For 268 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 21% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 74% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 9.4 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: 96 out of 268
  2. Negative: 23 out of 268
268 tv reviews
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Mike Hale
    Oh My God, taped in February, is a crackerjack show, a polished, manifestly professional performance that couldn’t be more different in tone from “Louie.”
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    Previewing the songs may be enough to draw Foo Fighters fans. For everyone else, Mr. Grohl provides, through interviews, archival clips and his own narration, a musical and social history of the city that’s both surprisingly detailed and decidedly personal.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    They practice the comedy of female semi-empowerment, in which confidence (tending toward narcissism) and a still somewhat startling sexual frankness combine with old-fashioned insecurity and self-abasement, all of them generating laughs.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    The story so far is compelling, but, as with that true-crime podcast, our judgments will be heavily influenced by how the series plays out and what kind of resolution it provides (or doesn’t).
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    Grimm is not a profound show (what is?), but few are more purely entertaining--engaging, clever, tense, funny, well paced and featuring a remarkably appealing cast as the friends and colleagues who help Nick.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    Happy Valley, in addition to being a smart and absorbing thriller, is a morality play, one in which the mystery is secondary (we know who did what all along).
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    It’s like watching old episodes of “Served” or “Keeping Up Appearances” or “Allo Allo”: slightly horrifying, like a slow-motion train wreck, but also, every few minutes, convulsingly funny. This has everything to do with Mr. Jacobi and Mr. McKellen.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    At times, it feels like a smarter, less melodramatic version of a backstage series like “Smash” (or a less over-the-top version of a superior backstage story like “Slings and Arrows”)
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    It’s polished, manic, funny and a bit thin; visually, it’s like a toned-down version of the comic-book expressionism of Terry Gilliam.... The two actors are wonderful in their scenes together.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    The new season is a more straightforward affair over all, reminiscent in tone and structure of the show’s brilliantly mordant first three years.... As Louis C.K. reinvents the classic sitcom in his own elliptical, cerebral style, he seems to be in his absurdist theater phase, or his surrealist short-story phase--Kafka on the Hudson. (Louis C.K. still writes, directs and edits every episode.) At that level of ambition, some things work and some don’t.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    On balance it plays like a well-made and increasingly grim horror picture, with a crispness of execution and a graphic level of intestine-pulling, throat-ripping violence that are both beyond the American norm.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    People eat this stuff up, and a skeptic can find himself riveted by the best of it.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    The 50 Year Argument, which Mr. Scorsese directed with David Tedeschi, is textured and smart but thoroughly celebratory, a paean to the magazine and the amazingly durable Mr. Silvers, now 84.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    Beyond the elaborate production design and the stately but genuinely gory and frightening Gothic bloodletting, Penny Dreadful is a fairly typical story of troubled people--all the main characters are hiding something, in their pasts or in their bodies--who manage to do the right thing. That it’s the best of its kind on TV right now, along with “The Strain” on FX, has to do with Mr. Logan’s ability to render over-the-top action and emotions in human terms and to choose actors who can see what he’s trying to do.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    An absorbing and beautifully made film in its own right, whose 208 minutes mostly fly by.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    Presumably the producers’ realization of what they had in Maria and her bright, gorgeous, unfettered children led to the bifurcated structure of the series, and it’s the ups but mostly downs of her last eight months on earth that make Time of Death worth watching.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    The engineering of the plot is pretty obvious, and the sentimentality that’s part of the Harmon package goes overboard toward the end of the episode.... Everything is back on track, though, in Thursday night’s second episode, a sterling example of Mr. Harmon’s ability to deploy fanboy obsessiveness in the service of funny and affectionate storytelling.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    The story of the Dust Bowl is complicated, twisting together ecology, economics and politics, as well as divisions of class and region, and Mr. Burns and his writer, Dayton Duncan, have done as careful and admirable a job as you would expect in laying it out.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    Season 2 is, from the start, an entirely messier, more contingent affair, enjoyable in a different and, to me, more appealing way.