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 Olive Kitteridge
Lowest review score: 0 Cavemen: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 68 out of 594
594 tv reviews
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    There are moments when Big Time in Hollywood, FL is very funny, indeed, and enough of them to form a bread crumb trail through the forest. But the forest can be pretty tough going when the trouble with your show lies with the leads. Jack and Ben are, of course, nowhere near as talented and fascinating as they think they are; that's part of the joke. Unfortunately, it's also true in the larger sense--the man-child slacker-artiste character is overfamiliar and trite, and neither Anfanger nor Jacobson knows how to transcend this.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    The Cleveland Show is neither sweet nor particularly funny, neither a family comedy nor a true satire.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Tut
    It's fertile (crescent) ground for any writer, and, indeed, Michael Vickerman, Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg pull out all the stops. So many, in fact, that you wish they'd shove a few back in.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    There is a family-hour charm among the many wooden performances and something to be said for the show's unapologetic comic book overtones. DC's Legends of Tomorrow wears its intentions, like its future tech, on its sleeve--you're either in for the ride or you're not, no character deconstruction or cinematic analysis required.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    As if afraid they will be accused of not taking things seriously enough, the creators walk through much of the pilot as if through a minefield, which is to say ver-ry slowly and ver-ry carefully. Not the best pacing considering the subject matter.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Dane is fine and steady center for the drama; his Chandler can handle banter, bathos (Chandler left a wife and kids behind in the now plague-decimated States) and blather (some of the dialogue is less written than forked out of a can).... Still, The Last Ship seems determined to put concept before character, which is a much bigger problem on television than it is on film.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Aided by Zane and Anthony Head, both of whom are clearly having a great time, the twists may allow viewers to overlook the clunky dialogue and nonsensical plotting. And there’s something admirable about setting such a say-cheese-please murder mystery in the backyard of “Sherlock,” “Luther” and other high-minded British detective shows.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Such a concept seem ripe with delicious possibility. The show, unfortunately, is not. Played out as a cop procedural, it has a predictable narrative structure that at times resembles nothing so much as a prison.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    By pilot's end, the tension level is more "Parenthood" than "Homeland."
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    While there are many reasons to like Taxi Brooklyn, including and especially its two fresh and likable leads, it too often wobbles and stalls, unwilling to commit to one type of storytelling or the other.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Rosemary's Baby is not terrible. Where the original film was shocking, this version, though bloody, is fairly mild.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Fear the Walking Dead takes Los Angeles, and itself, very seriously. So seriously that in the first two episodes it is sometimes difficult not to laugh. At the general cluelessness of the characters, at the intensity of the local "realism," at the heavy-handedness of the Cinematic Symbols of Foreboding (Beware the Bounce House) and the sight of so many fine actors trying to keep their feet in a promising but initially borderline-absurd narrative.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Almost from the get-go there's far more galumphing than trotting going on, and not all of it done by prehistoric feet. Things pick up in the third episode and there are dodos in the fourth, but it's not enough, no, not nearly enough.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    It's quite a cast and a good thing too, considering the almost uniformly absurd character types they miraculously manage to animate.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    There are legitimately chilling, funny and suspenseful moments in the early episodes of "Happy Town," but the many fine performances are battered to death by a welter of plot twists and cheesy revelations that come speeding out of the sky like those murderous crows in "The Birds."
