Mary McNamara
Select another critic »
For 488 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 3.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Mary McNamara's Scores

Average review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Fargo: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Anchorwoman: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 58 out of 488
488 tv reviews
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    You can't really improve on the story of "Oliver Twist"; the best you can hope for is to bring it to life, which the two-part "Masterpiece Classic" version skillfully does.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Refreshingly realistic in some ways (there is much jumping out of high windows, but the jumper is often actually injured) and soothingly romantic in others, "The Musketeers" is a captivating balance of spectacle and story, true enough to the essentials of the original, modern enough to understand the necessity of humor and self-reference.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    For all its moments of poetry and insight, Mad Men too often feels less like a drama and more like the staging of a really good master's thesis.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Although Romano is the keystone of the group, it is very much an ensemble drama buoyed by writing that protects the characters from the perils of self-pity and self-indulgence with quick and gentle humor and plot points that capture the forces a middle-aged, middle-class man might actually battle.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Berman produces a deft juggling trick of heart and humor, balancing Deb's shallowness with some solid common sense and Jane's inadequate self-esteem with kindness and legal brilliance.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    The Casual Vacancy is a heartbreaking, thought-provoking if occasionally simplistic look at the tyrannical power of the picturesque.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    The first episode may be a bit rocky in the beginning, what with the reintroduction of characters and story lines, but the second season of Damages promises to be even better than the first.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Fortitude's only safety net is a cat's cradle of inter-linked, understated and strangely powerful performances.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    In Season 2 the issues and tensions remain the same, but perfectly dialed up a notch or two.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    All the performers use the documentary setup to their best advantage, shooting the omnipresent camera knowing, comical and anguished glances, and generally treating it as if it were another character.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Viewers will come to see Deschanel but they'll stay for the whole package because smart writing, confident timing and characters that are both familiar yet surprisingly fresh make New Girl the most promising comedy, and one of the most promising shows, of the season.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Nashville is big, bold, wildly ambitious and great fun, with top notes of Robert Altman's "Nashville," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "All About Eve."
    • 51 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Despite this silly and derivative setup, the pilot is actually a lot of fun. The performances are uniformly good and there are moments of promising depth to balance all the peppy hair-swinging, abs-flexing dance numbers.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    If the rest of the series is as good as the two episodes released early for review (the fact that Netflix made only the episodes directed by Fincher available is slightly worrisome), House of Cards will in all probability become the first nontelevised television show to receive an Emmy nomination, or four.... [However,] not everything in House of Cards lives up to the standard set by its leads; for all its cutting-edge delivery system, it is at times surprisingly pat.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    But of what actually happens, I will say no more. You'll have to watch it yourself. And you should.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Gossip Girl is eye candy, and mind candy, as pretty as a perfectly prepared martini--one that some nasty, picture-perfect have-it-all may or may not have drugged.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    For a program known for its harum-scarum pace and keep-up-or-shut-up iconography, the Season 8 Saturday premiere of BBC America's Doctor Who opens slowly--even with the T. rex--and radiates a newly modern self-consciousness, albeit dressed in Victorian garb.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    You either like Odenkirk's nervy, nervous and surprisingly soulful performance or you don't--and it's pretty hard not to like.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Serious without being grim, uplifting without being saccharine, Falling Skies dares to image what feature films will not--a world in which Will Smith or Aaron Eckhart did not bring down the mother ship in time.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    As the plot of V progresses, no doubt we will see the subtle strangulation of democracy by fascism--already the press has been corrupted--and that is a story that cannot be told often enough. Especially when it comes, like the V's, in such a fine, fun and attractive package.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Smooth without being slick, textured but not self-indulgent, Arrow reminds us that the best stories we tell are both revelatory and a whole lot of fun to watch.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    If it pulls off what it seems capable of doing, Blue Bloods should be both a good cop show and an evocative family drama. So something for everyone, just like a good Sunday dinner.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    American Odyssey is very much its own creation: clever, exciting, colorful without being self-consciously so. Most important, it is only occasionally ridiculous in the way conspiracy thrillers inevitably are.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Jack is the glue that holds the show together, and Sutherland, with his pained, superhuman skill set, makes him a physical statement about the toll violence takes, even violence committed in an attempt to save the world.