James Poniewozik

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For 583 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 41% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 55% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

James Poniewozik's Scores

Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Angels in America
Lowest review score: 0 I Wanna Marry Harry: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 61 out of 583
583 tv reviews
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The writing is uneven... but the idea is audacious enough to keep you following the loose threads.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    If you don't want or need to be surprised, it's a pretty well-paced, gorgeously shot and fast-moving pilot, and Maggie Q, who is practically computer-designed to play the role, seems worth all the publicity investment The CW has placed in her.
    • Time
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Divorce is not as dewy-eyed as its forebear, not as fresh in its material, and in its first outings, not as consistently funny. But it can be a caustic pleasure, a chaser, heavy on the bitters, to Carrie’s fruity cosmo.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    It’s an ambitious, if not entirely coherent, sci-fi shoot-’em-up that questions nihilistic entertainment impulses while indulging them.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    There are at least the slivers of promise that the show could get better. Neff is amiably charming, Dillahunt and Plimpton give their characters a realism that belies the pilot's often-contemptuous jokes, and maybe 20% of the first episode shows a sweet-heartedness that rises above the easy white-trash humor.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The cast is startlingly good... given that the actors have to deliver lines like "I think we're looking at a four-dimensional object--in three- dimensional space!"
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Cinema Verite is not a bad movie at all but its failing is an ironic one: it smooths out the messiness and non sequiturs of real life to fit its story into a neat feature-film arc.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The pilot is aiming for a balance of dark humor, heart and flat-out funny that it doesn't quite manage.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    You may feel the faith-and-family themes could be handled better on cable--mainly because they have been.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    But after five episodes, Ray Donovan is still some good performances in search of a show. It feels made up of pieces of other antihero dramas--a little Sopranos here, a little Brotherhood there, even a little Entourage around the edges. Ray is so far too much a cipher to be an engaging focal character, and his flaws and failings are those of so many middle-aged cable ass-kickers in the past decade.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Rock Center may not be a ratings smash, and not all of its experiments may work. But the good news is, Williams and Stewart can both keep their day jobs.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The comedy has all the ingredients, and Greer is perfectly cast... The problem so far is the writing. The jokes in the pilot were broader and more obviously than I'd have hoped, but the big isssue is that the writers need to find the right balance for Becky.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The premiere episode strains the hardest for relevance. ... The revival is steadier in the next two episodes, where it settles into its nimble mode of zingers, farce and slapstick. This is the sort of sitcom where, if two people walk into a fancy automated shower, you know they will get trapped in it. There’s a comfort in that. The show also retains its core dynamic.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Like some past Showtime comedies (“Happyish,” “Nurse Jackie”), “SMILF” has an unsteady tone, swerving from emotional realism to quirkiness to slapstick raunch to abrupt fantasy sequences, in roughly descending order of what works best. There’s a riffing, open-mic quality to the first three episodes, as if the show were still trying on personalities.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    It’s a familiar theme, but thrillingly executed in the early going.... Like many streaming series, though, it seems to be marking time in the middle (Amazon previewed six of 10 episodes for critics), as the characters try to escape Belize and the plot tosses them among so many frying pans and fires that the whole thing threatens to overcook.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The narrative gymnastics make the first half-hour of Quantico pass quickly and entertainingly. Too much of this, though, keeps you from investing much in the characters.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    There are problems to work out; none of the cast really pops in the first episode, and I wish they hadn't given the competitors the help of a carpenter, which loses the hands-on, who-stole-my-glue-gun drama of Runway. But the show has good bones. There's nothing wrong with it a little furniture rearrangement wouldn't fix.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Justice's legal cases are not especially shocking or original, and the supporting characters are empty suits. But it's fascinating to watch for its style.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    As an actual network drama--for me, the most important test--it relies too much on conventional showbiz plotlines and characters for me to get invested in it.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The biggest weakness of Bloodline is that the characters are types, straight down the line: the hardass dad, the soft-hearted mom, the peacemaker, the black sheep. And the scripts don’t do much to round them out.... They’re well-played types at least.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Sometimes unwieldy, sometimes beautiful, Parade’s End is--like the turbulent new order it ushers in--a bit of a mess, with no easily identifiable good guys. This miniseries doesn’t tell you how to feel, and it’s not exactly bursting with charming, loveable characters. But there’s a poignance to its story of people realizing their orderly parade is breaking up all around them.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Political Animals, an inconsistent, sometimes ludicrous, but also juicily fun political soap, is about something that ultimately makes for better TV: the idea of Hillary Clinton.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    I found parts of this series I could get invested in. You might find even more. Just don't go in expecting more than heck on wheels.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    It's an all-around high-class production. And yet, after watching two episodes, I had much the same thought I did after seeing a few minutes in May: the show basically seems like a stretched-out Law & Order episode.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Its early episodes are a mix of power and disappointment.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Grandfathered is as winningly cast as “The Grinder”--Mr. Stamos manages to be smarmy and charming at the same time--but its supporting characters need development.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Promisingly, the pilot of Red Band (like Glee‘s) has a ton of voice, but its tone wobbles wildly as it overcorrects away from sentimentality and then straight into it.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Sleepy Hollow got my attention, but I’m not yet sure if it’s good, ridiculous, good but ridiculous, or good because it’s ridiculous.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The humor is minutely observed, but the improv reminds you how much nonactor Jerry Seinfeld benefited from comic backup and tight scripts.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The new episodes don’t have the old complexity, messiness and poignance. They don’t inspire the wild excitement of having no idea what’s going to come on the screen next. They don’t have that electric sense of experimenting on the fly. And they don’t seem to do what Harmon had them do, what Community itself did, which is: grow.

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