For 412 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 45% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 15.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Tom Shales' Scores

Average review score: 52
Highest review score: 100 Murder One: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Head Cases: Season 1
Score distribution:
412 tv reviews
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Tom Shales
    Even when the transition from music to drama seems abrupt, or the staging of a number a bit too prosaic, "Cop Rock" has the audaciousness and energy of a true original, plus moments of brilliance that are almost blinding. [26 Sep 1990, p.C1]
    • Washington Post
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    There is a certain pretentious artiness to the new series, as there was to "thirtysomething," but the characters have life and authenticity; they seem really to live and breathe, at least for one vital hour each week -- especially Angela, a fully dimensional being in contrast to all the stereotyped teenagers that dominate prime time...Controversial or not, My So-Called Life is even better than first-rate.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 0 Tom Shales
    That aura permeates the whole show, which is like something you might find rotting in the cellar. It should by all means be removed and disposed of, but only by someone wearing protective clothing and brandishing a large pair of tongs.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Tom Shales
    Manages to be complicated and monotonous at the same time. As with other new fall shows, this one puts too much reliance on narration, the sign of a lazy scriptwriter.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 0 Tom Shales
    Hawaii makes its gory, boring bow tonight in High Definition but, unfortunately, Low Intelligence...It's deficient in plot, intriguing characters, points of interest and the merest tiny hint of taste. It's not so much a TV show as one big deficiency.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 60 Tom Shales
    Really, honestly, actually, it isn't all that bad...It's sort of like "Flipper" without the dolphin.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 0 Tom Shales
    When an announcer midway through the show says, "The Love Boat will continue in a moment," it's more of a threat than a promise. Obviously there's always going to be a certain amount of worthless tripe on television, but shows like Love Boat pull the median level of mediocrity down to unfathomable lows. Nothing is worth the boredom of the deep. [24 Sept 1977, p.C5]
    • Washington Post
    • tbd Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    The series, calculated to exploit the success of good ol' boy movie hits like "Smokey and the Bandit," more closely resembles those hillbilly postcards sold in remote rural areas that aren't quite remote enough. Within five minutes, the program is out of breath from pandering so pantingly to its audience...If this show succeeds, every television critic in America may as well quit. [26 Jan 1979, p.B2]
    • 55 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    Makes deadly silence look pretty good by comparison.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 30 Tom Shales
    Noble endeavor, bad movie...Has the unfortunate aura of something patched together by a committee, and when all is said and done, it seems less like a movie than a position paper on film.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Tom Shales
    ALF himself is funny enough to keep the show bubbling. He has a sardonic insouciance. [22 Sept 1986, p.C1]
    • Washington Post
    • 13 Metascore
    • 0 Tom Shales
    As rigorously lame-brained as television in our time is likely to get. [11 Apr 1987, p.C1]
    • Washington Post
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Tom Shales
    Essentially, Lois & Clark amounts to a de-tooning of the Superman story, changing it from kids' stuff to more sophisticated fare, yet retaining the beguiling sense of wonder it would be lost without. Superman, contrary to published reports, is not dead. In fact, it could be argued he has never looked better. [11 Sept 1993, p.D1]
    • Washington Post
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Tom Shales
    It's singularly unique, crazily nuts and perturbingly disturbed. [8 Nov 2001, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Tom Shales
    Despite the origins, the situations and dialogue are less infantile than a lot of shows that aren't based on comic strips, and the hero is given enough complexity that adults can conceivably be as engaged in his shenanigans as kids. [20 Sept 1990, p.D1]
    • Washington Post
    • 53 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    Carter's script and the direction of Daniel Sackheim (one of about 25 "executive producers") are riddled with hoary, snory contemporary cliches. Nothing amazes, nothing amuses, it all just goes bang and boom and clang in the night. This will be not just virtually but literally a better world if Harsh Realm has vamoosed by Christmas.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 30 Tom Shales
    There is no specific credit for "bad taste," but there's plenty for everyone to share -- just as Donner, Hill, Zemeckis and others listed as executive producers will eventually share in the profits...Blood money, if you ask me. [10 June 1989, p.C1]
    • Washington Post
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 Tom Shales
    Probably the savviest savage satire of the TV business since Paddy Chayefsky's barnstormer "Network" in 1976. [19 June 1999, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Tom Shales
    Perfectly respectable family fare, yet not so perfectly respectable that it's drippy. [27 Sept 1996, p.D01]
    • Washington Post
    • 70 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    The significance of naming the hero after T.S. Eliot's famous poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (do you suppose the "J" stood for Jim?) is not readily apparent from the premiere, but then this is a show that doesn't aim to be readily apparent, or even to be reasonably coherent.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    What we really have here is just another in the long line of TV private eyes, an attempt at film noir whose lurking campiness rather quickly becomes film mauve. ... This dialogue is ancient now; imagine how old it will be in 2042. [22 Jan 1994]
    • Washington Post
    • 29 Metascore
    • 0 Tom Shales
    Hidden Hills, yet another lame sitcom from NBC, suffers from a virus common to a few other new fall shows: hyper-narratoritis. One of the characters keeps up a pestering voice-over commentary throughout the show, making it seem less like a TV program than a phone conversation...A phone conversation with a blithering idiot, that is.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Shales
    This is no run-of-the-mill production, but it falls under the heading of "acquired taste." The main inducement to acquire it is to watch Gugino have her way with the title role.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    Seems too self-consciously and schematically a vehicle for the actor, a vehicle that sputters and stalls when one wants it to zoom. [10 Oct 2000, p.C01]
    • 45 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    Strives hard for dumbfounding inscrutability, and achieves it. [28 Jan 1989]
    • Washington Post
    • 61 Metascore
    • 30 Tom Shales
    [A] gimmicked-up adolescent soap opera that's faux sensitive, faux funny and, most of the time, even faux faux. [7 Oct 2004]
    • Washington Post
    • 75 Metascore
    • 30 Tom Shales
    What may seem funny and colorfully evocative in the book comes across as smug and snide in the series. [4 Aug 1998, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
    • 53 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    The most charitable reaction to an enterprise this shallow yet pretentious is, "They've got to be kidding." [20 Sep 1985]
    • Washington Post
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Tom Shales
    Ambitious, adult and sexually sophisticated, another signpost along the road toward increasingly serious, and much more personal television. [26 Apr 1988]
    • Washington Post
    • tbd Metascore
    • 0 Tom Shales
    Another living, screaming, blood-thinning nightmare. ... OH PLEASE, STOP! WILL YOU STOP? WILL YOU PLEASE PLEASE STOP? WILL YOU AT LONG LAST PLEASE HAVE THE SIMPLE DECENCY TO STOP?????? [26 Apr 1988]
    • Washington Post

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