Boston Globe's Scores

For 1,336 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 50% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Breaking Bad: Season 5
Lowest review score: 0 Unan1mous: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 679
  2. Negative: 0 out of 679
679 tv reviews
  1. Director Greg Whiteley emphasizing moments of gridiron glory at the expense of diving deeper into the psychology of the athletes. And though that feels like a missed opportunity, it can’t be said that he doesn’t know his audience. For those with a love of the game, this peek inside a premier small college program is a stimulating, singular all-access pass.
  2. With this bracing and comic new set of 12 episodes, Nurse Jackie has evolved into a rigorous, fascinating portrait of denial, of how it works when someone deceives herself and everyone around her
  3. The show's setup has some charm, especially since Joan's reactions are anything but beatific. [26 Sept 2003, p.D4]
    • Boston Globe
  4. Netflix has made only two episodes available for review, and both are compromised by the unsubtle plot and character setups found in most TV pilots. Still, they promise a tense, beautifully filmed series, one that, given the popularity of serial killer shows including “Criminal Minds,” “The Fall,” “Hannibal,” and even “Dexter,” will likely catch on.
  5. It's not as dark as Fox's "Married ... with Children." And not as funny. Barr is fine as a monotoned stand-up, but her routine, in both senses of the word, wears thin in the first half-hour. [26 Sep 1988]
    • Boston Globe
  6. Establishing that she is a competent professional helps ground the comic surrealism in reality and make Crazy Ex-Girlfriend one of the most promising shows of the season.
  7. I like Archer because it succeeds where so many of the snarky animated series tend to fail. Reed and his writers and voice actors balance all the pop satire and raunch with a strong sense of the characters.
  8. The script is tight and ambitious, as it attempts to anatomize corruption in the big city.
  9. Becoming Mike Nichols will make you want to go back and rewatch Stevens’s gorgeous and definitely American film, but only after you’ve paid a nice, long visit to Nichols’s greatest hits.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In its gently twisted fashion, "Katz" is definitely inspired. [27 May 1995]
    • Boston Globe
  10. Gideon's Crossing is soulful and serious. It's also heavy-handed and ponderous, the equivalent of an hour with a philosophy grad student who just won't lighten up. [10 Oct 2000, p.C1]
    • Boston Globe
  11. It’s less brooding than its progenitor, less emotionally wrenching (at least at first), and its references to the “Breaking Bad” mythology could ultimately become tiresome. But it’s also entertaining and smart and, like its piteous semi-hero, persuasive.
  12. I promise you will roll your eyes at least once. And yet, each hour is so spellbinding, you may not realize you're leaving grip marks on your couch.
  13. The series is animated mostly by the perfectly legitimate reason of invoking sheer wonder, but the scientific episode gives a fascinating glimpse of what scientists still have to learn from these creatures.
  14. It's both dramatic and unique, from the sometimes graphic material about his double mastectomy to his self-revelation in the media limelight.
  15. Dexter enters season 3 on Sunday at 9 p.m. with an increasing--and pleasing--urge to make us like the curious man-child at its center.
  16. It’s not easy to make such inspired nonsense fly so effortlessly, and I give credit to the Carells for creating a buoyant atmosphere where the pace of clowning, word play, and visual punch lines never quits. Jones, so endearing on “Parks and Recreation,” jumps into the gonzo material without a hitch, showing more comic versatility than ever. And she is surrounded by a strong cast of regulars.
  17. Directed by Barak Goodman, the documentary is an information-stuffed and yet affecting and engrossing work made in the straightforward manner of its executive producer, Ken Burns.
  18. It is reverent enough, and profoundly heroic; and yet it is a living, breathing piece of work that brings American history down to earth.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The creative team did not find the right chemistry until the second episode. But Men of a Certain Age does settle into a groove, and it’s a good one.
  19. Project Greenlight distinguishes itself with its surprisingly warts-and-all approach. As it progresses, we get to see the sort of naked-ego shots and bottom-line talk you'd expect Miramax and its mob to have kept under wraps. [30 Nov 2001, p.D1]
    • Boston Globe
  20. The playful chemistry Dreymon and Cox have developed so well remains, adding poignancy to their star-crossed circumstances as the story unfolds.... There is plenty of spectacle in The Last Kingdom, but none quite as spellbinding as Alfred’s quiet intelligence.
  21. The first five new episodes are better than most of the first season; they’re more emotionally developed and resonant.