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    Quibbles aside, Game of Thrones is still remarkable for both the scrupulousness and the lavishness of its production, beautiful to look at and mostly engaging to follow, though there is something of the accountant’s method in Mr. Martin’s fantasy--progress through constant addition--that transfers into the television show.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    The appeal is elementary: good, unpretentious fun, something that's in short supply around here.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    What Broadchurch has to offer, beyond its central performances and its intelligent but not particularly original plot, is mood: a tasty icing of gloom and foreboding that leans heavily on the music of Olafur Arnalds and the cinematography of Matt Gray, whose shots from every possible angle of the dramatic cliffs behind the Broadchurch beach are essential to the show’s ambience.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    Wartorn sometimes starts to feel prim and preachy. But it also has its share of quietly devastating, haunting scenes, echoes of the nightmares that veterans are bringing home with them from Iraq and Afghanistan.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    A surprising element of the series--making it both compelling and perversely enjoyable--is that Mr. Herzog loosens up, getting more argumentative in the interviews and presenting moments of mordant humor.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    On the evidence of Friday's season opener, Fringe will continue to be the best show of its kind since "The X-Files" at the grace notes, intimate or humorous instances like Olivia's Crate & Barrel moment (which won't be further spoiled here). When you get the small things right, it's less crucial that your universes and time shifts exactly line up.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    Mostly, though, The Wrong Mans coasts along on the strength of Mr. Corden, Mr. Baynton and Tom Basden’s sneaky-funny writing (“You know what danger doesn’t do? Call ahead. Unless it’s the I.R.A.”) and the pleasure of watching Mr. Corden timidly but delightedly snorting drugs at a mobster’s party or trying to blend in with a group of svelte dancers.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    The strange little documentary Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words is engrossing despite itself.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    More polished than their sketch series “Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!,” Bedtime Stories mimics the sort of dark tales of human nature that fill the schedule of reality channels like A&E and Investigation Discovery, turning them into absurd and creepy yet unsettlingly ordinary vignettes.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    If you fall into its languorous rhythms, you’ll be rewarded by a story that builds tension with clockwork precision and expertly maintains a mood of clammy dread.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    You might assume that this meant sacrificing some measure of journalistic credibility in the quest for attention. But the truth is, Mr. Ford and Mr. Cheadle are just as good as any seasoned television correspondent at the newsmagazine drill.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    There are shades of “True Blood” and “Being Human” here, and you hope that the show doesn’t drift away from the everyday dilemmas of the Walkers, who are excellently portrayed by Mr. Newberry, Harriet Cains (Kieren’s no-nonsense sister) and Marie Critchley and Steve Cooper (their parents).
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    Maron may not have the depth and adventurousness of “Louie” or the crude energy of Jim Jefferies’s “Legit,” but it’s consistently well written (or improvised) and smartly cast.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The challenge with any extended zombie narrative is striking the right balance between gut-munching action and undergraduate philosophy seminar, and the first two episodes this season are pretty talky.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The half-hour Juarez, on Monday night, is a bracing, at times mesmerizing introduction to the Witness series.... The subsequent films are each an hour long, and while all have powerful material, particularly the South Sudan chapter, they're also more diffuse and more prone to sentimentality about the violence and social disorder the photojournalists bear witness to.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    These images will stick with you. But so will an overall sense that Frozen Planet is more--a lot more--of the same: an aestheticized, sentimentalized, anthropomorphic abstraction of the natural world, in which gentle soundtrack music, winsome narration (by Alec Baldwin, replacing Mr. Attenborough for most of the American version) and the judicious use of slow motion combine to put us in a pleasant stupor on the couch.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Things could go either way. If Mr. Endicott, Mr. Stoddard and their colleagues can exercise more consistent quality control, there might be another round of financing in their future.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Clerk Terryn Buxton is the seemingly unsuspecting source of most of the show's laughs....He's also the avenue for the note of moral reproof that inevitably seeps into what is a mostly straightforward show.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The show has a disarming matter-of-factness that, combined with premium-cable production values, makes it easy to watch.