Robert Bianco

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For 916 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 57% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 39% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Robert Bianco's Scores

Average review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Mad Men: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Lucky Louie: Season 1
Score distribution:
916 tv reviews
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    After so many iffy premises and shoddy pilots, what a joy to relax in the hands of a master...Two seasons ago, Steven Bochco created the best drama on TV, ABC's ''NYPD Blue.'' This season, he gives ABC -- and us -- a show that could challenge for that title, the seamlessly superlative Murder One. [19 Sept 1995, p.D1]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Bad is too complex a series and too brilliantly distinctive a creation to be reduced to a simple "Crime does not pay" motto.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Gervais' show is so unusual, and his performance as David Brent is so painfully specific -- and sometimes just so flat-out painful -- it's hard to imagine how anyone else can make it work. [23 Jan 2003]
    • USA Today
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Brilliant, scathing, sprawling, The Wire has turned our indifference to urban decay into a TV achievement of the highest order.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    As fine as these opening episodes are, they're not quite as good as last season's final run. [14 Jan 2000]
    • USA Today
    • 97 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    While Sopranos remains one of TV's high-water marks, the first hour hits that mark so slowly you may find yourself wishing Chase were operating under just a tiny bit of network time pressure. [2 Mar 2001]
    • USA Today
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Despite its depth and ambition, this is one great drama that never becomes cumbersome--it never feels like a chore imposed upon us by the God of High TV Art.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    This is The Sopranos at its best -- and that's just about as good as TV ever gets.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Through scene after scene, Fargo crackles with mordant wit and sustained tension. And yet, wisely, Hawley always finds a way to remind us of what's at risk.... The cast is spectacular, with nary a false note.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    The Wire, while brilliant,is not exactly user-friendly. Attention is required, but the series more than repays the time and effort invested.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Transparent feels more than ever like a drama this season. There are amusing moments and asides, because life is seldom just one thing or one tone, but they evolve naturally out of the dramatic arc of a family nearing crisis.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    It takes a real artist's eye to concentrate reality so realistically, and a true wit to pull it off in a sitcom that makes you gasp as frequently as it makes you laugh. [10 Oct 2003]
    • USA Today
    • 92 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    There are needed bursts of humor that lighten the sometimes oppressive sense of a world on the verge of social collapse. And there's that visually pleasing re-creation of '60s style that both delights on its own and allows the show to comment through skewed reflection on modern times.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Bianco
    If you look past the sometimes strained pushing of the basic cable envelope (including a completely gratuitous breast shot), The Shield offers an interesting take on a familiar subject, one that boasts a great supporting turn from CCH Pounder as a smart cop who has seen it all.[12 Mar 2002, p.10D]
    • USA Today
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    What sets The Americans apart is the weight it gives to the other side and its ability to make us feel it.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    You're unlikely to watch a much better performance anywhere this year.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Danes and Lewis are near-flawless, keeping you off-balance and absorbed.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Like the show itself, Margo Martindale's performance is smart, chilling, amusing, convincing and unfailingly entertaining. And like the show, you really don't want to miss it.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    We can all be grateful for a series this awe-inspiringly exceptional.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    This is TV pleasure at its most intense, without even a shade of guilt.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    There are worse sins than looking like a Jane Austen movie. In fact, with PBS' latest British hit import, the unfailingly entertaining Downton Abbey, it might even be a blessing.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    There are times, it's true, when a little more narrative urgency might have been nice. Still, in a summer where few series seem to have captured the viewing public’s imagination, speed may not be too much to sacrifice. So go slow. This Night is worth it.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Driven by Glover’s charm and throwaway wit, Atlanta both compels and mystifies.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    It is also stunning, compelling and thoroughly, empathetically human. [14 Apr 2000, p.11E]
    • USA Today
