James Poniewozik
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For 399 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 1.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

James Poniewozik's Scores

Average review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 The Shield: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 The Playboy Club: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 48 out of 399
399 tv reviews
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 James Poniewozik
    Astonishing. ... The Shield did what network cop shows have lately abandoned: it created a richly imagined world with continuing story lines, driven by L.A.'s roiling racial politics--achieving a payoff far bigger than solving the murder of the week.
    • 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.
    • 87 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.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 James Poniewozik
    I can't recommend the series highly enough, particularly for the phenomenal performances by Lewis and Danes.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 James Poniewozik
    It's raw, audacious, nuanced and richly, often excruciatingly funny.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 James Poniewozik
    HBO’s fantasy series is as stirring in its action, as rich in characters, and more sweeping in scope as ever.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 James Poniewozik
    [Louie] was and remains one of the best on TV--in any given week, maybe the best, period.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 James Poniewozik
    There's plenty of action, suspense and sci-fi stuff in Torchwood: COE, but what makes it an unmissable event is how well it sets up its dilemma--a classic conflict over whether the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few--and how maturely it deals with both the morality and the politics of the premise.
    • 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 James Poniewozik
    The changes that have come to Mad Men can be discomfiting to watch. But they're rich with possibility.
    • 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.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    [The Wire's] attention to detail, plus a vast canvas of characters, makes for a dense boulder of a story that moves creakily for the first couple of hours. But once it gets rolling, it's irresistible because of the humanity creator-writer David Simon finds in his characters.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    They have done what many well-intentioned socially minded writers have tried and failed at: written a story that is about social systems, in all their complexity, yet made it human, funny and most important of all, rivetingly entertaining.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    It's worth the effort, not because The Wire is good for you but because it is fantastic entertainment.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    It's ironic that NBC's most original sitcom in years is a remake, but who cares? The Office is a daring, unflinching take on very American workplace tensions.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    Funny, probing and unsentimental, House may shock the systems of viewers used to sweetie M.D.s like ER's Dr. Carter. But as an honest look at techno-medicine and the prerogatives of genius, it's a tonic.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    Thus begins the final season of a cerebral space opera that asks what it means to be human.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    This is law drama such as Boston Legal's David E. Kelley can only dream about.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    It is not just one of the most moving but also one of the funniest shows you will see this year: a sort of post-9/11 M*A*S*H.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    Secrets, threats, Viagra--Big Love was always going to be interesting TV, but what makes it first-rate drama is how confidently it moves past exoticism to the ordinary universals of family life.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    Rapper Sean Combs holds his own as ambitious son Walter Lee Jr., but Phylicia Rashad is devastating as a matriarch trying to hold her family together when a dream deferred turns dangerous.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    Colbert is the series' rock, and a straightman contrast to the constantly yammering Person, his driver. As the stoic enigma and the hopped-up smart-ass speed through the desert landscape, you could almost take Kill for a surreal road comedy.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    The early episodes of season three, though, find SoA retaining what there was to love about it--the well-drawn characters, including the strong women in SAMCRO and its orbit--while expanding the show as well.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    A top-flight cast, including Lizzy Caplan and Martin Starr (and this season, Megan Mullally, stepping in for Lynch), who make the show's scripts play like improv. Above all, the show's ambition to be both raunchily funny and emotionally real to characters who are watching their dreams get older one day at a time.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    This is the funniest sitcom pilot of the fall.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    I've seen two weeks of the season, and so far I'm rapt. In Treatment may be in uncharted ground with its new, original stories, but it remains a show that rewards patience, and patients.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    Watching Game of Thrones is like falling into a gorgeous, stained tapestry. This epic, unflinching fantasy noir takes our preconceptions of chivalry, nobility and magic and gets medieval on them.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    The BBC's The Hour, the best new show this summer.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    Sherlock, which impresses again in the three-episode season that returns on PBS.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    It's all breathtaking in much the way that you'd suspect.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    A satisfying, touching and excruciatingly funny severance package.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    It’s a beautiful downer, a perceptive and acute one, whose empathy distinguishes it from some of its peers.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    By the standards of most TV crime stories, the meditative Rectify may instead seem like too little. But it’s entrancing at showing how, in some circumstances, just getting through a day is drama enough.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    [A] haunting, creepy, and beautiful French series
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    It's an absorbing, beautifully acted story about science, emerging feminism and American culture. But it's also a gamble on the idea that great TV drama can involve stakes that are not sharpened to pointy tips.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    A TV series that’s well-made, thought-provoking, deeply moving.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 James Poniewozik
    Silicon Valley is the funniest out-of-the-box pay cable comedy in a good while.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 83 James Poniewozik
    Daisies has a timeless, picture-book look. It could be set today, in the '30s, in the '70s or in any other decade fond of saturated color. Like Chuck herself, it's a perfect candidate for a second chance: as glowing and lovable as the day we first met it.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 James Poniewozik
    The premise of ABC's Life on Mars is ludicrous but irresistible.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Kids are drawn by the show's loopy slapstick, grownups by its dry (so to speak) wit.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    An improbable, heart-pounding and-tugging mix of fantastical '60s spy chic and emotionally realistic drama ... Ridiculous, over the top but unashamed, it manages to thrill and win our hearts.
