James Poniewozik

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For 515 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 42% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 1.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

James Poniewozik's Scores

Average review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 High Maintenance: Season 5
Lowest review score: 0 Dads: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 55 out of 515
515 tv reviews
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The monologue was the sharpest part of Meyers’ first hour on the air (a departure from Fallon, whose monologue has never been his strength)–brisk, punctuated with self-deprecation, and wide-rangingly topical.... The distinguishing thing about the first night of Seth Meyers, in other words, was Seth Meyers, and the hour dropped little hints about how his personality and interests might shape the show.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 58 James Poniewozik
    Eastbound & Down, is a funny show if you don't expect too much.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 James Poniewozik
    For now this show is much more normal--read: mediocre--than it seems to think it is.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 James Poniewozik
    The ideas in The Goode Family are promising, and the era of green consciousness and Hope and Change would seem to provide a target-rich environment. The problem is that the family seems missing from this family comedy: the satire is so pointed and obvious that it gets in the way of developing the Goodes as people--when it doesn't sabotage the characters altogether.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Parenthood shows a funny, affecting, distinctive voice that you'll want to keep listening to.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    Entourage continues to coast in the same zone of amiable purposelessness in which it's spent the last few seasons.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 James Poniewozik
    The decision to build out Krystal’s story is one of the best choices of this adaption, giving depth and shading to a story that more often swings from sourness to melodrama.
    • 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.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 30 James Poniewozik
    Whatever potential The Lottery has to look at the connection between fertility and power, or the timely issues of women’s reproductive autonomy--or a simple dramatic fight over the future of the species--is wasted with flat characters and flimsy political intrigue that plays like a duller version of Scandal.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    Throughout, BrainDead has the goofy-A-student vibe of a particularly saucy public-radio show. The other parts of this mash-up are weaker. The sci-fi plotting is perfunctory. Ms. Winstead is charming, but Laurel is conceived mainly as an audience surrogate, there to roll her eyes for us at the egos in Washington. The pols, like Tony Shalhoub’s boorish Republican senator, are flat characters even before they come down with brain-bugs.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 30 James Poniewozik
    While I know the show has avid fans, this version leaves me cold much like the original does.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 James Poniewozik
    The problem is, where Hugh Laurie's Gregory House is a hilarious character study, Stark--while played with ebullient aggression by Woods--is just another tool in a suit, and neither the characters, the stories nor the writing rise near House's level.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Sophisticated and sympathetic, Unscripted has a lot going for it... But it also finds HBO--the network for people who disdain formulaic TV--falling into a formula.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    Sun, a series adaptation of a British miniseries (which also starred Mark Strong) is, after the two episodes I’ve seen, a unremarkable in itself: a paint-by-the-numbers serious-cable series where all the numbers indicate a shade of black.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The first episode is called “My Struggle,” which aptly describes the experience of sitting through it. It lumbers. It plods. The actors chew sawdusty mouthfuls of expository dialogue.... Thankfully, the second episode shakes the dourness and gives Mulder and Scully more room to breathe. But it’s the third--a comic palate-cleanser in the “monster of the week” vein--that finally recreates the show’s oddball delights.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Making audiences feel weird merely for laughing is a sign of something quite wrong, or quite right; here it's mostly the latter.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 30 James Poniewozik
    Almost none of [the characters] shows signs of becoming an actual person rather than a high-concept joke.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    On CSI, each victim's body is a rich source of detail, a novel in which the investigators read about deception and murder. The lead characters are another matter. They're sexy and likable but self-effacingly undeveloped. The series tosses us a tidbit every now and then--Grissom is a lapsed Catholic, Willows used to be a stripper--but the show is least original when it delves into their private lives.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    while I can't say that it's a great HBO comedy yet--it is not, really, even strictly a comedy in the ha-ha-hilarious sense--it's likeable and absorbing and made me want to stick around for more.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 James Poniewozik
    If the story-through-backstory becomes more compelling, and in the process Bridget and Siobhan become well-enough developed to give Gellar something to do, Ringer might turn around. So far, though, it's just twice as much of a disappointing thing.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    Sheerly as a crime story, Aquarius goes down easy enough, but it lacks particularly fresh ideas either on its setting or its genre.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 James Poniewozik
    Even on the level of it's-just-entertainment, Camelot is exceedingly silly.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    It offers a quiet, empathetic picture from the perspective of Romney and his family of what it’s like for a human being to experience the glare of a modern media campaign and to offer himself up for rejection, twice.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 67 James Poniewozik
    The Parks and Recreation pilot is funny, with mounds of potential. Its problem is that it seems to be actively downplaying its distinctiveness by emphasizing the surface resemblance to The Office.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 James Poniewozik
    The two stars are a delight together.... But they play like sitcom characters plopped down in a cable-dramedy world, delivering dialogue is full of one-liners that feel like they’re setting up studio audience laughter that never comes.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It's an insightful, easy-to-like, low-stakes character dramedy about men coming to terms with their limits. A story for an era of lower expectations, Men of a Certain Age meets its own diminished ones, and surpasses them.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    For all its cheekiness and raunch, Skins has more sweetness than snarky teen soaps like Gossip Girl.

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