Mary McNamara

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For 581 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 Smash: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Cavemen: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 66 out of 581
581 tv reviews
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Psychological sleight of hand can't fill an hour every week. For that you need complicated, interesting crimes and complicated, interesting characters solving them. The Mentalist seems prepared to deliver just that.
    • 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
    • 30 Mary McNamara
    Cash and Geere are two talented performers selling this mess as best they can, but mostly the show suffocates under its own feeling of brashness.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Dexter is a weekly marvel of writing, acting and conceit.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Fortunately, terrific performances all around quickly ground the tensions in character rather than theme.
    • 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
    • 90 Mary McNamara
    Surviving Jack is terrific. Funny and smart, poignant and believable, it is undoubtedly the best new comedy of the season.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Lust because something's almost unforgivably cute ("Holy hottie, Batman" is an actual line) doesn't mean it can't also be very good and very funny, which The Ex List is.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 30 Mary McNamara
    Canterbury's Law is a Frankenstein's monster of a dozen cop/law shows, a pale, lurching version of the flawed and fascinating women who are taking back television like so many modern Cagneys and Laceys.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Hunt Baldwin and John Coveny, who created Trust Me (and have been writers on “The Closer") are former admen themselves; they chose the milieu to explore the creative process among a group of people with a collective-neuroses score high enough to maintain a smart and breezy comedy.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Though it never quite hits its stride, the show never pitches us into the abyss.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    It is, by turns, hilarious and histrionic, illuminating and infuriating.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Terra Nova manages to introduce a panoply of narrative threads and themes while telling a remarkably clean story, both in terms of plot line and tone; Terra Nova is whole-family friendly.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Call Girl's greatest flaw is not that it's exploitative but that it's surprisingly dull.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Of course, because this is a British production, it goes without saying that the acting across the board is terrific, adding a certain sheen to the well-thumbed plots.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    No doubt there will be many lessons about the importance of pulling together and being true to oneself, etc., but Make It or Break It seems prepared to take on not only the obvious Life Lessons but also the crucial undercurrents that move so many lives well into adulthood. And that, as much as the graceful wonder of gymnastics, will make it worth watching.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Playing it long and lugubrious but with a tantalizing twinkle, Lewis (last seen in the States as the hateful husband in "The Forsyte Saga") may well wrest the mantle of sexiest troubled American played by a Brit away from Hugh Laurie.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    [Hunter] captures well the worn-to-the-bone, irritable and slightly skanky buzz of a person living on too little sleep and too many medicinally applied Cokes, while infusing her character with a gentle heart and a sudden, dazzling smile. But much of the rest of the show is tediously familiar.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Covert Affairs may not have the revenge factor of "Burn Notice" or the bromantic banter of "White Collar," but it's fast-paced, fun and every bit as charming.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Unabashedly retro, with plenty of high- and low-tech silliness.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    For reasons known only to its creators, the pilot for Sleepy Hollow seems determined to jam into one hour what could have easily, and more enjoyably, been spun out over several.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    It's entertaining to watch, though, distracting in a highly caffeinated way, and Washington and Cusick are especially fun together, but at no point do the characters seem like people or the venue anything but a fast-paced, occasionally clever television show.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    By pilot's end, the tension level is more "Parenthood" than "Homeland."
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Mary McNamara
    Where once Nip/Tuck crackled, it now whines and sighs; where once it shocked, it now plays nice.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    A still pointed but more controlled take on the crossroads of media and culture, The Newsroom is now much closer to the show that many hoped it would be.
    • 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.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Unfortunately, the show seems to be slightly less than a sum of its parts.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 30 Mary McNamara
    It would be great to report here that Devious Maids is not that bad, except that it is, despite a lot of real talent on-screen.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Traffic Light, like that old Mustang you had in college, splutters more than a bit when you turn the key, but eventually it gets going. And once it does, the splendid refinishing of a classic makes the inevitable bumps much more easily endured.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    At its best, it's a well-acted, surprisingly clear-eyed look at the inconsistent relationship between passion and enduring love, and the innovative ways in which people bend their own rules to accommodate their need for pleasure. At its worse, it's a morally and narratively contrived excuse to watch a very entitled Everyman navigate a world of rich but unhappy women, including his own wife and daughter.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    The well-trod format of Siberia may be its biggest asset, quickly building the kind of sturdy perimeters that horror so often needs; real fear emerges when the familiar and predictable become shockingly distorted (is any ghost as scary as a child ghost?).
