Robert Bianco

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For 975 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 56% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 40% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Robert Bianco's Scores

Average review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 The Sopranos: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Lucky Louie: Season 1
Score distribution:
975 tv reviews
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    [The first two installments] are Rise's best, most concise episodes, yet even they try to do too much, falling prey to an "and then this happened" narrative, a slew of distracting (and often badly bewigged) cameos and a rushed pace that is particularly ill-suited to the segment on the AIDS crisis.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    The Event knows the game it's playing and its risks. You can tell from the wink-at-the-audience last line, delivered by the always-welcome Innes: "I haven't told you everything." Tell us more--and soon would probably be best.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    All in all, O'Brien got his Tonight off to a decent start, though you still got the sense you were watching an introduction more than a settled production.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Dense, dark, a little dreary and yet oddly intriguing, Heroes seems destined to attract an audience that is more loyal than large.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Ted, like most such single-camera sitcoms, is just too mannered and cold, though warming signs do appear in later episodes. Happily, despite its flaws, it's well-cast and reasonably entertaining.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    The key flaw in Ellie from which all other problems flow is that the show is built around a gimmick instead of a character. ... Unfortunately, if they dropped the stunt, they'd have nothing much left. [26 Feb 2002]
    • USA Today
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    Fahey too often seems cocky and callow. He's so sure of himself, and so superior to everyone else, you could find yourself identifying with the criminal. Luckily, Fahey's performance in the closing moments shows promise for a more restrained future. Let's hope the producers noticed the improvement. [31 Jan 1995]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Though the entire cast is strong, it's Morris who holds the show together with a winning combination of smarts, looks, steel and warmth. She makes a very good Case for watching. [26 Sept 2003, p.14E]
    • USA Today
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    ABC can add to that list of achievements the season's most entertaining new hour, straightforward division: V.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    Death as it appears in all its gory glory in Netflix’s sparkling new comedy Santa Clarita Diet can also be a stomach-wrenching experience. But for those who can muscle through, the reward is one of the most joyous, hilariously dark comedies to come our way in many a season.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Graced by strong performances from Sienna Miller and Toby Jones as Tippi Hedren and Alfred Hitchcock, this backstage story of Hollywood sexual obsession is never less than enjoyable.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 37 Robert Bianco
    One Tree Hill isn't the worst show you'll see this season, but it may be the most depressingly superfluous. As too often happens with WB shows, Hill reminds you of every other WB show you've ever seen. It's as if the network has done away with original programming and gone straight to scheduling reruns. [23 Sept 2003, p.4D]
    • USA Today
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    Those [recurrent technical glitche] may be the inevitable by-product of an effort to do a live show this complex. And when it comes to live musicals, this one may be hard to beat.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    It's TV at its least challenging, but it has an incredibly gorgeous setting, a pre-sold concept, a cushy time slot, a solid supporting cast and a starmaking turn by Caan.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Bianco
    For this one half-hour, Frasier is high-class entertainment. Grammer does scowling exasperation as well as any actor in America (it's hard to imagine an actor who could get more laughs trading looks with a dog), the fraternal relationship is wonderful, and the work-place material works perfectly (thanks to another fine supporting performance from Peri Gilpin). [16 Sept 1993, p.C7]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    It can all be a bit much: Elizabeth needs to be wrong now and then. Still, against considerable odds, Leoni sells it, conveying the brains and toughness Elizabeth needs to be successful in her job and the warmth, vulnerability and sometimes prickly humor she needs to be successful at home.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    If it plays a bit fast and loose with facts, it's nowhere near as outrageous as its Showtime cousin The Tudors, whose ever-young, ever-fit Henry VIII was an affront to history and to common sense. Irons may not look anything like the real Pope Alexander, but he makes you believe in him - and for The Borgias' purposes, that's what matters.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    The show is so dour, the humor gets lost.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Bianco
    While no one would put his new show in the 'Frasier' class just yet, it's certainly a cut above the other sitcoms coming your way this week. [4 Mar 1997]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    The entire effort is too icky-cute by half, so much so that if you don't leave tonight's premiere wanting to kill the main characters, it's only because of Milioti's and Feldman's efforts.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Max and Caroline's Odd Couple interaction is nothing you haven't seen before. But thanks to the show's two bright young stars, who deliver their shared dialogue with a nice, natural ease, their scenes together have enough charm and humor to make these struggling Girls look like winners.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    Kings is a mess, but for a few weeks, anyway, it promises to be a fun, fascinating mess, the kind of "can you believe they're doing it" show you want to discuss the next day.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    [Powerful] moments are diminished by the mechanics of the plot, and by a few too many performances that seem to have wandered over from In the Heat of the Night. In the end, you can't help feeling that what you're really watching is a good, small movie idea that got buried under the avalanche of a major TV project.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    For all the show's flaws, you can see the attraction for an actor of Macy's quality, with the kind of showy, outsized role that wins awards. But as fine an actor as he is, Frank just comes across as loud and empty. Much like Shameless.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    For fans of soaps, there is reason for hope. The show looks great, and it often sounds good, particularly when Emily is delivering a line we know is nasty but her victim doesn't.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    Were Bates Motel a movie, Farmiga and Highmore (who has Tony Perkins' troubling, sort-of-smiling stare down cold) might be able to keep you tied to these damaged creatures through to the end of the film. But for a series, these do not feel like ties that bind.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    The show maintains a sensible balance between introducing Elizabeth's foibles and telling the story at hand--a well-constructed case that has her battling an ambitious prosecutor (the always interesting Terry Kinney).
