For 273 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 20% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 75% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 9.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Mike Hale's Scores

Average review score: 56
Highest review score: 90 Louis C.K.: Oh My God
Lowest review score: 10 Amish Mafia: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 98 out of 273
  2. Negative: 23 out of 273
273 tv reviews
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Nothing stands out (including the blandly pretty cinematography and insistent music), but it’s saucier than the sum of its parts.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Strike Back won't make anyone forget "24" or "MI-5" or even "The Unit," but it has its pleasures for the aficionado of guns and flesh in exotic locales.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    None of this narrative padding is especially gripping, and some of it borders on dull, but the quality of the construction is above average.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    These highlight reels can be enjoyed for their own sakes. Mr. Burns and Ms. Novick try to construct a larger story around the career of Barry Bonds, who set the single-season and career home run records while becoming embroiled in the steroid scandals, but it never really coheres into something that can give shape to the entire four-hour documentary.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    It's hard to say for sure after watching only one episode, but a more confrontational and high-adrenaline Top Chef Masters may bump up ratings at the cost of making the show less distinctive. Part of its appeal has been that it focused attention on the chefs' virtuosity, and not merely on the weekly competition.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The storytelling in The Fades can be convoluted and creaky, but there's some wit to the writing, and the horror and battle scenes are legitimately frightening, by TV standards.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Watching the pilot again, though, it became harder to ignore the soap opera underpinnings and the twee sentimentality.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Friday Night Dinner, which had its first season on the British Channel 4 this spring, is a rowdier, sweatier, more profane show that will probably seem more typically British to American fans of "Fawlty Towers" or "The Royle Family."
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The film’s inevitable compressions, made worse by the amount of empty, self-congratulatory celebrity blathering, mean that every Pryor fan will have omissions to complain about. But the best strategy is probably to sit back and enjoy what’s there.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    [A] glossy, silly, intermittently entertaining new series.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The strained '40s-speak starts to recede in the third episode (four were sent to critics), and, not coincidentally, the performances begin to improve--what looked like community theater acting in the pilot suddenly seems more natural.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Unfortunately, the three hours of the show, while they include chases, sexual entrapment, grisly murders and lots of spycraft, never exceed the tension in those quiet opening scenes.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Mild, affable and familiar, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a show the whole family can snicker at.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    It’s treacle, but it’s distinguished by several things, beginning with its relatively dry style and careful modulation of tone and volume--even the shouting and the car chases are discreetly tasteful.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The question is what they'll be given to do going forward, beyond generic relationship material, domestic comedy and the occasional action set piece.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Grantchester will be breezy fun for fans of the form, though the more discerning will be put off by how rudimentary the actual murder mysteries are after being squeezed into 50 minutes (half the norm for this type of show). Others are liable to find it faintly ridiculous, more of a haiku than an actual drama.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The Pillars of the Earth will go down painlessly for the fan of this sort of epic; while it's predictable and never exactly sweeping, it's certainly eventful, and the production values are above average.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Some viewers won't find much of anything in Bob's Burgers funny, but in fairness it's at least partly a question of style--of whether you respond to the show's minimalist, conversational, antijoke aesthetic.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    This narrative pokiness is redeemed, as usual, by the machine-tooled professionalism of the production, the lavish attention to the mock-medieval costumes and setting, and the mostly crisp, understated acting by the international cast.... More than ever, though, you may find yourself impatient for the plot to wind around to the more engaging story lines.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Episodes end with a sit-down interview labeled "Amy Goes Deep"--everything on this show is a double-entendre--in which Ms. Schumer might talk to a sex columnist, a phone-sex operator or a pornography cameraman. That’s a lot of extra business for a half-hour sketch show, and as charming and quick on her feet as Ms. Schumer is in these segments, they can feel like filler.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    It's decent popcorn TV, if you've got nothing better to do.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is great to look at. It moves along at a gallop, and it’s not boring, even if it’s not exactly engaging either. Most important, it has appealing performances by Bertie Carvel as Strange and particularly by Eddie Marsan as the crabbed and proud Norrell.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    It's all just window dressing on a standard crime drama, however, and while the pilot sets up running story lines involving the gangster and the officials he controls, they feel squeezed and a little perfunctory.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    As crime shows go, it’s pretty good. As comic book shows go, it’s a demonstration of how tricky it can be to turn a comic book into a show.... It’s just that too much of the story feels indistinct, like disconnected chunks of a much-better-than-average cop show.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Death Valley's scattershot satire has so many targets--scary-monster series, cop shows, mockumentaries, Hollywood posers, the suburban weltschmerz of the Valley--that despite the lackluster production and hit-and-miss writing some of the jokes are likely to connect.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Ringer is nearly all melodramatics, but the pilot has a throwback, B-movie vibe that's entertaining--empty calories, but with a little kick.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    It still has plenty of clever touches in word and picture.... But it’s not particularly scary, and doesn’t even feel that creepy or freakish, despite the sideshow setting and the obvious attempt to emulate one of the eeriest of American movies, Tod Browning’s “Freaks,” from 1932.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Mr. Gregg hits the same appealing note of wry authority that he struck in “The Avengers” (it’s not yet clear whether he has any others), and the newcomer Brett Dalton shows some charm as a Bond-style operative. Joss Whedon, meanwhile, has fun with the show’s obligatory jabs of self-awareness.... The first week’s adventure feels perfunctory, though, even given the constraint of introducing characters and back story, and most of the team members are still strictly two-dimensional.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Kirstie, with Ms. Alley mugging through her role as a kindhearted narcissist, is more like the Ford Focus. If it’s late and it’s all the rental company has left, you might as well take it.... Rhea Perlman is funny as Thelma, but the real revelation of Kirstie is Michael Richards as the shady chauffeur, Frank.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Some of these segments are quite amusing, but they're rarely more amusing than they would have been if published in The Onion (the newspaper or the Web site).
