Boston Globe's Scores

For 1,024 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 46% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 51% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 5.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Breaking Bad: Season 4
Lowest review score: 0 Unan1mous: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 494
  2. Negative: 0 out of 494
494 tv reviews
  1. The show is back in magnificent form, with all its humor, psychological thorniness, and bleak tragedy intact. It remains the highest peak of series TV.
  2. This is a show about religion, politics, parent-child relationships, and the moral dilemmas of insurgency. Consider it a workplace drama where the business is armed resistance.
  3. The NBC series certainly has been one of TV’s most emotionally honest and stirring works, and it remains so as it enters its fourth season.
  4. It's hard to know where to aim the praise first.
  5. Gabriel Byrne is in every minute of the show, delivering one of TV's most faceted and intriguing performances....All of the new characters promise to engage as their stories and backstories begin to unfold.
  6. It offers a great cast, and some very tight, tart scripting. Each of the season's seven half-hours is a little sliver of pleasure.
  7. This extraordinary upstairs-downstairs drama, written by Oscar-winning "Gosford Park" screenwriter Julian Fellowes, is a dramatic, intelligent, soapy, comic, and wise piece of work, one that explores social shifts on the eve of World War I while delivering a remarkably engaging cast of characters.
  8. Ultimately, though, even with the fantasy, Game of Thrones feels like a historical medieval saga. It's a royal, and royally good, round of musical chairs.
  9. A taut exercise in withheld disaster, Breaking Bad is riveting.
  10. Of all the drama pilots I watched, this was my favorite.
  11. The creeping sense of dread has been part of what has made Breaking Bad so engrossing.
  12. The show doesn't seem to have lost any ballast moving forward from the intensity of season one.
  13. This is a great piece of TV work... Right from its opening minutes, after a flight to Australia has crashed on the shores of nowhere, ABC's Lost simulates the kind of dread we don't expect to find on the small screen. [22 Sept 2004, p.E1]
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  14. It's a riveting indication of what Lynch can do without words. Simple shots of traffic lights and waterfalls are enough to send chills up the spine.
  15. The show beautifully depicts a massive game of musical chairs, a world at war with doom ever present just across the border.
  16. AMC’s Mad Men returns for season 6 with two hours that are as rich and as deftly literary as anything in the history of the show. The premiere operates like a series of exquisitely written theatrical set pieces, one after another that add up to a moving, ironic, and often comic group portrait.
  17. The best new network dramatic series since "Shannon's Deal" and "Twin Peaks" in 1990. [29 Jan 1993, p.21]
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  18. Beautifully written (by Richard LaGravenese) and directed (by Steven Soderbergh), Behind the Candelabra doesn’t quite fit into the biopic genre--simply because it is so good.
  19. The future of TV comedy is a sick one, my friends. A gloriously, brilliantly, deliriously sick one, where a desperate housewife wears a "SLUT" T-shirt on a prison visit, a businessman sells prefab homes to Saddam Hussein, and a pudgy teen lusts after his first cousin. It's a ferociously Freudian future, replete with a pent-up mama's boy, a family-run banana stand, and a disbarred psychiatrist who wears cutoffs beneath his underwear because he's a "Never-nude." That's a phobia about nakedness he's trying to make into a nationally recognized condition...In short, it's Arrested Development. [7 Nov 2004, p.N4]
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  20. Proof that the profane can be very, very funny, Arli$$ is not only a tour de force for star/writer/coproducer Robert Wuhl, but a reality-bending kindred spirit to HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show," whose star, Garry Shandling, lurks in the opening-credits cameo. [9 Aug 1996, p.C1]
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  21. Riveting, gripping, and altogether compelling ... An innovative and expertly executed hour of suspense, '24' is without question the best premiere of the fall season. [6 Nov 2001]
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  22. More than a cartoon, it's TV's most intelligent comedy. [11 Oct 1990]
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    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    "The Larry Sanders Show" brilliantly exploits the medium as it mocks it. [19 Jul 1995]
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  23. "The Larry Sanders Show" begins its sixth season in top form, with no letup in its steady flow of spot-on sendups and ironic rubs. [13 Mar 1998]
