For 789 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 48% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 49% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Ellen Gray's Scores

Average review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Fargo: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Big Shots: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 67 out of 789
789 tv reviews
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Ellen Gray
    Let's get this out of the way. Last fall's best new drama and this fall's best new drama have one thing in common: a 15-year-old girl. [18 Sept 1995, p.43]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Ellen Gray
    It has plenty to say about the things humans are capable of and, like most great series, it rewards the careful viewer.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Ellen Gray
    The best show on television.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Ellen Gray
    Fargo goes where HBO's "True Detective" didn't--to a second story and cast of characters as compelling as its first.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Ellen Gray
    The Americans remains as sick, and as seductive, as its secrets.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Ellen Gray
    Game of Thrones continues to tease out the most meaningful stories from George R.R. Martin's still unfinished fantasy series, "A Song of Ice and Fire," straying where necessary to highlight a possibly neglected character or perhaps just to produce something slightly less depressing.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Ellen Gray
    Transparent is still in a class of its own.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Ellen Gray
    What makes it one of the best shows on television--besides scenes like the last 10 minutes of Tuesday's episode, which are not to be missed--is its ability to show us ourselves as others see us. Dizzying as that view might be, it's as timely as ever.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    Matthew Weiner's stylish soap opera continues to be both stylish and sudsy in about equal parts, and, as always, I'd be happy to spend most of my time at the office with Don, learning the secrets of advertising and ignoring his mess of a personal life, if not for Don's precocious daughter, the inimitable Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka).
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    Three episodes in, it looks like Hulu's best original yet. ... Offred's will to survive, and to somehow reclaim her stolen daughter, drives a narrative that might otherwise feel hopeless and that makes The Handmaid's Tale what every serialized show should be: a page-turner.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    There's mystery, because the murder case is unresolved, but the drama lies in discovering what prison has made of Daniel and in seeing how he and those around him deal with the walls that still keep them apart.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    [There's] a level of ambiguity executive producers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa might not have gotten away with when they were writing for Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer on "24," but it's part of what makes Homeland, adapted from an Israeli series created by Gideon Raff, one of the season's most intriguing dramas.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    Transparent is either the best new series most people are unlikely to see or the best excuse Amazon can give you for signing up for a month's free trial.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    A haunting, beautifully executed French series, whose horror reveals itself so gradually that it may be Thanksgiving before you fully understand why what feels at times like a wonderful dream is premiering on Halloween.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Ellen Gray
    Marshall Hershkovitz and Ed Zwick, the team that brought us "thirtysomething," have a grasp of adolescence that's so real you can smell the Clearasil. [25 Aug 1994, p.45]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    Beyond noting that occasional tic of too-self-conscious nudity, though, it's hard to overpraise a show that's tamed Martin's tale just enough to make it filmable and matched extraordinary characters with extraordinary actors while finding things to say about justice, religion, governance and the power--and limits--of compassion.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Ellen Gray
    As always, execution matters. Broadchurch's is practically note-perfect.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    It's no mean feat, either, to follow three highly entertaining reinventions of stories involving one of literature's most adapted characters with three more even better than the first. But it must not be impossible, because Sherlock has done it.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    This is extraordinarily ambitious and entertaining television, wherever its pedigree.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    It's quibbling to say that it feels at times as if Downton Abbey had been custom-designed for those of us for whom period romance is mother's milk, studded as it is with plucky heroines, accidental heirs and scheming dowagers, with just enough history thrown in to make the melodrama seem highbrow. It's not, really, though. It's simply delicious fun.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    The performances, in fact, are so uniformly strong and the direction so deft that it's possible to overlook a plot that, like The Killing (and Netflix's new thriller Marcella) introduces a few too many Law & Order-like plot twists to be totally believable.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    One thing Atlanta does particularly well is to convey the shakiness of an economy in which a child of working- or middle-class parents can struggle, even end up homeless, setting it against the backdrop of the less-official economy on which many rely. That Atlanta manages to be drily funny, too, is a gift.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    A frequently fascinating look behind the scenes of a case whose mix of celebrity, race, and money still resonates.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have so far done a remarkable job adapting a story with even more moving parts than the show's very cool title sequence.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    The third season of ABC's outstanding American Crime manages to sidestep well-worn arguments about immigration and other hot-button topics with a set of compelling, interlocking stories that challenge viewers to see in new ways the people we so often manage not to see at all--migrant workers, teenage prostitutes, and opioid addicts--while giving a voice to others, like family farmers and small business owners, who have reason, too, to feel ignored.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    Rectify is still a show that trusts its viewers more than most, telling a high-stakes story in a decidedly low-key way.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Ellen Gray