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Anchored by amazing performances by Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore, the Grey Gardens that premieres tonight is, like its subjects, a brilliant, moving, hilarious and mesmerizing mess of a movie that miraculously captures what made the Beales such iconic characters.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Hatfields & McCoys is a star-studded, gorgeously produced and astonishingly nuanced look at America's most famous family feud.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    The writers seem so concerned with ensuring that their characters are preternaturally decent and likable that they go for sunny skies when there should be storm clouds....But Kodjoe and Mbatha-Raw are so energetic and appealing that it's hard to take your eyes off them long enough to worry about such matters, and they both seem up to just about anything.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    It's the characters, and the character development, that continually lift the show out of soap into true opera, in which things writ large resonate with pinpoint accuracy.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Creator Toby Whithouse takes all the themes associated with the cursed and the damned very seriously, and if his exploration of them is less baroque than other franchises, it promises to be even more effective.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Smart but never slick, funny but never glib, dark but never (praise all saints and angels) noir, Breaking Bad is actually not another addition to the Brotherhood of the Made Guy formula, it turns out to be the formula's antidote.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    The case [A Scandal in Belgravia] is much more complicated than that [photos involving a member of the British family] of course, so much more that it, as with the episodes that follow, occasionally threatens to collapse under its own writhing weight. Fortunately, the thrill of Sherlock Holmes was never so much plot as character.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Seek, stylish and superbly performed, BBC America's Cold War drama The Game offers more to look at than think about, but then there's something about espionage that almost always calls for a little eye candy.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    The value of the series, then, is its, well, weight, its relentless attempt to remind us of what we know, to connect many important dots and clear away the emotional and cultural fog that often blurs discussions about obesity, and to offer hope in the form of personal stories, regional projects and past success.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    O'Loughlin's by-the-book performance is buoyed by a fast-paced script and a splendid supporting cast, including and especially Scott Caan as Danno, that radiates enough hit-making energy to render even Oahu's azure waters and perfect sunsets superfluous.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Sweet, smart and quickly addictive, it's a classic cross-cultural romantic comedy with top notes of satire, but a brave and true heart.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Hannibal is much better than it once was, perhaps the guiltiest pleasure on television at this time.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    NY Med is a surprisingly addictive medical docu-series, fascinating as much in form as it is in function. The third in a series of similarly-themed programs prod
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    "The Wire's" Snoop would definitely not fit in. But this is the most impressive group of female characters ever assembled in a series, and it's not just window-dressing; each woman has a story and that story will be told.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Because it's fun to watch the rich and mighty stumble and scheme, which novelists as diverse as William Thackeray and Judith Krantz have long known. In the first two episodes at least, the quality of the acting and the writing brings depth to what could so easily be the fetid shallows of life issues of the rich and famous
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    The Alzheimer’s Project is an ambitious, disturbing, emotionally fraught and carefully optimistic four-part documentary exploring virtually every angle of Alzheimer's disease that can be explored on television
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    With admirable economy and keep-up-people pace, creator Peter Nowalk reveals both the imperial nature of his lead and quick sketches of the five students from the opening scene.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    If early episodes are any indication, Season 3 will provide a glorious payoff for those EST-ian weeks down on the farm.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    It was with the Indian coverage that he both shone (commenting on one candidate's use of holographic appearances, he said, "That’s not just how you get elected. That’s how religions get started") and set himself apart. If Oliver can do for international news what Stewart and Colbert have done on the domestic scene, well, the already-crowded Sunday night DVR queue just took on an extra half-hour.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Raising Hope is funny, sweet, occasionally provocative, and occasionally over-the-top in a regrettable way.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Though the pilot of Halt and Catch Fire, AMC's latest character-driven drama premiering Sunday, doesn't hit the gloriously high bar set by the opening episode of "Mad Men," it is provocative and promising nonetheless.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    It's the miraculous simplicity of creating something from nothing that makes Runway endlessly watchable.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    It is less a portrait of two combustible stars, played with empathy and breathtaking control by Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter, as it is a surprisingly thoughtful excavation of a love that is both undeniable and untenable.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Alphas deftly balances all the building blocks of great genre--nonhuman abilities, twisty plot, cool special effects, smart dialogue and characters you want to spend more time with. And that's the most impressive superpower of all.