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  24. Chase has kept his vision unspoiled despite the torrents of praise, hyperbole, and Emmy nomination that have rained down on his show. Yes, the exhilarating sense of discovery that electrified the first season of "The Sopranos" is gone; the first cut is always the deepest. But last season's revelatory buzz is replaced by a certainty that this show has got legs, that the writing is as comic and edgy as ever, and that Chase has a few new monsters up his sleeve. [14 Jan 2000]
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  25. Extraordinary. [2 Mar 2001]
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  26. It is depressing, brilliant, hysterical, excruciating, full of irony, and nothing you'd ever expect to find on American network TV. Rather than sweetening the workplace with fantasies of a home away from home, "The Office" heightens the reality and disconnection of corporate life until it is absurdly funny. The show doesn't touch your heart so much as tickle your spleen. [9 Oct 2003]
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  27. It's hard to imagine any other comedy series putting such a fitting cap on its run. [21 Oct 2004]
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  28. While The Corner may sound like just more preachy TV cliches about drug abuse and African-American self-destruction, it is so much more than that. It is about the life and death forces at war in that inner-city staple, The Corner, and it is a jarring introduction to the people behind the statistics and the cliches. I hope it finds an audience, despite its rawness. No one ever said great drama had to be pretty. [14 Apr 2000, p.D1]
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  29. It also showcases Milch's taste for complexity when it comes to both the criminal mind and the lawman's motivations. [19 Mar 2004, p.D1]
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  30. Nip/ Tuck also remains gorgeously sick...The makers of Nip/ Tuck never keep it simple, which is simply excellent. [20 Sept 2005, p.C6]
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  31. Thanks largely to the presence of blowhard-par-excellence Denis Leary, who could be neither self-pitying nor unambiguously heroic if his life or his pack of cigarettes depended on it, it's one of the best series of the year.
  32. Amazing. [20 June 2005, p.B7]
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  33. Game of Thrones continues to impress with its ability to depict how intimate choices can have epic consequences, and vice versa. Each of the actors rises to that challenge, whether playing opposite one person or a multitude of extras.
  34. Back for its fourth season, Louie continues to be TV’s finest oddity.
  35. It’s a fantastic return to the story, if you’re in no hurry for action and can admire show creator Ray McKinnon’s quietly fraught set pieces.
  36. The acting is extraordinary.
  37. Like the extraordinary Elizabeth Strout novel-in-stories that it’s based on, HBO’s Olive Kitteridge accumulates with steady, earned drama into a searing portrait of quiet desperation. It’s sad, unsentimental, and lovely.
  38. I love the suburban satire, which is old territory made fresh again. [Jane] Levy, from "Shameless," is tart and sympathetic, and [Cheryl] Hines is a revelation as a rabidly superficial mom.
  39. The script is tight and ambitious, as it attempts to anatomize corruption in the big city.
  40. Dern is fantastic as Amy--you cringe as her histrionics drive people away, and cringe again as she tries to suppress her feelings behind a veneer of New Age peacefulness.
  41. I don't know if it will catch on - westerns can be a hard sell - but it's another fine AMC choice.
  42. Let’s hope it can maintain the joy of the pilot and not fall into broad shtick.
  43. Both the title and the first few minutes ... nearly ruin what could turn out to be a charming show. ... Fortunately, the tone starts to shift, soften, and gain stronger comic footing. ... Additionally, almost all of the snarky skewering of the corporate environment of Henry and Eliza’s Big Pharma workplace radiates the same wonderfully acidic tone as Better Off Ted.
  44. This one could take off, especially if the humor doesn’t obscure the layers of Jane’s moral journey.
  45. The NBC sitcom is so unpretentious and original, it will probably win you over on its own sweet merits.
  46. 'Extras" is far less terminally existential than ''The Office," less depressing to watch.
  47. Fiendishly excellent.
  48. A really extraordinary new drama.
  49. From the brilliant performance by Michael C. Hall to the dryly witty scripting, Dexter secures a position near the top of another year's best list.
  50. This knockout adaptation of the Lorraine Hansberry play is a model of both the pure power of stage acting and TV’s potential to bring us up close to that acting without deadening it.
  51. HBO's Generation Kill is remarkable.
  52. Mad Men returns for season 2 in excellent form: There's a rich and active subtext in this series, you just have to discover it.
  53. This season as much as last, In Treatment brings us into more intimacy with its characters than almost any other series on TV.
  54. Mad Men remains TV at its most artful. Like Don Draper, it's beautiful, stealthy, troubling, and, above all, addictive.
