Nancy DeWolf Smith

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For 300 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 63% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 33% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 1.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Nancy DeWolf Smith's Scores

Average review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 The Night Of
Lowest review score: 10 The Black Donnellys: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 15 out of 300
300 tv reviews
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Stunning in a different way are the three Marines at the center of the series. In their true stories and, more importantly, their individual responses to the demands of warfare, we find a perfect trinity of action, emotion and intellect.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    What makes The Walking Dead so much more than a horror show is that it plays with theatrical grandeur, on a canvas that feels real, looks cinematic and has an orchestral score to match. For all its set pieces, however, Walking is most breathtaking in its small moments, in which the pain and glory of being human are conveyed with only the flick of a filmmaking wrist.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    One welcome aspect of all this is that some of the plot threads which became so distracting last season, threatening to tip Big Love into crazy-flatulent "L.A. Law" territory, seem to be gone. There is more than enough left, along with consistently brilliant acting all over, to keep the show as mesmerizing as it ever was.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    If the series were only about the doe-eyed and inscrutable Naz, it would be interesting enough. But it is bursting with other characters and heart-ripping portraits and morality playlets with a life of their own. The main attraction is the disheveled lawyer Jack Stone (John Turturro, in a mind-blowing performance).
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The PBS series is more marvelous, and thrilling, than ever.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The best parts of Treme are breathtaking. And then it exceeds that.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Intricate plots (many updated versions of old favorites), fast pacing and smart, witty writing make Sherlock one of the most dazzling confections on TV.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Perhaps the most glorious Masterpiece Theater of all time.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The trick to Ray Donovan, its gift to TV art, is to make almost every character emerge fully formed, and each scene a stunning vignette: of tragedy.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    What makes it uniquely entertaining are Mr. Rock's and co-creator Ali LeRoi's humorous insights into the terrors of adolescence and their tart observations about harsh realities of the wider world.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The question of whether Malvo is a Satan or some kind of avenging angel is what helps elevate Fargo above the realm of merely clever black comedy.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    [The best way] to view The Girl as an exquisitely lurid morality play in the Hitchcock style.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    [Bill Nighy] is the riveting, breath-stealing, can't-take-your-eyes-off-him center of drama where every actor and every moment is like that, too.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The glorious new PBS mystery series Grantchester is a revelation on two fronts and unforgettable on both. It turns back the clock to solve crime in a different era, offering respite from the world around us now even as it reveals how little ever changes about the human heart.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The stories are complex and contemporary, with references to a remembered past. But it's easy to forget the past--the present Sherlock, droll yet naive, is so wonderfully weird.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    A superbly stylish and scary French drama with no equal in its genre.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It is even more excruciating -- which in this case means better -- than last year's.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Each week the story unfolds like a tapestry, its intricate stitches slowly creating not just a scene but a whole world. It's a world to get lost in, but not always easy to endure.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The Canadian wilderness scenery is spectacular and the cast is even better.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The narrative is so intense and the details are so rich that you can forget to breathe.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Beautiful, painful, almost lovingly languid but never, ever boring.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It is not very often that a TV series invents a new look, or even a new genre. After only two weeks on the air, it may be too soon to gush that way about FX's new drama Justified, but this is one cool show.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    What makes this documentary so fascinating are the narratives by many of the CIA analysts, operatives and others who worked in the shadows over almost two decades to lay the groundwork for identifying Islamic radicals and tracking terrorists.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The cast--including Michael Cudlitz, Ben McKenzie, Shawn Hatosy and Regina King--is perfection. No ensemble of actors on television is more stunning or exciting to watch.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The HBO film Grey Gardens shines new light on old subjects, and the result--including a fantastic performance from Drew Barrymore--is beyond entertaining.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Onto this short list of tightly written and intensely acted thrillers now comes Boss.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Watching "My Name Is Earl" unfold is like taking a hydrofoil ride and flying so fast above the ordinary surface of television life that when the show ends you feel dazed and amazed for hours afterward.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Watching Messrs. Hopkins and McKellen in the full expression of their powers--in a TV setting but stagelike enough to be a stellar showcase--is a treat as good as the play itself.