James Poniewozik

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For 579 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 Master of None: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Bridalplasty: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 61 out of 579
579 tv reviews
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The reason to stick with it is to see if this ambitious but self-conscious series becomes more than the sum of its affectations--flat line readings, characters with names like Mr. Smooth, precious tilted-camera shots to remind you how weird it all is.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    It's almost a non-premise sitcom, whose main attraction is how well the vocal actors bounce its digressive dialogue off each other. I did laugh at the pilot, if not as much as I wanted to, so I'll put this one on probation, and hope.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The best reason to stick with Alpha House so far is that its ideas are stronger than its execution.... If Trudeau wants to argue, say, that today’s GOP is hypocritical, extreme, or dangerous, that’s fine--that’s satire--but it would be stronger and funnier if it engaged with a non-caricature version of the party.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Tara has the potential to be a great comedy about identity, but it needs to be less self-conscious about its strangeness.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Its milieu is esoteric even by Bravo standards: unpaid work facilitating the sale of aesthetic goods for staggering sums of money. Carpentry, it is not.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    If the writing can rise to [Harrison's and Hall's] performances, The Loop could take flight.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The character-building, unfortunately, is far weaker than the world-building. The dialogue is often B-movie grade, and Juliana and Frank, the closest thing the ensemble has to leads, are dull and dour.... That said, I finished six episodes eager to see the last four. High Castle is at least addictive as a mystery.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    I feel that there's a really good dark comedy about the decline of the American dream struggling to emerge from the often-forced plots.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The series doesn’t waste much time, plunging ahead with unremarkable dialogue but effective plotting, and establishing quickly that no one is safe and you should take little for granted.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Ballers is hardly a must-watch yet, and the early episodes rely on a lot of familiar problems-of-fame stories. But it has potential.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The series’ latter section grows darker and gets rushed, losing any nuance or idiosyncrasy in exposition-heavy dialogue. It’s stronger when it filters history through personal stories.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    While Ms. Paulson and Mr. Peters commit to their characters’ belief in their own derangements, Cult ends up rendering all political sides as caricatures.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Deftly written, Joey sets up running gags and delayed payoffs with the precision of the special forces laying mines, much as Friends did. No, exactly as Friends did, and that's a problem. It reminds us that five-sixths of the Dream Team is missing. And where Joey does change, it's abruptly and implausibly.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    A blinged-out tour of the lifestyle of the rich and (for now) famous, Entourage is a funny but familiar diversion, lacking the darkness and edge that have distinguished HBO's best series.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    After the promising first episode, Baskets wanders, becoming a sour, rambling sendup of strip-mall American life.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The episode is occasionally funny--John Hodgman and Jenny Slate are well-cast as Russ’ friends and sounding boards--but more often it’s mean and miserable.... Stick with Married, though, and it gets better--which is to say that Russ and Lina begin to turn into people.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The pilot of Revolution comes across better than either of the aforementioned shows [FlashForward and The Event], but there are still too many forgettable characters, stock scenes and flat patches of dialogue.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    By the third hour, I can’t say I was in love with The Newsroom at last. But I felt like I was finally seeing the better version of itself that it could have been.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 58 James Poniewozik
    Ten years ago, Southland would have seemed revolutionary on TV. But now it does feel like network playing catch-up with cable.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 58 James Poniewozik
    Eastbound & Down, is a funny show if you don't expect too much.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    Not that there’s anything wrong with talk, even if Chelsea wants to be seen as something different. Ms. Handler seemed more at ease chatting with her guests--and often interrupting them--than reading the show’s protesting-too-much mission statement.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    In the pilot I saw no emotion, so much as situations recognizable as "scenarios you set up when you want to generate emotion": e.g., the interminable cruise vacation Sean and his fiancee take to get you invested in them before her disappearance. The debut delivers the "high-octane" much better.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    There’s potential here for a sharp sitcom about a man who’s kept aging but stopped growing. But too often Sex&Drugs shares Johnny’s arrested development, at the expense of both relevance and comedy.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    What it needs to make it a lasting family comedy and not a VH1 special is heart and a sense of its characters as individuals. It shows signs of the former, but the latter gets lost in the deafeningly loud pilot and the pop-culture-reference humor.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    It’s too moody and self-serious for a pulpy action show in which monsters dissolve into hot sparks when stabbed. Part of the problem is the script, and part is performance; the dialogue is sometimes written more sassily than it’s delivered.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    Hannah's normalcy is refreshing, and it keeps the show light and funny. But it also makes her seem a little dull and shallow.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    There’s a well-intentioned flatness to the money-changes-everything stories so far.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    The show still has the moments of off-the-cuff comedy and guilelessness that made the first season fun to watch, if not exactly a parade of role models.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    It's competent. It also seems a little familiar and unnecessary.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    It’s not badly written at all; there are tour de force bursts of monologue and magma blasts of white-collar rage. But it is very written, very writerly; the only thing organic in this high-end suburb is the Whole Foods

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