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Swingtown walks a fine line between being a period piece, down to the pudding cups, baseball shirts and snatches of the old "$10,000 Pyramid," and parody.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Each of [supporting characters] will thrive or fall depending on their chemistry with Arquette. And she is, even with the current concerns about cybercrime, the reason to watch the show.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Survivors is torn between the desire to go big--it's the literal end of civilization--and small--how would an ordinary person react to the death of everyone he knows? Regrettably Survivors succeeds at neither, getting stuck instead in a blurry bog of middle ground.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Unfailingly exquisite, Danner gives a performance in the last half-hour that offers a glimpse of what Madoff could have been if the script had been less infatuated with the romance of the con and more interested in its human cost.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Leno's got his desk, he's got his guests and no one expects him to do anything but what he's done for so many years: protect the "Tonight Show" franchise. After all that has happened, that may or may not be enough.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    It's not a bad show, it's just a bit too familiar.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    The two things Finding Sarah has going for it--Ferguson's undeniable personal appeal and the value of watching a Very British Person attempt to do a Very American Thing--is buried under sanctimony and the absurd vocabulary of self-help.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    When the only real tension is one character telling another to hurry and the most emotionally involving scene lasts 30 seconds and involves the cop who may not engage with the principals again all season, it's difficult to remain an interested person.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Too often Life's Too Short feels like two shows stuck together with a bit of chewing gum.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    For all that it springs from original material--a coda to the pilot shows some of the actual home movies, which are indeed hilarious--The Goldbergs--is all style and no substance.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Though occasionally funny, Animals is just not nearly as edgy as it thinks it is.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    The writing is glib (the term "cat fight" is actually used) and the action relies more on gadgetry than "Mission Impossible." However, the women all look great.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    As gratifying as it is to see some of the inner workings of a local phenom, 4th and Forever falls far short of its subject matter, proving once again the limits of reality television.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    As is so often the case with "reality television," there's nothing TV producers hate so much as actual reality (bo-ring!), and so everything is tarted up with superfluous soundtracks and staging, with breathless voice-overs, mood lighting and lots of half-baked psychology.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    It would have been much more promising if creators David Zabel and Jason Richman had chosen subtlety, which they did not. Instead, we have the disparate and desperate characters that always seem to fuel this sort of show.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Call Girl's greatest flaw is not that it's exploitative but that it's surprisingly dull.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    If only it were possible to care, even the least little bit, who did what and why and what will happen next. But as of the end of Episode 2, it just isn't.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Unfortunately, it is difficult to stay interested in what happens to any of these characters because most of them are so absurdly unlikable.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Despite the interesting twist of overt sibling rivalry, Chibnall seems to be making a blood and gore version of "The Princess Diaries."
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Murphey and the writers will have to do a lot of heavy lifting for Body of Proof to transcend its immediate predictability. There's only so much Delany can do with a cardboard show.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Though it's nice to see a hospital that is not run by drug addicts or operating way over its abilities, the staff at Chicago Med is maddeningly homogenous in its sincerity and ability.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Gracepoint certainly has higher [ambitions] than many broadcast crime dramas. ... [But Tennant] is nowhere near as good in Gracepoint as he is in Broadchurch. ... [And] the coastal-town milieu of Gracepoint, so vivid in and integral to Broadchurch, seems just as fake as Tennant's accent.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Modern guys may have all manner of hilarious, disturbing and conflicting feelings about their children and the role of caregiver, but none of them make it into the pilot. Only Gary, exhausted and overwhelmed, seems to be experiencing life with an actual child, which is why he gets all the best lines.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    There is an abundance, rather over-abundance, of story lines and clichés.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    [Jane Lynch is] always worth watching. Even here, sometimes, when her angel, who goes by the name Amy, manages to wrench free from creator Tad Quill's tepid humor and take brief control of the show's narrative indecisiveness.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    A frantic, erratic pace that keeps it from really getting anywhere.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    The show is very much about Thom and his "struggles," which are far too often presented in a series of high-decibel, gratuitously profane diatribes about the habits of others without benefit of anything remotely resembling personal perspective.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    The cast seems no better, or worse, than any reality TV assemblage, but the clues are delivered to the group in such a way that much of the pilot is spent watching them troop, mostly en masse, from one room to the other. It's not terribly exciting.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Amazon is currently in the "spare no expense" stage of original-content production, and it shows everywhere but in the story. Perlman is a strong and deceptively supple performer, but he isn't a miracle worker. Even bad crazy guys need a gleam of humanity, and Pernell has none. Delaney is mostly sidelined, as are Royo and Tal.... Dillahunt's ability to show this, to swing KD from brutal violence to soul-searching, is miraculous. It just isn't enough.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    There is really only one reason to watch ABC's Canadian-import place-holder crime drama Motive--Kristin Lehman.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Even if you could forgive its lack of creativity, it's difficult to overlook its absurdly clunky execution. Oh, and the fact that it isn't very funny.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    A clunky, clichéd Texas-based crime drama that has the added bonus of being unforgivably sexist, never mind that it was created and produced by women.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior has the same rapid pace of the original, a narrative tool that both amps up the action and keeps the viewer from dwelling too much on the gargantuan leaps of imagination that pass for police work. It also works against the show, preventing it from fully making the insightful points it does have.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Mostly the half-hour segments move in and out of often disjointed moments of Christine's escort-driven life at a pace that seems intentionally, and unforgivably, elliptical.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Dragon lady, cougar and feisty redhead; dutiful son, jealous daughter and henpecked husband are all present and accounted for, with pat and predictable jokes leeching whatever hope might be had from a racially diverse cast and a promising enough setup.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Kath & Kim needs to decide if it wants to satirize American parenting or popular culture. Because if the first two episodes are any indication, it certainly cannot do both.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Overlaid with "Vice"-like shots of panic and bloody aftermath, Code Black wants the soap and sentiment of "Grey's" along with the broken-but-driven main character of "House." Unfortunately, the writing lacks the conviction of either series, and so viewers are left with Harden, dancing just as fast as she can.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Although it is far from the worst King adaptation (would that be "Dreamcatcher"? "Lawnmower Man"?) it feels less like a ghost story than a dashed-together homage to the King oeuvre that's slow where it should be fast and fast where it should be slow.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    [This] is why this strange, shallow puddle of comedy is so difficult to accept. With all eyes on Leno, this is the best he, and his writers, and the struggling network could come up with?