  22. The Affair is still going to be a melodrama with pretty people having big feelings, but the potential to transcend that genre is happily in play. The first two episodes of Season 2 are rich, as series creators Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi expand the points of view to include those of Alison’s ex, Cole (Joshua Jackson), and Noah’s ex, Helen (Maura Tierney).
  23. The feverish action is as tantalizing as ever, and so is the script.
  24. I’m eager to see how Schur develops his amiable setup, beyond the amusing idea that there are no hangovers in heaven.
  25. Berg has done a fine job of lifting his series above familiar teen melodrama and making it into a group portrait of a town.
  26. Once the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passes, and Johnson’s political strategizing is over, All the Way loses some momentum. But Cranston’s performance remains engaging throughout, as Johnson fights his way out of Kennedy’s shadow and into his own presidential light.
  27. By episode 2, though, after the crammed (and super-sized) premiere, [creator] Weisberg reveals a sure sense of detail that bodes well for the future of the series.
  28. The execution of the high concept is rich with many excellent details, gags, and characters.
  29. The acting is superb, especially as the tensions become more overt in the second half.... He’d probably kill with the same material [on poltics and current events] in a stand-up show, but in a script about abuse, alcoholism, denial, and family estrangement, it doesn’t quite work. The strength of Horace and Pete is in the age-old themes festering at its heart.
  30. We've seen all these characters countless times before in movie and TV westerns, but the actors give them distinction here.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    While the four episodes presented to critics for preview offered just enough bearings to determine that bearings are of limited use in the universe of American Gods, it’s safe to say even this early that it’s one of the most imaginative, adventurous, and deeply weird experiments on television--an entrancingly trippy metaphorical melee that elevates an investigation of American identity to a supernatural plane.
  31. The NBC sitcom is so unpretentious and original, it will probably win you over on its own sweet merits.
  32. It's a generally pleasing but flawed production.
  33. Sneaky Pete is not filmed with the inventiveness and style of the high-end cable and streaming shows. But the acting and the plots--including one featuring Alison Wright, who was Martha on “The Americans”--are enjoyable and amusing. They’ve won my confidence.
  34. Let’s hope it can maintain the joy of the pilot and not fall into broad shtick.
  35. The half-hour series is a wise, amusing, and poignant take on personal growth and the fears and freedoms brought on by change.
  36. As a TV antihero, Escobar is an enigma. But I can say that Narcos is nevertheless addictive, compelling, shocking, and even educational.
  37. 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]
    • Boston Globe
  38. Fiendishly excellent.
  39. Its themes aren’t quite as ambitious [as "Downton Abbey"]. It can also be a tad precious. But there’s something pleasing about the way it captures a time of innocence and a family in recovery. If you like this kind of escapist fare--and you know who you are--then I expect you will savor this laidback, elegant entertainment.
  40. Schumer’s delivery is confident and sometimes coy--her jokes about Oprah and the Obamas push the envelope--and she doesn’t bother with a Letterman-esque meta-commentary on jokes that don’t connect. But she also brings an intimacy into the hall, as she gets her audiences to lighten up and laugh at a few secret truths. She loves to play the bad girl, and she’s awfully good at it.
  41. The season premiere of Game of Thrones was thoroughly satisfying, a transporting hour that brilliantly reestablished the chessboard for the new, penultimate season.
  42. You feel as if you're right there in the room with the characters for a time, during which their true selves emerge slowly but surely.
  43. The show unfolds like a rich, gritty, and addictive novel, with some surprising detours and lots of transporting, grainy imagery.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The film, directed by Nelson George, is extraordinary as the basketball player and the man himself.
  44. A really extraordinary new drama.
  45. All three episodes offered varying degrees of laughs, but the “Kunuk” episode is a high-water mark.
  46. Notaro is an appealing lead, if you like bone-dry humor and deadpan, which I do. She carries the show in her low-key way, and she, like the show itself, warms up a little bit more with each new episode.
  47. The characters are fleshed out with multiple layers — at one point Aminata is granted something of a reprieve by a British benefactor, but he is by no means saintly — and moments of easy humor and romance are woven skillfully into the story.
  48. Tyler, Lopez, and Randy Jackson showed some promise last night, for a few reasons. First of all, Idol works better with three judges than four. You could already feel a warm triangular bond developing between Jackson, Tyler, and Lopez.