    • 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.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The funniest new sitcom of the spring ... What makes Universe funny and not just wacky is that it uses the qualities that endeared viewers to Richter's Late Night persona--the affable, moon-faced cynic--making the character the kind of sweet but snarky dreamer you would want in the next cubicle.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Deadwood is not the next Sopranos. Everyone likes Italian food, whereas this is beef jerky--slow chewing, an acquired taste but substantial. Sometimes Milch's Shakespearean ambitions get away from him, and the story can drag. But the acting is strong.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    A witty, mature drama that can hit both the chest and the heart.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The O.C. looks to have enough heart, talent and wit to generate a few seasons' worth of luxurious suds.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Big Love quickly settles you into its odd setting. The particulars of the Henricksons' lives--their intrigues and secrecy, yes, but also their familiar family dynamics and sincere faith--are presented, simply and unpatronizingly, as the reality of the show's universe.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The dialogue's still pulpy, but its action story is the bomb.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Shot intimately with handheld camera, it's a moving but unsentimental celebration of community, of pulling together not just because it's right but also because it's necessary.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The show is filled with Lettermanesque non sequiturs and '70s pop-culture arcana... but it has heart too.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The morals of this provocative show are as intriguing as its cases.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The realism doesn't extend to the exaggerated characters and plots, but if you focus on the sharp dialogue (and aren't an easily worried parent), these students earn a solid ... B.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The pilot... iis actually the least funny of the three episodes I saw; in the other two, "Sarah" and the other characters are much better developed and the stories hang together better. Still, it's an acquired tastelessness.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    It's far-fetched. It's outlandish. You will think you are too smart to get suckered in by it, but give it a few minutes and you will be proved wrong.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    It's also, judging by the pilot, flawlessly art-directed, full of well-chosen period music and--for a drama about a country searching for its bearings in its bicentennial year--a lot of fun.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The five episodes NBC sent out don't, to my eye, reach the heights Chuck hit toward the end of its season 2 run. But after a major change in the show's premise--rather than being a sad sack nerd dragged into the spy-life, Chuck is now a certified ass-kicker, thanks to getting some superpowered brainwaves--the show successfully changes gears while keeping everything that's best about it.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Packing a sharp designer shiv, this clever saga of haves vs. have-mores proves the East Coast can be as enjoyably sudsy as the West.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    High School Musical 2's audience already knows how this movie ends. But they'll watch and re-watch because it has such an unembarrassed good time getting there.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    It's an uneven Coen Brothers--like mix of dark comedy and darker moral drama, but Cranston is amazing as a desperate, conflicted gangsta-nerd.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    This My Name Is Girl concept may be outlandish, but Ex List is also fresh and raunchily funny (there's a scene in the pilot comparing feminine waxing choices to historical figures--the "Hitler," the "Gandhi") and Reaser is winning and adorable.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    All this has the potential to be a little corny, but Ladies' is that rare show that manages to be uncynical without being cloying.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Interspersed with cover songs, Spectacle is an engaging showcase for a curious mind.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Bored to Death is good, very good--but it's pilot isn't, so it wouldn't be terrible to miss it or see it late.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    I will say that the show really has a handle now on Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), who comes across as an overzealous but sympathetic bureaucrat, not a ninny. That it is doing an excellent job of finding things for its supporting characters to do, suggesting it may someday have the bench strength of a show like "The Office. "
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    While it's not as knock-your-socks-off as the pilot (while retaining some of the same problems), it continues to show why, at its best, this is the freshest and most joyful new show of the year.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Parenthood shows a funny, affecting, distinctive voice that you'll want to keep listening to.