    TV--or whatever it is we're calling Netflix--doesn't get much better than that.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Showing people having sex while wired up to machines may have gotten viewers in the door, but it's the characters and the performances that should keep them there.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Frances McDormand takes the difficult title character from Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer-winning collection of short stories out for a slightly different spin, but the result is less a challenge to Strout's vision than a broadening of it.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    While I'm thrilled to have something as deep and juicy as The Wire back after so long a break between seasons, I'm afraid that the show's very best years may be behind it.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    [Phillips says] "Money, guns, America's going to get you whatever you need." And so--at least for those who prize artful ambiguity over dull certainty--should The Americans.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Ellen Gray
    Boardwalk Empire has been the glittering light at the end of HBO's tunnel for so long now that you might wonder if it--or any other show--could possibly live up to the hype. Amazingly, it does.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Fleabag's a heartbreaker, sometimes hilariously so.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    I watch some disturbing things in this job, but I can't remember the last time anything left me as shaken as Time: The Kalief Browder Story.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Certainly there's nothing fussy about the almost instantly endearing Treme, which matches some of the best actors working today with characters worth the hustle you'll need to catch up with their interwoven stories.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Two hours can be a long time for a show that's not heavy on action sequences, but "The Doorway" does eventually take us somewhere.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    I still don't know where it's headed, but it feels, finally, as if we could be getting somewhere.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    If you've seen "The Killing," you may think you've already seen some version of the story that filmmaker Jane Campion is telling in the Sundance Channel's new miniseries, Top of the Lake, but I promise you, you haven't.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    This new-to-you season of "Friday Night Lights" is more than worth the wait.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    [Dunham has] crafted an honest and at least occasionally hilarious show that might even live up to its hype.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    McConaughey and Harrelson are terrific together and intriguing apart, and whatever went on or is going on between them, and in the sadly complicated community they serve, is more interesting than the murder mystery that's meant to drive the story.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Obvious or not, I watched most of the 10 episodes without the scene-setters and was occasionally lost. But if the battles aren't always distinctive, the characters are.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    Prohibition is barely more than a gulp next to Burns benders like "Baseball" and "Jazz," but it packs a punch, both as a cautionary tale and as entertainment.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    Rylance is everything anyone could ask of an actor whose character's rich interior life can't safely be on display: subtle, watchful and supremely watchable.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    ABC is taking it one step at a time as it uses its biggest hit, "Dancing with the Stars," to give three of those shows a fighting chance. At least one of them actually deserves it. That would be Modern Family.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    I wouldn't want to miss a word.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Without Sam, this might still have been a pretty good film about how modern science works (and sometimes doesn't), and filmmakers Sean and Andrea Nix Fine, who won an Oscar this year for their short film "Inocente," do a fine job of finding the drama in a process that's not always inherently dramatic.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    I have a few quibbles about what happens after [the crash sequence], though I wouldn't think of spoiling it for the less rigid-minded. Let's just say that Abrams has a tendency to take his ideas several steps further than I might find necessary, which could explain why "Alias" lost me less than halfway through its first season. Here's hoping Lost won't wander that far. [22 Sept 2004,p. 38]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Ellen Gray
    Masters of Sex, a biographical drama about sex researchers William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) that makes science sexy.... Sheen and Caplan are beautifully mismatched as the central figures in a story adapted from Thomas Maier's 2009 biography.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    This season, having already offered up Lindsay's perhaps too-facile explanation for what makes Dexter tick, the writers seem to be digging deeper into Butcher Boy's psyche, even as his colleagues find themselves digging deeper into his after-hours work. And as his pretend life becomes more challenging, it can't help but become more real.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Ellen Gray
    This Fargo, built to last for 10 [hours], allows the drifting menace of Thornton's character to take us for a much twistier slay ride.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Purists may scoff, but I'm more than a little enchanted by Sherlock, and by a cast that includes Rupert Graves as Detective Inspector Lestrade; Una Stubbs as Mrs. Hudson, Holmes and Watson's landlady; and Zoe Telford as Watson's love interest, Sarah.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    The Knick is as engrossing and disturbing as ever, and the medical gore's only a small piece of it.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    A dramatically satisfying story that embraces the second half of the F. Scott Fitzgerald line, "Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy."
