For 382 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 46% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 53% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 12.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Tom Shales' Scores

  • TV
Average review score: 53
Highest review score: 100 The Corner: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 So You Think You Can Dance: Season 1
Score distribution:
382 tv reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    A series that started out merely good and has now become, like NBC's "Cheers," a comedy essential, a good reason to stay home and laugh. [18 Sep 1989]
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    Calling Steven Bochco's Murder One the best new series of the season is too easy and over-understated. The episode airing tonight on ABC is one of the classiest, best-written and most assured dramatic pilots ever seen on television, and next week's installment, "Chapter Two," is nearly as good. This is super-gripping, diamond-bright, edge-of-your-couch TV.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    This brilliant and aching and achingly brilliant series is the best original sitcom in the history of cable TV. [15 Mar 1998]
    • 98 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    Mike Judge, creator of "Beavis and Butt-head," made a darn good try at a seriously funny workplace comedy with his 1999 film "Office Space," but Gervais and Merchant have even greater success. "The Office" is hilarious in a very hip and flippant way. [30 Jan 2003]
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    So is "The Wire" as good as ever? Perhaps even better.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    The story's a good one, all right, and beautifully related--but there's a lot more going on in "The Sopranos" than good storytelling. This is one of the most unpretentiously profound and troubling dramas in the history of American television. [16 Jan 2000]
    • 97 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    Even though this is not the strongest season opener in the history of the series, it still makes most of the sitcoms on the broadcast networks look weak of knee and soft of head. [13 Nov 1996]
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    The show is as darkly gleeful as ever, shrewdly and even elegantly put together and, in a way that perhaps no other TV drama series has ever been, troublingly seductive and irresistible. [3 Mar 2001]
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    A captivating blend of the existential and the pulpy, the surreal and the neo-real, the grim and the farcical, Twin Peaks is new age music for the eyes, a show that careens off the wall and out into left field and yet supplies some of the basic satisfactions we humans have demanded of our storytellers since we first wriggled out of primordial goop.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    Television's greatest drama series has only gotten greater.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    As much as any other Western town in any other Western, Deadwood -- which is really a camp hoping to be a town hoping to be part of the United States -- seems really to exist, so vivid are the characters and so rich the texture. [5 Mar 2005, p.C01]
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    Each episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" flies by in a dizzying blur of neurotic delight. [14 Sep 2002]
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    As full of wit and mischief as it was last year. [11 Oct 1990]
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    "The Larry Sanders Show" is brilliantly brilliant, wonderfully wonderful and hilariously hilarious, the next step in the evolution of the television talk show and a contribution to the betterment of viewerkind. [14 Aug 1992]
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    "Larry Sanders" seems to be continuing waspishly along on track, blurring the line between reality and fantasy in wry, inventive ways, using a show biz milieu to comment on a lot more than just show biz. [2 Jun 1993]
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    The Corner is strong, solid storytelling, but it's more than that. It's an act of enlightenment, raw and shattering and strangely, inexplicably, beautiful. [15 Apr 2000, p.C01]
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    Arrested Development is very animated but it is not a cartoon. Cartoonish, perhaps, but it is filled with real actors playing surreal people, all of whom have frighteningly identifiable traits and tics. Together they are the Bluths, the latest and at this moment greatest of TV's dysfunctional families. Dysfunctionalism has rarely been as ingratiating or, certainly, as hilarious.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    The student characters seem weak and inauthentic, and many of the actors look as though they're going through college for the third or fourth time.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    It's lame and it's limp, and as deployed for "Six Degrees," the conceit would seem to owe quite a bit to the movie "Crash," among such other more antique inspirations as "The Bridge of San Luis Rey."
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    The absence of gimmickry and the presence of respect for the story and the audience give The Wire organic advantages over nearly all other TV dramas, whether they deal with cops and crime or birds and bees. Which is to say: If you want to see the television of tomorrow, it's on HBO tonight.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    It's the most savory new series of the season, the one most likely to engage the emotions, stir the heart, touch the soul -- a comedy with tears that celebrates family and memory and the rich ingredients that make up the American melting pot. [20 Sep 1991]
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    Arrested Development is, in fact, "Dynasty" as it might be rewritten for the Three Stooges if there were a dozen of them...Sly, wild, clever and just plain nuts, Arrested Development makes you think as it makes you laugh, and one of the things it makes you think is, "Why the hell am I laughing?" Deep in your subconscious, you know. You've slipped on the appeal of a frozen banana. [6 Nov 2004, p.C01]
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    Cleverly constructed and invigoratingly ambitious in design ... '24' has tension and density that set it well apart from the pack. [6 Nov 2001]
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    So much in the Freaks and Geeks premiere is shrewdly, tenderly and sagaciously observed that one wonders whether there'll be enough material left for additional episodes. Probably. [25 Sept 1999, p.C01]
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Tom Shales
    In the first of the new episodes, David seems all too eager to reach, and even stretch, for laughs. ... The good news is that as the weeks go on ... the show gets better and better, until the barnacles of self-consciousness fall off and David gets back to his old stride. It only requires a bit of patience, in other words, and viewers who find the first couple of episodes disappointing should stay with it, because at its lunatic best, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is still one of the absolutely funniest half-hours on television. [3 Jan 2004]
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    "Malcolm" immediately, instantly, explosively achieves an identity all its own--a little bit like a live-action "Simpsons," but with a Bart who's a genius, not an underachiever. [8 Jan 2000]
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Tom Shales
    Even if the new season's shows weren't the blah, bland blanks that most of them are, Ed would stand out. For one thing, it isn't often that the season's best new comedy is also its best new drama. Ed is. [8 Oct 2000, p.G01]
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    "Extras" lives up to expectations and to its own lunatic traditions.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Tom Shales
    The pace is languid and the ambiance laconic. Easy Money isn't the kind of show likely to clean up at Emmy time. But it has the same sort of eccentric, addled charm that marks an increasing number of current television shows.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Tom Shales
    [The mockumentary style is] used not to excess but to success, which is just what this wise, clever and bighearted comedy ought to be.