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The story ends with a final, not quite believable, flourish on John's part, but Mr. Mackintosh carries it off, riding comfortably above his middling material.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The series is in the "NYPD Blue" and "Southland" vein, trying for realism. It isn't in those shows' league, but it's a welcome change from the glossy triviality of other summer filler like "Rookie Blue" or "The Good Guys."
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Hatfields & McCoys is a perfectly respectable piece of work, and probably better than we could have expected for a History mini-series....The mini-series's main problem is that six-hour running time.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Do No Harm is a resolutely lightweight entertainment whose silliness isn't necessarily a deal breaker--if you turn off the right parts of your brain, you might enjoy it.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The result--for the person with a casual interest in cars, anyway--is a show that at this point lacks the character of the British original but is, particularly in its second and third episodes, reasonably entertaining by American reality-TV standards.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Matador is definitely B-level--serviceable dialogue, not-quite-cartoonish characters, gimmicky editing--but it’s not grindhouse.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    When you do sketch-style comedy, though, you’re only as good as your next idea, and in two subsequent episodes the situations aren’t as distinctive. Jay Baruchel gives Josh an appealing blend of desperation, gallantry and squirming calculation. He’s carrying all the weight, though: The cast includes Eric Andre as Josh’s pick-up-artist best friend, Britt Lower as his sister and Maya Erskine as his ex, but none of their characters are more than foils.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Rather than tackle Ms. Sontag’s ideas or their value head-on, the director, Nancy Kates, continually deflects the discussion along other lines: Ms. Sontag as closeted bisexual, serial heartbreaker, liberal provocateur, narcissist, celebrity, camera subject, Jew, cancer survivor.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The executive producers, Shana Goldberg-Meehan and Greg Malins, both worked on "Friends," and the jokes in Better With You have the polish and the off-center, sneakily funny quality that marked that show. But the single-family multigeneration setup seems to have facilitated an undertone of nastiness and desperation in the humor, most clearly expressed in the condescending portrayal of the youngest couple.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The good side of the kabuki-like formalism of the Bruckheimer approach is that the story moves like a bullet toward the inevitable apprehension of the fugitive, flying past leaden dialogue and plot holes so quickly that if you enjoy the crime-drama formulas that are in play, you can enjoy the show.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    If you've seen the many hours of "The Blue Planet" and "Planet Earth," or are a regular watcher of the nature documentaries constantly available on cable, then you've already seen most of what Great Migrations has to offer, or some version of it.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The new film, despite the astounding story it tells, is the most conventional, least urgent and, cinematically, the least interesting of the three.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    However, beyond its stars (and a welcome guest appearance in the pilot by Dallas Roberts), Elementary is a mixed bag. Mr. Doherty, whose primary credit is a long stint on the voluptuously melodramatic "Medium," is good on atmosphere and character but not so strong on plot mechanics.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    The 11-year-old boy at the center of the story has never spoken and is also the show's narrator. It's a perfectly acceptable device, if not a particularly interesting one in this case.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    It’s two characters for the price of one--or for the price of sitting through the three hours (over two nights) of an opaque and contrived thriller.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    There's nothing inherently interesting about the show's attempt to combine stock ethnic-family sitcom formulas with retro-kitsch nostalgia, and viewers (especially those who have worked in family Chinese restaurants) may find the simplifications and stereotypes appalling.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The flashback structure, which could have been cumbersome and distracting, is impressively seamless. But, despite these positives, things start to go off track as early as the second episode.... [Director Cary Joji Fukunaga] doesn’t show much ability here to animate Mr. Pizzolatto’s dialogue-heavy encounters.... There are some nice moments in the later episodes, and they’re the ones with the fewest words.