David Hiltbrand
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For 187 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 57% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 38% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

David Hiltbrand's Scores

Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Homicide: Life on the Street: Season 1
Lowest review score: 20 Lucky 7: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 13 out of 187
187 tv reviews
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 David Hiltbrand
    Stylish and well-acted, this is the rare show in which commercials hit with a jolt, awakening you from the program's potent spell.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 David Hiltbrand
    The best ensemble cop drama since Hill Street Blues.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 David Hiltbrand
    Strikingly shot, wonderfully cast, this tough, taut, atmospheric show is the season's best new series.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 David Hiltbrand
    Mirren is once again marvelous.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 David Hiltbrand
    Baseball is a monumental achievement, perhaps too monumental for TV. For fans, it is a sumptuous feast. But its 18 1/2-hour length will daunt those without an acute interest in the game.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 David Hiltbrand
    The sumptuous two-hour opener to Season 6 is a remarkable piece of work--beautiful, provocative, and deep. It's an unexpectedly exquisite distillation of the show's themes and aspirations.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 David Hiltbrand
    A crackling good British police procedural. ... The British accents and idioms can get dense, but don't let that throw you, you dozy punter.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 91 David Hiltbrand
    NewsRadio is a nervier, more sophisticated version of WKRP in Cincinnati, updated to a time when people are much less secure about their jobs and far more wary about each other.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 David Hiltbrand
    Like The Next Generation, this show tends to be morally didactic. But also like its mother ship, Deep Space Nine is richly imagined, with good scripts and great visuals.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 David Hiltbrand
    It is a beguiling romantic adventure.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 91 David Hiltbrand
    The concept seems to be an easy one to exhaust. But if the writing manages to stay fresh, we could be looking at the '90s version of The Bob Newhart Show.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 David Hiltbrand
    I'm beseeching you to watch the pilot of this new series. It's not just extraordinary TV--it's the best piece of filmmaking I've seen anywhere this year. ... In subsequent weeks the series settles into a more predictable and sentimental mold, reminiscent of The Wonder Years, but it is still superior TV.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 David Hiltbrand
    Intelligent, fleet, emotionally complex and lightly dusted with Kelley's celebrated sense of the absurd, this is the best hospital show since St. Elsewhere.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 91 David Hiltbrand
    The new entry is more action-oriented and less morally ponderous than the recent Star Trek series. But it still suffers from its predecessors' overdeveloped air of gravitas.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    As a social experiment, this project fizzles because of the imposing scrutiny (even the phone is tapped) and because of the artificial relationship foisted on these instant loftmates. But as television, it's rather intriguing.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    Dr. Katz is a cartoon cross between The Bob Newhart Show and Seinfeld.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    In fact they're all really nice, which is the problem. Except for some minor sexual tension, there's no conflict.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    The scope is a little cramped but the writing is wonderfully droll.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    Though the show lacks the inspired cohesiveness of classic sitcoms like Cheers or Seinfeld, it is bright, brisk and well-played.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    The crime at the heart of the matter isn't quite as intriguing as the one Mirren faced first time around. But the actress is again superb as a woman tenaciously pursuing a demanding job.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    Some of the first-season bugs have been exterminated simply by recruiting young roommates who are more interesting and charismatic, people who smile and laugh a little more.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    The show has a refreshing sense of humor and whimsy.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    The humor is raucous and raunchy.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    The show may never again attain the sustained comic brilliance of last week's pilot. But this is a rarity for Fox: a sophisticated and clever sitcom.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    In the tradition of Cheers, the show thrives by selling up distinct, contrary personalities and making them collide for a half-hour each week. So far the writing is sharp and punchy.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    It's a traditional, timeless sitcom scheme that would have worked as well in the '50s as it does in the '90s. ... The show's strengths are its uncluttered concept and its cast.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    The show is a train crash of sight gags, puns, spoofs and mock-existential ponderings. Inventive and daft, this cartoon is just plain ducky.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    If only the show had a more energetic atmosphere, its characters wouldn't seem so lost in space.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    Shepherd handles the romantic banter quite well. ... But so far, Shepherd isn't particularly adept at the other comic demands of her role: the double takes, the slowly dawning reactions, the ironic deliveries and other tricks of the trade.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    Imagine Twin Peaks for preteens.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 83 David Hiltbrand
