, The West Wing is by far its biggest disappointment.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Caryn James
    Maybe "King of the Hill" is trying a tricky balancing act, hoping to please people who look down on the Hills and people who can identify their neighbors on the show. Whatever the series hopes to do, it better move fast. So far it suffers severely from a lack of funny lines. [11 Jan 1997]
    • The New York Times
    • 44 Metascore
    • 40 Caryn James
    The series is so derivative you can almost see its creators playing all the angles. It's "My Wife and Kids," but with a Latino family and not quite as upscale. It's "The Bernie Mac Show" but with a less brash father figure and not quite as upscale. Like "The Drew Carey Show," (Bruce Helford is a creator and producer of both), it is strategically poised between blue-collar and white-collar worlds, one of the few shows with an upwardly mobile, working class hero...The situations are utterly predictable.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 30 Caryn James
    This time the wrenching together of genres is tortured. In its rough first episode on Fox tonight, Firefly is even more of a confusing mess than the description makes it sound. It's a crazy quilt of "Star Wars," "Mad Max" and "Stagecoach," just to mention the most obvious films it calls to mind. [20 Sept 2002, p.E26]
    • The New York Times
    • 81 Metascore
    • 30 Caryn James
    Dharma and Greg are so cloying they make the happy, well-adjusted Buchmans on "Mad About You" seem like Bonnie and Clyde.

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