  55. When people ask me to recommend good TV, they never seem to have heard about it. Yup, Breaking Bad is that series.
  56. The writing remains remarkable, as it toggles between the rhythms and cliches of 1950s movies and the timeless resonance of mid-20th-century theater. You rarely find such economical and evocative scripting on TV.
  57. Beyond the formulaic outline, White Collar, is actually one of the best new shows of the season.
  58. This is the kind of TV that viewers ask for but rarely get, driven by characters who are more than the sum of one or two qualities and who harbor depths that are revealed slowly, subtly, and authentically.
  59. There may be a smaller number of top-notch newbies this season, but Raising Hope, a celebration of parenthood and childhood, of small joys and big struggles, is certainly one of them.
  60. The show isn't easy to warm up to, to be honest; it's draped in--and at times stifled by--meticulous period detail and too-perfect lighting, especially in Scorsese's premiere. But in episode two, the characters and the script begin to prevail, and the drama becomes more emotionally distinct and fascinating.
  61. Dexter is a masterfully creepy-funny serial-killer series, and it continues to both frighten and amuse as it enters its fifth season.
  62. [The] sentimental streak in the show is compensated by Frank's coldness and the scrappy urban realism, translated so effectively from the British original.
  63. Based on the first three episodes, I'm thinking season 2 is going to be even better and certainly more consistent.
  64. The Killing quickly hooks you with its steadily unfolding story line. Created by Veena Sud, based on a Danish TV hit named "Forbrydelsen," the show draws you into the tragedy of the crime, and then makes you crave its solution.
  65. With none of the conventional plot techniques TV viewers are accustomed to, it is a collection of rich moments and poignant characters that loosely adds up to something quite powerful.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Robert James Fischer's story is astonishing on and off the chess board, and tonight's HBO documentary Bobby Fischer Against the World captures it well.
  66. With season two, the drama has fully come to life, with moments of savagery, hypocrisy, and bittersweet loyalty that make it a must-see show.
  67. Rarely do they strain the credulity of real situations or the constraints of the time.
  68. Iannucci and his cast are as deft with a wonky policy joke as they are with good old-fashioned bathroom humor and Louis-Dreyfus shines, throwing herself, as she so often did on "Seinfeld" and "The New Adventures of Old Christine," physically into the role.
  69. The Hour is not "Breaking Bad" good, or "Mad Men" good, but it's close.
  70. It's an extraordinarily appealing series, one that's so much more than its easy label as a teen private-eye series. [22 Sept 2004, p.D12]
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  71. In its own affectionate way, Freaks and Geeks puts a pimple into the TV-ized approach to adolescence. This delightfully observed 1980s-set dramedy is high school as many of us remember it, with Twinkie-pounding bullies and Army-jacket wearing druggies and pale nerds with speech impediments and "Star Trek" fixations. It's high school unplugged, a sort of "Dazed and Confused" for the small screen, and it is one of the fall season's most likable new shows. That NBC has thrown "Freaks and Geeks" into the wilds of Saturday night - it premieres tonight at 8 on Ch. 7 - is only further evidence of network nitwitness. [25 Sept 1999, p.C1]
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  72. A wonderful, imaginative mess brimming with possibility. About a dysfunctional family of space cowboys, the sci-fi series arrives not fully formed, like an elaborate photo that's still clarifying in developing fluid. While many shows burst onto the scene with slick pilots and quickly deteriorate into mediocrity, I'm thinking Firefly is on the opposite creative journey.
  73. The unfolding of the Parade’s End narrative has been directed (by Susanna White) and written to challenge--sometimes too much so. While you always understand the connections among the characters on “Downton,” you have to piece them together yourself in Parade’s End.... It’s the kind of demanding storytelling that differentiates “The Wire” from most other crime series.
  74. Can Alias work on a weekly basis? While the Alias pilot plunges forward effortlessly, it also leads to some fairly complicated twists involving Sydney's father (Victor Garber) and the nature of her agency. These twists could make future episodes overly layered, or too dependent on backstory. Also, any CIA suspense series, with or without a flashy pilot, faces the challenge of coming up with 20 or so fresh espionage plots each season - no easy task.