    • 87 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The clever, engaging script and Blonsky's performance--plus the refreshing idea of a teen drama not entirely populated by assembly-line pinups--promise a summer diversion with a little more than usual dramatic meat on its bones.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The first episode is, maybe to grab the young-guy audience, heavier on the sexplay and lighter on the laughs. But two or three episodes in, the characters and dynamics come together, and the show really begins to kill. Literally and figuratively, but mostly figuratively.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The result is a new-style western that's both entertaining and as mesmerizing as Givens' cold-blooded speech to the crook with the scattergun.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Rubicon is not a show for the impatience, and it has the kind of ambitions that could set viewers up for a letdown. But so far, I admire its intelligence.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    I hope it's not an old-man thing to say, and that you don't have to be an old man to appreciate it, but the truth that Men understands is that just getting through the day is drama enough. Here's looking forward to another year.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Like its characters themselves, Terriers has higher aims, but its appeal comes from being likeable and familiar. It balances its running storyline with individual cases, carried largely by Logue and Raymond-James' charm.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    If The Walking Dead can build on its promise and run with these ideas, along with unflinching gross-out thrills, it can tell a doomsday story with all the things zombies crave: brains, guts and heart.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Some elements are so Showtime-comedy-like (the eccentric teen child, e.g.) as to seem a little repetitive. But the show depends above all on Laura Linney's performance, and so far it's entrancing.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    It starts and finishes strong, and in between, it passed the most important test this non-boxing-fan could hold it to: when I finished one episode, I immediately wanted to put another in.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    On paper, it sounds like another sitcom dedicated to the tired idea that relationships are forced on men like collars on dogs, the leashes held by annoying, fun-killing women. And yet I enjoyed the show more watching it than I find I am describing it.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The first two new episodes are better focused and often affecting but don't quite cohere, possibly in part because of the mop-up work left after the whirlwind of season four. The third episode sent to critics, however, is one of the strongest the show has done in a while, possibly since the excellent third season.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The Killing itself is a slow burn, or rather drizzle. Three episodes in, I can tell you that I'm drawn in by the characters and eager to see a fourth; I can't guess whether the story is finally going to be satisfying, and the show is deliberate and sparing in parceling out details on the case.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The second season, beginning in 2006, about a year after the last, will probably not change minds among lovers or haters. There's somewhat more capital-D drama to the early episodes.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    If Downton's staging and dialogue can be too on-the-nose, the characters are still drawn with great subtlety.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Yes, satirizing the suburbs is an age-old theme in entertainment, but Suburgatory feels like it's thought through what specifically there is to say about the burbs of 2011. And so far, I like the way it says it.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    There's a sweet, good-hearted minuteness of observation to the show, which manages to work in middle-of-the-night wakings and diaper changes without going for obvious gags.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Prohibition provides a detailed, engaging postmortem of a very, very bad idea.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Luck too is far from perfect, but I found a lot to love in its rough edges.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Awake manages something impressive: it focuses unflinchingly on the subject of loss, yet manages to be not a downer or painful to watch, but moving, absorbing and even hopeful.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    A low-key but moving documentary about these two low-key people and their moving struggle.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The people around Jackie made me stick with this show even when its main storyline was going nowhere, but now that it's committed to really engaging with its title character, it's become appointment TV for me again.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    It is, in other words, one more cable reality show about fabulous women. But in this case, the same old reality show is a refreshing change.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Nashville's was the one that made me most excited to see more episodes of the series and see how its world unfolds.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    As a documentary, Vito is fairly straightforward, but by finding a thread connecting Russo's life, his passions and his times, it manages to be something more.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    While it's a rough, sometimes grim, process, it feels that much more well-earned when, at the end of the first episode, one student, Bobby–who struggled to speak for himself in mock interviews–visits a future class to report that he's held a carpentry job for a month.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    In its early hours, Last Resort lays in enough plot and character provisions to potentially last a long, long journey.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    So far it works.... Asylum feels like a more focused, if equally frenetic, screamfest. It's also gorgeously realized.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The Witness films are interesting not just for the external drama but the internal stories of the photographers, who try to explain what led them to seek out this thrilling but potentially deadly work.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    It's not a movie for music geeks, in the sense of unpacking the band's influences or closely analyzing how their songs worked. Instead it links the music to the members' stories, trying to capture how the electricity of the group's personalities created art. It's not a revelation, but it's an intimate story of the band.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The Dust Bowl is a powerful documentary about what human efforts can achieve and what short-term thinking can wreak.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    House of Cards isn't wholly original. But it is supremely confident.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    It's intriguing and promising that season four kicks off with another detour–this time into the past–that connects to Harlan County here and now.