James Poniewozik, Time
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For 375 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

  • TV
Average review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Angels in America: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Dads: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 44 out of 375
375 tv reviews
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 58 James Poniewozik
    Eastbound & Down, is a funny show if you don't expect too much.
    • 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.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    Louis-Dreyfus... has a bittersweet charm (and, yes, she can sing), but it's lost amid wacky-neighbor jokes and slapstick.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    For every genuinely surprising image or premise, another is creepy in exactly the way you would expect it to be. ... For a show that prides itself on strangeness, it is the most conventional HBO drama in years.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    There's something missing from this postapocalyptic drama, namely, a realistic feeling of apocalypse.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    From the mood lighting and stirring music to the hot-button story lines to the characters' arias on the august legacy of their show, Sorkin makes running a comedy program seem like negotiating an arms treaty.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    As a glorified romance novel, it's perfectly fine, but don't expect Shakespeare.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    The tumult of Henry VIII's reign, especially the schism between him and the Catholic Church, is rich material, and the soap opera of his multiple wives is naturally absorbing: it's just a crime that Showtime couldn't do better with the material than the thinly written eye candy it came up with.
    • 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.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    Fallon's monologue was understandably nervous and unremarkable joke-wise, but there were glimmers of potential.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    Like many of ABC's post-Lost attempts at serials, this one has a great premise with tremendous potential, but I wish more attention had been paid to fleshing out the characters and generally bringing a fresher voice to the dialogue.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    It's competent. It also seems a little familiar and unnecessary.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    While I like how Lee's laid-back style translates to a police drama, there's not enough here to separate the show from the umpteen other slightly-quirky-guy-solves-crimes cable dramas.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    The message, overall--insofar as you can take a message from one episode of a talk show, which you can't--is that Conan the show is not so much about a reinvention of the talk show form as a restoration of Conan.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    The Palin's in Sarah Palin's Alaska is a possessive. But you could be forgiven for suspecting it's really a contraction--Sarah Palin Is Alaska--or for wondering if someone is hoping for a spin-off: Sarah Palin's America.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    It simply too often feels like an unconvincing portrait of poverty and the Gallaghers, like an English council-estate family plopped in the Midwest. The next two episodes depart more from the original, and suggest the series may find its own voice; on the other hand, they're not nearly as well written.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    With writing and directing by Neil Jordan and Irons in the lead, it has pedigree and promise. And yet The Borgias, besides the glaring Tudors parallels, is one of those shows that seems like it might actually be better if it were worse.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    It was half appealing, with strong chemistry between Kat Dennings​ and Beth Behrs, and half awful, with some egregiously clunky one-liners and borderline (or over the border) offensive ethnic caricatures.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    Life's Too Short can be uncomfortably funny in a familiar way, and if you're OK with the familiarity, you might like it well enough. But the problem with the humor of discomfort, which Gervais pioneered with distinction, is that it doesn't last long when it becomes a comfort zone.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    It still remains to be seen what it looks like as a series; with some stronger writing and deeper character work, it could build on its math-superpower idea to make something intriguing and emotional.