Matthew Gilbert

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For 1,036 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 46% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 51% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 7.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Matthew Gilbert's Scores

Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 The Corner: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Tuesday Night Book Club: Season 1
Score distribution:
1036 tv reviews
    • 40 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    Despite its formal ambition, "Big Day" is disappointingly ordinary.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    The premiere is sloppily made, as it careens loosely among plotlines and characters, but Morgan is a worthy character played by a promising young actor.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    Television doesn't get any more visceral than this, and you will not soon forget images of the sky exploding into a rainstorm of parachutes, planes, and fire over Normandy, or American soldiers stumbling across a German death camp tucked in the forest...But as episodic television storytelling, Band of Brothers is less successful, marred not only by loose plot threads and war cliches but also by an excess of indistinct characters. [7 Dec 2001, p.C1]
    • Boston Globe
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    Sordid Lives: The Series has a decidedly amateurish tone, with shoddy production values and acting that shows some seams. But the tone works in the show's favor.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    It's a heavy soap opera that's so obsessed with the death of innocence, it forgets about the comic absurdities of decadence.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    It won't insult your intelligence, and it has a completely likable lead actor in Kyle Bornheimer; but Worst Week is nevertheless completely predictable and unambitious.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    It's subject matter that speaks to the train-wreck spectator in all of us, and designing a weekly show around it is a little uneasy-making. It's dangerously close to "reality" programming. That said, Special Victims Unit is an uneven hour that could improve with some aggressive fine tuning.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The show is a grim spectacle, and juicy bait for end-of-the-world addicts such as myself. But the living people in The Walking Dead, those uninfected with the mysterious virus, they are far less compelling.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    [Scott's] vital, star-making turn in "Saved" comes as a surprise, as it makes his earlier work seem muted by comparison.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The new series works just OK. The problem is, there actually isn't much of a need for the two dopes and their anti-wisdom anymore.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    The Fox series' formula is pretty stock teen material, with immature guys and unsuspecting parents and ditsy girls, but it's got a few inventively surrealistic scenes and a breezy tone that make it worth watching. [22 Aug 1998, p.C4]
    • Boston Globe
    • 79 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    Much as I am compelled to watch "24," and admire its craft, I find that I can't take it seriously.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    Little more than an empty vehicle for clever jokes on America since 9/11. [30 Apr 2005]
    • Boston Globe
    • 78 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    Gideon's Crossing is soulful and serious. It's also heavy-handed and ponderous, the equivalent of an hour with a philosophy grad student who just won't lighten up. [10 Oct 2000, p.C1]
    • Boston Globe
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    We've seen all these characters countless times before in movie and TV westerns, but the actors give them distinction here.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    It's a plot-driven, multi-generational melodrama, which feels particularly shallow at a time when shows such as "Friday Night Lights," "Mad Men," "Dexter," and "Nip/Tuck" are pushing their narrative reach.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    The crass gags--some of which I laughed at--ultimately overwhelm everything else. Better to dole out the tastelessness carefully, so that each crude zinger has some value.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    It’s an ambitious work that is always fascinating, if not always successful. When all is said and done, Boardwalk Empire may be TV’s best uneven series.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    A run-of-the-mill family comedy that wants to be the show that follows it, "Everybody Loves Raymond," but ends up more like a wan wannabe. [21 Sept 1998, p.C9]
    • Boston Globe
    • 76 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    It has become a powerful, promotional machine, long on hype and short on the human feeling--the glee--that once made it so addictive.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The show doesn't aim very high. It's only a little bit more than just another network sitcom about marital conflict and about how men will be men.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    It's just a thoroughly conventional multi-camera sitcom rooted in familiar Felix-Oscar shtick and that tried-and-true comic standby, a cute kid. It's old school...And happy to be that way. [22 Sept 2003, p.B7]
    • Boston Globe
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    So much about the Fox series is unseemly, and I don't just mean the commercial-to-show ratio and the sponsor plugs, which have been downright obscene. "American Idol," a new hybrid of reality TV and beauty pageantry, represents some of the crudest aspects of both network TV and the pop-music industry. ... And yet, and yet. "American Idol" remains addictive TV. [4 Sep 2002]
    • Boston Globe
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The show is an extremely mixed bag, but he's an extremely likable extreme interventionist.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    The middling show plays too much like “The O.C.’’ with swords, crowns, and a cheesy CGI dragon (voiced by John Hurt).