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Beyond the cat-and-mouse international intrigue, which deepens after the pilot, The Americans has an absorbing personal story to tell--one as familiar yet unusual as its aliens-among-us protagonists.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Over the first four episodes, Family Tree doesn’t have the gut-busting, excruciatingly funny moments of Guest’s movies--no Stonehenge here--but it adds a warmth to the usual pathos of his characters, and O’Dowd’s hangdog charm is a good match for the story.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    What’s most compelling about The Bridge is that it emphasizes not the psychology or forensics of the case but its context.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The show becomes more engrossing as is spins out from her story, fleshing out the inmates, their backstories, and their alliances. You may come for the culture-clash cringe-comedy; it’s the real human stories that will have you captivated.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Brooklyn Nine-Nine is easily the fall’s strongest comedy pilot, clever, appealing, feeling thought-through and lived in after only a half-hour.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The charming pilot swerves quickly from the expected Bravo-reality-show-catfight scenario and becomes something more complicated and rewarding: a good-hearted comedy about an extended family (including Pete’s two ex-wives) figuring out how to make itself work on the fly.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    In the three episodes sent to critics in advance, Community sounds like itself again.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Refreshingly, Looking doesn’t contort itself to create a character to represent every different aspect of “the gay experience.”
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    While Broad City is not heartwarming comedy, there’s an undertone of need and connection between them that helps their friendship make sense: Ilana needs Abbi’s dependability, Abbi needs Ilana to give her a kick into gear. Together, they give the early episodes an off-kilter sense of fun that recommends sticking around for more. Broad City is not the next Louie yet, nor should it try to be, but it’s a promising version of itself.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    It’s a first draft told by a first responder, with no time for niceties. But it is deepened and rounded out by some remarkable supporting performances, especially a fantastic Jim Parsons as Tommy, a warmhearted activist volunteer.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    In each one [hour] that we do see, there’s a sense of urgency in the face of change, of characters figuring they have maybe one more chance to get themselves where they want to be.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    As the series itself develops (it was somewhere in episode 3 that I really got on board), all these broad-strokes characters add together into a more complex whole.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The first newscast did feel simultaneously long and breathless, maybe because there was little to vary it or break up the topic segments.... But it was a funny, confident start.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Even the best version of The Leftovers, if it proves a complete creative success, will not be a show for everyone. Yet it believes fervently, messily, heartbreakingly, that even two percent of everyone means more than you can imagine.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    There’s a certain amount of melodrama in the premiere (which is all that was previewed for critics), but the beginning fits a fair amount of nuance into a package that could have been a soapbox. Ireland in particular gives Christine fine shading, and the way that race plays into the story--and into Adam’s career ambitions--feels more natural than engineered.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    What works about The Honorable Woman is how well its particular story and larger themes echo each other: trust and mistrust, hope and disappointment, resentment and revenge, repeating for generations.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    The result is the most promising show in years for Starz, which since Party Down’s glory days has focused on blood-heavy spectacles like Spartacus and Black Sails or morose antihero dramas like Boss and Magic City.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 James Poniewozik
    Gotham is not reinventing the dark cop show, or the dystopian drama, or the superhero genre. But it combines them in a way that’s invigorating–and, honestly, it’s probably better than a new series with this built-in fanbase needed to be.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 James Poniewozik
    Its stripped-from-the-tabloids approach is nothing new, but it's well done, and a little familiarity won't hurt the show's chances.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 James Poniewozik
    Like a successful patient, the show has learned and grown, becoming more reliably compelling.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Poniewozik
    The new episodes quickly jump back in, with higher stakes and sharper jokes, and creator Josh Schwartz hasn't let the strike stop him from developing Chuck's character.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 James Poniewozik
    There are signs that the premise may not sustain for long (the title, after all, gives it only a week), but it still shows that a good pratfall is the universal language.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 James Poniewozik
    Lie to Me's pilot is brisk anthropological fun.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Poniewozik
    If The Good Wife can maintain the first episode's tone, it will keep an audience even after political sex scandals fade from the news.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 James Poniewozik
    It's a promising comedy about a shallow man trying to make his life right, one bad deed at a time.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It's not essential anymore, but it's still welcome.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Curb, meanwhile, stopped being appointment viewing for me a couple seasons ago, but it threatens to become so again.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It slowly develops into an engrossing look at the methodical nature of police work and the limits of individualism.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It's worth hopping on this poetic, profane story of frontier money lust before it rides into the sunset.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Nip/Tuck is neither pretty nor perfect, but it is a provocative, painfully funny drama--warts and all.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    [Joan is] the most extraordinarily average teen to crop up on a TV show in years--yet after a few episodes, you realize you would watch her story even if God stopped showing up.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    As entertainment, The Apprentice is not quite Survivor--hype aside, Manhattan can't out-jungle the jungle--but it's much more exciting than Burnett's take on the dining business in The Restaurant. The challenges, which make up the bulk of the episodes, are cleverly designed and guarantee dramatic sparks.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It's all delightfully phony, but will win your faith on charm and panache.