  75. Along with its refreshing cast, led by Keri Russell, the WB's Felicity is blessed with a sweet realism that captures the emotional roller coaster that is freshman year in college. It also offers an appealingly non-gritty look at New York City, as seen through the eyes of optimism and innocence...The show transcends formula by staying steadily focused on its characters' shifting emotional realities, and by avoiding the issue-of-the-week plot twists of a series like "Beverly Hills 90210." [29 Sept 1998, p.C1]
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  76. No, The Sopranos is not the equal of Scorsese's masterpiece ["Goodfellas"], but it manages to bring a new spin to the words "dysfunctional" and "family," and it deserves its place alongside other HBO gems like "The Larry Sanders Show" and "Sex and the City." [9 Jan 1999, p.C1]
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  77. A smart, exhilarating, well-written hour that, if anything, is a little naive about the folks who run our nation's most important office. [22 Sept 1999, p.E1]
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  78. Ed has enough potential to qualify as scary. Scary in a "Freaks & Geeks" maybe-I-shouldn't-get-too-attached kind of way. What I mean is that one of this fall's more promising new series is a romantic comedy that NBC seems ready to chuck to the wolves, as it did so tragically to "F&G" last year. [6 Oct 2000, p.D1]
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  79. The sextet wonders why they've all been drawn to the same farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. The answer is obvious: to give us several good laughs with which to end the weekend. [19 Sep 1992]
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  80. Unlike the majority of today's youth-market vehicles, Undeclared has been put together with a refreshing lack of cynicism (as well as a refreshing lack of laugh track). [25 Sept 2001, p.E1]
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  81. It’s not as meticulous, cinematic, or original as those two shows ["Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad"], but it’s got the same kind of storytelling ambition. It’s the most vital new series of the year so far.
  82. This is cringe comedy at its giddiest best. [2 Jan 2004]
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  83. Orange Is the New Black is a funny, dramatically sound, poignant, and thoroughly addictive adventure through a bleak looking glass.
  84. "Malcolm" is an instantly likable series, as it takes conventional TV-family material and gives it a good old-fashioned goose. [7 Jan 2000]
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  85. As witty and well-written as comedy series get. ... They used to say it was impossible to satirize something as self-satiric as television. That was before "The Larry Sanders Show." [1 Jun 1993]
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  86. The first few episodes of this import promise no slack--and plenty of poignancy--as the story line moves closer to the truth of the matter.
  87. The new layout of the action - Coach Eric Taylor lives in Austin, coaching college football, while Tami Taylor is at home in Dillon on maternity leave - doesn't make the story any less cohesive or satisfying. [5 Oct 2007, p.D2]
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  88. Even though True Detective can feel very heavy at times, and as often as we’ve seen serial killer story lines, Harrelson and McConaughey were compelling enough that I powered through the first four episodes HBO sent for review.
  89. Rescue Me isn't for everyone, particularly those who find Leary's fuming a little too convincing. But it's certainly a TV gem, rough but gleaming. [30 May 2006, p.E1]
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  90. Sweet and intelligent...A genre-bender if ever there was one, Roswell takes the "Romeo and Juliet" love story, dresses it in "Rebel Without a Cause" Americana, and then gives the whole thing an "X-Files" twist. The show is a long, long way from "My Favorite Martian" and "Mork & Mindy." [6 Oct 1999, p.E1]
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  91. Created by Mike Judge, it does for techies, venture capitalists, and tech-biz campuses what Judge’s film “Office Space” did for cubicle dwellers, their bosses, and office parks back in 1999.
  92. It’s a promising reentry. All the major themes, so subtly articulated across the first six seasons, are coming to a head.
  93. Given the welcome arrival of spring, some viewers may not be ready to dive into the wintry expanses of Fargo, but, based on the first few episodes, it will be worth reliving the chill.
  94. The story of the plague has been told before, and it will and should continue to find new life. But The Normal Heart tells it with admirable honesty and plenty of emotion.
  95. The Knick is an astonishing new medical drama that has the potential to be one of the year’s best and most talked-about shows, as well as a breakthrough into TV series excellence for its star, Clive Owen, and its director and executive producer, Steven Soderbergh.
  96. Right in the first episode, the relationships are well lived-in, the writing is honest and bound up with the actors, the tone effortlessly embodies drama, comedy, and life’s absurdities, the contemporary homes and locations click, and the ensemble acting is filled with little moments and jewels.
  97. After the forced opening minutes, it's the best multi-cam-com of the season.
  98. The tone tips awkwardly between crude and romantic, and a little of Azaria goes a long way. But I'm game for episode 2.

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