For 411 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 14.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Tom Shales' Scores

Average review score: 51
Highest review score: 100 Generation Kill
Lowest review score: 0 Category 7: The End of the World: Season 1
Score distribution:
411 tv reviews
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Shales
    Carpoolers has a certain loopy cuteness to it, but the show lacks a beating heart, some strong central figure to care about and root for.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Shales
    Funny, yes. Wildly funny, no...As an addition to pop literature about women in groups, Designing Women appears more derivative than innovative, but being derivative hardly ever hurts in prime-time television. [29 Sept 1986, p.C3]
    • Washington Post
    • 86 Metascore
    • 50 Tom Shales
    A glorious bungle. It has been produced on a dauntingly massive scale (by no less than Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, those old war hands) and is at times visually astonishing...Unfortunately it also suffers from disorganization, muddled thinking and a sense of redundancy. [8 Sept 2001, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    Worst Week has the primal simplicity of a Road Runner cartoon but less depth and, of course, far fewer laughs.
    • 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.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    It takes the stuff of legend and imagination and makes it dry and commonplace. You look forward not to the next exciting chapter, but for the whole enterprise to go "poof" and disappear.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    Its premise is humdrum, its two co-stars lack chemistry, and it seems essentially indistinguishable from most of NBC's other slipshod tripe. [21 Sep 1998]
    • Washington Post
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    If only these little dears were fascinating, or at least more interesting than they are on the first installment. From the looks of the previews at the end of the hour, things will be heating up in future episodes, and the first might be viewed as a scene-setting preface to battles, tattles and conspiracies to come.
    • 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]
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    Several steps up from "Becker."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    It is earnest, well intentioned, based on a beloved book by Catherine Marshall, handsomely photographed, wholesome as a tea cozy, cute as a kitten and almost unspeakably humdrum. Part of the problem is the casting. ... Martin ... brings precisely nothing to the screen. She has a grand total of two expressions and always seems to be looking for a mirror in which to admire them. [2 Apr 1994]
    • Washington Post
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    There's so little happening in "The Apprentice," NBC's new reality show, that it's hard to work up an opinion about it. [8 Jan 2004]
    • Washington Post
    • 80 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    Although Justified qualifies as cryptic, and its mouth is plenty potty, it definitely lacks edge, the most important quality of the three. In fact, it can get downright sleepy between killings. It moseys. It meanders.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    The costumes and sets are just ducky and highly evocative, but the people in and around them spoil the show, gum up the works and shatter veracity.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    There are errant laughs floating around, but for the most part Gary Unmarried is Gary Unfunny.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    Yet another blandly generic family sitcom. This one is supposedly based on the life and syndicated columns of Dave Barry, but it has all the fresh, distinctive flavor of dust. Probably the worst thing about the show...is its star, Harry Anderson. [20 Sept 1993, p.B4]
    • Washington Post
    • 79 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    At an hour in length, Parenthood seems like a prolonged, and rather melancholy, sitcom. There are too many characters, and it's hard to keep the relationships straight. Replacing the irreplaceable Steve Martin as the father of a 10-year-old problem child -- and a man who remains something of a problem child himself -- is the capable but unexciting Ed Begley Jr. [20 Aug 1990, p.B1]
    • Washington Post
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    There's a sort of comfort that comes from knowing you won't run into anything disruptively unconventional in a sitcom, and that would make Engvall as pleasantly lumpy as a dying couch.
    • 19 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    Momma's Boys is truly and sometimes horrifically fascinating, a deluxe example of sumptuous trash that takes the concept of "guilty pleasure" to a new extreme.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    They carry on like mischievous scamps, and while they are fun to watch up to a point, the point is reached well before the shenanigans peter out.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    Poehler's show unfortunately isn't worthy of her. It's dry and hesitant when one longs for it to be raucous and madcap.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    Big Shots tries way too hard to be shocking and raunchy. The actors resemble kiddies at school trying to impress one another with the latest naughty word learned in gym class.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    It's a pity the writers and producers suffer so badly from groin lock, because the show has promise, mainly in the person of John Lithgow. [9 Jan 1996]
    • Washington Post
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    Where the previous movie aspired to be a camp classic, "Martha Behind Bars" takes itself more seriously, and less entertainingly.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    Peeps of sentimentality only serve to emphasize the film's uneven mix of the sardonic and the heartfelt. Tin Man unfortunately seems as bereft of an efficiently functioning ticker as is the titular character himself.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    At least [it] has possibilities and a good excuse for a giggle now and then.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    At present it suffers from a problem that predates not only television but radio and theater as well: Too many cooks, or at least too many ingredients bubbling to a busy and irritating boil.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    The new series seems to share a perhaps fatal flaw of that now-canceled show, which is that the premise becomes so byzantine and the complications so arcane that eventually people just give up on trying to make sense of the darn thing.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    Those who wade into Carrier might not want to be quitters, either, but after four or five hours, they may find they'd really rather be checking out who's survived on "American Idol."
    • 77 Metascore
    • 40 Tom Shales
    Despite plenty of surface sparkle, there is something discomforting about the show, and not just because it borrows tone and form from other sitcoms with youthful heroes, especially Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle."

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