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Imperfect but chilling.... In the end, Sleeper Cell is every bit as nailbiting as 24, with one crucial difference: neither the terrorists nor the Feds are supergeniuses.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    While not perfect, [it] manages to be both exciting and--if not exactly realistic--then at least reality-grounded.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    What Prison Break lacks in plausibility--basically, everything--it makes up for in plotting, pacing and panache.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    None of these [new sci-fi] series matches Lost's mix of character, wit and story, but the grim Invasion at least has the story part down, and keeps the horror at a nicely restrained simmer
    • 45 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Good-hearted, eccentric and wry, Ride goes nowhere fast, but it has a fine time getting there.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The show's conversational improv rhythms and realistic, documentary style make Sons and Daughters worth adopting.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Deadpan and gorgeously shot, The Hills is an addictively watchable visit to the cool kids' table.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Has the same quick-cut look, crisp dialogue and bone-crunching game scenes [ast the movie].
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    For all the show's cartooniness, its gender-conscious take on the TV business is actually more sophisticated [than Studio 60's].
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Drive is an audacious, exhilarating enough concept, and its pace and writing snappy enough, to make you want to believe.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    This loose, wry sitcom makes a crackling love connection.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It's a drama of chance with enough charm to roll the dice on.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Like its endearingly flawed protagonist, Ugly Betty is promising but not perfect.
    • 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.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It's highly entertaining.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    I'm interested but not engrossed, though it offers the potential for a change-up in the Dexter storyline.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Margulies vanquishes her ER heroine image, but bad dialogue and dull legal stories undermine her case.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    So far, it's carried mostly on the scary-eyed charisma of Summer Glau as John's robo-protector. This grim Chronicles needs to put some flesh on its humans.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The writing is uniformly strong and Byrne excellent not only at reading Paul's dialogue but conveying what he's withholding--his true feelings about his patients, his inner turmoil over his disintegrating home life. But the storylines vary wildly from riveting to tedious.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The first couple of episodes, in which Hank tries to be monogamous with his ex, offer some promise, but for me the show is still works better for its pithy little scenes.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The band has a refreshing scruffiness but except for Joe gets too little screen time to leaven the formula slickness.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    A sharp if uneven Whitmanian sampler.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    While not as mind-blowing as the last season's finale (which had me finally buying into the show after a season on the fence), does a good enough job continuing to run with the parallel-universe scenario established toward the end of season one.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    While it's haunting, cerebral and gorgeous, it's also a little cold, though the flashes of humor help. Like its actives, it's a marvelous piece of engineering. But I hope it develops a personality of its own.
    • 79 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.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The show continues striking a good balance with its moments of dark humor.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The opening episodes are uneven but show a lot of potential.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Some of the later episodes (I've seen four) are uneven, and the stories sometimes have the feel of standup riffs literally adapted for the screen. But even those can be funny and well-observed.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It is, by default, one of the better new shows on the big networks, and it does what it's trying to do very well. But what it's trying to do is very limited in its aims and upside.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It's fun if a little forgettable, and the joy it takes in its characters discovering their new powers so far works better than the fairly familiar parent-child conflicts and midlife crises that play out in the background.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Rather than titillate you with how dangerous Bob's life and position are, the show focuses on how sad, and oddly romantic, his torn-between-two-lovers situation is. And in the pilot, at least, it doers a very good job.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The show has become a little like legal 24 for me: lots of talent and strong performances, but it has increasingly seemed to strain to up its stakes in its one-case-a-season format.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It has some voice and verve, but it's definitely no Shield yet--either in content or innovation--and like a new rookie on patrol, I'm putting it on probationary status for now.
