For 507 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 53% higher than the average critic
  • 28% same as the average critic
  • 19% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 10.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Ken Tucker's Scores

Average review score: 75
Highest review score: 100 The Sopranos: Season 2
Lowest review score: 16 Duckman: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 507
507 tv reviews
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    The arc of this character--series creator Vince Gilligan's invention of Walter White as a sick soul--is, it's clear now. one of the great narratives in Television histpory. [13 Jul 2012, p.62]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    A sparky new season.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Life With Bonnie teems with so much clever give-and-take and nonstop action it feels as if each half hour is going to burst.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    It's this series' unique take on realism that can be positively transporting.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    In a television landscape where the high jinks of characters like the Fox network's Parker Lewis often define high school life, Degrassi stands out as the thirtysomething of the book-bag set.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    The first thing that watching new episodes of Fox's finally returning Andy Richter Controls the Universe does is confirm how utterly lame 98 percent of all other network sitcoms are. The next thing watching them does is make you laugh really hard.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Outspoken yet charismatic, politically radical yet traditionalist in his love of family, the man is captured in all his complexity.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    It's TV's richest, most satisfying experience.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    In theory, it all sounds pretty corny and contrived. In practice, The Real World proves to be by far the most beguiling and involving piece of programming MTV has ever offered.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    The new Sopranos is as good as it's ever been -- ruthlessly emotional, cuttingly funny and frightening.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    The pleasure to be taken from 'Office' isn't merely that of laughter -- it's the pleasure of watching a piece of entertainment so perfectly made and so delicately acted.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Tremendously clever fun, Masterpiece Mystery! presents the first of three modernizations of the Sherlock Holmes tales.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    There are many ways in which Ed, the best new show of the season, could have been perfectly awful.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    This is one of the sharpest, most purely pleasurable television series ever. ... What began in 1987 (as animated filler between sketches on The Tracey Ullman Show) has become one of the medium's most dependable entertainments, a cartoon that transcended cartoonishness a long time ago.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Depending on the situation, Louis-Dreyfus brings various combinations of excessive zeal, profane rage, piteous desperation, and unwarranted arrogance, all of it never less than beguiling.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    [A] beautifully crafted, tough-minded hour ... I'll Fly Away has already lived up to its hype as the season's strongest new drama.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Quite aside from the fact that, snicker for snicker, belly laugh for belly laugh, it's probably the funniest show on television, Seinfeld is also one of the purest of all TV-viewing pleasures. This sitcom ... is blissfully free of creaky plots, trumped-up romances, and wise-mouthed kids. ... You get the feeling these days that Seinfeld, [Larry] David, and frequent director Tom Cherones are striving for a show in which the laughs flow with unceasing ease. Each week, they get a little closer; be there when it happens.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    The funniest sketch-comedy series since SCTV, In Living Color is also the hippest show on TV.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    C.K. is writing, directing, and starring up a storm here, and his usual opening-segment stand-up routine, involving nearsightedness, is funnier than most sitcoms are in an entire season.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    The best new series that few people in America are likely to watch. ... Stiller and his small cast of writer-players ... don't make fun of one thing at a time: They combine their subjects, creating rich layers of ridicule.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    After you watch a Larry Sanders show, the rest of television seems like it's on Prozac — smooth and edgeless, where Sanders is prickly and nervous.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    The second season of Murphy Brown was even better than the first, expanding the parameters of its characters' behavior and providing lots of belly laughs.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Laura Dern and Mike White continue their bold, hilarious, tremendously moving exploration of Amy Jellicoe's ongoing attempt to give meaning to her life. [18 Jan 2013, p.74]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    It possesses a different rhythm from any other show on TV. [13 Apr 2012, p.73]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    How pleasurable it is to really care about a TV series, to the point of (national) obsession.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Larry Sanders has always contained an undercurrent of tragedy in its portrait of a pathetically insecure man whose work is his life, and whose life is one long, uncomfortable commercial break. Fearlessly, Shandling and his cowriters are pushing Larry to the edge.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    A series with as much emotional punch as The Sopranos.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    thirtysomething has always been agreeably open-ended, full of rambling, shaggy-yuppie stories that never conclude decisively. That's what drives some viewers up the wall, and entrances others.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    The whole show is complicated in a fun, brain-teasing way, and having seen the second episode, I can say it only gets funner. I know that's not a word, but I'm saying it anyway.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    It has the best tough-guy dialogue around and an acting ensemble that's ferociously effective. Face it: Homicide is a killer.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    The most extraordinary show of the new TV season. ... It is a blessed relief that Life portrays things that have become 'issues' -- teenage drinking, unwanted sexual advances -- without turning them into moments of preachment. ... And I haven't even made it clear that this is also a really funny show. Just watch this thing, will you?
