For 507 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 53% higher than the average critic
  • 27% same as the average critic
  • 20% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 8.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Ken Tucker's Scores

Average review score: 76
Highest review score: 100 The Ben Stiller Show: Season 1
Lowest review score: 16 Weird Science: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 507
507 tv reviews
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    In a recent interview, Apatow said that he cast Undeclared before writing the pilot, which may be a key reason why the show is so cohesive: Apatow and his staff had specific acting rhythms in mind, resulting in a show that, right from the pilot, radiates a sure sense of each character's quirks.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Most TV series feel the need to up the ante in their second season, to prove the first one wasn't a fluke. Justified proceeds with such assurance, however, that it can maintain a cool, witty serenity that only enhances its tough-guy drama.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    The series doesn't have a plot so much as a beautifully tangled web of deception, cruelty, and faded hopes. ... There are times when EZ Streets seems like the world's longest Bruce Springsteen video.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Jay Roach, who directed the Austin Powers films and won an Emmy for the HBO political drama Recount, knows from parody and keeps his actors from slipping into it.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Each of the four episodes I've seen is better than the one preceding it.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Brooklyn Bridge is beguiling, simultaneously the warmest and most intelligent new show of the season. It's also a vindication of artistic control in the TV industry.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    [Its] quality has, if anything, improved in its second season.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    [Helen] Mirren is terrific — hard-boiled but never macho; always suggesting a sort of bitter humor. Some of the scenes between Mirren and her enlightened teddy bear of a boyfriend (Tom Wilkinson) are soggy, but most of the time, Prime Suspect ... is wonderfully tense entertainment.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    As a profane peek into current showbiz, Entourage is excellent, dirty fun.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Brooklyn South is a high-intensity street cop show, familiar yet fresh, as if Hill Street Blues had been sampled and remixed by a televisual Sean ''Puffy'' Combs.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Ken Burns' documentary about the "black blizzards" that swept across the Great Plains during the 1930s is at once rigorously sourced and heartbreakingly emotional.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Talking heads such as Daniel Okrent are eloquently pithy. And narrator Peter Coyote is as soothing as a tumbler of fine Scotch.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    The show's energetic fearlessness in depicting someone who is fearful in her loneliness gives Ally McBeal an overriding purpose. The result is irresistible television, whether you experience it as a sexual-differences safari or as a blueprint for your own life.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Its second season has so far been fabulous — even funnier and scarier than the first.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Here's a show that knows how to dive into its final season.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Ellen, now in its fifth season, keeps getting funnier.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    PS3, better than Prime Suspect 2 and just a cut below the superlative original, is the foreign import that gives our cop-show bests-NYPD Blue and Homicide—a lesson in toughness.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    As bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as it was in its first season, Girls may now be even spunkier, funnier, and riskier. [11 Jan 2013, p.80]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 96 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    It's the suspense these two leads endure--a suspense Homeland dramatizes in a swift, sure manner and then transfers to the viewer--that makes this show so unnervingly terrific.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Both writers come off as passionate egomaniacs with literary gifts so undeniable, you can't help but enjoy them.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Rarely does a pilot present a world as completely as Nashville does in its first hour.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    The first season of Real World had a lot of momentum just because of its sheer novelty. The second season began to drag because the El Lay crew proved generally to be self-absorbed bores. But the current Real World benefits enormously from two ticking time bombs: Puck's outrageously boorish behavior, which is destined to set off explosive fights with his roommates; and, more profoundly, Pedro's HIV-positive status, which adds another layer of self-consciousness to this TV project.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    It's as fine a crime show as any that television has produced.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    The show is fortunate to have stars willing to portray modest characters, as George Clooney and Julianna Margulies do; the low-key yet passionate romance between his Ross and her Hathaway has been the series' vital heartbeat.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    For such a determinedly lightweight show, there's something solid, even indomitable, about Friends; to paraphrase that insufferable song, it's there for us.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Here is a show in which the supporting cast has taken over. ... [But] for a show without a center, Cheers is still awfully funny.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    I find myself thinking, Oh, if only these Felicity kids could all go on to grad school together. They are the ensemble you never want to see break up.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    'Scrubs' is a TV rarity: a new sitcom with an original look and point of view, and the merciful absence of a familiar star attempting a comeback.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Rubicon doesn't have the glossy panache of Mad Men or the in-your-face confrontations of Breaking Bad, but I think that's a good thing. It establishes Rubicon as its own distinct creation from AMC.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    I suspect Luck will need its own kind of good fortune to persuade HBO Subscribers to get on its wavelength--to go with the undulating rhythm of its storytelling. But it's worth the effort. [3/10 Feb 2012, p.104]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    In its pilot episode, Chicago Hope looked smart but trite — Trapper John, M.D. with book-learnin'. ... [But David E.] Kelley's writing in [the second] episode is worth any number of Picket Fences.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    At its best, Friends operates like a first-rate Broadway farce, complete with slamming doors, twisty plots, and intricately strung together jokes. And even when it's not at its best, the crack acting and piquant punchlines give Friends a momentum and charm that win you over even if you're not laughing.