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    Girl sets up a viable premise and introduces a strong set of supporting characters, which is just what you want from fall's most promising new series.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Bianco
    Seven features an entertaining ensemble, a tongue-in-check approach and an attractive visual style that alternates between sweeping vistas and ultra-tight closeups. The sap and the male-bonding is sometimes a bit thick, but overall Seven is a clever update of an old TV genre - and a welcome break from TV's current glut of cops and docs. [2 Jan 1998]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    • 66 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    Its virtues have been buried under the kind of meandering plots and underpowered dialogue that mark so many TV comedies these days, which seem unable to decide whether they'd rather be unfunny comedies or insufficiently serious dramas.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    Give ABC credit for trying something different. But next time, try harder. And better. And maybe shorter.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    They may not enchant you, but they and their series, the best new hour this year, are unlikely to bore you. Would that every new show could say the same.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 37 Robert Bianco
    The most important lesson from tonight's premiere is that there isn't a single plot point this yawn-a-minute show won't feel the need to hammer home.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    The tone is ominous throughout in a show that provides its share of good jolts, including one built around the public punishment of a rule infraction that may stay with you for awhile. Unfortunately, subtlety appears to be among the many things banned in Wayward Pines--a series that comes at you weird and gets weirder as it goes along.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    Platinum does a decent job of establishing its world and its family, setting up the internal jealousies and exposing the undercurrents. But the show is a bit too willing to fall back on easy stereotypes (the evil tycoon, the cowardly reporter) and a bit lazy when moving the story along. Music videos are a nice diversion, but they shouldn't be used as filler to avoid plot. [14 Apr 2003]
    • USA Today
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    The aggressively, self-consciously weird Carnivale is a sideshow step away from most any TV series you've ever seen. You may find its oddity appealing, or you may find it off-putting, but its distinctiveness is unmistakable. Next to Carnivale, Twin Peaks looks like JAG. [12 Sep 2003]
    • USA Today
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    But the moments it goes too far or feels too slight are countered by the sense you're watching two men who care about their clients and are good at what they do, and by the emotional hook that helps provide. And that may be enough to turn it into a hit.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Bianco
    Though Carey has friends, his show is no 'Friends'-style ensemble comedy. It's closer to a blue-collar 'Seinfeld,' a star vehicle purpose-built to exploit its star's best talents, which it does quite effectively. [13 Sep 1995]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    Enlisted may feel curiously dated and dangerously slight, but it's not offensive (a low bar many Fox comedies fail to reach) and it's not cynical. If nothing else, this is clearly a show with heart. Now if only it would show some sign of brains.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    A strong cast and that things-that-go-bump-in-the-night shooting style so far keep the show on course.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Why watch a show this silly? In part because Alexander is able to make us empathize with Jane's emotional upheaval while still creating a heroine who is believably feisty and capable.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Ballers and The Brink aren't at that level [of Veep and Silicon Valley] just yet, both show promise--and both are welcome summer additions.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    The larger problem with Justice it that allows the plot to bury the characters.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    The Mentalist may be a copy, but it's a well-done copy sparked by an actor who has come into his own as a TV star.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Like most cable and streaming series, Good Girls takes its time. Still, it’s time generally well-spent, and not just on the show’s primary issue, but on other conflicts of the ‘60s that come into play.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    Cash and Geere make the most out of every cutting line and look. But too often, the show mistakes being unpleasant for being amusing.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    Give Maria Bello credit, if you like, for having the courage to take on a character so indelibly linked to one of the great actors of our time, Helen Mirren--and then take it away for the ridiculously behatted mash she and the show have made of the character.
