Gail Pennington
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For 227 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 66% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 31% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Gail Pennington's Scores

Average review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Olive Kitteridge
Lowest review score: 0 Dads: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 227
227 tv reviews
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    Insightful, intelligent and very, very funny, the WB's Gilmore Girls is the best not-quite-drama, not-quite-comedy of the new television season. [5 Oct 2000, p.F6]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    In a stifling summer of same-old, same-old on the tube, HBO's Oz is a shock of ice water in the face, a kick in the stomach, an exciting, exhausting, horrifying, mesmerizing trip to hell, operating as the Oswald Maximum Security Prison...For adults who choose to go to hell and (not quite) back, Oz is just about as powerful as TV drama gets. [10 July 1997]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    Gosh, I love this show. Meet Felicity and prepare to fall in love. [29 Sept 1998]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    "The Amazing Race," which combines the glossy production values of an IMAX movie, the physical demands of "Eco-Challenge" and the human drama of "National Lampoon's Vacation," sets new standards for reality TV. This is as good as it gets. [5 Sep 2001]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    The best cop show of any recent season...It's not for everyone, but it is for anyone who still misses "Homicide" and thinks "NYPD Blue" long ago devolved into soap opera. [10 Mar 2002, p.F2]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    The best new sitcom to come along in years. [2 Nov 2003, p.C4]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    Joan of Arcadia is smart, entertaining and never heavy-handed, one of the season's best. [26 Sept 2003, p.E8]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    Lost is a sci-fi soap opera adventure -- with humor, mystery and interesting characters galore...It's "Survivor" with the one thing "Survivor" lacks -- a terrific script.
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    Outstanding. [21 July 2004, p.E01]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    Riveting. [21 June 2005, p.E1]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 65 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    Fast-paced, darkly funny and scathingly sharp, Political Animals seamlessly blends family drama with real-world issues, including an early crisis in the Middle East.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    The Dust Bowl, collecting so much oral history that was about to pass away, is a treasure.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    An astonishing achievement, a miniseries that manages to put human faces on the drug culture in American neighborhoods. [16 Apr 2000, p.F9]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    The Returned, in French with subtitles, is beautiful, riveting and above all thought-provoking.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    The “Masterpiece” drama returns Sunday, recapturing some of the excitement that made America fall so hard for it three years ago.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    The first hour, provided for preview, is spectacular even when seen without completed special effects.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    The entire cast of The Normal Heart is outstanding, but no one stands out more than Bomer, who is so much the handsome star of USA's "White Collar," in the beginning, then almost unrecognizable as the dying Felix.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    Given how much is right about Fargo, the real reason to watch and keep watching is the storytelling, with more surprises per hour than you can count.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    Manhattan is in other class entirely, the kind of series that is so good, it lifts a network into a whole new tier. What “Mad Men” did for AMC, Manhattan could do for WGN.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    It's rare to be able to say, unconditionally, that a TV reality show is inspirational, and that everyone will be better for watching. But that's the case with MasterChef Junior.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    HBO’s deeply involving and completely draining miniseries.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Gail Pennington
    Anyone who watches won’t soon forget A Poet in New York, one of the best things on television this year.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Gail Pennington
    Smart, sweet and often hilarious, "Will & Grace" is everything a sitcom needs to be. [21 Sep 1998]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Gail Pennington
    But most importantly, Spin City should be a hit because of Fox, who's never been more likable than he is here. [17 Sept 1996, p.6D]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Gail Pennington
    A right-on time capsule of a decade, a warm coming-of-age comedy and the funniest new sitcom on any network this fall. [23 Aug 1998, p.D6]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Gail Pennington
    It is exciting and involving; its leads are charismatic; and most of all, it feels fresh. [18 Sep 1994]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Gail Pennington
