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 The Pacific: Season 1
Lowest review score: 10 The Black Donnellys: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 15 out of 268
268 tv reviews
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The casting is effective. William Miller gives Oliver the requisite vulnerability and steeliness.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Most of the people [Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart--who pose as Georgie and Poppy Carlton] encounter seem to believe they're being filmed with real British aristos on a travel-type show about the U.S. Their surprise--and polite attempts to hide it--at the things the visitors from England say is the funniest part of the show.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Mr. Connelly is one of the writers and executive producers, along with co-executive producer Eric Overmyer of “The Wire” and much other fame. They know good writing, with not a word wasted. They know cop lore and lingo and what turns viewers on about the genre. There’s a solid cast. The rest... who knows? It just happens.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    This is a show that has to be watched with full attention since it unfolds so quickly through endless twists and turns.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Thankfully, Caprica can be enjoyed without any reference to the literal past or the figurative future.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Watching [Valerie’s entourage] fawn over stars, such as Seth Rogen playing himself, is still irresistibly painful, like pushing on a sore tooth. But watching Paulie G. puff with deceptive calm on his fat e-cigarette, we see through the smoke, and the laughs, the faint shape of a show going pleasantly darker.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Kenneth Branagh is perfect as one of its broken-down men. His face telegraphs defeat even as he relentlessly answers the call to duty, on a cell phone that never stops ringing with news of another crime.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Certainly things will get more exciting in future episodes, when everybody throws powerful stink bombs at Japanese ships, for instance, and--not for the first time in his career--Mr. Watson steals the show.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    While there's a nice ensemble cast, Mr. Samberg is meant to steal the show and he does--although not often in a good way.... But the nearly laugh-less pilot of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is like one of those SNL sketches that doesn't work but you don't mind too much because it's possible the next sketch will be hilarious.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Despite his nearly affectless face and inflectionless voice, Mr. Duchovny does fill the screen as Hank, forcing us to take his side whether we like it or not.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 30 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It was nothing short of painful recently to watch the first episode of NBC's "Who Do You Think You Are?"--one of the more interestingly focused reality shows--about efforts, by a handful of celebrities, to trace their ancestors
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    As the series proceeds, the fiction of the bigger events--e.g. global immortality--is made believable or at least compelling by tiny touches that perfectly anticipate how society would respond.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Lipstick Jungle has some good things going for it, including actresses in roles that call for slightly more maturity than we're accustomed to, and juicy enough meanies to give it a little suspense.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Hearing the opening notes of "New York, New York" and seeing Tom Selleck at the start of the show may hurt some viewers like a retro kick in the gut. Yet by the end of the pilot a new, hip-hoppish version of that old tune cements Blue Bloods in the here and now, even if the here and now is a wee bit squaresville.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    What makes this a standout family show is not the absence of dirty words. Who needs those when there's an abundance of eccentric humor and bright writing?