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    A mighty sitcom bursting with juicy ideas and energy.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Mad Men offers a two-hour season premiere that commences with a muted tone and then explodes in different directions. [23 Mar 2012, p.62]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 66 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    An immensely enjoyable, carefully crafted, well-performed creation. Take it from a viewer who has given every Trek incarnation a try and always come away admiring the concept but disappointed with the execution: Voyager hits pay dirt.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Sure, the new Real World is beating the dead horse of the old one, but its derivativeness carries a fresh sting.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    It not only has all the classic sitcom ingredients but also adds a new, more refined aggression to the mix.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    This series has survived its 15 media minutes as The Hot New Show to become a dependably clever, sexy, sometimes even touching sitcom.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Against all odds, Sports Night is a home run, a hole in one, a touchdown — at once the most consistently funny, intelligent, and emotional of any new-season series.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    This peter Berg-produced show is filmed in a low-key style that makes Roach's life seem all the more dramatic. [27 Jan 2012, p.68]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    As always, Saunders is heroic in her slapstick self-abasement, and Lumley is extraordinary as a pained, haughty beauty gone to glorious seed.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Fringe seems to be going out as alt-world fantasy/sci-fi at its most tough-minded yet humanistic. [5 Oct 2012, p.73]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Sex and violence certainly have their place here, but they're placed in the context of a vivid city that, as dangerous, seamy, and profane as it can be, is a place you want to revisit every week.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    The reason for CSI's success is that it combines a few time-tested TV elements in a fresh way.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    It's another level of pop culture wizardry to make such storytelling seem so vivid, so vital, and just plain fun.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    If the joke is that these guys are deluded hacks, what makes the joke work is that Black (Mars Attacks!) and Gass (The Cable Guy) commit to their material with the demented vigor of true artistes, and they also write and perform really terrific 'bad' songs.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    This dark-tinged show is frequently very funny, never more so than when the pals gather for a diner meal, to whine and tease one another. The dialogue has a cutting crispness; the hour zips along, no matter how logy its antiheroes may become.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    The result is thirtysomething crossed with The Waltons — and I mean that as a compliment.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Juggling the themes of famine, fame, and family, Torchwood: Miracle Day--conceived by series creator Russell T Davies, with some episodes written by Buffy and Dollhouse vet Jane Espenson--makes a smooth transatlantic shift that will, I hope, broaden this marvelous, tense fantasy franchise's audience.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    The Practice remains engrossing because it focuses on the theme that has most interested its creator since he quit being a lawyer to begin writing L.A. Law episodes: ethics.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    The new Justified is so tightly plotted that it finds room for all these characters, as well as episodes shinning a spotlight on the series sterling supporting players. [27 Jan 2012, p.63]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    This isn't your little sister's Felicity — it's a crackling comedy-drama, a caffeinated soap, and Russell is just one now-sleekly shorn member of a vivid, quick-witted ensemble.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    If you think Fringe has forgotten anything in its history/mythology, you underestimate these wily master producers.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Stick with it. Free your eyes to take in the spectacle, and your brain will magically start following the intricate storytelling. And there's a magical realism to Game of Thrones.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    This wonderful docudrama about its [An American Family] making, chronicles a loss of media innocence. [22/29 Apr 2011, p.92]
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    There are times when you wish the jokes in this series were a little funnier, but right now its unique situations — there's comedy gold being mined from Malcolm's gifted-child class of awkward brainiacs — make it distinctive.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Knottily mystifying.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Smart, fast, and confident, Moesha sets a new standard for kid-friendly family entertainment.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Danny McBride's Kenny Powers is back for a wild third season.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    One of the smartest, most charming and funny shows you’re likely to see all year is Catastrophe.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    This so-called “limited series” takes the facts of the Simpson case and, by bending and shaping the emphases of those facts, turns it into a startlingly stirring critique of racism, sexism, and the judicial system that still resonates today. To be sure, the series also contains its share of laughs and excess.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    The Judd Apatow-produced comedy-with-drama is even stronger this time around, featuring a great, complex performance by Gillian Jacobs.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    Better Call Saul has its own tone--it's a different, unique creation.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    A marvelously acted piece. If the subject matter sounds grim, it is, but the production is exciting: well-acted, suspenseful, and moving.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    Season 5 doesn’t feel like more of the same; it feels like a Game of Thrones played at a new, more intense level.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    UnREAL is as hard-boiled and adventuresome as any male-dominated, gritty, “dark” premium-cable show you’d care to throw an Emmy at. The performances by Zimmer and Appleby are amazingly nuanced and layered, especially for a show whose gimmick, Everlasting, insists upon the superficiality of women’s images of themselves.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    The cast here is exceptional.... There are times when the pace of Show Me A Hero becomes predictably metronomic.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    As always, however, the pleasures of Fargo derive from the variety of the characters and the clever wordplay they indulge in. ... Coon and Hawley quickly establish the distinctiveness of Gloria’s character: she’s not as polite as Allison Tolman’s Deputy Molly Solverson in season one, nor as tight-lipped serene as Patrick Wilson’s Trooper Lou Solverson in season two.