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    The Simpsons has never been better. At a time when half-hour TV comedy is reaching a new level of self-referential daring — you can't fully appreciate the intricate, in-joke pleasures of great shows like NBC's Seinfeld and HBO's The Larry Sanders Show unless you've also watched a lot of really bad TV — The Simpsons continues to emphasize that there's a big world out there that television barely touches upon.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Abrams and Lindelof have created one of only two new shows this season at the end of which I was yearning to see a second hour right away. (The other is ABC's "Desperate Housewives": It could be hoot heaven, could be labored camp.) I was tempted to hedge on my final grade, because Lost is the kind of show that could go anywhere. Then I realized that's exactly why I should commit to the ride.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    A six-hour miniseries so ripe with abrupt violence, lush illogic, and slashing humor that it makes most of [Oliver Stone's films] look like -- well, like bad TV movies. ... In its length, scope, sweeping visual tableaux, and over-the-top passion, Wild Palms is more like an opera than a TV show. But then, it's also more like a TV show than the series to which it's most likely to be compared: Twin Peaks.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Roseanne remains endlessly watchable: startling, funny, and complicated.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    The Larry Sanders Show is all tension, cynicism, profound shallowness, and naughty-boy bonding — it's just the way you imagine life behind a big-time TV talk show to be, except infinitely funnier.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    One of the best things about the second season of Frasier is the way the series has come to mix its high and low humor.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    No show this side of Seinfeld loves the language of conversation (the wisecrack, the pun, the withering retort, and the muttered aside) as much. ... Week in and week out, Buffy just slays me.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Right now, the show is probably as good as it's ever been.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    The series is full of surprises ... And as Tony, Gandolfini gives a magnificently shrewd, wary performance. If, like me, you thought you never wanted to watch another Mob story, be sure to check this out.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    In the last third of the season, NYPD Blue was as good as it's ever been: more action to go with the already terrific dialogue; more unexpected twists from a show that could have easily let up on its twisting in its second season. ... If you tuned away from NYPD when [David] Caruso left, now's the time to catch up.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    If you think Garry Shandling must be running out of ways to deconstruct show business, you're wrong. This will probably prove the most fearless half hour of comedy all year.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Once and Again is worth viewing again and again. This subtle family drama has recently risen to greater heights of emotional richness.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    A terrific blastoff. ... Groening, deeply influenced by the paranoid fantasies of writer Philip K. Dick, the dystopian surrealism of the Firesign Theatre, and every cornball sci-fi movie, creates an airy atmosphere ripe for satirizing our love of computer technology.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    This season, the show's only gotten better — deeper, richer, more true to its guiding intention of presenting people with Texas twangs as something other than the media cliche of rubes with bad taste.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    There's a lot to love about Murder One, bless its parodically sleazy, shrewdly opportunistic, talent-engorged heart.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Instantly addictive.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    [Herskovitz and Zwick] have transcended their occasional tendency toward both pretension and sentimentality to come up with a brave, bracing show — one that is, like their previous work, unafraid to make white, middle-class, suburban people look like the infuriating, interesting wrecks they so often can be.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    The X-Files is hitting the ground running—albeit knee-deep in murk and murder, conspiracy and cosmic confluences.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    This may be the first TV show since Pee-wee's Playhouse to treasure youth even as it embodies all of its contradictions, craziness, hopes, and fears (and I'd like to point out that Freaks is the only hour-long sitcom I've ever seen that sustains funniness for its full 60 minutes).