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    With Denis Leary's return as Tommy Gavin in FX's Rescue Me, viewers have hit the summer trifecta: the best actor playing the best character in the best show on basic cable.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Against all odds, this tightly written, sometimes stunningly performed 10-part drama avoids all those pitfalls, capturing the tenor of the time and breathing life into the participants. Not to mention re-creating a crackling good courtroom drama that fiction can only envy.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    This is a sprawling, exciting, blood-soaked story, filled with great set pieces and wonderful actors.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    For all the artificiality of the language, there has seldom been a show that felt more authentic.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    As you'd hope from a show based on Elmore Leonard's work, the plots snap, the dialogue crackles and--to press on with the point--the characters pop.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Of a handful of promising new series this season, only one shows the promise of greatness: Boomtown.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    A quietly captivating miniseries about a seldom-quiet woman.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    This is 24 at its fast, furious, exaggerated best, filled with well-drawn subsidiary characters and rapid-fire surprises, all held in place by Kiefer Sutherland's great, under-sung performance as Jack.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    As you might expect from an experimental show that is doing its best to misbehave, there are times when Arrested goes too far. I could live without George Michael's crush on his first cousin, a story given more prominence in a future episode when it really needs less. But for now, I'd say stick with the Bluths, even when their behavior is more alarming than arresting. At least they're not dull. And this season, that's a development worth encouraging.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 25 Robert Bianco
    The Bedford Diaries... is not merely the worst show of the vernal season but one of the worst ever concocted by the soon-to-vanish WB.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    While it will no doubt settle back into its normal pattern, the first two episodes have been a bit busy--and a little light on the courtroom drama side of things.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    Six Degrees certainly clips along, but moving quickly between insipid links and boring characters doesn't make them any less insipid or boring.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    This is such a gorgeous show to watch (at least for anyone fond of mid-'60s clothes and design) that it's easy to forget how beautifully these actors play their roles and how true-to-life they and the writers make these characters seem.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    There's humanity in its victims and dark humor in the goal-oriented drive of its villains. With or without a strike, this is a show to treasure.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    It is, in short, a show about real life, as seen through the eyes of one of the funniest men in America.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Bianco
    So all is well until the story takes a melodramatic turn that seems so out of character for this starkly realistic show, you have to wonder if it was imposed by the network or the studio to create buzz. Nevertheless, this is a terrific series with proven writers and actors. I'm willing to wait and see where they go next. [5 Oct 2007, p.2E]
    • USA Today
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    what these two characters, so fabulously played by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, are about to realize as this excellent series returns is that their jobs put their children at risk.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    They've richly re-created a Roaring '20s world on the edge of an ocean and a precipice, and populated it with a riveting rogues gallery.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Don't let that "intimate" description mislead you--Franklin's infidelity is documented, but not detailed, and the show takes no stance on Eleanor's sexuality beyond making it clear that the subject is more complicated than some may assume. As were these people, and as is this completely splendid documentary.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    There's still fun to be had in the visual manifestations of Sherlock's thought process, for example, but there are times when you fear what they're really doing is filling time. Yet thanks to the stars, the wit of the writing and a few clever tricks, the show remains a joy.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Expertly cut and polished until it practically gleams, 24 is like a flawless diamond: stylish, multifaceted and so sharp that it could cut glass. Everything clicks, from the hip sets to the whip-smart direction to the ever-shifting split screen that imbues even mundane activities such as talking on the phone with an unexpected urgency. [6 Nov 2001]
    • USA Today
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    In mere minutes and with a few instantly evocative images, Freaks draws its characters more precisely than some shows do in a season. [24 Sept 1999, p.11E]
    • USA Today
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Treme tells its story incredibly well, but it just may not be a story everyone wants to follow. Some will hear its music and some won't. But if you do, this could be the rare TV show that makes you dance.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Terrifically acted and gorgeously produced, this is a show that's both funny and frightening, that can simultaneously make you miss the '60s and feel blessed that they're gone.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    Malcolm recalls Roseanne's maternal drive, The Simpsons' cartoon exaggerations, and a blue-collar sensibility and emotional honesty common to both. And if tonight's outstanding premiere tries too hard for its own good to stand out, even that flaw subsides in later episodes. [7 Jan 2000]
    • USA Today
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    The Sopranos would have benefited from the editing required by network time and content restraints, which would have made the rambling episodes tighter and cleared them of their worst blood and exposed-breast excesses. [8 Jan 1999, p.8E]