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    After just one episode, I was interested enough to make a mental note to watch the final one someday, just to see who won and what the race was all about. People with more time on their hands and a tolerance for utter implausibility may choose to make the whole journey.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    While the series is not without humor--including the occasional sexual witticism--it is never camp, a huge plus for devotees of genuine drama.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    [Why do] The husbands come across as total bums? Not just because of the way they lounge around all day moaning about how hard (sniff) it is (sniff) not to be able to provide for their family. They dress like bums, too.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The humor in Community is so soft that it will likely please only the tenderhearted. The river that runs through it is a comforting one, though.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It seems determined to eschew high style in favor of a flat, dark world that's appropriately grim yet also numbingly static.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 30 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Over five-plus hours, the miniseries would have had time to explore every nuance. But there are so few that rise above artifice, and so little dramatic action driving the plot, that even an actor as talented as Ms. Winslet can hardly fill the dead spaces.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    All of us have common memories of that time. Yet this quiet but affecting program is Mr. Bush's story, told as only the man who was president on Sept. 11, 2001 could tell it.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 30 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    "The State Within" has so many inauthentic touches, that-would-never-happen moments, and is so often off in the details, that it's difficult to take seriously.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Take the back stories, add the unfolding drama of love, loss, disappearances and danger, shake it all up with exotic locales from Paris and Berlin to Monaco and Rio--and it could be a tasty cocktail
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The stage is thus set for an epic showdown between the dogged Lamb and Vincent, under whose calm facade lies a vicious shark of a man.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Some viewers, accustomed to less-original TV fare, may miss having stock gags and situations rammed down their throat. "Sons & Daughters" is a savory for more discerning palates.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    [A] handsome and well acted period piece.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 30 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Perhaps Tara will, over time, find something interesting to say. Perhaps it will be about the trauma that presumably led to the split in Tara's personality. Right now, however, what makes the show so painful is the abuse of her children, inflicted by Tara both in and out of split mode, and abetted by her pathologically laid-back husband.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Any way you portray Karol Wojtyla, he comes out looking extraordinary.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Will is so apparently happy that most of the pathos inherent in his arrested development will have to be supplied by the viewer. But there is uplift in the theme. A man whose life is passing him by has a chance to stop being useless and search for the origins of true joy--and a little child shall lead him. Even if there are not too many creative surprises here, it's a journey that never loses its appeal.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    No contestant wants to hear that his or her artistic creation looks "like a litter box" or something at "an assisted-living facility." But we do. And we lap the insults up.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    While the tale is not always exciting and the parade of suits grows blurry at times, other times Fail takes on the urgency of an imminent nuclear disaster. Shop talk, cutting quips and appropriately ominous music add atmospherics.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Jerry Lewis is not only a "genius," a word that crops up so often that only in show business would such an outpouring not be mistaken for parody.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 40 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    If you can view The Company's as a basic thriller, and ignore its gaffes, you'll find entertainment here.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Its pilot episode (which will be repeated Saturday from 8-9 p.m.) felt like a fusion of "E.T." and a "Frontline" documentary on Guantanamo.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    [The best way] to view The Girl as an exquisitely lurid morality play in the Hitchcock style.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    While some criminals may escape, it's all happening in sunny Hawaii; and every time bad guys kick up a fuss, we know the good guys will kick back harder. The closing line, 'Book 'em, Danno,' may be a cultural joke, but it also sounds good as a promise.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 30 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Some shading aside, some occasional twinges of remorse, nothing can hide the fact that these people have no souls to lose, no character to develop. Apart from looking for "Godfather" homage moments, there isn't more to root for here than there is at a cage fight.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Even viewers who had thought they never wanted to hear about a dimpled chad again will find that Recount moves along at a satisfying clip and can make the old drama and suspense seem surprisingly fresh.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Kings, which also serves up melodrama and mystical happenings, is far more ambitious [than Aaron Spellings' shows]. Yet it can have the effect of a real sleep potion.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Cold Justice is about simple people in forgotten places, a far cry from the rich New York socialites and corporate villains of an entertainment like "Law & Order." Yet with real pain comes the promise of real closure.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Unfolding simultaneously in two distinct worlds, the series has an enchanting premise, even if it plods at times when it should sparkle and soar.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Amid occasional incongruities--wait and see--there are entertaining glimpses of period party food, hints of primitive forensics, and a village trial with inebriated jurors and a cheering, jeering peanut gallery that seems eerily authentic.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    No sooner has Upstairs veered toward farce than it redeems itself, again and again.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    You don't have to be a New Yorker to enjoy ESPN's eight-part miniseries, The Bronx is Burning, although it might help.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Amid memorable villains, Dickens always gave us someone to like and root for. It's hard to find anyone to cheer on here.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The humans are still mostly good guys. Their dilemmas and antics--including blowing up a nuclear plant and giving birth to an infant who can stand up in her crib a few hours later--remain fun to watch.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    There is enough lively (if sometimes explicit) dialogue and reliable sexual appeal in all this to keep intuitive male viewers interested.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Political Animals crams elements of conventional TV fare into a blender and makes something that is wildly different and kind of liberating.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    He's Washington, D.C., consultant Cal Lightman, helping authorities solve crimes and suss out liars by reading their facial gestures and demeanor cues. As science, this is a slim reed indeed, but it can make stories go around.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Terra Nova stakes out its own universe, and the fact that we have been on such journeys before may enhance the experience of this one.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 30 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    We're left with a heap of hocus-pocus that will offend some viewers and seem pretentious or silly to others.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Sleepy Hollow is great fun and gorgeous to look at.... The mythology of Sleepy Hollow is richly complex.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Mr. Ramsay is not quite the raging beast in "Hotel Hell" that he is in his own kitchens.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The show confirms almost everything we already knew or suspected about local TV stations. It is amusing.... What is less clear is whether some of them are as spectacularly clueless as they appear to be.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    It's still a fun, fast ride, with lots of twists and turns, murder and menace, and after only a few episodes we know enough back story about most of the main characters to care what happens to them.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Good fun, and not as bastardized as its advertising campaign suggests.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Yes, it's all fairly formulaic.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Despite some funny and even pungent moments, in fact, Doll & Em is so gentle that you can barely feel anything.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    [So far] the show has the elements of a gripping yarn.... But there was a vibe of something tedious when one of the kidnappers announced: "Today the bug is king"--and if Crisis really goes there, some of us will be tempted to run away.