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    It’s acutely intelligent, luxuriously dressed and well acted across the board. It’s also notably serious and quiet, despite the occasional beheading or session on the rack required by a tale.... [But] the emotional and psychological underpinnings of the narrative don’t resonate as strongly as its ideas about history and governance.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The ending mars what is otherwise a handsome and well-written effort, with good supporting performances.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Some of the jokes work, and some of the frights are actually scary, and on a repeat viewing the craftsmanship and attention to detail made more of an impression.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Mr. Weintraub is a genial, garrulous interview subject, rattling off anecdotes about Colonel Parker, Sinatra and Pat Morita, and Mr. McGrath supplies lavish film clips of 1950s, '60s and '70s New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. It's not a vanity project, but it's the kind of deluxe package Jerry Weintraub has spent his life working relentlessly to assemble.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    A reasonably entertaining though not exceptional science-fiction adventure series with a wild conspiracy plot whose hook is cloning.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Americans accustomed to the fast pace and big laughs of network sitcoms will more than likely give up on these quieter, less eventful British counterparts within five minutes. Patience has its small rewards, though.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    It's fascinating, frightening and more than a little exploitative, just like boxing itself.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    What really sets Key & Peele apart are the stars’ performances.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The first two episodes are relatively restrained by Luther standards, with an emphasis on plodding police work, while the case against Luther percolates in the background. Neil Cross still delivers the dread, though, as killers pop out of attics, closets and even closer places. The action picks up in the season’s second half.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Ultimately it's a fairly standard TV movie, if an overly long one, ending on a note of sentimental affirmation and, luckily, offering one outstanding central performance.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Season 3 begins with both ACN and Mr. Sorkin in a tamped-down, focused mode. That’s generally a good thing.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    It’s a nonsensical but inventive and purely entertaining takeoff on superhero tales.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The show can be applauded for giving opportunities to a wide range of talented actresses and for representing a multiplicity of ethnicities and orientations in its characters, but the stories built around them are notable for their melodramatic underpinnings and an occasional willingness to resort to clichés.... But Ms. Kohan and her writers, abetted by their excellent cast, know how to leave us laughing.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Mr. Davies appears to have struggled with the material...But his dialogue is as sharp as ever, and there are excellent scenes between Sarah and Mrs. Beddows (Penelope Wilton), her champion on the school board, and Sarah and Robert (David Morrissey), the conservative landowner she wins to her side (in more ways than one).
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Ms. Balfe, Mr. Heughan and Tobias Menzies as the modern husband (who also pops up, inconveniently, in 1743) acquit themselves well, sharing the screen with the scenery and costumes and keeping straight faces through all the fantasy-romance conceits. They seem to be having a good time, and if you have a weakness for muskets, accents and the occasional roll in the heather, you probably will too.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The depiction of the modern country music business in Nashville feels reasonably authentic, and when the story stays within that realm, it has the mix of hardheadedness, sentimentality and honky-tonk come-on you can get from a good country song.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Mr. Fiennes is fun to watch as an arrogant, punked-out Merlin; he's much more interesting than Jamie Campbell Bower, whose lightweight Arthur, to this point, doesn't appear to deserve all the attention he's getting....Best of all is Ms. Green, the Bond girl and Bernardo Bertolucci dream object, as Arthur's sister and rival (known here as Morgan). Her intensity is a good match for the show's gloomy-doomy, psychologizing mood.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The two episodes that begin its stretch run on Wednesday reflect a slight flattening out that’s been evident in recent seasons: both depend to some extent on movie parodies, and in both the gags are a little less pointed than in the early seasons. But they’re still pretty good.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The channel now has its own competently made, complexly plotted short-season thriller, like just about every other major cable network and streaming-video service.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Breaking In isn't memorable in any way, but it's fast-paced and easy to watch, with some amusing secondary characters.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    While its story lines appear to be as staged as those of "Start-Ups," it has a depressed, workaday vibe that makes it by far the superior show.