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    TV Land proves again that no one in basic cable does a more proficient, professional job of executing and packaging traditional sitcoms. What’s not so admirable: the creator and writer Matthew Carlson’s pilot script.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    It offers the minor pleasures of formulaic fantasy and weekly puzzle solving, though in a cheaper-looking and less original package than usual.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    It feels cobbled together, from the premise of “Chuck,” “Jake 2.0” and other shows to scenes and situations that recall better productions like “Person of Interest,” “Homeland” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Sirens stands at the far end of a current spectrum in which jokes are considered too obvious and old-fashioned a way of getting laughs. Unfortunately, the show doesn’t replace them with funny circumstances or characters we care about.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Much of the time in the early episodes is spent on the preparations for this mission [for one last big score] and on laying out a complicated network of alliances and animosities, and it gets to be a slog. Helping to keep us interested are Mark Ryan, providing a comic touch as a grizzled quartermaster, and Luke Arnold as a not-so-charming rogue named John Silver, not yet Long.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Across the four early episodes provided for review, Pierce's hallucinations are already beginning to feel like stunts covering up for a lack of ideas.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    [Peter Dinklage, Ciaran Hinds, Paul Kaye, and Dianna Rigg are] all fun to watch, even when their characters don’t have anything in particular to do besides relay information that we need to keep up with the story or keep straight the seven (so we’re told) warring families.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Turning Dracula into a fanged insurgent battling ruthless oligarchs is a nifty idea, and the electricity plot allows for diverting steampunk-meets-“Bride of Frankenstein” visuals. But nothing about the show is as much fun as it should be. The storytelling is slow and anemic, spelling everything out at length.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    When Dominion isn’t preoccupied with filling in its portentous back story, it provides some capably filmed action and a higher grade of acting than usual for this kind of show.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Origins is no worse than average among the class of shows--“24,” “The Unit,” “MI5”--that mix high-tech intelligence gathering with bloody commando action.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    At least the Sopranos knew how to have fun.... Mr. Momoa and Mr. Henderson acquit themselves well without generating any heat or much of any feeling. The best work is by Julianne Nicholson as Harold’s damaged wife and Zahn McClarnon as a foot soldier in Phillip’s drug operation.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The medical scenes are competent but forgettable, while the scenes of Charlie's peregrinations are sometimes interesting and funny but surprisingly infrequent.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    What looks like a flat noir thriller could still make for a pretty entertaining police procedural.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    While Mr. Douglas glides through the film--demonstrating that his talent for portraying carnivorous lechery and polished duplicity works regardless of sexual orientation--and Mr. Damon is earnest and committed, the love, or whatever it was, between Thorson and Liberace never comes into emotional focus.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    It has more of the feel of a traditional family sitcom than the louder, jokier competition on Nickelodeon, but the humor is still pretty broad and the plotting blunt for anyone outside that age group.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Peaky Blinders is literate (watch for the visual references to “L’Atalante” and Charon’s crossing) and sometimes great looking, with impressive evocations of hellish industrial sections of Birmingham that have a science-fiction feel. But for a sprawling soap opera that packs in Roma curses, shell shock, hash pipes, Chinatown prostitutes and gang members sporting the 1919 version of a half-shaved boy-band haircut, it doesn’t have quite enough juice.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Reign looks good (the pilot was shot in Ireland), moves smoothly and features CW’s characteristic bland but competent performances.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Hello Ladies is a diverting curiosity, nice to look at and good for a few squirmy laughs.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Beyond that conceit [that none of the survivors are over 21], though, most of the action in the opening episodes is familiar ensemble soap opera with conspiracy-theory embroidery (the government knows more than it’s saying).