    • 31 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    The mildly amusing animated series would have packed more of a punch back when Americans were still a little shocked about Bush's seeming arrested development, but these days it comes off as merely facile.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The miniseries is an ordinary but not awful piece of science fiction, one you won't hate watching and yet one you shouldn't hate missing.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    Margulies and Noth--both of whom have a similarly dark appeal--are well-matched onscreen. Alas, if you feel a “but’’ or two coming, you would be correct. The problem I have with The Good Wife is something that mars too much TV: telegraphing.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    Without any framing background information, this affectionate documentary and its continual monologues can feel a little too insidery and indulgent.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    Entertaining, stylish, and, most of all, slight.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    To stand out from the pablum of domestic sitcoms, the series needs to lose the working-mom cliches and be more willing to be mean.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    Ever respectful of its source, the miniseries doesn't add on sexuality so much as it seeks and finds character depth and dimensionality.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The script is a little too silly and lighthearted for its own good, undermining its cleverness with absurd plot twists. [11 July 2012, p.D1]
    • Boston Globe
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    It's "Party of Five" meets "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," but with less angst and pathos than the former and more adult pretension than the latter...As it is, "Charmed" is a pretty bland-tasting brew. [7 Oct 1998, p.C5]
    • Boston Globe
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The material isn't nearly strong enough to support a full half-hour of TV.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    It succeeds as a charming, silly, and idealistic piece of whimsy along the lines of "In and Out."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The Blacklist doesn’t waste time making sense, as the focus zooms all over Washington, D.C. Too often, it seems more like a blueprint for a show than a show.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    Walters makes the movie seem like more than it is. She gives us a fully dimensional woman--an art teacher--who is idealistic, self-righteous, humorless, God-fearing, affectionate toward her students, driven, and not any one of those qualities to a great extreme.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    Ultimately, Fisher comes across like that overly intelligent, entertaining, articulate analysand who has her own story all figured out, but still doesn't know how to let it go.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    Not surprisingly, watching a functional maniac pitching fits gets old pretty quickly. It's like listening to "You are the weakest link" on a loop for an hour straight. [30 May 2005]
    • Boston Globe
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    'Numb3rs' is strained... You can practically hear them groaning with effort as they milk the action potential out of a brainstorming nerd banging his chalk against a blackboard la 'A Beautiful Mind.'
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    You can feel creator Vince Gilligan (of "The X-Files") straining to build an emblematic American fable and forgetting to fill in his story with particularities and believable motivations.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    A tonally baffling story that seems to both ridicule academic pretentiousness and succumb to it. ... The acting is fine all around, with Hahn trying her damnedest to be fierce but flappable, but that doesn’t keep the characters from becoming tiresome.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The stereotypes in play on Accidentally on Purpose are flat, if harmless, from the get-go.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    "Million Dollar Listing" is a pretty collection of vignettes about people with money making more money, and it's a little obscene.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    The couples are ordinary, and so are their issues. That’s part of the goal of the show--to dissect the mundanity of love and anger. But making a developing story out of these tangles and skirmishes is extremely difficult, and Tell Me You Love Me doesn’t quite pull it off.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    This comedy is painfully broad, not to mention unimaginative and derivative of every newsroom sitcom from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" to "LateLine" to "NewsRadio" to "Less Than Perfect."