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Ellen Gray
    To be honest, I'm weary of Baltar and his endless visions/hallucinations, as I am of the fleet's wandering as the surviving colonists try, somewhat fitfully, to find their way back to a home planet none of them remembers.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    The first two episodes of Season 2 should feel then like an elaborate tease, as we see Jimmy slipping into his old rhythms even while reaching for what looks like a brighter future, one that may include Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn). That they don't is due to the show's respect for the present, the place that Jimmy lives right now, and where he still has hope and where anything might yet happen.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    The Shield, which, based on the three I've seen so far, looks to be going out the way it came in: fast and furious, bloody but unbowed.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Ellen Gray
    The second series, as they call it in Britain, shows signs of strain, as creator Julian Fellowes throws one obstacle after another between his sets of star-crossed lovers (some upstairs, some down).
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    Though the supporting cast members are all good (Parsons particularly so) it's Kramer's fury, channeled through Ruffalo's manic energy as the writer's alter-ego Ned Weeks, that keeps The Normal Heart beating and preserves a horrific bit of all too recent history not in amber, but in anger.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Ellen Gray
    The Affair leans heavily on the performances of a strong cast, which includes Philadelphia's John Doman ("The Wire," "Gotham") in a recurring role as Noah's obnoxious father-in-law. I'm not yet entirely sold on the story, but I'm certainly curious.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    I appreciate its willingness to be life-sized, if not exactly subtle, in a medium that increasingly demands its drama on steroids. And I applaud its rejection of nostalgia as much as I do its avoidance (so far) of serial killers. It's the fetishizing of the visual, not lack of action, that leaves me impatient.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    The patients, too, are easier to take. With no one in sight that Paul's likely to get mushy over--the way he did so disastrously with Laura (Melissa George) last season--we're free to admire Mahoney's artistry as a CEO with panic attacks or to root for young Oliver, whose parents need therapy more than he does.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    American Crime is aimed squarely at drama junkies. Especially those who, tired of having their thoughts and emotions prechewed, packaged and set to music, may have fled broadcast TV for cable, Netflix and Amazon.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    This season of one of network television's best shows, is, like the first, about much more than a single criminal act.... Ridley, who wrote and directed the season premiere, isn't afraid to take his time with these people or their stories. You shouldn't be, either.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    The best reason for tuning in to The Killing is that it might re-sensitize those who've seen one too many episodes of "Criminal Minds"--or overdosed on local news.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    It remains, stubbornly and triumphantly, what it was: an unhurried exploration of the aftermath of a city's catastrophe, told through the experiences of those who didn't have the luxury of shutting off CNN when they'd had enough. And all set to some extraordinary music.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    A drama on the order of "The Sopranos" or "The Shield," it's not about things--and people--getting better so much as it is about the struggle for survival. And like "Weeds," it's a show that might, if anything, have a little too much to say about the times in which we live.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Issa the character may be a work in progress, but the woman writing and playing her knows exactly what she's doing.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    A screwball comedy that's married Fey's responsible and subversive sides and harnessed the power of Alec Baldwin for funny, not fear.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    It's even funnier than I remember.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Silicon Valley, a new comedy about programmers trying to make it big in a world where unimaginable fortune may be only an app away, is both smart and funny.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Ellen Gray
    While I stopped being a fan some time ago, I can say that at least one of the things that I've always liked about the post-9/11 firefighter dramedy is more in evidence in the three Season 5 episodes I've watched.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    It's a funny scene [a pair of Canadian drug dealers visiting Detroit sing the praises of the Tim Hortons doughnut chain to a couple of guys from Kentucky who couldn't care less] but it also hurries the plot along and, so, in many ways it feels like a perfect melding of the minds of Detroit's Leonard and the Canadian-born Yost. Which pretty much sums up Justified, too.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    The stakes are often high in Happy Valley, but it makes even the nuisance aspects of policing seem vital (and perversely entertaining).