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    As to whether the show will get back on track, the early signals are mixed.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    It’s reasonably smart, reasonably interesting and reasonably well acted without being particularly good.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    An Adventure in Space and Time turns out to be an entirely conventional backstage drama, moving at a leisurely pace and making every reversal and triumph easily comprehensible for an audience that may not have seen the original show.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    It’s the last of the big-four British costume dramas of recent years to make its American public-television debut, after “Downton Abbey,” “Call the Midwife” and “Mr. Selfridge,” and it’s the most frivolous of the bunch, which is saying quite a bit.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The problem is more likely to be the generic nature of Emily's misadventures, and the soap opera implausibility of the medical stories, which is extreme, even for the genre.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    "Catfish" was a clever riff on a found-footage thriller, Catfish: The TV Show is a standard reality series mixing elements of the dating and rehab-therapy genres.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    For a short-form digital series, Play It Again, Dick is fairly amusing.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The writers may work their way out of this corner and Mr. McIntyre, who's a bit lightweight at this point, may grow into the central role. In the meantime there are still touches of the unbridled campiness that made the first season amusing.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The Bridge still feels like a show caught between two masters. It has a lot of the pieces it needs to actually be a compelling murder mystery--some good performances in key roles; an evocative, sun-blasted look; and an ability (presumably Mr. Reid’s) to concoct creepy, suspenseful scenes. Yet we’re still waiting for it all to come together.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    [The cast] all do their best to provide what every comic-book adaptation needs and so few achieve, which is a little soul, some human substance at the core. Powers shows occasional, fitful signs of that kind of life, though in the long run it may be just too threadbare to get there.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    This might be more amusing if Shane and Kim were more expressive or interesting, but neither evinces much personality.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Franklin & Bash has some of the ingredients of perfectly adequate summer filler: it's handsomely shot; the writing, line by line, is as good as or better than that of most of the cable competition; and there are appealing actors like Malcolm McDowell, Reed Diamond and Ms. Davis in supporting roles. The problem is that Franklin and Bash themselves are resolutely uninteresting.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Most of the elaborately introduced plotlines fizzle out (or simply vanish), and the final surprise is the worst kind of twist ending, arrived at arbitrarily and seemingly presented for its shock value.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The show suffers from a failure to commit: resolutely charting a middle course between cheese-ball parody and something darker and more sophisticated, it manages to be both over the top and consistently flat, too silly to take seriously and too dull to care about.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Hit & Miss is so slow and earnest and teachy--several scenes involve Mia's young son exploring his own sexual identity by donning a dress and headband--that much of the show seems to be performed on tiptoe, and a giggle seems like the appropriate response.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Resolutely generic.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The show does a creditable job of cataloging the novel's themes, but it has more trouble capturing the story's Victorian-style sweep and texture.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Bonnie & Clyde is thoroughly inoffensive and resolutely middle-of-the-road, a big slab of a story about a doomed love affair between two nice, good-looking kids who had some really bad luck.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    What we get is an unwieldy and mostly humdrum combination of mob tale and backstage musical.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Very little that Mr. Fox, or anyone else, does in The Michael J. Fox Show, which starts on Thursday night, will force you to laugh. Everything about his return to sitcom stardom is mild, tucked in, determined not to offend.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    All those profiled are on their best behavior, and the show is so focused on teaching that it goes for long stretches without entertaining.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The entire season will be available on Friday morning, and, in one sitting, you can cruise through the so-so story and find out before lunch what the future holds for Linden and Holder.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    A predictable mix of violence, sex and sentimentalism.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    It’s competently assembled and has a bland stylishness. What it lacks, at this point, is any kick in its storytelling: There are alienation, daddy issues and a looming love triangle, but they’re all pro forma.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The occasional half-decent joke aside, the pilot episode of (the real) Cult is largely derivative, with a style and atmosphere reminiscent of better CW shows like “Supernatural” and “The Vampire Diaries,” and a mildly interesting, at best, metaphysical-mystery component that feels borrowed from “Lost.”
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    It's neither here nor there: low on sci-fi mystery and intrigue and not yet convincing as ensemble drama. Right now it feels like the beta version.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The show around them [the actors], at this point, looks too flat and schematically plotted to succeed as the type of lightweight summer fun we've come to expect from USA.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    It tries to combine elements of American mob stories and Scandinavian mysteries, seasoned with frequent overt references to "The Sopranos," but the mixture is pretty flat in the first episode.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    It most closely resembles the assembly-line Hollywood westerns that provide the model for the zombie genre.... The mundanely self-aware screenplay includes references to the zompocalypse and lines like “God, I hate moral dilemmas.”
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    The new show is a perfectly adequate, even above-average example of the genre, but at this late date, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    A perilously high-concept but intermittently pleasurable concoction that goes back to the future in several ways.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Nothing in the first two episodes of The Pauly D Project is more than mildly diverting, but that's still more than can be said for the reboot of the candid-camera prank show "Punk'd."
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Seriousness has crept in--too many of the sketches have a didactic, lecturing quality at the expense of the wild, smutty humor that made the show necessary viewing.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Golden Boy is a smoothly made but entirely generic show that rides the squad-room-as-family metaphor hard.

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