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    It’s a shame the story doesn’t fully work, because some of the acting in Top of the Lake: China Girl is top of the line. I love the cast, even when the script fails them and they’re forced to make illogical scenes work.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The show is mildly entertaining at best, with a few pluses--unusual story lines, particularly the one set after World War II, some gorgeous scenery, and one or two likable performances--counterbalanced by a few negatives. Least tolerable among the negatives: the occasional Harlequin Romance moments that have you waiting for the lass to shed her corset while the evening wind blows through Fabio’s hair.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    While it succeeds nicely on some of these fronts, at times managing to be gripping and thought provoking, it fails to cohere on other fronts, as writer Jack Thorne crams too many characters and too much story into a half-dozen hours.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The show digs into the issues too quickly, and with too much intensity, and the drama suffers. [22 July 2003, p.E1]
    • Boston Globe
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The problem with the miniseries, written by Peter Harness and directed by Toby Haynes, is its lack of emotional potency, at least in the first two episodes. At moments, the amazingly constructed magical set pieces threaten to overwhelm both the fine points of the plot and the wonderful performances.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    24 makes a feint toward change, before getting back on the same old mechanical cowboy ride.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The series as a whole has a much better sense of itself, and a more confident tone, since Eli, his colleagues, and the viewers all understand that the guy is in fact a visionary. The coyness of season one is gone. The show, cocreated by Greg Berlanti, nonetheless falls short of being destination television.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    You won't be drawn to True Blood if you don't like a heightened, almost cartoonish atmosphere. Paquin, giggly but calmly assertive, is something of an acquired taste as Sookie.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The movie is so carefully stylized, any and all emotional import has been sucked out of it.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The actors aren’t bad at all, but the script seems to block them from deepening their performances and coloring in the gray along the way.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    The show doesn't ever really develop a comic center, or a heart. It's just a bunch of pointless monkey business.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    The show might even have been engaging, if the one-liners came less frequently and the characters had a little more dimension. As it is, Sheldon and Leonard are merely laughable, if sweet, and they are even less fleshed out than the characters on "Two and a Half Men."
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    OK, watching celebrities get taken down does have its nice side. [20 Apr 2003, p.N5]
    • Boston Globe
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    The VH1 series is slight, but it has a certain charm and the potential to grow into a harmless, soapy amusement.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    Despite its unique premise, the show delivers little more than network sitcom material tarted up with cable raciness. [5 Aug 2005]
    • Boston Globe
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    Ultimately "The Black Donnellys" pales in the light of its lofty influences.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    While the initial arrival of the dome is intriguing, the characters are not.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    The two-part miniseries makes missteps aplenty, with tone and plot changes from the novel that will likely offend purists. But it nonetheless has a warm spirit and an original vision, which is more than I can say for Roman Polanski's rote 2005 version.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    The most banal family-sitcom setup possible. [17 Sep 2002]
    • Boston Globe
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    It's made of familiar slacker material that's slightly freshened with an improvisatory feel as the actors um-and-ah their way to their punch lines. And it's blissfully missing the canned laughs that make the likes of ''That '70s Show" so obnoxious. Still, ''Free Ride" is far from essential TV viewing.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    "Casanova" is a giddily unconventional tale of an adventurous youth, but then it's also a stock and inflated portrait of old age.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    As much as I like Parker and Kudrow and the subjects of later episodes such as Susan Sarandon and Spike Lee, I’m not sure I like them enough to care about their long-gone ancestors. It’s primarily when the stars’ family trees overlap with history--the Holocaust, for example, in Kudrow’s case--that the show feels like something more than Hollywood self-indulgence.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    Despite Cohen's talent for submerging himself in his characters, Da Ali G Show is a spotty venture. As on "Saturday Night Live," the sketches are overextended instead of staying short and tart. And Cohen only flirts with political and cultural satire as he toys with his guests, who also include former US attorney general Richard L. Thornburgh. He resists making real points about America, falling back on the more small-minded fun of saying dirty words in front of unsuspecting people or watching them writhe when they hear his sex talk. Ultimately, he's a version of Howard Stern's interviewer Stuttering John, only in more exotic drag. [22 Feb 2003, p.F12]
    • Boston Globe
