James Poniewozik

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For 545 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 2.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

James Poniewozik's Scores

Average review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Angels in America
Lowest review score: 0 I Wanna Marry Harry: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 56 out of 545
545 tv reviews
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It's all delightfully phony, but will win your faith on charm and panache.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Penny Dreadful is, in a good way, reminiscent of a genre-bending graphic novel.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The Grinder is sharp enough as a showbiz sendup. (To its credit, the legal-drama-within-a-show would be entirely credible as one of the mediocre crop of new network series this fall.) But that element would wear thin pretty quick.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    But after an episode, I'm intrigued. My Generation may end up as bad as the mockumentary it contains, but I'd rather watch it try and fail in its messy ambition than watch the competence of a dozen other new shows this fall.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The show continues striking a good balance with its moments of dark humor.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    While not perfect, [it] manages to be both exciting and--if not exactly realistic--then at least reality-grounded.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The tense pilot suggests the series has a few twists up its sleeve and a cast up to the challenge.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    If you feel like you would like Mildred Pierce, in other words--if this kind of period piece is catnip to you--then I bet you will love Mildred Pierce. If not--well, at least, you might admire Haynes' enthusiasm.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Like many high-concept sitcom pilots, "The Good Place" ... at first seems more like a movie idea (e.g., "Defending Your Life"). But over five previewed episodes, it holds up.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The effervescent Ms. Bloom plays her with intelligence; if she’s deluded, it’s because she’s smart enough to fool herself. The script is less consistent, though, and some of the digs at the exurban setting feel condescending. But the early hits outweigh the misses.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Besides its hulking, gloomy lead and self-absorbed-as-ever foil Cordelia, Angel also borrows Buffy's stylish thrills and its flashes of humor, sharp and surprising as teeth on your neck in a dark alley. Here's hoping it ultimately infuses more originality into the dynastic bloodline as well.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It's a fetching enough prospect and Kudjoe and Mbatha-Raw do a fine job bringing the Blooms alive as a bourgeois couple sharing the joy of feeling really alive again. I also suspect that they could do a fine job with even more.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Fast and aggressive as a Porsche on an L.A. freeway, Action is a little in love with its own transgressiveness, but when it passes up broad, vulgar humor for smart, vulgar humor, it's the best excuse you'll find this fall for kicking the kids out of the living room.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    If what you want from Smash is what the pilot promised--a consistent, network-TV equivalent of mainstream Broadway--season 2 takes the first steps toward being that. The story feels better focused and, with help now from new cast member Jennifer Hudson, the show’s musical moments can deliver the passion and concentrated dream-power the scripts haven’t.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    As a straight-ahead sci-fi tale, it's engrossing: how is this happening, who is doing it to us, and how does it relate to Captain Jack's own blessing/curse of immortality? The social aspects, however, are handled more hamfistedly so far.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Scandal isn't a deep show, but it's bright enough.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The dialogue is at times stagey, and the characters are defined almost entirely through their addictions. But for this last, reality has to share the blame.
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    A suspenseful, hurtling water ride of a TV show.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The overabundance of the first Late Show With Stephen Colbert may be a flaw then, but it’s also the best reason to be excited for the second, and the next hundred. This show may not completely know what it is yet, but it knows exactly who its host is: a smart, curious, playful entertainer who’s delighted to be there.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Especially in the pilot, Scrubs is burdened with every gimmick that Ally McBeal and its offspring have used to simulate comedy--fantasy scenes, gratuitous sex jokes and sound effects. ... But the show also has a dry, unjaded humor.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    While it's not a great TV movie--it's basically a high-class Movie of the Week, a docudrama that dramatizes events you'll recall from the news at the time if you were following it--it's nonetheless a gripping recounting (ha!) of a Presidential drama that was pretty gripping at the time to begin with.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    A singularly apt pairing of subject and writer. ... It is often funny but never exactly fun; it's icier, more rarified and easier to admire than to love. It's also audacious, psychologically acute and beautifully shot.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Technically and visually, Peter Pan Live! delivered. The smartest thing the production did was to be unashamedly stagey.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The series is no longer about the Osbournes, heavy-metal Munsters. It's about the Osbournes, stars of The Osbournes. If watching the family become mainstream media stars is not as weirdly fun as the first season was, it's intriguing in its own way.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    House of Lies is sharp, but not big on subtext.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    while the TV satire is far too broad, the dialogue is wittily written, and Matt LeBlanc--playing himself, inappropriately cast by the network to replace the elderly thespian who originated his role--turns out to be a pleasure to watch.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It's still an acerbically entertaining show that I'll keep watching for now because of the strong cast, because of its gift for the obscene bon mot (a Selina speech edited for political concerns by the White House is said to be "pencil-fucked"), and because I hope it will grow into something more distinctive.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    There you have the magic of Idol: British headmasterly discipline running smack into the preternatural sense of self-esteem--often inversely proportional to talent--that Americans have hardwired into them from the womb. You may wince at Cowell's barbs, but you also welcome them when Abdul or Jackson offers a wimpy "Good job" to a singer who has scraped the fingernails of her ambition down the chalkboard of her limited ability.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It slowly develops into an engrossing look at the methodical nature of police work and the limits of individualism.

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