  49. It's a more visceral impression of a band on fire, and as such it offers plenty of satisfaction.
  50. So far, at least, this season promises to be less about plot than personality. That doesn't mean the show is perfect - it never was--but it's better, and that's a big relief.
  51. The new “She’s Gotta Have It,” which drops on Netflix on Thursday, is a lovely expansion of the original, as it explores the eternal clashes between gender, sex, and romance, as well as the current tsunami of gentrification and its racial impact in Brooklyn.
  52. I was surprised at how much adrenalized horror there is to be found in the story, as it races forward into bloody human-zombie battles and scary entrapments. This isn't a wink-winkfest so much as a sly screamfest, with lots of post-apocalyptic misery and carnage afoot.
  53. It’s an ambitious work that is always fascinating, if not always successful. When all is said and done, Boardwalk Empire may be TV’s best uneven series.
  54. Thankfully, this season Dexter continues to play with our moral bearings, which is the show’s best quality.
  55. These shortcomings [acting by Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, and story continuity] don’t ruin The Man in the High Castle, even if they prevent the drama from rising to a more rarified status. It’s a compelling addition to this year’s already long list of worthwhile TV shows.
  56. Aliens in America is decent, and quiet, and genuinely sweet.
  57. While not every moment works--or even makes sense--the most vital link between old and new is Odenkirk and Cross’s almost-sacred dedication to following the funny as they see it. Viewer mileage always varies the most when it comes to comedy, but dedicated “Mr. Show” fans will likely be happy to spend a little more time W/Bob and David.
  58. The pilot is beautifully shaped, the themes of building your own meaning in life are smart, and the actors already seem to know their characters.
  59. The drama is sensitive, surprising, consistently engaging, and, most important, unblinking.
  60. It's beautifully filmed in and around Washington, D.C., it's well-acted, and it's cleverly written by Beau Willimon.
  61. Burns and Novick know that what happens on the field makes baseball interesting--and what happens in the hearts and minds of its followers is what makes it great. That mingling of action and ardor (technical expertise, too) is what makes The Tenth Inning such fine viewing.
  62. This season is very good, but it’s only four episodes, and they’ve been tragically whittled down by BBC America to make room for commercials. The result is choppy, with a few critical connections missing in the investigation of Luther and in the progress of Luther’s relationship with Mary.
  63. Counterpart is built on a rather unwieldy premise that will either support seasons of absorbing brain-teasing or tumble over and scatter like a colossal Jenga tower. ... Throughout all the setup of this riven world, imagined by show creator Justin Marks, Simmons shines. His performance as both Howards is endlessly entertaining, and it kept me engaged in the story even when I wasn’t certain exactly what was happening.
  64. It has become a powerful, promotional machine, long on hype and short on the human feeling--the glee--that once made it so addictive.
  65. Based on the first five new episodes, I'd say Boardwalk Empire does recover, mostly if not completely, but only after a period of creeping aimlessness.
  66. Though Vento is the standout, consistently holding the screen and drawing the audience into Joe’s head throughout a compelling yet largely nonverbal performance, all of the cast are aces. It’s their grounded, believable chemistry that keeps The A Word from sliding into silly, saccharine territory. But what’s most impressive about the drama is its attention to detail.
  67. It remains what it has been for years--a pretty melodrama, whose characters we’ve come to know well, grounded in a thought-provoking historical moment.
  68. This documentary, which promises to twist and turn a bit with each new episode, is one of those macabre sagas that once again proves that truth is stranger than fiction. The most haunting part of The Jinx, though, is Durst himself and his ice-cold eyes. They’ll send chills right up your spine.
  69. This is still not conventional TV, but season three gets closer, and that’s not an entirely bad thing. The cringe ratio is down--slightly--and characters begin to emerge in unexpected ways.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The New Edition Story tells the story with verve and charm, meticulously re-creating videos and photo shoots and, more notably, creating rootable characters out of already-familiar stars.
  70. If there's a glaring flaw, it's in the character of Dr. Eleanor O'Hara (Eve Best). As comic relief, she's far too thin. Nurse Jackie has much richer, darker comedy to offer.
  71. 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.
  72. A larger shortcoming of the documentary is that it shows Nixon in an almost unrelievedly unflattering light. His presidency had substantial achievements to go with the failures and fiascoes, and he was a far more complex man than the relentlessly grim bozo seen and heard here.
  73. Dexter is a masterfully creepy-funny serial-killer series, and it continues to both frighten and amuse as it enters its fifth season.