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    If you managed to miss all nine episodes of last season's best new show, worry not. The first three minutes or so should catch you up nicely.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    If you've loved every minute of Downton Abbey up to now, you'll likely still love it this season.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    Jenji Kohan's series about inmates at a women's prison is as addictive as ever. Intermittently hilarious, occasionally infuriating and still very much the drama that new Emmy rules have declared it.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    It's still a gripping story, convincingly performed.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    One of television's best shows has been the exclusive province of DirecTV's 101 Network for months now, but finally "Friday Night Lights" is returning to NBC, with a third season that feels more like the first. In other words, no homicides, accidental or otherwise, just the very real human drama of life in a Texas town where football touches nearly everyone's lives.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Ellen Gray
    I'm still in the crotchety minority that believes there's always been a little less to Mad Men than meets the eye. Though what meets the eye is frequently fabulous. This first episode's marked by some interesting guest casting--I do love how Mad Men uses once-familiar faces and makes it seem as if they'd always existed in this world--and a callback to a guest from an earlier season.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    While it's not always easy to watch Time of Death, which is bound to trigger memories for those who've logged time with the dying, it's a gift to spend time with its highly individual subjects, who resist a one-size-fits-all approach.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Like last summer's happy surprise of an FX comedy, "You're the Worst," Amazon's latest show is the opposite of its title: It's anything but a Catastrophe.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    I haven't a clue where the rest of the story is going, but I'm prepared to be surprised.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Still-irresistible. ... Krakowski, Kane and Tituss Burgess, who plays Kimmy's roommate Titus Andromedon, all have had character upgrades.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Personally, I've had about enough of vamps, even the moody Mitchell, but George can be a sweetie and Annie's irresistible, especially when she's making tea that she can't drink for dozens of people who never stop by. If you're already home on a Saturday night, why not spend time with a girl who probably needs to get out even more than you do?
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    The Honorable Woman" doesn't give itself away easily--I was well into the eight episodes before a few things began to be clearer--but Blick uses his other characters so effectively that the wait doesn't seem wasted.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Ellen Gray
    There's not a bad performance to be had in Rectify, which even features Hal Holbrook as Holden's former lawyer. But it's Young, whose character veers from a deceptive lethargy to moments of dry humor, who carries every scene he's in as he finds ways to allow us glimpses of the man still imprisoned behind the mask.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Ellen Gray
    Plenty of new challenges await the survivors, led by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), whose performance as a man who's had ruthlessness thrust upon him continues to be a series highlight.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Accents (and a few updates) aside, this is one exported L&O that plays as if it never left.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    As much soapy fun as Bette and Joan has with the pair's over-the-top efforts to one-up each other, it's also a smartly told tale of how sexism, ageism, and the old studio system helped turn two Oscar-winning actresses into bitter enemies.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Geek TV is really the stories of people who've had greatness, not geekiness, thrust upon them, mostly in the form of unrequested superpowers. It should probably disturb me, but somehow doesn't, that the best of these, the CW's Reaper.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Little Dorrit is the closest TV has to a sure thing: a relatively short-term investment with a satisfyingly large payoff.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Mr. Robot returns for its second season 10 p.m. Wednesday, as enigmatic and intriguing as ever.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Smartly adapted by Melissa Rosenberg, Jessica Jones doesn't require an advanced degree in comics history.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    It's vintage Larry - bad behavior that only gets worse as the half-hour goes on - and it begins to set the stage for the season's main event, the "Seinfeld" reunion that may or may not bring about another even more important one.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    That it's still funny is probably a kind of miracle, the kind you just might not want to miss.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    It's five nights of stimulating and ultimately disturbing television, and I'd like nothing better than to have more people to talk with about it.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Ellen Gray
    Usher brings a sweetness to Cam that cuts through some of the cynicism around him. His character's far from perfect, but there are times when he seems a little too good to be true, or at least a little too good to be truly funny.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Ellen Gray
    Years of Living Dangerously, produced by James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger, does a good job in its premiere of widening the discussion of global warming.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Ellen Gray
    As cool as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" but with less other-worldly problems - date rape, a missing mother and a murder mystery among them - Veronica's navigating the tricky waters of a town full of secrets, on a network that until this season wasn't known for creating shows this good. [22 Sept 2004, p.38]
    • Philadelphia Daily News

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