Nancy DeWolf Smith
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For 268 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 61% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 35% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Nancy DeWolf Smith's Scores

Average review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 Sherlock: Season 2
Lowest review score: 10 The Black Donnellys: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 15 out of 268
268 tv reviews
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Perhaps the most glorious Masterpiece Theater of all time.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    A superbly stylish and scary French drama with no equal in its genre.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The tapestry of characters in George R.R. Martin's fantasy kingdom has grown so huge now that only the most avid fan can hope to identify them all, let alone keep track of the family ties, alliances and enmities which make this quasimedieval world so dangerous to nearly everyone in it.
    • 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It is the small things that can elevate Mad Men above the level of ambitious soap opera.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The PBS series is more marvelous, and thrilling, than ever.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It is even more excruciating -- which in this case means better -- than last year's.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The best parts of Treme are breathtaking. And then it exceeds that.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    While the documentary doesn't view the day through rose-colored glasses, it lets us approach that time in a new, less painful 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The narrative is so intense and the details are so rich that you can forget to breathe.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    As charming as all that is amid the macabre, Pushing Daisies is a show that only a grown-up can fully enjoy.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Although the first few episodes can be slow going and are inert in spots, the series finds a rhythm by episode four, as it develops characters and side themes to remind us just how dark those dark ages were.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Whether you come away seeing Scientology as a cult that ensnares vulnerable people or as a faith of self-empowerment, the film leaves a terrible taste of too much information. This must be its point, but take heed just the same.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Behind the Candelabra, a snapshot from the last decade of the pianist and showman Liberace, is sublimely entertaining.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It's all done in an over-the-top, low-budget sort of way.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Vide Shakespeare and all the other roles, Mr. Branagh has never been better cast.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    All good stuff, plus a brief but powerful moment at the end that will leave longtime "Morse" fans in an agony of nostalgia
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 40 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The production has a satisfyingly brooding, ominous look and it's possible to see the basic appeal for role-players and other fans of a realm that provides a limitless playing field for their own imaginations. Thrones also has wolf pups, which is always cool. But then we're back to the familiar favorites of the infantile.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Here's hoping that the strong whiff of sanctimony in the pilot of "Studio 60" is blown away by fresh air in future episodes.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Onto this short list of tightly written and intensely acted thrillers now comes Boss.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The main thing in its favor is the chemical tension between its stars. That may not be enough, but it's something.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    We may have seen film of migrating wildebeest and zebras on the Serengeti before. But Great Migrations looks at everything from new and spectacularly beautiful angles.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Ultimately, what makes "Friday Night Lights" compelling is not the football or the cast. It's the accumulation of little details, like the eager faces of the pee-wee players as they meet and respectfully worship the big high-school boys whom they dream of becoming.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    All of this might seem silly if it weren't for Mr. Goldblum.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    While "Broken Trail" is plot driven and not without action, it is most of all a languid elegy about the olden days on the Western ranges.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The new season of Foyle's War could be the best ever.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 30 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The grotesqueries of "Dexter" are not something that can easily be dismissed with the old "you don't have to watch" line. We don't have to watch. We do have to live among the viewers who will be desensitized, or aroused, by this show.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    A dark but artful and sophisticated drama.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    TNT's cop drama Southland is like a hot date on a Saturday night. Just waiting for another episode to begin each week is a thrill, and once the show gets going the rush is like nothing else on TV.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Dead Set is less remarkable, because this import from the U.K. is more typical of the genre and gets campy, although it will scare the bejeebers out of you.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    One must be anesthetized for the series to have its desired effect of making us root for Underwood or at least feel suspense until each of his miniplots pans out to successful competition. Yet rapacious viewing will be numbing too, and not in a useful way.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Magnificent cinematography, abundant animal life and lovely music that may contain harmonies unique to Botswana--all these make The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency a distinctly foreign affair. In the end, though, what comes through most strongly is not what's different, but how easily we recognize it all.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The show’s writers and producers may be trying to force-feed her to us as the health-care equivalent of the whore with a heart of gold. But Ms. Falco manages to shake off clichés and attract us to her for reasons never referred to in the script.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    When all is said and done, none of these back stories is as inspiring as what happens when these people open their mouths and just sing.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    An atmospheric thriller wrapped around a nugget of social commentary.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    "Jericho" doesn't pretend to be artistically risky, but it's got a scary and gripping theme in an age of terrorism and nuclear thuggery.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    "Ugly Betty" shines because Ms. Ferrera is luminous and credible as a character surrounded by caricatures. It's a strange mixture, but it works.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Some fans of the series--created by Frank Darabont and based on the comic-books by Robert Kirkman, who is a writer and producer for the television show--would prefer more combat and less talking.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    In many respects, HBO's The Alzheimer's Project is nearly identical to the Emmy-winning PBS Alzheimer's presentation, "The Forgetting," which was first broadcast in 2004 and updated last year.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It's far more beautiful than its predecessors.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Fun even when it's ludicrous, forgivable when the clichés fly.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    This being a made-for-television environment, no one perishes, but there are no happy endings here, either.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    An elaborate mystery is always compelling, and here, episode after episode, we search for clues, for some sign that will let us distinguish between reality and imagination.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    For those of us who can't be bothered to decipher the mumbo jumbo, let alone take it seriously, there is diversion enough in each episode's discrete inner story, which doesn't require a mental decoder ring.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    While the show is full of comic highs and witty insight, it isn't funny all the time because some of the jokes are disappointingly crude.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Despite its updated gloss and cast, in fact, Raising the Bar doesn't really break a mold.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Most of the editors here have charm and pizazz that seem more appealing than the photographs they masterminded.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The vibe so far is part "Hunt for Red October," part "Lord of the Flies."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Over a mere three episodes for this season, it is difficult to know most of the characters. Some, like Sir Hallam, seem only half-drawn. Agnes's sister Lady Persie (Claire Foy)--a debutante who's become a fascist fangirl--is repellant in an uninteresting way. There are some plot touches, involving minorities, that clang as too modern. Then again, when the Duke of Kent cries over his brother Edward's abdication--"It's the sort of thing that happens in Romania"--memories of what was so entrancing about the original show come wafting back.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The Canadian wilderness scenery is spectacular and the cast is even better.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 40 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Truth be told, Game Change does not make anyone look good.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    There's enough room left in the genre for another modern pairing, and Mr. Miller and Ms. Liu bring something memorably new to each character.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Set as far as possible from the canyons of New York, the series has a cool, original look--despite its C-movie moments when burly guys in black jackets zoom down the highway to the accompaniment of country metal rock.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Those who find unremitting gloom too much to bear will be cheered to know that the show’s complicated mysteries and interpersonal dramas may provide sporadic relief. Whether the storytelling will be as good as the acting is too early to say.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Nobody here offers shattering insights into the meaning of life or even of modeling. They're just among a large group of attractive women telling stories to the camera.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    What Back to You lacks in bite, it compensates for with chemistry and pure talent. The center of it all is the relationship between Chuck and Kelly, and Mr. Grammer and Ms. Heaton work together like they have been doing it all their lives.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    That these actors can make us care about their characters, or at least feel their pain so acutely, is what elevates Getting On above the miasma of its material.
    • 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.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 10 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    As they stumble from one brutal act to another, accompanied by a hip rock soundtrack, we're not watching dramatic art; it's more like "Dawson's Creek" for psychopaths.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The first episode of Under the Dome is so intriguing that you may be tempted to Wiki the Stephen King novel on which it's based to find out what will happen next. Don't do that.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It has cinematic production values that give it the heft of a movie, and the lead characters are so natural and believable that the alien angle is less ludicrous than usual.

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