    The episodes have grown slower and schmaltzier since the gripping pilot, but this series is still as sweet as an egg cream made with Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Syrup.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Both Harry's life and his work are messy and complicated. The series lets both aspects breathe, without pushing for neat resolutions.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    The leads are extraordinary. Ireland brings a nervy and riveting conviction to the role of the advocate. For Gupton (NBC's Prime Suspect), this is a charismatic, career-making role, and the most potent inducement to watch The Divide.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    The almost contemplative tone of the piece makes the suspenseful moments jump off the screen. But the pace, which is decidedly deliberate to begin with, slows about halfway through, as the political becomes deeply personal.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    The Americans may be a tricky concept to sustain, because it means bringing the protagonists to the very brink of discovery on a regular basis. But for now, it's a daring tightrope walk, full of action and suspense.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    It's artfully directed, but intensely grisly. And its atmosphere is far more coherent than its sometimes sketchy narrative. But it does string you along. With barbed wire.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    It's quick, quippy, and quite funny.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Extant has a clever concept that would probably work better on a bigger screen (especially the orbital scenes). But it's thoroughly entertaining--even if you wind up watching it on your shrinky-dink cellphone.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Like The Office, The Mindy Project trades deftly on the humor of excruciating awkwardness.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    The pilot of Arrow is a darkly gleaming gem. If the show can keep up its cinema-quality action sequences and maintain an air of mystery to Ollie's agenda, this could be a really fun series.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    You don't have to like country to enjoy Nashville with its twisty plot threads of ego, sex, ambition, backstabbing and regret.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    [A] cleverly written show.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    This mini reproduces the movie's singular feat of being scary without being graphic, accomplishing more with mood and suggestion than overt shocks.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Gracepoint is artsy both in its painterly look and in its treatment. The story rolls out with daring forbearance, almost as if it's transpiring in real time.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Ray Donovan generates an authentic and convincing noir atmosphere, something rarely accomplished in the medium.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Campy, creepy, and convincing, The Strain is oddly riveting, with a gleeful, pulpy momentum propelling the plot.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Last Resort is going to need that rich blend of characters and plots. The pilot is sensational--a suspenseful, cinema-quality grabber.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Stylishly directed, Elementary is one loaded show, including its wonderful, well-matched leads.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Crossfire Hurricane is deeply enjoyable for the songs--from "She's a Rainbow" to "Brown Sugar"--and for the extraordinary trove of archival film it has assembled.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    The series nails everything that NBC's Smash failed to do with the world of Broadway theater last year, providing a rollicking backstage look at the crazy, temperamental people engaged in artistic expression.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Encore offers Thorne: Sleepyhead, a powerful and gripping British import starring David Morrissey as Detective Inspector Tom Thorne.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Welcome to Sweden is engaging for its exotic Scandinavian setting and warm visual style. It's a winning mix of low-key charm and robust humor.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Labyrinth is most remarkable as a curiosity: a thorny theo-historical miniseries with unusual European pacing and flavor airing on an incongruous venue the week after the TV season has ended.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Wallander, as you might expect, has a very Scandinavian tone, full of gray landscapes and characters shot through murky panes of glass. But the acting is excellent, down to supporting-cast members.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    The show is wonderfully conceived and executed (if a little pokey pace-wise).
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Exciting and twisty, Crisis is the show that CBS thought it had at the start of the season with Hostages.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    It's fast and funny. As long as Ryan continues to mix humor from the cute and the curdled sides of the aisle, this show will entertain.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    It's still as irresistible as a bowl of pistachios.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    The pilot rivals anything you'll see at the cineplex in terms of acting, surprise, and suspense. You will go into each commercial break with your heart in your throat. But what really makes The Following more like a feature film than a primetime program is its extravagant, emphatic savagery.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Even in today's world in which everyone lives online, the milieu of Silicon Valley makes for a rather small target. But Judge and his colleagues manage to hit it smartly.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    The focus and tone could shift and drift any number of ways in subsequent weeks. But whether it rises or falls, Empire is off to a sensational start.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    Beyond the breezy dialogue, MAoS is terrific-looking and has action scenes that are above par for primetime. Not enough to wow you, but a fun date.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 David Hiltbrand
    This is an incredibly violent and an incredibly powerful show about men who find it difficult to talk to one another but have no problem raising their voices--and their fists.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 David Hiltbrand
    Trading on a paranoid, conspiratorial tone that recalls The Prisoner and MTV's Dead at 21, the show is jumbled but jazzy.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 David Hiltbrand
    The show's comically choreographed mayhem is a difficult premise to sustain, like trying to stage a big bumper-car pileup again and again. So be sure to watch—and tape—this week's pilot directed by Lynch. It's a doozy.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 David Hiltbrand
    Anderson gives the character an irresistible goofy charm, and it's nice to see a western that doesn't take the genre too seriously.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 David Hiltbrand
    Slick and often witty, this is a show with its high beams on. But the device of having Dey and Thomas directly address the camera isn't the only false note struck. The characters are thin, and the chemistry doesn't cook.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 David Hiltbrand