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Over all it's as essentially disposable as most CW shows, but in between the rockin' pool parties and show-business clichés there are moments that are better written and less formulaic than the norm for this network.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Capaldi's Doctor is not just older but looks to be drier in his humor, more reticent, more coldblooded and dangerous. From a critic’s point of view, that’s interesting and potentially an improvement.... In other ways, the season premiere is a bit of a space holder, a middling story that’s concerned mainly with introducing Mr. Capaldi and establishing the relationship between the new Doctor and his sidekick, Clara.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The result is a film that’s dense with information, some of which will be familiar if you’ve paid attention to the news over the last two decades, and occasionally a bit repetitive.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    On the basis of the pilot, the show does a slightly better than average job of turning off-the-shelf ingredients into something diverting and occasionally moving.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    “Gotham” and “Constantine” were both bound to go the dark and violent route. The Flash goes another way, which might not endear it to the comics fans but could attract an audience just looking for something fun.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    At least in the early going, the current season avoids the sentimental speechifying about truth and justice that became increasingly prevalent in Season 1. And the let's-put-on-a-broadcast scenes are still reliably entertaining.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The Taste takes the "Voice" format--blind auditions producing "teams" of contestants chosen by four judges who double as mentors--and turns it into something better than the original, if your definition of a better reality contest includes more rational and less insulting to the intelligence.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    As you’d expect from Mr. McGruder (working with the Canadian writer and director Mike Clattenburg of “Trailer Park Boys”), it’s pretty funny if you give it some time.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Faking It isn’t anything more than a smarter-than-average high school comedy, but there’s a freshness to it, perhaps because so many of the key people involved are relative newcomers.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    This grayer, chillier Foyle’s War may not suit everyone, but it’s admirable, and a bit remarkable, that Mr. Horowitz has moved the show forward in a way that makes historical and dramatic sense.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    This Steel Magnolias is mostly restrained and relentlessly tasteful, qualities the original could not have been accused of.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Amid the magnificence of the setting you can forget for a moment that this glossily produced, finely wrought, slightly dull two-night mini-series is actually connected to a piece of British storytelling of even higher standing--perhaps--than “Downton Abbey”: Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Over all, the most interesting scenes are not those that depict Americans but the less frequent, more unusual ones that show us Vietnamese villagers and Vietcong and North Vietnamese troops.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Vikings has benefited all along from the accomplished, subdued performances of a number of its cast, including Mr. Byrne, Mr. Roache, Clive Standen as Ragnar’s warlike brother and both Nathan O’Toole and Alexander Ludwig, who play Ragnar’s son Bjorn at different ages. But the heart of the show remains Mr. Fimmel’s smirking, withdrawn, not quite good but certainly distinctive performance as Ragnar.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The premiere, which is funny moment to moment while also being a thoughtful referendum on the nature and style of Community and whether it needs to change.... The season’s second episode is a little flat over all, but the scenes in which Mr. Rash is strapped into a pair of cut-rate virtual-reality goggles, navigating a computer landscape out of the “Tron” era, are worth the effort of finding Yahoo Screen.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The plot complications occasionally feel forced, and Henry’s overwhelming dyspepsia sometimes comes off as meanspirited and a little mystifying (through two episodes, anyway). But Mr. Davies, as “Doctor Who” fans know, has perfected a style of propulsive, almost manic comic dialogue with an undercoating of melancholy, and there are plenty of hilarious and touching moments in Cucumber.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The in-the-field story lines, with their affairs and guilt and post-traumatic stress, tend toward the sentimental, and the series as a whole is weaker for trying to have it both ways--to be both a no-holds-barred, absurdist satire about the primacy of image-making and a straightforward drama about the nobility of public service.... But the jokes are pretty good over all.... And there are nice performances.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The Last Man on Earth is well made, meticulous in its comic details and pleasantly acted by Mr. Forte and Ms. Schaal, but you may wish that it really had been about the last man on earth.