Mary McNamara
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For 459 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 3.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Mary McNamara's Scores

Average review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Game of Thrones: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Stalker: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 54 out of 459
459 tv reviews
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    The easy humor and palpable love in the ensemble scenes give this Steel Magnolias just enough buoyancy to survive the pools of syrup over which it must traverse.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Raising Hope is funny, sweet, occasionally provocative, and occasionally over-the-top in a regrettable way.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Close's performance illuminates rather than outshines with its high wattage.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Though each episode is entertaining, it's difficult to care what happens because nothing much seems to be at stake. Still, amid all the shattered and haunted leading men on TV today, Chuck is a refreshingly simple guy.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    In both time frames, the period is richly evoked, and the performances are universally fine.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    It's hard not to love a show with a comely apothecary, and it's impossible not to love the new season of Grimm.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    If the situation of Switched at Birth often seems surreal and at times contrived (seriously, no one is going to even call a lawyer? Or a therapist? Or the hospital?), the performances keep the story grounded as yet another alternative American family blooms under the California sun.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Early episodes are strong, if not as shattering as the inaugural season.
    • 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.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    The show looks to be a smart, stylish crime drama that just happens to revolve around a group of women as so many have revolved around men.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    A lively, thought-provoking and often humorous quasi-biopic of a real-life crusader in which there are no angels, or devils either, just a nation in the midst of change for which not everyone is prepared.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    The overall atmosphere of the film is surprisingly kind to all, much more fatalistic than hypercritical and certainly not derisive.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Even when it's irritating, Episodes is funny. And if, at times, it intentionally or unintentionally pokes fun at itself as much as anything else well, that works too.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Miller is certainly competent and even compelling as this round of newly imagined Sherlock Holmes.... Liu gives her Watson the perfect blend of wariness and admiration--she is clearly brilliant in her own right and while she may be his keeper, she is not his chronicler. And her journey may turn out to be just as interesting as his.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    With all those Emmys, viewers expect a lot, and two episodes in, 30 Rock is prepared to deliver, serving up the self-conscious, fast-moving, quick-witted comedy it has all but trademarked.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    An effervescent and super-engaging addition to television's increasingly grim comic-book wars.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Looking doesn't make the mistake of arguing that gay men are just like straight women, or straight men, or gay women, or even each other. Instead it tells the story of three guys who are friends in a strangely wonderful and difficult time and what that looks like. To them.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Mary McNamara
    Parade's End must be taken on its own terms, because it is offering something rare and provocative: a poetically precise consideration of what it means to be caught out of time, clinging to the lip of one era or reaching desperately for a foothold in the other.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    It's just as ridiculous as it sounds, chockablock with clichés, predictable exposition (two taps of the keyboard and entire histories are revealed) and some fairly whacked-out plot twists. But it doesn't matter because Orphan Black isn't so much about plot as it is performance, and as the series continues, the performances are pretty astonishing.
    • 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
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    This is good summer entertainment, like a Saturday afternoon B-movie matinee transposed to Monday-night TV.