    • 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.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    As familiar as this tableau may be, Hell on Wheels finds enough beauty, danger and emotion to make some part of every episode seem fresh and worth waiting for.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The World Wars has a few annoying habits, including pared-down descriptions that can be depressingly inane.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Inquiring minds who liked "Lost," or "The 4400" and "The Event" will find much to feast on.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Ultimately, though, it's not what happens to the folks on this show that is so revealing. It's what goes on in our own minds as we watch and listen to them try to navigate the shoals of racial differences.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    As show titles go, Naked and Afraid is inspired. Better still, the new Discovery series is even more entertaining than its title.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 30 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Suffice it to say that Bravo has found yet another group of not-very-appealing women to represent their gender and, more broadly speaking, the lifestyle of the heterosexual cheeseball.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    This relaxing series about small-town lives is as burden-free as a day on the beach with an umbrella, a book and a breeze.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    [The Renaissance and Leonardo] bring moments of transcendent beauty to the series, which was written by David S. Goyer, and is laced with aha moments of glorious invention and the scent of mysticism. The line between mystery and bafflement is a thin one, though, and at times it is impossible to tell what's going on or who's who in the flickering torchlight. There is also a distraction, at least initially, in the portrayal of Leonardo--who comes across as a weird amalgam of Peter Pan, MacGyver and a Chippendale.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Another preposterous television premise perhaps, but one that may be comforting to viewers looking for gentle escape with dash of uplift and hope.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    There is some suspense here, even if it is mainly because the violence when it comes is so swift and sickening. But the show still feels slack.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    After the male action sequences, alas, the feminine interludes tend to be soporific.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    What's appealing here is that they, and the show, manage to create something close to real drama, including stretches where there is not a gag in sight.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The Casual Vacancy was riveting while it lasted. When it was over, though, I wanted to stick a fork in my face.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Since the series was filmed partly aboard U.S. Navy vessels, aircraft and with other working equipment, when the big guns go off it looks and sounds satisfyingly earthshaking. Inevitably, some things are formulaic.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Following the show will require some effort for viewers accustomed to less demanding fare.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    After only one episode it's clear that the more we learn about each of them, the more we will want to know.
    • 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.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    While little of this is boring, the movie only sizzles and sparks when it jumps out of flashback mode and into the 1950s "present," with Ms. MacLaine as a slightly cranky and tottering but totally grand old dame.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Mei’s dogged and often clumsy efforts to bring the truth to light ought to seem laughably naive. Yet the more we grasp the enormity of what she is up against--a relentless apparatus of which every citizen of China is aware--the harder we root for Mei and her tiny Chinese family.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    When it isn't outlandish, it has a more seriously entertaining side in the mystery of a hooded man who was mortally wounded while trying to tell Martin that even his identity as Martin is not real.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Nancy DeWolf Smith
    The story occasionally gets convoluted, or slightly exhausting....But the cast is so strong that there is always something to marvel at.

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