For 392 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 12.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Tom Shales' Scores

Average review score: 52
Highest review score: 100 Arrested Development: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Matlock: Season 1
Score distribution:
392 tv reviews
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    As full of wit and mischief as it was last year. [11 Oct 1990]
    • Washington Post
    • 60 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    Beyond its gimmicky concept and fantasy angle, Quantum Leap -- from "Magnum, P.I." creator Donald P. Bellisario -- touches on forms of alienation that grip everybody at one time or another. For Sam, it's one time or several others...The premise holds out a prospect even more attractive in the late '80s than it would be in many other eras: escape from the present. [25 Mar 1989, p.D1]
    • Washington Post
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    Dharma & Greg goes beyond merely funny all the way to enchanting. There's nothing momentous or groundbreaking about the new ABC sitcom, but it's good-hearted, lightheaded and delightful, a kind of miracle cure for the blues -- especially the blues you might get from most of the other new sitcoms this season. [24 Sept 1997, p.D01]
    • Washington Post
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    No one could maintain that the show deals in grueling realism. But the characters and their time do seem affectionately and thoughtfully portrayed, and genuineness along these lines is rare in TV. The Wonder Years is first-class time travel. [15 Mar 1998, p.1]
    • Washington Post
    • 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]
    • Washington Post
    • 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]
    • Washington Post
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    Another satiric triumph from Matt Groening. [27 Mar 1999]
    • Washington Post
    • 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]
    • Washington Post
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    Former fans of "Twin Peaks" who feel that show has become too ridiculous to bear may find the snowy terrain of Northern Exposure a pleasing substitute. The series seems to have struck a happy balance: just ridiculous enough. [8 Apr 1991, p.C2]
    • Washington Post
    • 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]
    • Washington Post
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    Queer as Folk gets off to a triumphantly provocative start. The least that can be said is that there's nothing else like it anywhere on the air. [2 Dec 2000, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    You know you will laugh, but you know you will cringe. You know you will guffaw, but you'll also likely wince. It's hard to imagine comedy that's any edgier, without being topical, than this.
    • 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]
    • Washington Post
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    The caliber is very, very high, a gangbusters idea executed with skill and sensitivity. [26 Sep 2002]
    • Washington Post
    • 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]
    • Washington Post
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    It's to the network's credit that it undertakes projects that aren't necessarily big crowd-pleasers but have a palpable artistic integrity and social significance. [1 June 2002, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    It's a grim, evocative look at some of this country's ruggedest but most disreputable roots -- a meticulously detailed portrait of a time, place and people that makes even today, with its punishing headlines about suicide bombs and other terrorist atrocities, seem almost safe and sane.
    • 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]
    • Washington Post
    • 58 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    You may groan at the premise -- a young woman helps the police solve crimes through use of her psychic intuition -- but it's brought off with so much storytelling skill and so few voguish gimmicks that it might as well be the first show of its kind. [3 Jan 2005]
    • Washington Post
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    Lost actually gives every sign of knowing where it's going and what it's doing. It's solid, suspenseful and fraught with frights. The Big Scary Monster may be a corny touch, but who's to say what does and doesn't exist on those mysterious uncharted islands where, for example, King Kong once holed up. Lost has the capacity to bring out the kid in adults and the adult in kids. [22 Sept 2004, p.C.01]
    • Washington Post
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    In visual style, witty language, borderline surrealism and overall mad attitude, "Desperate Housewives" stands on a mountaintop all its own, the best new drama of the season and perhaps the best new comedy, too. [3 Oct 2004]
    • Washington Post
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    A stand-up, standout piece of work, one that works wonders on a seemingly tired genre.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    It's got edge galore, but it's the kind that sneaks up on you and proves again that Gervais has the subtlest kind of brilliance, hard to categorize but easy to enjoy.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    "Extras" lives up to expectations and to its own lunatic traditions.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    Big Bang is the funniest new sitcom of the season.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    Extraordinary in just about every conceivable way.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    The lovingly and imaginatively produced pilot has to be the most gorgeous piece of television airing anywhere tonight.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    Although Recount is a smashing success on almost every level, it's also a brutally disheartening experience for the story it tells.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Tom Shales
    John Adams is the kind of classily intelligent production that can be happily recommended to everybody. The filmmakers, including executive producer Tom Hanks, have attempted to re-create and enliven history--and they succeed grandly.