James Poniewozik

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For 609 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 41% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

James Poniewozik's Scores

Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Girls: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Dads: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 62 out of 609
609 tv reviews
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The Vietnam War is less an indictment than a lament. This is where Mr. Burns and Ms. Novick’s primary-source interviews are so effective. Arguably, the most important Ken Burns effect is not a visual trick but the refocusing of history on first-person stories.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It's worth hopping on this poetic, profane story of frontier money lust before it rides into the sunset.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    In a way, the show is both complement and antithesis to the true-crime phenomena The Jinx and Serial; rather than attempt closure and a solution, it cares far more about how people live with the unknown.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    The absurdist comedy and hallucinatory visuals match the series’ take on Hollywood as a reality-distortion field. But the series never takes an attitude of easy superiority to its showbiz characters. At heart, BoJack Horseman is a comedy about lonely people (and animals) who are never by themselves. That melancholy spirit comes through beautifully in the stunning fourth episode of the new season.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    It's a drama that has chosen the slow burn over the flashy explosion, and it's all the hotter for that choice.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    Fargo is becoming an expertly made meta-concoction, a remix of a remix. ... The effect of the casting [of Ewan McGregor as the two brothers] isn’t to show the brothers’ similarity, but how life and circumstance have shaped them so differently. It’s remarkable, and no mere stunt.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    At least in the first four hours... the show reminds us of the intense thrills it can provide even without threatening to blow up the entire planet.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    MasterChef Jr. is the most delightful, cathartic reality competition on TV because it lets you see contestants taking unsullied pleasure in what they can do.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It's a drama of chance with enough charm to roll the dice on.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    It's worth the effort, not because The Wire is good for you but because it is fantastic entertainment.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    It’s not that that second What It’s About--the emotional heart of The Americans--is better, more noble than the first. But it’s the difference between an exciting thriller premise that flames out fast and a story with lasting power--demonstrates better than ever.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    Like a good whiskey, it's rough and smooth in all the right ways. By a few episodes in, you'll want to order it by the case.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    While The Roosevelts is, yes, long and at points fast-forwardable, in its best moments it gives human breath to a well-covered period of history, all in service of an idea: showing the ways that, through these generation, America matured and changed.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 James Poniewozik
    In looks and structure, Arrested Development is like a 30-min. drama, just a hilarious one. In most network sitcoms nowadays, the wisecracking characters are aware that they're being funny. The oblivious Bluths are funny despite themselves.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    The most distinctive, addictive new TV series this season. As an old-fashioned thriller, it's relentless, tense and deliciously paranoiac, with more twists than a Twizzler. But it's also boldly different.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    Its fifth season is in fine, familiar form.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    By combining the traditional elements of spy dramas (and spy parodies) with office comedy, this look inside the halls of ISIS manages to be both an effective spoof and an effective character sitcom.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    As a whole, Treme is a kind of intimate, loose, indie-film version of TV, its various stories almost an anthology connected by musical moments.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    It's true that Mad Men is deliciously curated, from the omnipresent cigarettes to the rocket-cone brassieres (and casual sexism) to the cool modernist sets. But the subtle, deliberately paced drama has a wider sense of history.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    It’s a sumptuous pleasure to go through one doorway and another, feeling all the while the dawning knowledge that someday we will turn a corner, and come to the last.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 James Poniewozik
    It all makes for a rich, captivating series to look at. And listen to. Even, or especially, when it's not saying anything at all.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Catastrophe has the raw honesty of a mom on her second martini at a play date. It’s also--time-strapped parents take note--a refreshingly brisk six episodes. Even at that, some subplots feel extraneous, and like the first season, the second ends on a dissonant cliffhanger.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The Good Place proves it’s still able to surprise, while staying rooted in ideas that make it more than the sum of its twists.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    UnREAL remains one of TV’s most sharp-minded and -tongued escapes, a heart-shaped box full of chocolate and razor blades.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 James Poniewozik
    It's raw, audacious, nuanced and richly, often excruciatingly funny.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Often True Detective is too much about the performances–there’s something very actorly about it, setting up McConaughey in particular with set pieces and monologues that, while exquisitely written on the page and probably potent Emmy-bait, would be twice as effective if there were half as many.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    It’s become a confident, emotionally rich series--but one that, by nature and obligation, is wrenching to watch. ... Often, though, The Handmaid’s Tale feels so determined not to be misread, to treat its subject with gravity, that its storytelling is heavy-handed and its peripheral characters stiff. Fortunately, the central performance is anything but. ... Without someone as expressive as Ms. Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale might not pull off its balancing acts.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 James Poniewozik
    It will repay you with a brutal but eloquent story that's finally less about how men fight and die than what happens to them when they fight and survive. It will show you how character and sheer, unfair randomness combine to produce cruelty or decency. And it will make you feel deeply for the men who return.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Prohibition provides a detailed, engaging postmortem of a very, very bad idea.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    I recommend it heartily: Mark Rylance is spectacular as Cromwell, bringing subtlety and melancholy to a man who was more of a bulldog in real life (as Hans Holbein the Younger painted him), but conveying the terrifying efficiency of his mind all the same.

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