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    As a murder mystery, Broadchurch is satisfyingly complex (even if the accents may take some getting used to). As an exploration of grief it is even better, with Ms. Whittaker and Ms. Colman pointing the way. But in its long, slow unfolding Broadchurch is most magnificent in another sense--as an elegy for the happy innocence of ignorance.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    In a film directed by Ryan Murphy and with strong performances, including those by Mr. Ruffalo, Ms. Roberts, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and Alfred Molina, Mr. Mantello's anguished lament ["...can't you see how important it is for us to love openly...without guilt?"] may be the most haunting.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Mindy is not just soulful and amusing. It takes a genre full of clichés, adds something fresh and spins it into gold.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    While they are every bit as wild and woolly as the historical figures of Norse sagas, such is the power of Vikings that we come to know and even root for them, so enthralling are they and almost everything else here.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It takes a while to build up satisfying dramatic steam, so it may require more patience than some are willing to give.... but there has to be something great about a show that keeps you staring at it episode after episode, waiting for attraction to take its course.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The production is set among English traders in 19th-century Japan, the timeline of the action is altered, and some beloved examples of word play are no longer in the script. These are small matters, though, compared to the fresh gorgeousness on display and the elements of the story that come into focus here in new and moving ways.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Fantastic (as in crazy) though much of this may be, so danger-laden is the misty, smoky air and so claustrophobic are the richly detailed sets that it is difficult to look away.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    No vampires (so far). But no matter what materializes in the town, it's satisfying to see in the first episode that Haven already revolves around grown-ups.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The plot--absurd as it is that a handful of people would be alone and in charge of saving the world, or in an encounter between organizations named Section 20 and Office 39--has enough twists and momentum to keep you eager to know what happens next. What’s also cool, and helps further elevate Strike Back in its genre, is the artistic attention to detail.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It is not an exaggeration to say that the effect is of opening a treasure chest and being showered with its riches.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Longmire is the best of two worlds: a modern crime drama with dry wit and sometimes heart-wrenching emotion that's also got a glorious setting under the big sky of Wyoming.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Even with an occasional made-for-TV-movie flatness, Gracepoint seems poignant and complex and even frightening enough to sustain interest all over again.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It is funny in the manner of "Best in Show" or "A Mighty Wind," but much more biting. Although that means there are some truly painful moments, the talent of Mr. Lilley, a brilliant mimic, is a divine salve.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Sleepy Hollow is great fun and gorgeous to look at.... The mythology of Sleepy Hollow is richly complex.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Hey, it works. Probably because Falling Skies tells a gripping story, full of people whose fate we cannot guess on a playing field whose contours are not yet clear.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Vide Shakespeare and all the other roles, Mr. Branagh has never been better cast.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Everything happens quickly -- scenes, cameos, comments and quips fly by. But nothing is throwaway or stupid, and in the midst of laughter, the emotion, when it comes, feels real. That's good acting. It also happens only when writers respect their audience.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    An exhilarating burst of fresh air.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The new season of Foyle's War could be the best ever.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The TV series picks up perfectly where the movie left off, adding spice along the way.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    This is Southland, where the emotional underpinnings of the main characters give the show its outstanding grace and depth.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    As painful as it is to see a fallen dog's body draped in the American flag, what Glory Dogs also does is deepen our appreciation for the servicemen who train them.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    As the denizens of K-Ville move among the ruins of the city, the real and the fake merge until you forget that this is mere entertainment. It's a new experience, and an invigorating one.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    A dark but artful and sophisticated drama.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Although their characters are as vivid as they are distinctive, these two interact so effortlessly, in conversation and body language, it's easy to forget they are just acting. And inside these "lost boys" are real men struggling to get out.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The omniscient-narrator device works very well for a complex story spanning many years and varied sets of players.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    As odd as poor Norman is, there's something about Norma that gives Bates Motel its true, and truly frightening, center. Vulnerable and malign, Ms. Farmiga pretty much nails it.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It's a bit old-fashioned, which in today's TV universe makes it seem light and fresh--like the entrancing Ms. Applegate herself.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    If Welcome to the Captain can sustain its tone of tender quirkiness, it may find an appreciate audience stretching from those who loved "Arrested Development" to fans of "My Name Is Earl."