  74. At first, the story lines are fragmented and listless. It all seems muddled. And then, at some point in episode three or four, when the characters and their story lines finally cohere, when the themes of impossible love and social rebellion begin to connect emotionally, Indian Summers becomes a formidable and thoroughly addictive narrative.
  75. As far as revisiting a tearjerker goes, Steel Magnolias reliably hits the funny bone and will assuredly send you to the tissue box
  76. What I like most about Stranger Things is the way the Duffer Brothers never short-shrift the emotional content of the show in favor of thrills and CGI. ... [Ryder's] hysteria can be grating. At points, she’s almost a parody of a crazed mother, one that might fit in more on a different, more comedic show.
  77. It’s an unusual piece of work that has real promise, not least of all because it is so unusual.
  78. The bottom line is that "Ally McBeal" features wonderfully provocative scripts that are as clever as they are wise; supporting actors who are the definitive opposite of stock; and a carefully struck tone that balances the fantastic, the romantic, the sardonic, and the sincere. It is a uniquely imagined TV series that, with producer/writer David E. Kelley as the engine behind it, goes further than ever seemed possible. [14 Sep 1998]
    • Boston Globe
  79. An informative and haunting new Showtime documentary about the legendary comedian-actor-writer
  80. The path that Marcus and Jas take turns into a slippery slope very quickly. All their idealism and youth get twisted into unrecognizable shapes. It’s a tragedy, an old tragedy told anew, with vigor and insight, sadness and resonance.
  81. It has heart and wisdom, qualities that aren’t easy to bring to an animated show. The characters begin as stock creations, but the voice work and the writing give them added dimensions.
  82. A surprisingly stylish adaptation of a story that would seem to be played out after so many incarnations on the small and big screens. If Smallville can keep its supernatural plots engaging, and avoid focusing solely on Clark Kent's familiar teen alienation, it could evolve into a top-tier WB series. [16 Oct 2001, p.D16]
    • Boston Globe
  83. The show is an intelligent addition to the Fox lineup, with both the broad canvas of "The Wire" and the street procedural of "NYPD Blue" in its DNA.
  84. America Ferrera is instantly and consistently likable as Betty.
  85. 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.
  86. Angel the WB's new child of "Buffy," is no ordinary spinoff, and it has the potential to become a witty hour of unearthly allegory in its own right. If it can maintain a sense of humor about itself, Angel, which stars David Boreanaz as Buffy's brooding former beau, may become one of those rare spinoffs that isn't merely a flat-out cash-in. [5 Oct 1999, p.D1]
    • Boston Globe
  87. This New York legal drama doesn't have the living, breathing dimensionality and character depth of FX's finest, including "Rescue Me" and "The Shield," on which Close guest starred in 2005. But it's a tense fun ride like the better John Grisham movies.
  88. All the performances are rough and under-rehearsed, which makes them appealing. Costello also keeps the atmosphere relaxed during the interviews, never seeming too eager to interject his own commentary or jokes.
  89. 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.
  90. Every so often, a show arrives and instantly feels lived-in, like a comfortable old couch with slight depressions in all the right places. FX's Terriers is one of those shows, beautifully torn and frayed from the get-go.
  91. Queen Sugar, which was created by “Selma” director Ava DuVernay based on Natalie Baszile’s novel, is a different kind of soap, one that moves slowly through each plot point and adds artistic and intimate flourishes whenever possible.
  92. Margulies and Noth--both of whom have a similarly dark appeal--are well-matched onscreen. Alas, if you feel a “but’’ or two coming, you would be correct. The problem I have with The Good Wife is something that mars too much TV: telegraphing.
  93. This trio of formidable women [Queen Latifah, Mo’Nique, and Khandi Alexander]--playing Smith, mentor Ma Rainey, and Smith’s hissable sister Viola, respectively--bring all of their firepower, often elevating the film from workmanlike to extraordinary with their collective ferocity.
  94. If you're looking for sexual tension amid the laugh track, or social and political point-making between the punchlines, then "Will & Grace" may not work for you. It's a sitcom that has the potential to prove to prime time that attractions between adults are not always rooted in lust. [21 Sep 1998]
    • Boston Globe
  95. The show is sweet enough and features a likable cast. The assimilation material is a bit obvious in the two episodes provided for review, but that’s typical in new comedies trying to establish their stomping grounds.

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