    • 73 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Within Falling Skies' limited ambitions is some decent popcorn entertainment.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    For all its cheekiness and raunch, Skins has more sweetness than snarky teen soaps like Gossip Girl.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    While the first two episodes of Portlandia are hit-and-miss, its good-natured satire generally hits, as they say, pretty close to home.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    This is all a long way of saying I'm glad to see that, in SoA's fourth-season debut, the show hasn't just returned to its setting of Charming, California. It also returns, slowly, to Jax's realization that he doesn't want his life to be Abel's, and that he wants a way out.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    What gives Revenge the potential to last as an ongoing series (after all, doesn't Emily have to run out of victims?) is the well-drawn characters and the sense that Emily does have a conscience beyond the desire for payback.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    I've now seen three episodes of Wilfred, however, and I think this bizarre, dark yet oddly good-hearted series has legs. Four of them, at least.
    • 69 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    For now, it's an enticing cupcake, but I want to see if it's more than frosting all the way down.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The Walking Dead is starting season 2 much more strongly than it ended season 1.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It's a big download of fever-dream melodrama, but strong casting goes a long way toward selling it.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The Rosie Show is nothing revolutionary, but it does as much as reasonably can be expected of a talk show in its first week, and--thanks to the experience of its star--has the feeling of a show that's been on the air for months longer.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    House of Lies is sharp, but not big on subtext.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    A pretty good sketch show.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    A suspenseful, hurtling water ride of a TV show.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Scandal isn't a deep show, but it's bright enough.
    • 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.
    • 62 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    While the pilot didn't blow me away, there's enough in its premise (the mob comes to Las Vegas in the early '60s), its casting (Michael Chiklis as a gangster and Dennis Quaid as his sheriff adversary) and its seeming ambition that make me more interested in it than in most new shows this fall.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Despite some flat performances, the show does a better job than I might have expected bringing a 20th-century broadcast-TV icon down to 21st-century cable size.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The premise is different from Gilmore but the theme of starting over, the snappy dialogue and the offbeat charm are very similar.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    What the pilot does have is simple charm, and enough laughs to give me a gut feeling that this show can build on the setup of a brother-sister pair who, between the two of them, make approximately one functional adult.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    In all, it's a polished pilot, but one that will have to ground its characters better to work as a series.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Overall, the season stands up well next to any sitcom on the air now; a few episodes were meandering slogs, but a few others are among the funniest, best-executed sitcom episodes I’ve seen this season.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It’s a potentially interesting way of dramatizing and heightening the state of small-town claustrophobia: what if this little place, which seemed like the whole world, suddenly essentially became the entire world?... That’s the biggest potential strength of Under the Dome. A weakness is that few of its characters are instantly memorable or distinctive; there’s a kind of generic, TV-commercial homogeneity to the Chester’s Mill we first see.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Maybe the most encouraging thing about this intriguing but imperfect Young Norman Bates Adventures show is that, in a time when dramas are determined to hook viewers with rapid-fire twists, it takes its time answering.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Though the first episodes of the season don’t find a lot of complexities in its characters (the rebel captain, the wicked chieftain, the feisty warrior-woman), it is animated by historical ideas.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It can be claustrophobic; it can be, as Marc’s Twitter hater tells him in the first episode, “whiny.” But it can also be quite funny, as Maron’s instinctive kvetchiness runs up against the practicalities of life.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    At moments, it’s like [Season 3 of] Homeland blew up not just CIA headquarters but season 2 itself. That is, it’s a version of what it might have been like if--as was apparently the original plan--Brody’s explosive vest did go off in that government shelter at the end of season 1. And it works, mostly, at least for the two hours of the season’s beginning.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The show, starring Six Feet Under’s Rachel Griffiths (as the camp manager going through a divorce from her husband/business partner), has sweetness and good-hearted humor.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    The first episode is zippy, slick-looking, and Whedonistically funny. It also seems much more limited in its ambitions than Whedon’s past TV shows; it seems to be set up largely as a procedural in which the agents defuse various threats of the week.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    I’m less sure what the season will do with the potentially volatile racial themes the premiere hints at. But AHS seasons have always thrived on the philosophy of risk and excess. So far, the first episode of Coven is a stylish introduction (complete with black hats).