    The jokes are, for the most part, more clever than funny.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 David Hiltbrand
    The tone of Central Park West is so facile, glossy and brittle that its visual style often resembles some frosty Eurotrash perfume commercial. But the first episodes hit the ground sprinting.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 David Hiltbrand
    The show has a sophisticated sense of humor that suits Silverman's talents. But he is surrounded by an anemic cast.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 David Hiltbrand
    The show's weakness is a negligible supporting cast, particularly Diedrich Bader and Ryan Stiles.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 David Hiltbrand
    The visual components of the show—particularly the armament and the battle scenes—are sleek enough to excite younger viewers. But the plots and characters in Space are as thin as the air up there, and might leave adults floating out in the cold.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 David Hiltbrand
    If the producers can keep the mood spooky, this show will have its devoted adherents. Deservedly so.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 David Hiltbrand
    On balance it's a good, fun show. But it's not a true standout.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 David Hiltbrand
    At its best, it's still several strides behind the savage, protean wit of The Simpsons, and the humor sputters when the focus is personal—detailing Sherman's dating woes or his relationship with his son.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 David Hiltbrand
    The show's saving grace is that as the weeks go by, the characters begin to grow on you. That has more to do with the actors' animation than it does with the rimshot writing.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 David Hiltbrand
    That premise could make for a crisp and slick adventure hour; it did in the pilot. Already, though, Fahey's character is losing definition because of a string of unfocused scripts.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 David Hiltbrand
    Allen is one of the fall's freshest finds. But all the best punch lines in the hilarious pilot came right out of his "Men Are Pigs" stand-up routine. With the writers out on their own, the humor seems to be thinning out.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    Suffice it to say Da Vinci's Demons (warning: it contains nudity, violence, and profanity) has a lot of balls in the air. But it manages this juggling act with aplomb.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    The retrieved home movie footage creates a lambent prism through which the '70s seem like a simpler time. It also makes Our Nixon a uniquely dynamic time capsule.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    Davis goes all Sasha Fierce on the role. In fact, her potent performance nearly overwhelms the show, something that rarely happens on TV. She certainly makes the younger contingent of the cast fade into the woodwork.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    The scripts are witty if a little pompous.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    Glitzy, spoofy, and bristling with attitude, Matador is the modern equivalent of I Spy, the classic '60s series about a pro tennis player/secret agent, starring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    On Awake, the concept is all. Consequently, it takes a little explaining.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    This is programming that will strike you as either prestigious or pretentious. The dialogue, as is often the case with LaBute, seems notably natural at times, terribly scripted at others.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    Cast, concept, execution--there's a lot to root for in Intelligence. But they'll be pushing a big rock up the hill week after week.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    Its nonlinear, whydunit approach makes the show stand out. The fractured loop-de-loop narrative creates not just surprise but suspense.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    A sharper creepy TV movie.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    The production and period values are outstanding, as is the cast, especially Timothy Dalton as famed African explorer Sir Malcolm Murray.... As creator John Logan moves away from the horror by the Thames and more toward the internal demons that haunt his protagonists, Penny veers toward the overwritten and overwrought. But by then, you may well be in for a pound.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    Anger Management turns out to be a likable, nicely loaded sitcom.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    It manages to be lush, gross, frightening, and ridiculous--all at the same time.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    It's energetic and inventive enough that I suggest you check it out. Maybe twice. Shonda Rhimes has certainly earned at least a second look.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    This series is notably dependent on its writing, specifically the crafting of its mystery plots. Because of that, Backstrom will probably turn out to be variably enjoyable from week to week. But at least it has the potential to be excellent.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    1600 Penn has the unfortunate habit of milking every joke, even the most artificial and obvious ones. And its absurdist humor is hit-or-miss at best. And yet it has an undeniable charm, however superficial and ingratiating.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    This is a solid addition to a saga we find endlessly fascinating.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    It's a deeply researched, visually superb two-part study of what the film terms "a decade-long natural catastrophe of biblical proportions." ... The second chapter on Monday night, "Reaping the Whirlwind," is slower and less informative.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    Although Hatfields & McCoys is slow moving, it's also oddly gripping.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    The singular quality of the Coen Brothers' Fargo was the breathtaking, almost palpable tone it created by threading violence and wit through a staggeringly vapid Midwestern milieu. Fargo the series cannot recapture that fission, but it is enjoyable, funny, and, something TV rarely is, weird.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    The script sometimes ties itself in knots trying to explain all the theoretical physics and horology that drive the plot, but in the early going, it hangs together pretty well.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 David Hiltbrand
    In its early going, Gotham is hamhanded and a little bombastic, but drop-dead gorgeous.

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