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Ben and Kate is a sweet, smart new show from Fox that may turn out to be the best new comedy of the fall season.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Although The Sarah Connor Chronicles has gadgets aplenty, it has what "Bionic Woman" never quite acquired: a brain and a heart.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    In both time frames, the period is richly evoked, and the performances are universally fine.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Shows as thematically and tonally diverse as "Downton Abbey," "The Americans," "Mad Men" and "Madam Secretary" all rely heavily on the changing nature of women's roles in the 20th (and 21st) century to heighten the drama between characters and make larger points about the modern age. Being a product of Marvel and ABC, Agent Carter is, well, a lot more fun.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Elizabeth and Philip react with the appropriate amount of fear for and protectiveness of Paige and Henry. No doubt, this will further widen the cracks already forming in their political/professional resolve, but there is no going back: The Americans puts the kids front and center.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Creator Jon Bokenkamp matches up a deliciously absurd uber-story (20 years later, rogue spy turned freelance criminal comes in from the cold...) with the mother of all procedural shticks (and he's going to bring all his friends and enemies with him). But the ace in the hole is Spader.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    The Event seems prepared to make its characters as complex as its storyline, always an event worth attending.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Throw in Wysocki's rookie niece, some intra-force rivalry, those great Chicago locations and a Polish sausage or two, and you have a show that breaks the network code, and that alone is worth watching.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    High School Musical 2 s zippier, bouncier, prettier, more soulful and even more musical than its predecessor, and that's saying something.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    This time around everyone, Byrne in particular, moves with an air of confidence that allows you to keep your eyes on the knives being juggled in the air rather than the person doing the juggling. Which is exactly where you want the audience's eyes to be when you're pulling off a con, or a show like Damages.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    A show that is visually poetic, normatively compelling and, most important, sustainable for a good long haul.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    His style of filmmaking--to obsessively explore his subject from as many points of entry as possible--is the cinematic definition of thought-provoking.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    The Divide is a tense and thoughtful drama, with what promise to be complex characters and at least one breakout performance.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    An effervescent and super-engaging addition to television's increasingly grim comic-book wars.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Not only is Gregg a beloved actor playing a beloved character, Coulson is the perfect guide for Whedon's vision. He's a super-power-adjacent Everyman who may be able to make the television series just as good, in its own way, as the film franchise.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Certainly nostalgia is a factor.... But delight may be a better word. It's always good to see an old friend, and an old pro in action. Live Another Day gives us both.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Thematically ambitious with a strong and nuanced cast, Being Mary Jane, which stars Gabrielle Union, combines daytime television talking points with cable-worthy character depth.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    For as long as it has, 12 Monkeys works beautifully as a fast-paced sci-fi thriller that is actually far more complex.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    It's a solid enough formula, and if the writers have overly epic ambitions, they also have a collective eye for detail.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Murder in the First, a masterfully paced balance of tricky whodunit and character development, seems to have benefited from both Bochco's hits and the misses, as well as the cable-led experimentation with shorter seasons.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    With the rest of the cast hitting the same high notes as Margulies and the script, The Good Wife promises to be that Holy Grail of television: a good criminal procedural that barely disguises the insightful, multilayered human drama that lies beneath.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Though his [Carlton Cuse's] version is not quite as eerie and enigmatic as the French version, it's still pretty dang eerie and enigmatic, particularly for those watching the story unfold for the first time.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Dexter is a weekly marvel of writing, acting and conceit.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Given a boatload of fine performances and an attractive milieu, it remains very much worth watching even when it feels like the writers are depending on your inattention or forcing their characters to act improbably in the service of a puzzle-plot that at times feels held together with string and tape and white glue.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Bel and her staff are no longer young Turks shaking up the fusty old BBC; now they are, for better or worse, part of the mainstream news media, forced to question their own motivations as well as those of the Establishment. In the first two episodes anyway, this makes for a more sophisticated storytelling, a drama of adults who must take responsibility for decisions of the mind as well as the heart.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    You will laugh, you will cry and if it seems a bit treacly, it is.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Certainly Fellowes has developed a formula. A solid, dependable and successful formula, with "dependable" being just a few shades warmer than "predictable."