    • USA Today
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Let Lost remind you of how spectacular scripted network programming can be.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    There is always meaning to Mad Men's madness and passion under its control, along with an uncommon level of style, flair and wit. On a TV shelf crowded with cookie-cutter products, Mad Men is an original.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Top of the Lake is rivetingly odd, almost oppressively atmospheric and thoroughly entrancing.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    I'd also like to see the show adopt a somewhat lighter tone -- though I fear the ring of somber self-importance may be perfectly pitched for teens. [29 Sept 1998, p.3D]
    • USA Today
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    What the cuts can't remove is the chemistry between Cavanagh and Bowen. They're a lovably winning couple in a completely winning new show. [6 Oct 2000, p.1E]
    • USA Today
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Is Lights the show it was when it began? No. But it's still better than most anything else on the TV field.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Dunham's simply writing what she knows, and incredibly well.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 37 Robert Bianco
    The show is all structure and no substance.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    There's no denying the timeliness of a show about strapped-for-cash customers and predatory lenders, but Money doesn't seem to know what or where it wants to be, landing in some netherworld between a broadcast comedy and an edgier cable drama.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    If you think of it less as a mystery and more as a two-person character study, odds are you'll be more patient with it. And trust me, that patience will be rewarded.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Band of Brothers is significantly flawed and yet absolutely extraordinary -- just like the men it portrays. [7 Sept 2001, p.1E]
    • USA Today
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    For all its flights of fancy and its meta-jokes (most of them ably put across by Danny Pudi), the show still allows us to invest in Joel McHale's Jeff and his journey to self-improvement. Yet in its search for a plot, Community often seems to send Jeff back to square one so he can be redeemed all over again.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    An equally spectacular, equally triumphant yet tonally divergent work that stands with "Band of Brothers" as the best war movie ever made for TV.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    Even if The Evidence were the first show of its kind, it would still be mediocre.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 37 Robert Bianco
    Sanctimonious yet salacious, tawdry yet preachy, and dull as, well, dirt, this haltingly comic drama has as much trouble finding a workable tone as it does making a coherent point.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    One of the best TV programs you'll find in this or any season.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    The best of the bunch, and the best new series of the fall, comes first.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Solid gold from top to bottom, the cast is almost an embarrassment of riches.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Out of these familiar adventure-story components and a host of pop-culture conventions, Alias' J.J. Abrams has fashioned a totally original, fabulously enjoyable lost-at-sea series. Once again, he has taken an outlandish Saturday-serial setup and imbued it with real characters and honest emotions, without sacrificing any of the old-fashioned fun.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    May be the network's most effective combination yet of artistic reach and popular appeal. Created by The Job's Peter Tolan and Denis Leary, who also stars, Rescue Me could do for firefighters what "NYPD Blue" did for cops: strip them of myth while celebrating their humanity.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    A few plotlines look rocky, and a few lines of dialogue stumble, but based on the first six episodes, we're being introduced to a show that can enlighten, entertain and contend for Emmys, all in the same breath.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    There are small, recognizable crisis and equally life-sized solutions, all laced with dialogue that is funny enough to be entertaining without feeling forced.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    What separates Fargo is the depth of its characterizations and the individuality of its approach.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    The result is a sharp, funny, clever series that remains faithful to the spirit of Doyle's stories while infusing them with a vibrant spirit of modernity.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    Neither sitcom nor drama, real-life nor fantasy, Fox's underwhelming Undeclared wanders around in some jumbled, stream-of-consciousness no man's land. Like real college freshmen, the characters seem hastily and inexpertly thrown together -- probably because they were. The producers built the characters around the people they hired, a form of paint-by-actor improv. [25 Sept 2001, p.3D]
    • USA Today
    • 49 Metascore
    • 25 Robert Bianco
    A badly acted, clumsily constructed "Starsky & Hutch"/"Miami Vice" revival that imposes fictional clichés on top of harsh realities.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    It's a sprawling story, held together with music--though unlike Glee or Smash, most of the songs are presented on this night in truncated bursts.... While that could mean trouble, set worries aside for one night, and simply enjoy the season's best, most enjoyable new hour.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Funny, shocking and purposely incorrect, this testosterone-drenched series from Denis Leary and Peter Tolan returns to reclaim its spot as basic cable's best show, bar none. [13 June 2007, p.10D]