    Freaks and Geeks is a grittier "Wonder Years," while retaining some of that show's sweetness. The writing is sharp, and the young stars are vividly, awkwardly real. Spending an hour with them is almost worth going back to high school again. [24 Sept 1999, p.E10]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Gail Pennington
    Bridget Fonda was wrong for the role in the unsuccessful 1993 remake "Point of No Return," but Australian Peta Wilson is terrific in the new version, tough and bitter and innocent at the same time...Sexy, sharply written (and, yes, violent), it's an exciting addition to the USA lineup of original programming. [13 Jan 1997]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Gail Pennington
    Yes, I'm hooked on this irresistible reality series... Survivor is a canny blend of MTV's "The Real World" and the Discovery Channel's "Eco Challenge," with a big dash of "Gilligan's Island" goofiness thrown in for good measure. [2 June 2000, p.E1]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Gail Pennington
    Clearly, Rescue Me isn't for everyone, but the fearless, funny series is don't-miss viewing for its legions of fans. [13 June 2007, p.L15]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Gail Pennington
    "Desperate Housewives" is not just back, but quite possibly better than ever. [24 Sep 2006]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Gail Pennington
    Every step of the way, "Project Runway" gets it right. ... The process of creating a piece of clothing, an outfit or a whole line turns out to be riveting, even for those who aren't particularly interested in fashion. [10 Feb 2005]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 99 Metascore
    • 90 Gail Pennington
    If you appreciate challenging, intellectually stimulating drama, this is it...My advice: Watch, absorb, and don't panic if you don't catch every nuance. You'll have time - 23 episodes. [19 Sept 1995, p.6D]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Gail Pennington
    A fascinating and challenging new drama series. [27 Oct 1996]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Gail Pennington
    Wonderfully warped...Expect both sly satire and big belly laughs from this summer treat. [4 Aug 1998]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Gail Pennington
    The half-star markdown in the rating for Nashville is a knock on Panettiere, whose performance seems too broad, especially in the face of such naturalistic acting from everyone else in the cast. But that flaw can't keep Nashville from being a superb series.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Gail Pennington
    The Americans isn't just a heart-pounding action drama; by presenting heroes who are also villains, it also confronts viewers with TV's deepest moral dilemma since "The Sopranos."
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Gail Pennington
    Ray Donovan is fun, but it’s also heart-breakingly sad and deadly serious, sometimes all at once. In all cases, this is one of the smartest series to come around in a while, sharply written (by creator and executive producer Ann Biderman) with a perfect balance of comedy and tragedy, action and reflection.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Gail Pennington
    The Bridge translates brilliantly, fitting into its new setting so perfectly, you’d never imagine it had aired in any other incarnation.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Gail Pennington
    By the end of Episode 2, you’re likely to be so invested in the characters, you’d stick with them forever, just as book readers have.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Gail Pennington
    Elf: Buddy's Musican Christmas should be on the Christmas TV calendar for years to come.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    Thigpen is terrific as Ella, and she and Nelson have immediate buddy-buddy chemistry. The District could be just the ticket for Saturday night stay-at-homes looking for something upbeat, but be forewarned that the show tunes and peppy speeches are interspersed with bursts of violence so extreme as to make "Walker, Texas Ranger" look like "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch." [6 Oct 2000, p.D7]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    Braugher is such a riveting actor, with so much going on behind his eyes, that he'd probably be interesting reading a list of school closings on the first snow day. [10 Oct 2000, p.F1]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    Some UFO cliches - bright lights, mysterious marks, lost time - turn up here (could they be cliches because they're...true?), but intelligent writing and sharp plotting lift the series far above the standard for the genre. The lead characters have a quirky chemistry that (refreshingly) isn't built on the "squabble and kiss" standard. (They're both pretty appealing, however, and if they should eventually kiss, I for one wouldn't mind.) [9 Sept 1993, p.06G]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    By the time the episode wraps up with a good-vs.