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Unlike "Awake," however, Saving Hope does not have Jason Isaacs, a nifty crisscrossing police procedural at its heart, or anything interesting to say about the various forms of reality.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    If Roadies spent half as much time showing us what roadies actually do as it wastes on framing gazes of tortured longing, it would be a very different, which is to say much better, show. Instead viewers get tossed a few slivers of meat--Phil tearing up whenever he mentions Ronnie Van Zant, Keisha Castle-Hughes’ engineer setting up for the “song of the day”--and a whole lot of corn.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Benched is nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is, mainly because Watkins and Jones seem to believe that the endless humiliations of a thin, attractive, previously well-compensated blond woman are all it takes to make people laugh.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    It is difficult to imagine a need for such a thing, what with YouTube and "Tosh.0" on Comedy Central.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Unfortunately, if you name a show Unforgettable you really need to deliver, and the pilot just doesn't.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    As a Michael Fox-loving member of the demographic it targeted, I most certainly saw the 1985 film "Teen Wolf," but I don't remember much save it was a comedy and not very good. Teen Wolf, which premieres Sunday night on MTV, is also one of those two things and it is not a comedy.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    The cast is solid and more comically effective than the material they are given, but the Russells seem more like what they are--a cast--than what they should be--a family.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    McNamara does her best, but Clary has been written as all breeze and no storm, which makes her central relationship with Jace more an algorithm of attractiveness than chemistry. Decter appears far more interested in Revelations than revelation, and in his rush to get to the "good stuff" he has forgotten that this kind of stuff is good only when it takes a while to get there.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    The joke is that the teachers of Smoot High have never grown up so they interact with the students as peers. This is supposed to make the endless cycle of scheming and abuse hilarious, but it's far too familiar to be anything but exhausting. And a little bit depressing.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Feldman and her writers are so obsessed with making One Big Happy socially righteous--Lizzy announces her gayness with the frequency of an undercover straight person--that they forgot to give it any heart.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Unfortunately, the show seems to be slightly less than a sum of its parts.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Something got lost between concept and execution, and instead of suspense we get silliness
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Having come up with an intriguing premise, co-creators Sherry Bilsing-Graham ("The New Adventures of Old Christine," "Friends") and Ellen Kreamer ("The New Adventures of Old Christine,") are either too timid or too hamstrung by network expectations to execute it.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    19 male and female losers of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" are brought together, "Big Brother" style, to do what they do best: plot and flirt and cry, manufacture drama, do a little armchair psychoanalysis and hook up. In other words, high school without, you know, the learning part.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    A potentially funny setup, if the women were not such oddly antiquated sendups.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Alas, it all plays just as sappy as it sounds, even with the gorgeous and ridiculous distractions of make-do medicine.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    The town is lovely, the premise solid if overfamiliar, but the script lacks both depth and tension (big problem), and McCurdy is one of the few cast members who can act. All of which makes it difficult to care very much.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Rush hits all its notes with a solidity often known as stomping--Love trumps all pain and Rush must change his ways--and while it does offer another version of USA's other freelance-doc drama "Royal Pains," this concept actually doesn't look better in black.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Killing Lincoln wears its historical accuracy like a ball and chain, clunking where it should inspire, dragging where it should pulse with dread.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    That transcendent mixture of confidence and fear, of humility and clear-eyed self-assessment, evident in so much of Sorkin's other work, is what turns a sermon into a work of art. And that is precisely what is missing here.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Running Wilde, is another fractured fairy tale, though without the nuance or humor of its predecessor.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Parrilla is a compelling presence, and it's marvelous to see Northam all modern and un-martyred after his terrific turn as Thomas More in "The Tudors." But there is a strange lack of chemistry among the cast, perhaps because they are continually forced to deliver monologues on how difficult their jobs are and say things such as: "Life, so bloody beautiful."