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Francis needs a stronger nemesis, if not for the sake of justice then for the sake of excitement. And House of Cards would be a greater show if it had characters who were people more than game pieces. Still, on its limited terms, it’s absorbing to watch as a story of, in Underwood’s preferred metaphor, the climb up Washington’s “food chain,” one with two kinds of creature: hogs at the trough, and hogs to the slaughter.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    Penny Dreadful is, in a good way, reminiscent of a genre-bending graphic novel.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It’s way too soon to say whether this jumble works, but it’s promising that Extant‘s premiere seems confident enough to play it cool and mysterious rather than hammer us with holy-crap moments.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It may well not be your thing, but if it is, the first four episodes of The Strain have enough stylish gore, enough well-paced mystery and little enough self-seriousness to keep you watching, giggling, through your fingers.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It’s often funny, but it’s not infallible. A lot of the first episode plays like a sketch-show bit that drags on too long, tees up giant stereotypes and goes for easy “Wouldn’t it be funny if Jesus did ____” gags.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    It doesn’t have the distinctive voice and language that David Milch gave Deadwood, though, and the writing isn’t always up to the distinctive direction and performances. The show grows on you, though, or it did on me.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 James Poniewozik
    There’s a lot of thread here, and less time than usual to knit. In the first three hours anyway, there’s too much Empire, too little Boardwalk.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 67 James Poniewozik
    There are, maybe, some hopeful signs. The series seems to have given up on trying to create a bigger WMD for every season, which it needed to do. The political subplot—new president Cherry Jones wants a humanitarian invasion of a Darfur-like African country but is being undermined—is intriguing and a bit different for the show.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 67 James Poniewozik
    it's a solid episode of The Office, which picks up with the Pam's pregnancy storyline the last season ended on, though I won't get into the details of how.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 67 James Poniewozik
    Summer Heights High is not a perfect comedy, and those offended by crossed boundaries will feel their boundaries crossed. But it's a welcome, if sometimes familiar, HBO comedy while we wait for the return of "Flight of the Conchords."
    • 72 Metascore
    • 67 James Poniewozik
    Predictable but pithy, Wife takes itself no more seriously than the Hollywood-haves it skewers.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 67 James Poniewozik
    In the early Season 2 episodes, the strain shows in the songs, which service the plot but aren't as memorable as the old ones. But the scripts are as funny and tightly written as ever.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 67 James Poniewozik
    Because of Lewis' brilliant portrayal of the eccentric Charlie, the show is perfectly enjoyable. It's just not compelling, mainly because the ongoing story of Charlie's search for justice is so isolated from the rest of the show that it seems meant for bathroom and snack breaks.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 67 James Poniewozik
    In all, not a great debut, but one with potential, and it shows off Grier's versatility well.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 67 James Poniewozik
    But mostly, the show improved--in my eyes, anyway--by doing well enough by what was good about it that I could simply ignore the weaker stuff.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 67 James Poniewozik
    Kings is fascinating pretentious hoo-ha.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 67 James Poniewozik
    It's a refreshing take and an interesting effort, if finally not quite a compelling one.
    • 59 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 67 James Poniewozik
    Some of the supporting characters need work (especially a too sitcommy administrator played by Anna Deavere Smith), and some patients-of-the-week veer into clichés. But Falco is outstanding as a living reminder that you meet angels only in the next life.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    This is war as it happened, brutal and random, and in re-creating it Brothers captures viscerally the extraordinary sacrifice of a generation of ordinary men. ... But unlike [Saving Private Ryan], which bared its fictional GIs' souls, Brothers fatally neglects to turn its cast into distinguishable characters.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The humor is minutely observed, but the improv reminds you how much nonactor Jerry Seinfeld benefited from comic backup and tight scripts.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The writing is uneven... but the idea is audacious enough to keep you following the loose threads.
    • 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.
    • 69 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.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    If the writing can rise to [Harrison's and Hall's] performances, The Loop could take flight.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    You may feel the faith-and-family themes could be handled better on cable--mainly because they have been.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The cast is startlingly good... given that the actors have to deliver lines like "I think we're looking at a four-dimensional object--in three- dimensional space!"
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    It's an all-around high-class production. And yet, after watching two episodes, I had much the same thought I did after seeing a few minutes in May: the show basically seems like a stretched-out Law & Order episode.