Mary McNamara

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For 594 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 53% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 45% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 4.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Mary McNamara's Scores

Average review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 O.J.: Made in America
Lowest review score: 0 Anchorwoman: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 68 out of 594
594 tv reviews
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    All of which adds up to a nice, moody, entertaining-enough hour and the troublesome question of how interesting this will be by the third episode.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Created by Dan Fogelman it is enjoyable if not impressive--not bad, and almost good.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Comparisons to Barry Levinson's "Sleepers" are inevitable, but with its cartoonish villains, hideously ritualized crimes and general plot-stomping, it is far more reminiscent of all those pulpy TV movies in the late '70s, in which a depraved warden/sheriff abused those in his care. Strangely, this is its greatest strength.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Much of it feels dreadfully slow, not so much moody as stretched for time....Things do pick up significantly with the arrival of Christopher Heyerdahl as John Druitt.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    The crimes of the first four episodes revel in plot twists and medical conditions so ludicrous that they eventually become endearing, as does, against all odds, McCormack's performance.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    A cleverly conceived, at times visually lovely, but criminally long imagining of how Peter became Pan.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    American Horror Story is a big ol' brooding, baffling, ridiculous and occasionally compelling mess of a show.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Every pilot is burdened with establishing character, jump-starting the narrative and hooking the audience, but Under the Dome unnecessarily force-feeds us its first hour to its own detriment.... Which isn't to say Under the Dome won't wind up being fun to watch. All of the performances seem promising.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Even just a half hour in, it's difficult not to wish everyone would just lighten the heck up. The graphic novel noir feel is becoming increasingly oppressive, and everyone is just so grim.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Much of "Drive" is unabashedly derivative.... Much of it is also unbelievable... But two episodes in, it doesn't really matter.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Pretty Little Liars is one of those shows that manages to mildly, and perhaps unintentionally, spoof its genre while fully participating in it, and that's not a bad thing at all.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    This Napoleon Dynamite is all go, go, go, racing, if nothing else, to keep pace with the host of other animated prime-time shows it joins.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    The Tudors remains lush and bejeweled, so much so that at times one fears it will simply collapse under its own weight, and, you know, we still have a few wives to go.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    After watching two episodes, I was left with the thought with which I began: An iconic apartment building full of wacky characters would make a great TV show. Would, though. Not does.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Texas Rising is tonally challenged in a way that regularly undercuts its own inherent drama.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    It's a grand if inconsistent experiment that, from the moment it opens with a definition of magic realism, wears its considerable ambitions on its sleeve.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    In theory, Southland could turn out to be a rich and textured cross between, say, "Hill Street Blues" and "Crash" with a little "Training Day" on the side, but the pilot, for all its horrific crimes and grimy street scenes, is strangely bland.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Bogged down at times by moody re-creations (often unforgivably accompanied by the strains of a muted trumpet) and endless footage of Bin Laden, Manhunt is not a definitive telling either. Indeed, its strength lies in its awareness that there is no way to completely tell this particular story.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    A cynic might think Twisted is a bald attempt to capitalize on the success of "Pretty Little Liars" while possibly adding a Y chromosome to the mix. The non-cynic might see in Danny yet another metaphor for the alienation and "otherness" many teens feel.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    With any luck, subsequent episodes will find a sharper, cleaner stride. All the elements are there, it's just the alchemy that seems a bit off.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Some of the best shows on television are character-driven procedurals, but Borenstein seems so eager to establish the procedural that he underplays the characters.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    It is something less than magical, but it's pleasant and pretty and easy to watch.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Not surprisingly, given the scope of the show, some topics are nailed brilliantly--Chanel, the airport security agent, is perhaps among the greatest TV characters in recent history, and the adoption of an American child by an African actress is equally hilarious--while others, like local newscaster Alvarez or the pregnant senior citizen, are flat and trite or flat and weird.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    It's the fabulous shamelessness, the awful and yet admirable brilliance of the thing. Whether Palin will ever run for office or not, Sarah Palin's Alaska sets a new standard for political ads.