    • USA Today
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    There's nothing in Downton you won't recognize, and almost nothing you won't enjoy.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    What Mantello projects, and the movie lacks, is a kind of raw, exposed-nerve drive. As a play, The Normal Heart was political theater: It strong-armed you, but it worked. The movie emphasizes the love story to the point where it borders on romantic fantasy.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    Though the treatment of the younger characters is a bit heavy-handed, the four main adults are beautifully drawn and played.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    The desire to examine issues that commercial television generally avoids, and the ability to do so in a manner that is intellectually challenging and dramatically satisfying, remains the same. None of this could be achieved without the stellar returning members of this now-anthology’s cast, led by Felicity Huffman, Lili Taylor, Timothy Hutton, Elvis Nolasco and Regina King.... Each turns in a performance that is just as riveting as the first.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Bianco
    Unlike the sweeter, sillier, less edgy comedy often practiced by Daily's new host Trevor Noah, Bee came out in full attack mode--intense, a little profane, and frequently hilarious.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    What sets The Killing apart are its steady sense of dread, its dense atmospherics--that feeling that rain may at any moment pour from our sets--and its beautifully drawn characters.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Sorkin has created a funny, free-flowing comedy that more closely reflects the rhythms and look of a feature film. He may still have something to learn about the sitcom form, as witness the abrupt shift to sentimentality that ends the first two episodes. But when he's on his game, he provides moments of unexpected and acute insight that can almost leave you breathless. [22 Sept 1998, p.3D]
    • USA Today
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    In lesser hands, the disruptive flourishes would come across as style for style's sake; here, disruption is the goal. And in a lesser show, the characters would come across as a collection of social "types," chosen to represent their assigned issues. Here, they come across as real, deeply flawed people caught in a system that seems to care for none of them.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    A fast-paced, funny show that has bounced back from last spring's post-strike slump.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    There isn't an actor or character you won't look forward to seeing again, and that includes those you may initially resist. Each is allowed to be right or wrong, each could exist in the world as we know it, and each can be uproariously funny in his or her own way.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    For those who were disappointed in the show's uneven fourth season, the best news is that, at least in the nine episodes previewed, Rescue Me is more consistent, more focused and more fun, with better stories for all of its characters.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    True Blood is worth the work, particularly since the main plot (Sookie's search for her kidnapped vampire lover Bill) is pretty much a self-starter.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Heavily narrated and prone at times to the precious, Daisies is a show unlike any other, and not everyone will like it. But even those who don't can embrace it as a sign that creativity, confidence and capability have not fled broadcast for cable just yet. Here, they're alive and thriving.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    What lies ahead for Downton fans is a first-rate run of episodes that feels less hectic and more tightly focused on the family core.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Combine the new story's broader scope with the show's newfound willingness to tap into current fears, and there's every reason to hope for an even more suspenseful season. And that's even considering the drag applied by Kim's credibility-straining subplot. [29 Oct 2002]
    • USA Today
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    There are a few clumsy spills into melodrama, but overall this eight-hour effort is rousing, funny, frightening and heartbreaking--an affirmation of life and a condemnation of racism in all its ancient and surviving forms.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    There's no denying that the show looks a little worn, a victim perhaps of budget pressures that may have moved the series from cost-efficient to cheap. But even a reduced Lights is better than most TV series.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Bianco
    It's fair to say that circumstances are once again forcing Don Draper (Jon Hamm) to ponder what he has and who he is. The beauty of the show, and of Hamm's performance, is the craft with which they convey that crisis through silence and visual cues.... What also holds true is that Mad Men remains a gorgeous show, one that is capable of sustaining an almost trance-like state.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    What Kill has to offer is clarity and clear-eyed empathy. TV's the better for it.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    Like all of Burns' work, Jackie is beautifully done and blessedly free of the shoddy re-creations that slip into so many documentaries these days.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    Buffed to a typical HBO high gloss, Candelabra is a visual feast. But it shines brightest in those moments where it captures the rhythms of a relationship in its first blush of affection and its seemingly inevitable collapse.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Bianco
    The comedy ranges from silly to sharp, but it's seldom stupid and it's never mean-spirited – and the pair's talent is always on obvious display.

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