    • 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
    • 90 Mary McNamara
    It's a dark and astonishing gem of a show, with a bravely skillful cast juggling the petty obsessions of the workplace with Much Bigger Issues.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    When Fellowes allows his characters to show that mettle and strength are not necessarily the prettiest things in the room, Downton transcends its soap bubbles and more than earns its histrionic plot twists.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    It is well-written and certainly well-acted, with plot and psychological twists as numerous and tantalizing as the streets on which they occur.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Cleverly conceived, it boasts a star-studded cast (Gabriel Byrne, Dianne Wiest, Blair Underwood) who achieve, at times, theatrical transcendence.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    The Strain is an old-fashioned, marks-hitting horror quest in which a band of unlikely warriors attempts to defeat a thing of unspeakable evil Before It's Too Late.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Beautifully shot and marvelously acted, Caprica is infused with all manner of intriguing bits of business....After the two-hour pilot, available on DVD last year, early episodes move with an often creaky slowness that seems at odds with its spry and comely cast.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    There's still blood and gore all over the floor, mind you. Not to mention rape, gruesome torture and evil run riot, and that's just the first episode. But there's also a lightness of touch and tone, a backlight of sly humor and, more important, a clearly delineated narrative.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    The show mines the long-standing tension between those who believe in fate and those who believe in control while holding all strains of outrageous behavior up for both mockery and scrutiny.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Yet despite the distraction of its media grooming, the basic story of Whale Wars is quite a yarn.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    It's not a perfect show--a romance blooms too early and easily between Amber and a counselor, the soundtrack is more present than it needs to be and some moments tip from poignant to overwrought. But the richness of the characters and the story make it easy to overlook the flaws.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 30 Mary McNamara
    We don't feel anything because nothing is revealed about Moody except that he is depressed, profane and a writer. (We don't even know whether he is a good writer--all sorts of bad writers get upset about how their movies are made too.) And that, I'm afraid, is not enough.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Yet silly and unsurprising as it seems, Miss Guided has something going for it that many predictable sitcoms do not: a uniformly talented cast.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Mary McNamara
    Lipstick Jungle wrongheadedly wants to have it both ways--to celebrate and explore the lives and loves of women at the top through protagonists who don't have the drive or the depth to make it there.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Anchored by the sensible sensitivity of Nick, Dirty Sexy goes over the top and back again, as brightly fun and cheesy as a carnival ride.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Viewers will sigh with relief to see this trio actually get along with one another. They listen, share in the laughs and coolly talk through decisions--it makes for a captivating panel that’s fun to watch.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Writer and executive producer Jonathan E. Steinberg does an admirable job preserving the smart-mouth humor and ker-pow, splat fun while creating story lines and characters grounded in the alpha-male charm that made guys like Pierce Brosnan, Bruce Willis and Robert Conrad so popular.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Mary McNamara
    Haynes has created not only a rich and nuanced vehicle for his A-list cast--among them Kate Winslet, Evan Rachel Wood and Guy Pearce--he has given us a rare and valuable gift: an American melodrama about class.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    The smart, insightful writing of Liz Tigelaar, the crisp and vibrant exteriors of Portland and the palpable chemistry between all the leads combine to make it, dare I say, lovable, an entertaining hour that might even offer a few insights into the complicated ties of desire and regret, friends and family.
    • 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
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Moffat and his very deep bench of talented performers create characters that defy expectation and grow in complexity with each episode.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Mary McNamara
    Watching "Tabatha's Salon Takeover," which is unrated, you can't help but wonder if there shouldn't be a "whip it" show for "whip it" shows--in which an expert would review the tapes and offer advice on how to turn a bad situation around. They could start with this one.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Hatfields & McCoys is a star-studded, gorgeously produced and astonishingly nuanced look at America's most famous family feud.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Creator Jenji Kohan has kept it all going so far, the supporting cast remains the funniest on TV, and Parker, with her carefully calculated stillness and sudden reckless displays of fearlessness, is more riveting than ever.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    They're a bit too cute. Yet behind all the hipster wordplay, the characters are strangely charming.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    if you're the type of person who needs every little thing, or indeed any little thing, to make sense in a pilot, then you should probably watch Fringe in solitude, preferably with the door closed, so the rest of us can enjoy it for what it is--an uneven but promising jumble of horror, thriller and comedy that is not afraid to reference SpongeBob and "Altered States" in practically the same scene.
    • 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
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    It had a not-bad, pretty good, kinda funny, sort of smart debut.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    "Thought-provoking" is an overused term in criticism, and one that can camouflage many sins. But here, for better and worse, is the real deal.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    It's an old-fashioned sort of show, working unapologetically toward wisdom rather than cleverness, attempting to depict its setting as neither romantic nor dismal, the local color rising as much from silence as words.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    The Event seems prepared to make its characters as complex as its storyline, always an event worth attending.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Better Off Ted is funny, it's just not as funny as it might be, or should be, or, with any luck, will be.
    • 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.

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