    • 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
    • 65 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    Ordinary just feels too crowded, as if it's straining to serve too many genre masters at once. Still, there is pleasure to be found, much of it provided by Chiklis.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Friday's opener is intriguing, but shows such as Doe have a habit of collapsing quickly — usually because the rules governing the hero's behavior bend and stretch to suit the needs of the writers.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Prison Break may not hold up as a weekly series; it's much too soon to tell. But by and large it works as a two-hour premiere special, one that grabs your attention from its first scene to its startling cliffhanger ending.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Without Sedgwick, The Closer would be a standard-issue police procedural — a decent bit of TV entertainment, but nothing more. With Sedgwick's unforced charm and her witty iron-fist-meets-velvet-glove performance, The Closer rises to the top of TV's summer bill.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Among the innumerable improvements here that lift Jack over Dad, start with turning the paternal lead over to Christopher Meloni--an actor who can convey warmth, brains and masculine menace with a glance--and giving him an actual person to play, rather than an insult-spouting cartoon. Then throw in making his wife a regular character, casting Rachael Harris and moving the story back in time, so that the son is now a more empathetic teenager, rather than an adult moving back home.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    It isn't terrible, as TV hours go, but nothing about it leads you to believe turning the movie into a series was a good idea. [14 June 2002, p.13E]
    • USA Today
    • 65 Metascore
    • 38 Robert Bianco
    Cobbled together out of hundreds of undercover/caper movie clichés, Sleeper Cell is so absurdly detached from the real world, it makes 24 look like a documentary.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    In the end, you may not be able to escape the feeling that the material, worthy and well-presented though it may be, is being forced into a format for which it's unsuited.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    The problem is that these opening outings feel too much like they’re cramming in all the time-travel basics--establishing the rules (no do-overs), explaining the risks, posing a variation on the old “Would you kill Hitler” question.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    Unfortunately, when the show wanders off to the personality-deprived supporting characters, it collapses.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    What threatens to remain a drag is the format itself, with its weekly focus on plea bargains--and, so far, weekly speeches defending the new focus.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Bianco
    While gratitude and humility are admirable traits, there were times in Monday's opening moments when Fallon risked taking them to uncomfortable extremes.... Luckily, he rescued the moment with one of the show's better bits. A seemingly offhand remark about an unnamed star owing him money for betting him he'd never get the Tonight Show job led to a surprise-guest parade.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    Colbert was an invaluable part of the Daily Show, but as the whole show, he's not enough and too much simultaneously.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    Keep your eyes on Thornton and the shading he brings to his work--because most everything else in Goliath, the title included, is so on-the-nose it could make you cringe.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 63 Robert Bianco
    It is nowhere near as sharp or as on-point as it needs to be.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    "Mad Men" is the genre's gold standard, and the inevitable thematic comparisons just accentuates Trust Me's flaws, making the show seem even more dispensable.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    With a sure and witty touch, Will captures the way gay men and their straight female friends make an asset of their gender differences and romantic similarities. [21 Sep 1998]
    • USA Today
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    The show's gimmick does extend beyond reading expressions--they analyze voices and psychoanalyze answers--and the show does have its amusing moments. What it doesn't have is any sense of surprise, and once the novelty factor wears off, you just wonder whether there's enough here to sustain a series.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Bianco
    As long as CBS's Dave's World' tonight's TV transcription of columnist's Dave Barry's life, sticks with Dave's family, it pretty much hits on all cylinders...Unfortunately, Dave's world extends beyond his family unit, and that's when things get tricky. [20 Sept 1993, p.C7]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    As in many filmed comedies, at times Knights seems content to substitute movement and scenery for comedy, but the brighter moments compensate for those times when the show goes slack.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    It was a less than spectacular debut Monday--one that focused a bit too heavily on Noah's status as host.... Some of it was funny; some wasn’t. And some of it came perilously close to seeming like the show was trying to guilt us into liking him.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Luckily for Terra Nova, fans of the genre are often at least temporarily willing to overlook bad writing and performances if the battles are exciting and special effects convincing, and they are. That should buy the show time to improve.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 37 Robert Bianco
    Bored is TV that's tailor-made for people who hate TV. It won't make you laugh, but it will make you feel hipper than the room, and for some, that will be enough.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    The script paints the women too broadly while offering a few too many variations on the same youth-obsessed-culture themes. Still, darned if the women don't carry it off, at least well enough to bring you back for a second episode.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    TV desperately needs a straightforward drama that explores family dynamics without some imposed gimmick, and Brothers & Sisters could just be the show to fill that bill.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Robert Bianco
    Happily, it now seems to have landed on solid ground, with its best ensemble and most engaging stories in years.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    The writers seem to assume that life backstage at a glamorous New York restaurant is so inherently enticing, we'll just fall into the story on our own. Maybe, but a few sympathetic characters or amusing lines couldn't have hurt.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    Charm is not a word you normally associate with the Day-Glo, drug-drenched '70s. Yet charm is the strong suit of That '70s Show. [21 Aug 1998, p.6E]
    • USA Today
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Bianco
    Too many of the lines are witlessly vulgar (A "mug of butt"? Really?), and too few are funny.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Bianco
    There are times when the show feels both weightless and way too precious (that title), but those are counterbalanced by the charm and skill of the cast.

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