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    There’s not a lot going on in Bates Motel--a couple of murder mysteries, the slowly evolving picture of Norman’s true nature--and there’s no guarantee that the show will be able to keep its delicate balance of humor and spookiness, without pushing Norma and Norman into caricature. For now, though, it’s inherited the “Dexter” mantle as the serial-killer show to watch.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    What's different about Life's Too Short, and what makes it watchable, is that Mr. Davis--who portrayed Filius Flitwick in the "Harry Potter" films, as well as multiple "Star Wars" Ewoks--is so good at playing Mr. Gervais's stock character.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Out There has a bookish feel to it, as if an indie graphic novel had been transferred directly to the screen.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    There are clearly larger ideas at play in Knock Knock, It’s Tig Notaro, having to do with healing and human contact and getting back to roots, that don’t quite come into focus. The meta-Americana of Ms. Notaro and Mr. Dore’s travels can be amusing or it can be awkward and slightly condescending. The film’s memorable bits come not from performance but from the serendipity of the road.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The show is more imaginative and detailed than others of its type, with a loopy idiosyncrasy that trumps synthetic American quirkiness, and its offhand, seemingly throwaway comic touches come with a dash of Irish poetry.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    [Dr. Oz's presence is not] fatal to the enjoyment provided by the eight hours of NY Med, and we can also forgive the familiar situations and stock characters.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Ripper Street is reasonably clever and sometimes even witty in its depictions of forward-thinking detectives pioneering the forensic methods and investigative procedures that will eventually become the grist for a thousand television shows.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    [Garbus] packages it well in a film that's like a more meticulous and dignified version of one of those network television prime-time crime compendiums--a "48 Hours Mystery" with more heart and brain.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    A fairly entertaining conglomeration of nostalgia, postwar intrigue, comic-book science fiction and screwball comedy (with frequent interludes of bone-crunching violence).
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    A prickly alliance founded on mutual respect and constantly threatened by both history and present, unpleasant circumstance, it’s more subtle and moving than your average TV bromance and brings out the best in Common and Mr. Mount.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    That ensemble may be enough reason to spend 12 hours or so at the fictional Litchfield prison, even if the drama occasionally lags. It’s a surprisingly congenial place.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    As with most programs in the illustrated-lecture format (the lecturer in this case being the narrator, Christopher Plummer), the early material is the best. TCM, bless its soul, spends three of the seven hours just getting from Thomas Edison, Georges Melies and the Lumiere brothers through the silent era, and those first three episodes are a treat.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    [The first episode is] a little dawdling and predictable and unsure of its tone, with cardboard characters and flat dialogue. Things pick up after that, though--once everyone’s been brought onstage and the story set in motion, the episodes have more snap, and the horror scenes go from pedestrian to actually creepy.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    An entertaining, wistful, happy-sad film that feels shorter than its 95 minutes.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    It’s a better-than-average, serious-minded science-fiction cartoon, with well-executed space chases and battles but also an introspection more reminiscent of Japanese anime than of the usual American children’s animation.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Family Tree can feel a little loose and inconsequential.... But that also means that we get to spend more time with Mr. Guest’s crack cast of improvisers and there are moments in each half-hour that pay off.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    As Gordon, Ben McKenzie is solid in a more theatrical version of the upright-cop role he played in “Southland.” Donal Logue is reliably blustery and sarcastic as Bullock. The biggest impressions are made by the villains, whose smaller roles are looser and more fun.... The real star of the Gotham pilot is its consistent style, a combination of production design, cinematography and writing that manages to evoke both the bang-pow 1940s spirit of the original “Batman” and post-”Blade Runner” neo-noir.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    At its best the show’s language is inventively and diversely funny, drawing laughs in two or three or four different ways within the space of seconds.... There are moments, though--and they come more often as the episode goes along--when the tone turns a little more earnest and brushes up against the sentimental.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Its clash of arrested adolescence and premature old age is also more openly sentimental, but the writing has enough of an edge to balance it out.
    • 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.
    • 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.

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