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Jokes like that ["You gonna go all 'Twilight' on me?"] and the wisecracking Sally occasionally threaten to turn Being Human into a mild, campy thing. As we get to know the characters, however, and begin to identify with their sense of loss and isolation, humor helps make what is preposterous about their situation seem real.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    After the stage-setting of the first two episodes, however, Looking becomes less frenetic and begins building emotional resonance.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Making, and enjoying, a commitment to watch Showtime's new dramedy The Big C requires a deliberate decision to ignore nagging questions. Such as: Why are so many of the TV and cinematic cancer stories of the past few decades about women? And in an era when more and more of us know someone with cancer, or have experienced it directly, does that mean that we are now ready to embrace the subject as entertainment? Dwell too long on those questions, and what is good about The Big C may pass you by.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The script by Sarah Treem, the show’s co-creator with Hagai Levi, can be murky. Then again, Noah and Alison are telling their stories to a detective, apparently in the aftermath of a major event or crime. It will be a jaded viewer indeed who can resist coming back for more after the first episode ends.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    White Collar takes off in its own refreshing directions, with enough wit and sparkle to make the time fly by.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    As the series proceeds, the scheming, criminality and even bloodshed that swirl around many of these objects and their acquisition becomes a mounting weight atop Graham and Roxanna in particular. Seeing the bad karma pile on is what makes The Art of More difficult to stop watching.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    An often engrossing attempt to explore the way needful alliances between Indians and settlers may have had a transforming, even enlightening, effect on some of the English.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    If the first hour is any guide, though, there will be enough action and interplay and people to feel safe around, or suspect, to keep it constantly entertaining.... So far, paying attention to all that is exciting.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    After only one episode on preview, it is not clear how well or long this premise can work and still be so engaging. But so far, the new series works well in every way.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Some viewers may be dismayed to see so much more of Brody's sulky daughter, Dana (Morgan Saylor), or put off by another Carrie meltdown. But those are minor annoyances. Overall, the new Homeland looks to be back on track in marvelous ways.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Despite its fantastic nature, the story is an onion with a thousand layers, each one a satisfying mystery of its own.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Of all the new shows I've watched, it's also the one I'm most eager to see again.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The casting is effective. William Miller gives Oliver the requisite vulnerability and steeliness.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The fantastic Ms. Ullman is as funny as ever, depicting a new slew of characters in sketches that mock the way we are.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Behind the Candelabra, a snapshot from the last decade of the pianist and showman Liberace, is sublimely entertaining.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Divorce, father issues, an aging Peter Pan—we've seen these things before. Not like this, though, with no false notes, and reactions, from pain to optimism, that feel honest and not manufactured.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The good stuff: To the music that nobody can take down or chip away at. To the energy and excitement and drama of a James Brown performance, from the footwork and the sweat to the drama of the moment when Brown, apparently near death from exertion, was draped with a cape and lead shuffling slowly offstage until, UNH! he would turn around, spring back to the microphone and the whole frenzy would begin again.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    As always, figuring out what makes the sheriff tick is the best puzzle of all.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Mr. Steinberg, a comedian who is now also an admired television director, is the ideal interviewer.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Although the film ends on an odd note that seems to endorse near-subsistence farming as the only moral and sustainable form of agriculture, it makes an important record of a receding era.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It would be grim if it were not for the poetry itself, and Mr. Hollander’s soothing approximation of the way Thomas declaimed it on recordings he left behind.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Director Liz Garbus conveys much of the excitement and turmoil surrounding the subject of her documentary, Bobby Fischer Against the World.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    After the static and bloodless world of “The Girlfriend Experience,” the Showtime comedy Dice is like an explosion of heat and vigor and passion.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The story of rising (and falling) movie star Vince (Adrian Grenier) and his entourage of high-living pals is as amusing as ever; and as the show matures so, ever so slightly, do the characters.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Most of the editors here have charm and pizazz that seem more appealing than the photographs they masterminded.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Power is a frightening but easy-to-get-sucked-into fable about those last two paths to financial success [drug dealing and nightclubs].
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The truthful background of this high-stakes history makes it thrilling on a deeper level. Along with the battle scenes and other entertainments, the series reflects many challenges of today’s world.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    For all its emotional agony and slow pacing at times, Happy Valley is always moving forward and the fifth episode explodes off the screen.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The series is set in modern-day Rome, where the women wear tight skirts, the men are in sharp suits, and even the corruption is exquisite in its labyrinthine complexity.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It's all more like a steady burn--of talent, of smart writing, of chemical reactions--and it may take a few episodes to feel the heat.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It is neither a cheap thrill or too painful to watch these lost souls being drilled in first impressions.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Despite the music in James Lapine's documentary, Six By Sondheim, it is archival clips of Mr. Sondheim describing how he writes that make the film a treasure.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Suffering is never easy to watch, and when a series revolves around a woman in near-constant mental anguish, things can creep close to tiresome. Such is Ms. Sevigny's performance, though--at once veiled and yet open to view as she has not often been in other roles—that you can't stop looking.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    So far--although Glee may be creeping closer to the edge--it remains nearly as delightful as it was when everything about the show seemed shiny and new.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It consistently pokes fun at our culture and foibles in ways that are clever and sometimes sharp but never mean.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Strong writing and acting ensure that we soon become so sensitive to the characters that we feel for them the way they feel for their horses.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Even without the Hollywood glamour, though, the New York series may turn out to be the superior product, grounded as it is in Mr. Greenberg's compelling, layered character, with a strong mind and vulnerable heart.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    This new PBS Masterpiece series written by Andrew Davies is plenty addicting without the lords and ladies, opening a treasure box of tales about love, loss, ambition and the spirit of a new age.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The amusing Odd Mom Out is a sweet, frothy surprise.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The glory of this particular adaptation, intentional or not, is that what we bring to it with today's sensibilities can actually enhance the experience.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The underlying theme here, once the fantastic elements are stripped away, is loneliness. That (plus the interesting face of its star) gives New Amsterdam a true and very tender heart.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Thankfully, Caprica can be enjoyed without any reference to the literal past or the figurative future.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    [A] handsome and well acted period piece.

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