For 385 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 12.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Tom Shales' Scores

  • TV
Average review score: 52
Highest review score: 100 The Corner: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Just the Ten of Us: Season 1
Score distribution:
385 tv reviews
    • 67 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    Encumbered by a script that is nearly breathtaking in its imbecilic banality, The O.C. makes one long for the cold comforts of a sleazy-minded "reality" show. Fox is trying to pass off this moody, moon-faced trifle, a drama about rich young brats in Orange County, Calif., as the first series of the new fall season (in August?). But if there's any justice left in television, "O.C. will be canceled by the time the actual fall shows premiere. [5 Aug 2003, p.C01]
    • 67 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    A largely dreary dirge.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    The script by Shonda Rhimes, nimbly directed by Peter Horton (once an actor on "thirtysomething"), is nothing but a casserole made of equal parts ham and corn.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    A dreary thing it is, and depressing, too.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    Hanson might be enough to fill a few paragraphs in an old Reader's Digest "Most Unforgettable Character" featurette, but the thought of spending an hour with him every week is about as attractive as having (place name of your least favorite medical procedure here) with the same frequency.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    "Four Kings" isn't just tediously sitcommy, it's painfully sitcrummy.
    • 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.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    The heroine, unlikely in every detail including her name, Temperance Brennan, goes about reassembling corpses and then divining how they got to be that way. It's precise, tedious work and so is watching this show.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    Bluntly put, neither the writers nor the actors are good enough at what they're trying to do to justify trying to do it. They'd all be better off making "10 Items" a traditional scripted show, because then it would stand a better chance of making sense.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    If you're looking for the deep emotional truths that the creators of ABC's would-be heart-tugger imagine they're after, well, pro wrestling might be a good choice.
    • 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."
    • 33 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    What's potentially scary about "Twenty Four Seven" is that the empty, vacuous lives onscreen are apparently supposed to come across as glamorous and enviable.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    One of those slack, campy throwbacks that really ought to be thrown out, Cane, premiering on CBS tonight at 10, tries to bring grand-opera soap opera back to prime time and ignominiously fails.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    The premise is weak and leaky, the star is dull and dreary, and the only trip Journeyman ought to take is right back to the shop for repairs--or off to the dump for a decent burial.
    • 21 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    Russo tries to pick up the gaping chasm of slack and get a little energy going, but she just looks embarrassed to be yelling at a car, arguing with a car, flirting with a car, whatever.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    Among the many irritating things about today's Exhibit A--Breakthrough With Tony Robbins, yet more trash television from NBC--is that it's another daytime-caliber show that somehow crashed the prime-time schedule.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    This isn't about killing a mockingbird. This is about boring one to death. [7 Oct 1991]
    • 84 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    It's achy, moody, glum, stylized and almost criminally pretentious. ... All the performances seem mannered. The show is plagued with arch, actorly acting, the kind that rings false and calls attention to its own falseness. ... Already some critics have hailed the show as a breakthrough. True enough -- it's a breakthrough from tedium into torpor. [27 Oct 1996]
    • 56 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    Wiseguy deposits blank-faced lump Ken Wahl onto the screen for a preposterous and desultory crime saga about a sullen undercover cop who infiltrates the mob and will spend each episode almost getting found out, but miraculously squeaking through. [16 Sept 1987, p.D1]
    • 32 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    Baby Talk achieves a kind of perfection: There are no laughs in it. [9 Mar 1991, p.D1]
    • 28 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    Even though microphones were invented some time ago, most of those in the cast have been instructed, or allowed, to shout out their lines. An old television maxim: The louder the lines are shouted, the unfunnier they probably are. Down and Out in Beverly Hills breaks no rules, least of all that one. [25 July 1987, p.B1]
    • 28 Metascore
    • 20 Tom Shales
    Comes across as corrosive and snide. [5 Dec 1986]
    • 39 Metascore
    • 10 Tom Shales
    Ferris Bueller is the proverbial lead balloon. [23 Aug 1990, p.D1]
    • 54 Metascore
    • 10 Tom Shales
    Despicably trivial and baldly pandering. [29 Sept 1999, p.C01]
    • 46 Metascore
    • 10 Tom Shales
    It's apparently part of a new experiment in comatose television -- a show where things almost happen but never quite do. You keep checking your pulse to make sure you haven't died. (...) They've created a vacuum, a perfect void, a black hole in the already vast and empty TV schedule. Not so much a black hole actually as a beige one. [4 Oct 1990, p.D12]
    • 27 Metascore
    • 10 Tom Shales
    Dead on its feet...How anyone can watch this without getting the giggles is beyond me.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 10 Tom Shales
    At first glance, Alias appears to be unadulterated garbage. But then you start noticing all the adulterations...Nothing is as it seems except for the fact that this seems like a lousy show and it is one. [29 Sept 2001, p.C01]
    • 66 Metascore
    • 10 Tom Shales
    Excruciating torture. ... The weekly half-hour is at least intriguing in concept... Unfortunately, much of what these kids did and said turned out to be neither worth recording nor worth watching. [28 May 1992]
    • 46 Metascore
    • 10 Tom Shales
    The show is pure hooey. [21 Sept 2003, p.N01]
    • 51 Metascore
    • 10 Tom Shales
    "Heist" seems derivative of an imitation of a copy of a clone -- so plastic-coated and phony that it's hard to tell what it's ripping off.