-evil clash, though, it's really rolling, with special effects that are both fun and scary. Doherty, Combs and Milano are appealing, and also believable as sisters, and T.W. King adds a down-to-earth touch as police detective Andy Trudeau, Prue's old boyfriend, who suspects that something is up. [7 Oct 1998, p.E6]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    Together, they're TV's Cute and Quirky Couple of the Year. Speaking of cute and quirky - Dharma & Greg sometimes tries a little too hard to be both. But mainly, it's delightful. [24 Sept 1997, p.8E]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    One of the sweet surprises of the season, a family sitcom that manages to be realistic without being either silly or mean-spirited. It's funny, too. [12 Sep 1996]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    Involving, enjoyable TV. [5 Oct 1999, p.D6]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    Only the darkness of the show is disconcerting. Poignancy is great, and presumably Clark will triumph in his battles against evil. But in post-Columbine, post-Sept. 11 America, humor has never been a more valuable commodity. If Smallville can strike the right balance, the series should fly. [16 Oct 2001, p.F1]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    Once it relaxes, however, Scrubs turns out to be a thoughtful show that has dispensed with a laugh track and proves amusing enough not to need one. (Now, let's dispense with those fantasies.) Shot with a single camera in a former hospital, it aims for the exaggerated realism and the light-meets-dark tone of "M*A*S*H" -- a worthy ambition even if it doesn't get there. [2 Oct 2001, p.F1]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    "Without a Trace" offers sharp writing, stylish directing and a cast with real chemistry. [26 Sep 2002]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    Beyond the "yikes" factor, Nip/Tuck tells compelling stories about its troubled characters. [22 July 2003, p.E1]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    A quirky mix of light and dark, humor and grit, sentiment and substance -- "The O.C." if scripted by Raymond Chandler. [21 Sept 2004, p.E1]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    It's just what TV viewers want in summer -- fun. [23 Jun 2005]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    Britain's BBC2 and screenwriter Lucinda Coxon have captured the feverish tone and most fascinating storylines of Faber's book in a miniseries making its U.S. debut.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    In his quest to make Murder One - whose fans last season were passionate but few - more "user friendly," Bochco hasn't dumbed it down a bit. [10 Oct 1996, p.6G]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    Mob City is smart, stylish, sexy and altogether addictive.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Gail Pennington
    A pleasant surprise. [30 Sep 1993]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 93 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    The second season of HBO's Deadwood gets off to such a sluggish start that fans can be forgiven if -- like saloon boss Al Swearengen -- they worry that change is coming all too fast to the raw, lawless Western town. [6 Mar 2005, p.F03]
    • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Endeavour is most interesting for the light it sheds on the character development of young Morse.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    A show that is beautiful and sweet, funny and touching.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    People who like procedurals will enjoy playing along. But the real charm of the series--as in a lot of cable originals--is in its ensemble.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Chances are, it will make you cry even more often than it makes you laugh, but it will rarely bore you.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    The decision to have some students graduate was a smart one, and splitting the action between New York (where Lea Michele's Rachel Berry is attending NYADA, the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts) and Ohio (where the remaining members of New Directions are regrouping) turns out to have been even smarter.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    It's worth giving Revolution a shot for its surprising imagery (wait till you see what's become of the Gateway Arch in an early scene), strong adult characters and fascinating possibilities.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    If you were a "Closer" fan, I'd like to make a case for giving her a chance, because otherwise, Major Crimes is a winner.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    The Season 4 premiere is solid in most ways.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Kaling is happy to make fun of herself to get a laugh, and her most painful scenes are some of the most amusing in The Mindy Project, which is far from perfect but still one of the top prospects among new fall comedies.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Thanks to the clever writing and a very appealing performance by Gummer, this is one of my favorites of the fall season.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Like a good scare? How about a bad scare? Or a thousand scares, good and bad and crazy? Season 2 of "American Horror Story," subtitled Asylum, is for you.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Catfish: The TV Show is riveting entertainment, but it's also potentially the most important series MTV has aired.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    The Job, with Lisa Ling as host, is taped in front of a live audience, which keeps it from being too downbeat. The interviewers are honest but encouraging, and even those who are eliminated are told precisely why and given advice about other opportunities.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    The CW's attempt to capture the magic of "Sex and the City" in a prequel, set in 1984, could have gone very wrong. But The Carrie Diaries is surprisingly right.