    • 48 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    The NBC talk show wasn't a legendary late-night train wreck so much as a train stalled between stations, going nowhere, filled with impatient passengers.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    This show amounts to yet another example of the pains people will take to appear on TV. By the end of the premiere, even the crabs are starting to look a little bored.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    It’s just fine, although it never strays outside the conventions of poignant coming-of-age stories. Everything about the show is too familiar. The sincerity is refreshing in an animated context, but the characters and the stories are old hat.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    While The Path is engaging, and smart when it comes to portraying the strangeness of cult life, it suffers from a bad case of tonal overkill.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    It's hard to know where The Middle will go after tonight's decent pilot. And that's part of the sitcom's promise, that it has the potential to blossom into a sweet if small celebration of a family of oddballs living distinctly unhip lives.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    When The Chair highlights the differences between its two stars, it is engaging and enlightening.... However, the show is significantly less interesting during some of the conversations that surround some of the decision-making.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    It all feels like “Curb”-cutting-room-floor material set atop a feeble plotline and a group of unrealized and disposable supporting performances. Clear History is pretty, pretty average.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    Human Target is perfectly adequate action fluff. It’s fast-paced, chock full of fight choreography, and filled with gimmicks including an out-of-control train and an upside-down airplane.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    A slight but appealing mix of old-school Saturday morning cartoons from the early 1970s along with happy hip-hop tunes.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    While the pacing and acting of the new show is admirable, it's an overtold story and its familiarity lessens the intrigue. Baby, maybe he wasn't born to run, and run, and run. [6 Oct 2000, p.D1]
    • Boston Globe
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    Ultimately, though, Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy isn't as sensational as it might have been. It unfolds without too much of the lurid caricature of so many other Lifetime movies.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 58 Matthew Gilbert
    The writers telegraph every single point, especially the sentimental ones, because subtlety can be so darn challenging. Bunbury, though, delivers an appealingly tough performance.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    [Writer-director Steve Conrad] tries all kinds of ways to dodge genre expectations and come up with something distinctive. His ambition is consistent, even when his success rate isn’t.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    You've got to be something of a Bette-a-holic to take this much of Midler's raging insecurities and slapstick stylings on a weekly basis. Even when she's missing from a scene in "Bette," which is rare, the rest of the show's character ensemble is fixated on her and her bottomless pit of need. [11 Oct 2000, p.C1]
    • Boston Globe
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The scripts pander too much to the sensibility they should be mocking - that Hollywood is a playland for big boys with an eye for scrawny women. Entourage doesn't need to become moralistic or politically correct, just self-aware. If the writers took another step back from their immature characters, the show's satirical edge might be sharper. [16 July 2004, p.C1]
    • Boston Globe
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    It's good, but not quite inventive or mysterious enough to demand we swallow yet another serving of serial.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 58 Matthew Gilbert
    It’s straining to be TV’s new obsession, instead of a riveting drama.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    You won't be bored, as you strain to keep track of everything, and Isaacs, with his piercing eyes and reserve, is a great lead.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    The characters may be shallow, but that doesn’t keep the show from giving the easy pleasures of reading a quickie mystery novel. And a few of the actors are entertaining despite the limitations of the script.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    Based on a preview of two episodes, Idiotsitter is fairly amusing.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    By the end, I was wrung out from disappointment, from the awareness that Cross’s script was woefully underdeveloped, more like a double episode of a “Criminal Minds”-like procedural than part of an outstanding franchise.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    The debut isn't disastrous by any means, it just doesn't crackle.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    It’s fun at times to make the comparisons with the original comic, to see just how far Riverdale strays. But that compare-and-contrast can take you only so far in the face of such derivative writing.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    The CW remake isn't awful, by any means. The pilot rushes ahead nicely, with a twist at the end that gestures toward many possible future plotlines. But we've seen the whole thing many times before.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    The power and ambiguity of the soldierly bond is one of the fascinating things in Nightingale. Alas, it’s the only fascinating thing about this movie, the only idea in the movie that isn’t blaringly obvious and hammered home. It’s a shame. What could have been an evocative journey into the mind of a lost veteran, as he opens up his thinking across a one-man show set entirely inside his house, is more like a quasi thriller revolving around a very mad hatter.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    After the electrifying start, Fringe unfolds as an uneven, unwieldy piece of work that provides very few chills and thrills.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    The different elements hang together as a nicely faceted whole--until the final minutes, that is. Ultimately neither movie nor series, neither beginning nor end, Virtuality is a flight with no destiny.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 Matthew Gilbert
    "Freak Show" aspires to be both infantile and yet politically and socially astute, and it falls short on the latter. The satire doesn't quite hit its marks.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Matthew Gilbert
    It all felt safe and predictable, a warm goodnight salvo without any of the tartness or twistedness of Ferguson or of the show’s lead-in host, David Letterman.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Matthew Gilbert
    Essentially, Mary and Martha operates like an EZ-to-read Lifetime movie with HBO production values.

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