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    In a way, "Scream Queens" is a combination of all [Murphy's previous] shows. Just not in a good way.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Swayze, his face worn craggy by age and his battle with pancreatic cancer, remains a noble figure despite the ridiculousness that surrounds him. With the bearing and the mien of a man who is fighting for the survival of his own humanity, he clearly could have done much more with less.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Complications chooses antic over subtlety, banging around from one crazy plot development to another. O'Mara is a very likable actor and Szohr does her very best, but for reasons known only to himself, Nix eschews the black humor that made "Burn Notice" so brilliant, which is too bad.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    It is all so dreadfully familiar--the lovely, headstrong and feisty heroine, the nice guy who wants her (in this case, the medical examiner played by Max Brown) and the broken bad boy she loves instead. The only point of light is provided by Catherine's partner, Tess.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    This American Gothic remains strictly paint-by-numbers.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    The problem is not the supernatural, it's the sanctimony.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    For fans of "Silence of the Lambs" there is some pleasure in gathering the canonical Easter eggs planted throughout the series, but for the most part Hannibal suffers from the same fatal flaw as its main character: It takes itself so seriously that it's no fun at all.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Relying over-much on nostalgia for its roots, Heroes Reborn seems astonishingly obtuse about the new world of television.... Ambitious is one thing, a big hot mess is quite another. There are too many characters to keep track of, never mind care about.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    From "thinking aloud" scenes in which the team tosses around a Nerf football to a most unfortunate series of conversations between Garza and his law clerk, the only thing that makes Outlaw unique in a swollen genre is its ability to trip over its own feet so early on.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Simmons is great as he always is, but between the divorce, the mid-life crisis, the coming out as blind, the mother-daughter tension and the boy discovering his true self and The Importance of Family, there is simply too much to look at and not enough to see.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    This About a Boy is as subtle as a chain saw.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    The cast is universally fine, but there's honestly nothing much it can do to avoid being swamped with Fellowes' arrogant attempt to capture the social dimensions of turn-of-the-century Britain, oh, and the sinking of this big boat too.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    In the Motherhood worked as a Web series based on real-life stories but not, it would seem, as a television series based on overused stereotypes.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Even the most forgiving fan will find The Killing a shadow of its former self.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Much of the action arises from Reiser's inability to manage his mouth, but where David boldly owns the dark and limitless empire of his self-absorption, Reiser still wants to be the happily married Dad who may say the wrong thing once in a while but whose heart is still in the right place. A guy who's just like you, only much richer with his own show. But you can't have it both ways; just ask Larry David.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    In parodying the celebrity life, Bob-Waksberg only occasionally hits the mark.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    If only the actual action in The Hasselhoffs weren't so stagy, that tension between delusion and self-awareness might be interesting.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    A little whitewashing is forgivable in a biopic, but to make a movie about the most influential figure in fashion history in which she spends more time moping around about her boyfriends than she does designing clothes is infuriating.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    ABC's high-aspiring but poorly executed Red Widow.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    At the very least the rather admirable cast should be allowed a do-over with a script that doesn't confuse petulance with wit or meanness with misdirection.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    These folks are misfit colonists on a planet that, as they keep telling us, they have only begun to understand; surely they have something better to do all day than chat about all the things that have happened, could happen and should happen. I know I do.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    There is simply no way you can watch Dina engage in what is the undeniably narcissistic enterprise of having cameras follow her around and not think all sorts of worrisome and occasionally uncharitable things about her rationale.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Unfortunately, Chicago P.D. is just that--a reminder, a breathy echo of other, much better shows. Many of which are available in affordable DVD packages and on various streaming services.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    It's all completely ridiculous and derivative, which Schechter is quick to acknowledge. Indeed, the second-best thing about "Stitchers" is its game if not quite successful attempt to straddle sci-fi and sci-fi satire.... The first-best thing about the show is its cast, who all show promise far beyond the limits of their roles here.

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