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    Some of the best aspects of A Year In The Life are the ways the four episodes continue, and deepen, the show’s richest themes.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    I’m happy to report that this cartoon created by Genndy Tartakovsky is as exciting, beautiful, and multilayered as it ever was.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    Better Things gets better--truer and deeper--when Sam is taken by surprise (as when her ex-husband shows up unexpectedly for dinner, or when a pet dies) or when she’s jolted out of her self-absorption by a parental obligation that yields a small revelation for her. Adlon is very good at depicting Sam in mid-mixed-emotions.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    The series hits the ground running, letting the viewer fill in the narrative gaps. In other words, Empire is that rare nighttime soap opera that credits its audience with understanding without a lot of tiresome explanation, and whose purpose is to entertain, to surprise, and to confuse.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    Atlanta, the new half-hour FX series from Donald Glover (Community), is satisfying and exciting on every level.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    Back for a third season, Catastrophe continues to be one of the most incisive and funny portraits of a marriage on television. Or streaming services.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    Morgan and director-producer Stephen Daldry make the show engrossing both as history and as a drama about family ties.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    Adlon’s performance is so good, you get--and want--her in nearly every scene, just to see how she’s going to react: to this kid’s temper tantrum, to that rude producer’s snarky comment. It’s a star vehicle that feels like it’s introducing you to an entire family--and an entire universe you want to inhabit.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    Wolf Hall makes for wonderful television in part by resisting the current trends in wonderful television.... It’s every bit as good as Downton Abbey, and when it comes to moody shrewdness, Wolf has it all over Mad Men.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    A completely engrossing murder mystery, courtroom drama, and family saga.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    A vivid character study, a tense law-firm drama, and an educational deep-dive for any viewer who’d like to learn the ins and outs of what we researchers call “transactional sex.”
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    The pace is deliberate, and there aren’t the kind of laughs that other dramas employ as comic relief. But there’s real wit and propulsiveness in the storytelling Ray McKinnon does in this show.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    These scenes [flashbacks to Weimar Germany], which feature Michaela Watkins doing the best with a tritely anxious, angry character, are the weakest elements of the new season, at once too pat and too melodramatic. But the show benefits from terrific casting in its supporting roles this season, with great turns by Cherry Jones, Richard Masur, Anjelica Huston, and the poet Eileen Myles.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    A tremendously moving documentary.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    The stories gain richness when Dev moves outside his comfort zone.... There is no level on which Master Of None does not bring pleasure.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    The new season of The Leftovers is an exhilarating experience in trying to understand that certain fundamental things cannot be understood.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    Insecure is a show with great confidence--Rae immediately sweeps you up and carries you along on her journey of false starts, little triumphs, and big disappointments.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    The new Roots excels in the naturalism of its performances to make the horror of slavery vividly painful--and the resistance to it uplifting--in a way that deepens the tale.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    A delightful surprise, Great News immediately becomes one of network television’s best sitcoms.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    [Elizabeth is] coming to terms with her own strict upbringing, her longing for her homeland, and her profoundly ambivalent feelings about American permissiveness on the one hand, and the strict discipline of turning her own daughter over to become a tool of the Soviet state. These are the elements that come together in the fine new season of The Americans, giving it more emotional power than ever.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    The New Edition Story is an exceptionally well-made, fast-paced, warts-and-all biopic.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    Jessica Jones proves, as its hours proceed, to be one of the more thoughtful meditations on what it means to be a super-hero, and how Stan Lee’s “great responsibility” mantra can prove to be a deadly curse.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    The precision of the details--the way Broad City lets you think it’s meandering while remaining laser-focused on the timing of the gags and hitting a hilarious crescendo--is a wonder to behold.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    A completely successful attempt to re-position Michael Jackson as a profoundly self-aware artist, as opposed to the freakish and tragic celebrity that he became, Spike Lee’s Michael Jackson’s Journey From Motown To Off The Wall is both thrilling and instructional.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    Quarry is a startlingly good, absorbing new show to sink down into, deeply.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    The Americans does an awfully good job of juggling its numerous subplots.... If there’s a weak spot in the series, it’s that the subplot involving Nina (Annet Mahendru), the Russian KGB agent now in a Soviet prison, seems increasingly extraneous to the show.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Ken Tucker
    Back and as impressively irritating as ever.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 83 Ken Tucker
    Idol is a shamefully addictive cross between Ed McMahon's old "Star Search" and Chuck Barris' hoary, whore-y "The $1.98 Beauty Show."
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 Ken Tucker
    If this third edition of 'BB' isn't as outlandishly amusing as its predecessor ... it's certainly had its moments.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 83 Ken Tucker
    With its debonair, jump-cut editing, Breaking In is a vigorously original, joke-packed bit of fun that could develop into something special. I'm serious, my Wookiee.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 83 Ken Tucker
    The first two episodes of the third season are strong continuations of last season's revved-up pace and who-cares-if-they-get-the-Manhattan-references-in-the-boonies dialogue.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Ken Tucker
    Anyone who has worked in an office can identify with the tribalists' permanent state of exhaustion and paranoid mistrust, so Survivor's chief goal in the upcoming weeks is to make distinctive some of the initially rather bland-seeming participants.

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