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    When it's not being completely ridiculous, Chasing Life is very good.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    This may not be as touching as "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings," or "God bless us every one," and it may resonate much more with the parents than the kids, but for a Christmas special about an ogre who may have overstayed his 15 minutes, it's actually not too bad.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Although overblown in message and action, The Bridge is well-performed and worth watching if only to see if it will stand by its thesis: that real change comes from people working together.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Skidding through twists and turns aplenty, the intentionally soapy plot generates a lot of fun froth, but Gellar has a hard time playing one troubled and complicated woman, much less two.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    The Gates, on the other hand, starts off with an even greater number of well-worn characters and storylines, but writers Richard Hatem and Grant Scharbo infuse them with a lot more life and a surprisingly high incidence of poignancy.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Zwick and Herskovitz do capture the sweet self-absorption of youth--love is never truer, dreams never dearer and life never as complicated as it is when you are 24--it's just that it all feels so familiar when we were so hoping for something new and exciting.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    There are many fine moments in 'Klondike,' cinematic scenes of grandeur and dialogue that rise to poetry. But too often both then fall prey to self-conscious staginess, many repetitive scenes of dirt and endless conversations about the animal nature of man.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    It is nowhere near as smart as "White Collar" or as strangely touching as "Necessary Roughness" and seems content to hit well-worn marks, though more than occasionally with welcome style.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    But for all its dramatic pulse, historic details and narrative twists, Underground simply takes too long to get going; it isn't until the fourth episode that the show's real story, and potential, reveal themselves.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Larry is getting a little ridiculous... and a little too mean even for Larry. [7 Sep 2007]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    A very far cry from O’Brien’s lanky swagger or Leno’s self-confident poise and, to be frank, the whole "who, me? host 'The Tonight Show?'" seemed laid on a bit thick in parts.... Once Fallon moved behind the desk, and in front of a truly fabulous wooden miniature of New York, he seemed more comfortable.... After presenting Fallon with his own (red) guitar, [U2] sang an acoustic version of their Oscar-nominated “Ordinary Love,” which sounded, as so few late-night performances do, just fabulous. And that is where Fallon will make his mark on the show.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Creator Kyle Killen and executive producers Amy Lippman and Christopher Keyser (the latter two best known for "Party of Five") are betting that the callow charm of their leading man, shored up by tailor-made roles for Keith and Jon Voight, who plays gimlet-eyed oil tycoon Clint Thatcher, will overcome the ridiculousness of the setup.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    For fans of the canon, South Riding is "Masterpiece" comfort food, enjoyable enough in the moment, but melting away to nothing but sugar and fat by morning.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Hirsch is, as usual, wonderful and more than capable of taking Abraham's story line wider and deeper than well-meaning banter and bromides assigned him, but in early episodes the story seems determined to showcase its more predictable aspects.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    OK, it's not Chekhov or even "How I Met Your Mother," to which it will inevitably be compared, but it's a lot better than the I'll-do-anything-for-pizza jokes that precede it.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    There is much to like and learn from the miniseries. Alas, executive producer Stephen David and his creative team seem intent on getting in their own way, cluttering up the inevitably fascinating narrative (offered here by Jeremy Renner) with all manner of clunky historical reenactments, hyperbolic characterizations and a soundtrack that should be shot for treason.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Where "The Returned" was content to tell its story in elliptical scenes and character sketches, Resurrection keeps them tightly tied together and bound to an investigative uber-narrative--Marty and Maggie are partners in detection with the requisite possibility of romance. The result is a lot of narrative that often strays too far from the original and much more provocative conceit: Hey, we see dead people.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    A more than occasionally funny show in which Gabi (Emily Osment), an appealing but financially challenged food blogger, becomes personal chef to Josh (Jonathan Sadowski), an appealing but romantically challenged tech-ionaire.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    The collective IQ of the cast is noticeably higher than on the "Real Housewives" while the vitriol is lower.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    A fast-paced, sure-footed pilot that tells the same essential story as the film.... Carpenter and whatever chemistry the two leads have will not be enough to separate Limitless from the stack of new and returning high-concept procedurals.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    The characters take forever to make narrative connections that seem immediately obvious and no one seems remotely curious about what exactly is happening to the world. Yet even as her hours-long insistence that she is nothing “special” grows tedious, Vanessa is delightfully cranky.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    Despite the frantic and at times clunky initial execution, there are times when The Mob Doctor shows signs of transcending the typical doc-with-something-extra medical procedural.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    The sets are terrific, as are the costumes, and the rich and saturated moodiness of the production values makes the tepidness of the story all the more disappointing.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    It's a noble goal and one hopes that after viewing School Pride, volunteers spring up, committees form and checks are written. Because to merely watch the show and wallow in its many throat-tightening moments would be to remain a voyeur, and then you're just part of the problem.