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    The Following is as graphically violent, gruesomely gory and generally horrifying as anything on network TV and most anything on basic cable. But as crafted by Kevin Williamson, 'The Following' is also riveting.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    The moments in which Monaghan interacts with people who don't quite understand him are among the most charming.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Hannibal is good. Terrifyingly good.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Parade's End is often sad and even grim, full of complicated personalities who are more fascinating than likable. But the miniseries is engrossing in its portrait of two people stuck in roles they need to cast aside, but somehow unable to make the break.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Summer will be a lot more entertaining than it might have been otherwise.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Bates Motel builds psychological scares rather than spooking us with haunted-house cliches. Following these characters to the end we can see coming should be a fascinating journey.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    In the Flesh, which runs just three hours over the three nights, is best not analyzed too deeply for meaning and just enjoyed for its odd and fascinating concept.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Twists that are genuinely surprising, plus quirky humor, separate Top of the Lake from, say, AMC’s “The Killing,” which was also deliberately paced but unrelentingly dour as well.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    The mystery is wonderfully intriguing; the performances are excellent, especially from Maslany but also from Jordan Gavaris as her foster brother and best friend, Felix.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Its real appeal should be to viewers who like their TV history entertainingly out there.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    The writing is smart, the characters are amusing, the cameos (including one from Bill Murray, and another from Stephen Colbert as himself) are entertaining, and the political commentary is as pointed as you might suspect.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    We've seen that countless times. But Sunjata and Tveit are both appealing, and the rest of the cast is colorfully eclectic, including Vanessa Ferlito as Charlie, a DEA agent undercover as a druggie.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Intelligent enough for adults, accessible enough for younger viewers and entertaining enough for both, it's a great show for parents and kids to watch together, and will give them plenty to talk about.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    A smart and funny series.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    There's action, wit and dry humor, and some entertaining if not dazzling special effects. Again accessibly, most episodes will be stand-alone, with an underlying mythology to ramp up the stakes.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Helix is very involving, giving us characters to care about even in the midst of so much necessary setup.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    [A] sense of humor keeps Hannibal from being unbearably dark even when the crimes are, and they always are.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Exhilarating, terrifying, often moving and only occasionally silly.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    By the end of the first episode, who’s who and what’s what have begun to sort themselves out, and Turn looks like a series that will be absorbing to follow for its characters, not just its action.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Even if we find ourselves a bit lost, though, as we might early on in Season 2, there are many rewards in Orphan Black that have nothing to do with its mythology.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Fans of 24 are likely to go all in on Live Another Day. But what if you didn’t watch the original? Will you be lost? I’d say maybe, although there are always long stretches of 24 in which everyone is pretty much lost.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Penny Dreadful is great at what it does, and hard-core fans of the genre, those who dismissed “American Horror Story” as too lighthearted, will probably love it.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Nobody is likely to remember Murder in the First 18 years from now, as TV aficionados do "Murder One." But viewers who want to watch a mystery unfold and follow the twists and turns without having to sweat it should be more than satisfied.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    With only tiny snatches of dark humor in the early episodes, it’s sure to be too grim for some viewers. But for those who can take it, The Leftovers is fascinating and involving, like nothing we’ve seen on TV unless you think of it as the flip side of resurrection dramas such as “The Returned.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    The Strain does not dial back the gore for television, and fans of the most graphic sort of horror should eat it up.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    The Honorable Woman is intriguing from the start, but almost in spite of itself, as everyone seems to have a dark secret and nothing is what it seems.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Gail Pennington
    Even if this isn’t precisely the sequel to “Pride and Prejudice” we might have wanted, it’s better than no sequel at all.

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