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Grounded in parental reality, it's funny and promises to be funnier. The characters, though presented in very broad strokes, have lots of room for shading.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    If the vagueness may irritate fans of the first book/film, it works well for the second, making this story a bit more open-ended and universal.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Once the action leaves the overly Maxfield Parrish-ized world of magic trees and drooping pregnant princesses, things pick up considerably.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    It was an undeniably endearing, energetic and star-studded hour of television.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    All floppy hair and Hollywood smile, Kody's way too surferdude to take very seriously as a patriarch. It's the three wives--Meri, Janelle and Christine--who form the solid center of the family and the show.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    If Bosch doesn't soar, it's solid enough, and if you like the series, you're just a click away from all the books.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Nix has more than proved that he knows how to wed comedy, action, satire and real character development, so though the pilot flags here and droops there, "The Good Guys" will no doubt pick up speed as everyone settles more comfortably into the idea that there are no sacred cows, not even the buddy flick.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Fortunately, terrific performances all around quickly ground the tensions in character rather than theme.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Three Rivers seems to trust the drama of its subject matter, the appeal of its characters and the talent of its cast enough to go gently into this Sunday night.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    It had a not-bad, pretty good, kinda funny, sort of smart debut.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Unabashedly retro, with plenty of high- and low-tech silliness.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    The 10-episode series, based on a book by Robert Littell and premiering Wednesday, has been constructed as a wide and solid if somewhat workmanlike platform for the British actor's considerable talents.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Indeed, the fleshed-out secondary characters have better material than do Sookie and her vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer), who labor under the burden of replaying for the umpteenth time the forbidden love between the living and the dead, the light and the dark.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    While it goes out of its way to cast these soldiers as the heroic equals, if not betters, of their "Greatest Generation" counterparts, the series does not have the same impact--mainly because these images, though at times awful and upsetting, are also much more familiar.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    [George] is not terribly believable in any of them, forcing viewers to rely on the reactions of those around her to see that she is convincing as an uber agent. Fortunately, the other performances are strong enough to carry it off for the most part, and as the plot divides and subdivides, sending tendrils up through the vaunted British intelligence agency, recalling the Cold War and evoking more current international concerns, Hunted takes on a smart and disturbing personality of its own.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Though funny and fabulous, the tone of the season premiere is as harsh as those famously flung slushies, with an emphasis on girl fights and not nearly enough of Mercedes (Amber Riley), Brittany (Heather Morris) or Kurt.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Taylor and Gross balance just the right amount of competence and bewilderment, while Mulroney emotes the pain of a rejected father. The pilot is all but stolen by Joshua Erenberg, who plays the kid Finley rescues.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    In this case familiarity breeds more comfort than contempt. Caan and Lawson spark when they spar, Crichlow's Lulu is a delight as is Gluck's Danny. And even Dick, though burdened with far too much sexual innuendo, has a few good moments.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Despite a certain built-in B & B preciousness, Cedar Cove evokes certain splendid shows of another time and place, including the late-great "Family" and the longtime Irish hit "Ballykissangel."
    • 46 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Everyone does their bit, performance-wise, but O'Malley, who came to everyone's attention as Kurt's father in "Glee," is the key player here. He and McCormack instantly create a dryly endearing couple, while he and Chavira may turn out to have the most fruitful antagonism since Maude met Archie Bunker.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Surely that elevator knows it's you when it decides to do its devilish little bounce. That's one of the jokes of ABC's not-so-scary-but-still-great-fun 666 Park Avenue.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    In between bouts of underage drinking, texting, girl-bonding, and the inevitable minor-key whine of a soundtrack, that is. "True Blood Lite" or "Transylvania 90210." And you know what? It is. Almost exactly. But this is not a bad thing, not a bad thing at all. Because Vampire Diaries knows precisely what it is--a Gothic romance--and doesn't try to be anything else.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    A to Z is the most promising comedy premiering on broadcast networks this fall. That's not saying much — this is not a particularly good year for new comedies — but it's saying something.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Strike Back unfolds quickly and confidently with brilliantly choreographed fight sequences and the exotic locales. But nothing trumps the friendship of the two male leads.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    If you make it to the end, the payoff is sweeter for the suffering. In the meanwhile, enjoy each scene on its own merits, which are not inconsiderable.

Top Trailers