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    What Swank doesn't bring is any sort of emotional connection, either to Mary, Mary's son or the audience.... Mercifully, Blethyn eventually joins her on the screen and is, as ever, simple perfection, needing to do little more than utter two words with an anguished squint to break your heart into 50 million pieces. When the two meet up, Mary and Martha begins to transcend the drumbeat of its message.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    If you can live through the ridiculous hustle-forward, no-looking introduction to the story, what follows is entertaining enough, albeit in a mildly campy way.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Unfortunately, without a more solid platform, even the greatest performance can go only so far. Oyelowo is mesmerizing in the moment, but each moment dies behind him.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Between Sherri's grouchy father, adorable son and hapless ex, all the stereotypes seem to be running on full steam. It's a less-than-stellar debut, but a body set in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force, and it's hard to imagine the outside force that's going to slow Sherri Shepherd down any time soon.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Unfortunately, so smitten are the creators of John Adams with historical earnestness and pedigree they seem to have forgotten how to tell a good story.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    With a shorter to-do list and more ruthless editing--far too much time is spent in close-ups on the hosts--Showville could be as good in fact as it is in theory.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Crude stuff for a family newspaper, but despite the warm-and-fuzzy-celebrity cred that star Courteney Cox brings to it, some funny lines and good acting all around, Cougar Town is a crude show, built on jokes about oral sex and droopy breasts, a show in which words like "coochie" are used with regrettable abandon.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    What viewers are left with, then, are some excellent fight and chase scenes, an outstanding supporting cast (who, alas, only highlight the main character's deficiencies) and a lot of truly beautiful location work. It may be enough, but it could, and should, have been so much more.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Kyle gives Outcast dimension, but Anderson makes it vital. Unfortunately, the crowded script slows them down. Too often, Outcast, like it’s demons, depends on the terrifying seductions of possession to hold our attention.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    It's clear that Wells has nothing but respect for the original material; if only he felt the same for American viewers. Unfortunately, [executive producer John Wells] seems to have bought into the notion that Americans need everything to be bigger, louder, messier and drawn in primary colors.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    It is, by turns, hilarious and histrionic, illuminating and infuriating.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Unfortunately, though Wilson remains gorgeously fearless in her willingness to go all in, neither the network nor Wilson (she is an executive producer) know quite what to do with that.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Lopez does a decent enough job--on top of the single-mom angle, Harlee also has a traumatic back story--but it's Liotta who will make or break Shades of Blue.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Where once Nip/Tuck crackled, it now whines and sighs; where once it shocked, it now plays nice.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Equal parts stupid and sweet, The Goodwin Games does not appear to be built for the long haul.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    It's hard to tell from the premiere precisely what Latifah is going for here, besides the truly fabulous set that was, apparently, designed by Lenny Kravitz.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    It's "House of Cards," with a werewolf/vampire hybrid instead of a charming but ruthless Southern senator.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    It tries very hard not to take the expected path. Too hard, unfortunately. So determined are Hunt, executive producer/showrunner Jenny Bicks and Linney that The Big C be unsentimental that they jam early episodes with so many over-blown characters and wacky antics that it's impossible to attach meaning to any of them.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Certainly Olbermann is refreshing, and singular, in the clarity of his mission, which is to defend the liberal point of view with the same sort of take-no-prisoners rhetoric that conservative pundits like Bill O'Reilly have wielded so effectively. But the blatant uber-medianess of his persona seems, at times, in direct conflict with that belief that "the weakest citizen is more important than the strongest corporation."
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    The performances, in and of themselves, range from solid (King's) to inspired (Marshall's)....But taken together, there is both too much and too little going on.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Neither [Hirsch and Granger] offer any insight into what drove the couple, what they actually hoped to achieve, and what kept them going when it became clear that things were not going to end well. And History might have a little soul-searching to do; dramatic license should not mean Make a Huge Number of Important Plot Points Up.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    There are many powerful scenes in The White Queen, moments that illustrate time and again how a woman's body was both her greatest tool and her inevitable prison; a man could control his fate by mind or sword, a woman can do it only by proxy. Unfortunately, they are surrounded by the misty, swampy lands of generic medievalness.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    The fact remains that sword 'n' sheepskin is now a genre, and even if you are taking it back to its roots, you have to bring something new. Creators James Dormer, Tim Haines, and Katie Newman do not. Instead, they seem content to simply join the heroic hordes, relying on ever-improving CG and familiar modern tropes--the witty best friend, a couple of feisty women, court roiling with intrigue--to extend the narrative and cinematic limits of the original text.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Much of the first two episodes of Cristela feels dishearteningly retro.... Still, Alonzo is a pleasure to watch.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Hart of Dixie is a stack of familiar scenarios stitched together to form a pretty if not terribly substantial quilt, of the sort Zoe encounters in Bluebell.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    An ambitious character-driven drama over-enamored from the get-go with its tricky structure and coy premise.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    The turn and turn again structure is definitely appealing, albeit a bit self-conscious. The cast is terrific and LaBute knows his way around dialogue.... But watching guys hand-feed their inner cavemen from the table is not nearly as much fun as LaBute seems to think it is.