Mary McNamara

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For 552 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 3.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Mary McNamara's Scores

Average review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Transparent: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Stalker: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 61 out of 552
552 tv reviews
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Where once Nip/Tuck crackled, it now whines and sighs; where once it shocked, it now plays nice.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    This About a Boy is as subtle as a chain saw.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    It is, by turns, hilarious and histrionic, illuminating and infuriating.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Call Girl's greatest flaw is not that it's exploitative but that it's surprisingly dull.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Too often Life's Too Short feels like two shows stuck together with a bit of chewing gum.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    By pilot's end, the tension level is more "Parenthood" than "Homeland."
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    An ambitious character-driven drama over-enamored from the get-go with its tricky structure and coy premise.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Unfortunately, the show seems to be slightly less than a sum of its parts.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    American Horror Story is a big ol' brooding, baffling, ridiculous and occasionally compelling mess of a show.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Almost Human isn't terrible, it's just not terribly interesting, at least in the first hour.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    The problem is not the supernatural, it's the sanctimony.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Much of the first two episodes of Cristela feels dishearteningly retro.... Still, Alonzo is a pleasure to watch.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Something got lost between concept and execution, and instead of suspense we get silliness
    • 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.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    A cleverly conceived, at times visually lovely, but criminally long imagining of how Peter became Pan.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Mary McNamara
    When it's not being completely ridiculous, Chasing Life is very good.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    In parodying the celebrity life, Bob-Waksberg only occasionally hits the mark.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Despite the strength of its parts, the whole feels very nascent and shaky.
    • 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.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Unfortunately, if you name a show Unforgettable you really need to deliver, and the pilot just doesn't.
    • 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.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Equal parts stupid and sweet, The Goodwin Games does not appear to be built for the long haul.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 56 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.
    • 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.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    A potentially funny setup, if the women were not such oddly antiquated sendups.
    • 55 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.

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