    • 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.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Harper's Island does not attempt to rise above the confines of its genre because it's too busy rolling around in them. It's tense enough, mysterious enough for those of us who enjoy occasionally watching the screen from behind our hands.
    • 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
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Here he has both--mood galore and a premise strong enough to not only sire a great pilot but to sustain a solid series.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Warehouse 13 is unapologetically and delightfully derivative, happily plucking the best stuff from our favorite shows and leaving all the heaviness behind.
    • 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."
    • 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
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    It's not perfect, but it certainly is different, so why not just enjoy the ride?
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    That nonjudgmental, easygoing charm is precisely why the people in Key's life put up with him, and why viewers will be drawn to him. Rake may be the story of yet another anti-hero, but it's difficult to remember one this likable.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    It's all great fun, a feast of eye and mind candy into which a few shreds of leafy greens have been added for content.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    It's hardly a new story... But ... 'The Following' is tricked out with enough narrative and casting bling to warrant the huge push Fox has given it.
    • 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
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    As the fine but far more dutiful early episodes of Season 2 suggest, if we're not careful, we'll get only the television we deserve.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    [Christian] is in rare form here. Which is a good thing since the show's success or failure rests solely on his dramatic agility and general appeal.
    • 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
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    White People is more conversation starter than a revelation, but the conversations it could start are limitless and important.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Overcrowded with plot, character and intent, the production has an earnest theatricality that can be both charming and tedious.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Ten minutes into the season premiere of Nip/Tuck and you have to wonder what those deeply disturbed plastic surgeons were doing wasting four seasons, and all that unexplored sexual tension, in Miami when they so clearly belong in Los Angeles.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Full of doe-eyed children talking to invisible and possibly sinister forces in the ceiling, the shrubbery and the night sky, The Whispers gets as much mileage out of the Steven Spielberg hand-stamp (he's an executive producer) as possible.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    Close's performance illuminates rather than outshines with its high wattage.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    Though filled with far more tender and often tear-jerking moments than actual laughs, the first hour of Parenthood seems a solid and steady enough vehicle for such a brilliant cast.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Mary McNamara
    This Sense and Sensibility is truer not only to Austen's narrative, it more successfully captures the quiet precision of her singular mind--she was the master of finding poetry in domestic detail, and for that, the small screen is much better suited than the large.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    "Harry Potter" meets "Gossip Girl" in "The Magicians," Syfy's new adaptation of a Lev Grossman trilogy, and it's a good match.... The Magicians holds its own by making the students a bit older and complicated.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    The Casual Vacancy is a heartbreaking, thought-provoking if occasionally simplistic look at the tyrannical power of the picturesque.
    • 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
    • 70 Mary McNamara
    The details of Cheney's fall from grace in the waning years of the Bush administration are fascinating and narratively satisfying.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 38 Metascore
    • 40 Mary McNamara
    Something got lost between concept and execution, and instead of suspense we get silliness
    • 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.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    The Fairly Legal writers manage to make this intellectually formidable centerpiece lively and intriguing and Shahi, whose timing is just as exceptional as her looks, makes it funny and sexy. The rest of the cast give us characters who may have started off stock but quickly become multilayered and, like the show itself, capable of all manner of surprises.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    There is plenty of that--the good, the beautiful and the etc. Some of it is conjured by CG magic (the Red Queen's palace is splendid, and the White Rabbit's ears a masterwork), and some by just good storytelling and performer chemistry, which Lowe and Socha have in abundance. Add to that a smattering of witty dialogue, clever character twists and, of course, the Victo-goth steampunk look, and ABC has another shot at redefining the family hour.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Mary McNamara
    For the most part, the success of the series rests almost entirely on the revelation of its main character. Fortunately, Braga appears to be all USA could have hoped for, and more.
    • 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.

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