For 238 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 9.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Mike Hale's Scores

Average review score: 55
Highest review score: 90 Louis C.K.: Oh My God
Lowest review score: 10 Amish Mafia: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 80 out of 238
  2. Negative: 20 out of 238
238 tv reviews
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.”
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    The appeal is elementary: good, unpretentious fun, something that's in short supply around here.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    People eat this stuff up, and a skeptic can find himself riveted by the best of it.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    What really sets Key & Peele apart are the stars’ performances.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    For about an episode and a quarter, it’s very good television. But over the rest of its six-episode first season it resembles nothing so much as a bad indie film, the kind of slow and tepid bummer that used to fill Sundance’s late nights and afternoons when it was a full-time movie channel.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The ending mars what is otherwise a handsome and well-written effort, with good supporting performances.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    A reasonably entertaining though not exceptional science-fiction adventure series with a wild conspiracy plot whose hook is cloning.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    It's fascinating, frightening and more than a little exploitative, just like boxing itself.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    The strange little documentary Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words is engrossing despite itself.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    This Steel Magnolias is mostly restrained and relentlessly tasteful, qualities the original could not have been accused of.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    An absorbing and beautifully made film in its own right, whose 208 minutes mostly fly by.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    An entertaining, wistful, happy-sad film that feels shorter than its 95 minutes.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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”)
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 70 Mike Hale
    It’s a nonsensical but inventive and purely entertaining takeoff on superhero tales.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    You need to have watched them [previous three seasons] to comprehend Season 4--to understand much of its humor or to make sense of its convoluted plot--but if you truly loved them, it’s hard to imagine being anything but disappointed with this new rendition.
    • 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.
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Mild, affable and familiar, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a show the whole family can snicker at.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    The show has been slowed down this season and stretched out to fill those 10 hours, which means we spend too much time thinking about the story as it develops into a not very interesting allegory involving health care, death lists and big pharma.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    Despite the high stakes of the story and the frequent violence, the tone is placid and slightly monotonous, as if we were watching the Walton family at the end of the world.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 30 Mike Hale
    Those who don’t find Hannibal fatally slow and pretentious can stick around to enjoy the superior production values and the stylishness of the pilot, directed by David Slade with an ominous suggestiveness reminiscent of David Fincher.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    The show has been dumbed down, its humor broadened past recognition, and the two episodes provided for review have fewer laughs between them than a single good scene from the old Community.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    Ms. Peake is excellent as Costello, but the character, and the show, feel so rigged and inauthentic that even her skilled work can’t make the case for our sticking around.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 30 Mike Hale
    The problem with Vice isn’t its insistent aggrandizement but its excessive softheadedness. It’s journalism at the intersection of shallow and gullible, where they meet, high-five and compare tattoos.

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