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Despite the strength of its parts, the whole feels very nascent and shaky.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    It's difficult to make cold-blooded and calculating people interesting and empathetic, and yet it must be done. Because fight scenes will take you only so far. Especially when there are no big dance numbers.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Vampire fantasy, murder mystery, star-crossed love story, political satire, True Blood is all and none of the above. Not quite funny, not quite scary, not quite thought-provoking, the show's attempt to question the roots of prejudice is continually undermined by its own stereotyping.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    In attempting to be both sprawling and intimate, The Kennedys winds up in a narrative no-man's land.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Almost Human isn't terrible, it's just not terribly interesting, at least in the first hour.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Narrated by Stone with no other voices (save actors filling in for various world leaders), Untold History is a hodgepodge of terrific if often disturbing historical footage and bizarre theatrical asides (including, at one point, the dictionary definition of "empathy" spelled out on the screen) that are almost overwhelmed by its invasive soundtrack.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Banshee has has elements of "Justified," "Big Love," Ball's "True Blood" and, of course, the film "Witness." What it doesn't have, at least in the first two episodes, is anything new to say, about small towns, power, corruption, fear, crime or love.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    There are moments when Of Kings and Prophets seems sincere and very timely in its examination of the tense and historically troubling relationship between politics and religion.... But those moments are few and far between, at least in early episodes, which seem more interested in proving once again that people are people no matter what the century or how true the script is to the time period.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    The premiere is as by-the-numbers as it gets in the already bloated genre of moody procedural, enlivened only by a viciously scary killer and, of course, Sevigny, who roils in significant silence even when she is forced to reveal that her character is a cutter.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    If this seems a hodgepodge of ideas, well, that is the general feel of Mankind--a scattershot catalog of man's greatest hits, lovingly enacted by a cast of grim and grimy thousands and propelled ever forward by a relentless soundtrack and urgent narration by Josh Brolin.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    There's actually no reason this couldn't be a perfectly fine legal procedural, except there's no indication that anyone is attempting to make it one. The script is strictly writing by numbers.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    If you are a fan of, say, "Little Britain" in Season 3, you will probably like "Little Britain USA." As for the uninitiated, well, I suppose it all comes down to a person's fondness for penis jokes.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Far more sentimental than thrilling--there are no real monsters under this hospital bed--it plays more like a mash-up of "A Gifted Man" and "The B- in Apartment 23."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    At its best, The Sons of Liberty captures in admirable detail the cleverness of the rebels, in their smuggling efforts and ability to amass and hide guns and ammunition, their personal bravery and astonishing commitment to a long-odds pursuit. If only their intelligence and ideology had been given the same, or indeed any, attention.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    For every ridiculous plot twist (it's hard to imagine any wife offering infidelity as a solution before, you know, "get a job" or "empty the dishwasher once in a while"), there is a lovely flash of honesty.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Even the best performers need time to pause and room to spread out. For The Family to become the deep and nuanced character drama it clearly wants to be, everyone needs to take a breath, perhaps join a support group, and slow the heck down.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    By the end of the third episode (the premiere will include the first two), it is still not clear what The Bastard Executioner is about. It has many promising elements: evocative locations, a potentially fascinating time period (hey, everyone, the Black Death looms!) and a very strong cast (Matthew Rhys plays a rebel leader, and Timothy Murphy is a priest reminiscent of Derek Jacobi's "Cadfael")
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Some of these bits work very well, albeit as free-floating shards of comedy.... But parody works best when its subject is either truly iconic or still relatively fresh in the minds of the audience and, mercifully, the B-list miniseries of yesteryear are neither.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    So neither mess nor magic, which may be the biggest disappointment of them all. If it hadn’t been for Walken, that is, wandering around in that red bandanna and manic daze, banging his tambourine.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Early episodes are, regrettably, filled with television tropes. Still, Allegiance could evolve into the show it clearly hopes to be. But only if it plays to its strength, which is to say Hope Davis.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    SEAL Team Six, though inevitably exciting in its conclusion and touching at times, refuses to commit either way. This failure of nerve not only dooms the film as both docu--and drama but also contradicts its main theme.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Everything is presented far too briefly. For all her geographic ambition, Alexandra Pelosi winds up conducting an exit poll rather than telling a real story.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    The problem is that in the pilot and an early episode, the crimes are nowhere as compelling as the characters. For a show like "Castle" that dares to launch a more classic version into an already saturated and tarted-up market, the murders have to be as complicated and compelling as the push-me-pull-you glances between the main characters, and so far, they just aren't.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Cult has just the right amount of preposterous dialogue and clunky transitions to draw potential hate-watchers too, a bit of zeitgeist juggling that is both slightly nauseating and admirable.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Random wackiness is only as funny as the story that anchors it, and Kevin relies too much on our Skinnerian tendency to root for the underdog.

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