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Who killed Laura Palmer? Many viewers, tired of the hype, are saying, Who cares? I say it too, but as praise. Plot is irrelevant; moments are everything. Lynch and Frost have mastered a way to make a weekly series endlessly interesting.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Seinfeld is now a revitalized show, snappy and gratifyingly complicated once more.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    This series has become as dependably amusing as any show on television.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Hannigan gets a preemptive EW Emmy award for best supporting actress this year. Whether weeping over a breakup with her werewolf boyfriend, Oz (Seth Green), or offering dating advice to Buffy suitor Riley Finn ('She likes cheese!'), this Willow does not bend from the challenges she's been handed.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    It's becoming obvious that The Simpsons, now in its second season, isn't just a product of media hype: Matt Groening's cartoon family is one of the few current works of popular art that possess wit and integrity.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    The terrific thing about the new season, starting with the introduction of Weaver [Laura Innes], is that personalities on ER have become as complicated and messy as brain surgery.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Well into its third season, X-Files shows no sign of flagging inspiration; its ability to find paranoia in the paranormal appears to be limitless.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Miraculous ... One of the myriad greatnesses of The Sopranos is that, to paraphrase the Godfather paraphrase that Steven Van Zandt's Silvio frequently quotes, it keeps pulling you back in — back in on yourself, appealing to your basest instincts, to your fundamental urge to hear a bloody story well told.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    The playful atmosphere of Now and Again provides a blissful kick unlike anything else in prime time.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Homicide seems to have found just the right balance: Almost every week, it is as well acted and tough-minded as it ever was, while also offering the sort of snappy stories that can grab any viewer looking for merciful relief from the mannered eccentricity of that icky Picket Fences.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Lean and gratifyingly mean ... uncommonly sharp.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    It's loose and rambling; its dramatic climaxes don't coincide neatly with the conclusion of any given episode. Its dialogue, overseen by creator David Simon ... is so good it often sounds improvised. One criticism of the show I've read is that it's repetitive (in showing the slow process of how the police bring down bad guys). But what those critics don't get is that those qualities are exactly what make 'The Wire' the funkiest cop show on TV.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Ken Tucker
    Six hours of raucous laughter, bone-rattling suspense, and god-awful tragedy. ... The Corner is a marvel of craft.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    There's a sense in which the lag in time between the third and fourth seasons has resulted in scripts that have been too carefully crafted; the ironies and parallelisms are sometimes overworked, excessively neat. ... Still, 'The Sopranos' -- bursting with livid energy and daringly rotten at its core -- is full of scenes that'll leave you breathless in their audacity, goofball non sequiturs, and profound cynicism.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Everwood ain't brain surgery, but that's also what helps make it an easygoing charmer.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    This portrait of a profane, low-down egomaniac--excuse me, he prefers "Christ figure"--continues to amaze. McBride's willingness to play depression, amorality, and selfishness for laughs is awesome.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Such a nice surprise: A sharply written show about a mother-daughter relationship filled with vibrant emotions instead of cheap sarcasm.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    This political satire operates at a level of sharpness that American television hasn't seen since Robert Altman's HBO miniseries Tanner '88.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    All this tension turns out to be great for the show's pulse, which had been fluttering last season. In too many of season 7's adventures, Duchovny and Anderson looked as if they'd been asked to go investigate who shot J.R. Ewing; their boredom was showing. ... [This season's first two episodes discover] a new force field of energy.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    It's the fall season's most intriguing, tense puzzler.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Keri Russell's title character is one of the few interesting characters on television who's also purely good ... It is one of the great strengths of this series that sap and sentiment are explored with varying degrees of realism, humor, and seriousness that lesser shows shrink from even attempting.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    While pop-culture touchstones from Dallas to Twin Peaks shrivel up and die, L.A. Law just keeps getting juicier.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Sherman-Palladino writes in such a distinctive 'voice' that denying her the same kind of artistic credit that, say, Aaron Sorkin or David Chase take as their due only hints at the unspoken sexism in the television industry and the press.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    It's grim but exhilarating: a portrait of an artist chronicling despair.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Paying close attention to SOA's array of outlaws makes the series an even more richly detailed portrait of self-righteous villainy.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Terrific ... It's often witty and exhilarating, and most of this material isn't kid stuff. ... With all this artistry crammed into a half-hour chunk each week, Liquid Television certainly entertains, but it also does something that MTV isn't exactly famous for: It provokes thought.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    An utterly absorbing nighttime soap ... Really, if you're not watching 'Everwood,' you're not missing a guilty pleasure: You're missing pure pleasure.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    About Face is raucous and lovely. [3 Aug 2012, p.69]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    When the series premiered in July, 'Reno' looked like a one- or two-joke stunt, a smartly sustained 'Saturday Night Live' sketch. ... As this series has evolved, its format has proven remarkably expansive and emotionally rich, using parodic elements to explore these characters and place them precisely in a social environment.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Giancarlo Esposito's Gus will prove once again that he is the most shockingly unknowable of villains. Yes, Breaking Bad is back, and bent on upending every expectation you bring to it.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Inoculated against hype and its backlash on the strength of fortified plotting and unshowy acting, ER continues to make good on its initial stylistic breakthroughs. Which is to say, all the speedy razzle-dazzle hasn't gone lame yet.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    L&O's been having a sleek, swift season.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    One of TV's few rock-solid sitcoms. ... The paradox of W&G -- its marvel and its trap -- is that it revolves endlessly around the same four people (Eric McCormack's Will, Messing's Grace, Hayes' Jack, and Megan Mullally's swizzle-stick-sarcastic Karen) in essentially the same locale: Will and Grace's apartment, with occasional visits to Grace's interior-design office.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    If you're looking for the season's smartest, most comfy and engaging new thriller, 'Sisco' is it.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    The new season pops with all the visual energy of the first. [4 May 2012, p.67]
    • Entertainment Weekly
    • tbd Metascore
    • 91 Ken Tucker
    Last season, it took me a while to get used to the shambling pace imposed by the show's improv strategy, but by now, Curb's inventive riffing is like good jazz music.
    • 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.

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