Boston Globe's Scores

For 1,083 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 6.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Bleak House: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Twenty Good Years: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 527
  2. Negative: 0 out of 527
527 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Dexter is a masterfully creepy-funny serial-killer series, and it continues to both frighten and amuse as it enters its fifth season.
  8. As far as revisiting a tearjerker goes, Steel Magnolias reliably hits the funny bone and will assuredly send you to the tissue box
  9. 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
  10. An informative and haunting new Showtime documentary about the legendary comedian-actor-writer
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. America Ferrera is instantly and consistently likable as Betty.
  14. 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.
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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
  23. 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.
  24. It takes on a familiar formula with urgency and emotion. [26 Sep 2002]
    • Boston Globe
  25. Pretty good, yes; but great, no--or at least not great in that Sunday-night way HBO has led people to take for granted.
  26. Without any framing background information, this affectionate documentary and its continual monologues can feel a little too insidery and indulgent.
  27. If you're an avid fan of any of them, there's probably something here for you, especially if you like to monitor subtext.
  28. Boston’s Finest is refreshingly free of reality TV’s more insipid and manipulative dramatic tricks.... [But] It can be a little dull over the long haul, perhaps because the action we see isn’t particularly interesting and the family lives of the cops are relatively incident-free.
  29. What a treat it is to find a medical show that doesn't turn its talented MDs into bedside saints in order to calm viewers' fears about mechanical HMO factories.
  30. While Downton Abbey may be a large, loose, baggy TV monster, there’s definitely some art in the mix, sidled up right beside the elegant mush.
  31. "Studio 60" is one of the best new dramas of the season, assuming you aren't Sorkin-phobic, and with some tweaking it could be the very best.
  32. 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.
  33. Ever respectful of its source, the miniseries doesn't add on sexuality so much as it seeks and finds character depth and dimensionality.
  34. The script is a little too silly and lighthearted for its own good, undermining its cleverness with absurd plot twists. [11 July 2012, p.D1]
    • Boston Globe
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Stiller and company's satire, though too [TV-]oriented, is stylistically spirited and fresh. It's feisty without being nasty, and the show has an air of improvisation that plays into Stiller's easy, look-mom-I've-got-my-own-show persona. [8 Nov 1992]
    • Boston Globe
  35. "Brotherhood" ... may not be one of the all-time great crime shows, but it's certainly a very good one that improves with each episode.
  36. Tim Allen proved at the Emmys just how tired his shtick has become. [16 Sep 1992]
    • Boston Globe
  37. It's a likable one, marred only by some awkward abridgement.
  38. The show, based on the novel by Elmore Leonard, brings us some of the nuttiest backwoods characters since Sheriff Harry S. Truman and Agent Dale Cooper looked into the murder of Laura Palmer. [4 Aug 1998, p.E1]
    • Boston Globe
  39. It’s a remarkable performance in its straightforward simplicity; she’s like a feral animal ferociously protecting her secrets.
  40. It’s binge-worthy, make no mistake. But still, a few well-placed casual moments among family members would help, so that the story can breathe a bit, and so can we.
  41. The material isn't nearly strong enough to support a full half-hour of TV.
  42. Like all comedy, whether the duo always sticks the landing will depend on the viewer.
  43. While the premise sounds confusing, and sometimes is when it comes to the details of the dueling crimes-of-the-week, the producers and writers do a good job of keeping the worlds distinct and vivid, including some neat visual flourishes and subtle color coding.
    • Boston Globe
  44. As with a number of moments in the completely enjoyable Family Tree, I’m not sure how the actors kept themselves from laughing.
  45. Idealism and pragmatism clash predictably but powerfully. [4 Mar 1997]
    • Boston Globe
  46. 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.
  47. iZombie isn’t nearly must-see TV, as it breezes through formulaic murder plots. But it’s a friendly, easy-going hour, and one that will definitely not put you in the mood for chewy snacks.
  48. Everything works and the actors range from fine to good--although the fast-talking chatter between De Caestecker and Henstridge gets old quickly--but it doesn’t exactly crackle with excitement. It’s fun, but a little flat in spots.
  49. The Blacklist doesn’t waste time making sense, as the focus zooms all over Washington, D.C. Too often, it seems more like a blueprint for a show than a show.
  50. The rebooted Homeland promises to be an engaging, streamlined CIA thriller with a few big ideas about America and the war on terrorism.
  51. The particulars of USA's Traffic are different enough to make it feel like a new viewing experience, as well as a satisfying one. [26 Jan 2004]
    • Boston Globe
  52. All of the material crammed into tonight's episode is both intriguing and tensely directed (by Martin Campbell, "Casino Royale"), raising a host of strong possibilities for the show's future.
  53. The filmmakers deliver a fine balance of both elated big-gun worship and humiliated bathroom cleaning, melting-pot team-making and the cliquishness of ethnic groups.
  54. Appealing to a super-sophisticated generation of kids is likely to be the biggest challenge for Sesame Workshop, which is producing The Electric Company for PBS.
  55. Ultimately, Fisher comes across like that overly intelligent, entertaining, articulate analysand who has her own story all figured out, but still doesn't know how to let it go.
  56. With only three one-hour episodes, screenwriter Heidi Thomas needed more time to do full justice to the large cast of characters and the many historical and melodramatic story lines she set up.
  57. It's good, not great, and tonight's strong pilot gives way next week to a noticeably less stellar hour.
  58. Sookie remains a compelling plucky heroine, undaunted by the violent strangeness of Bill's nighttime world but still holding fast to her moral center.
  59. British actress Lena Headey makes Sarah into the heart and soul of this series. Without Headey and her maternal magnetism, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles would probably deteriorate into a nonstop series of effects-laden fight scenes that's as cold and grim as NBC's "Bionic Woman" remake.
  60. Plenty of ground goes unplowed, both personal (there is almost no discussion of wives or family), and business (including the era of exorbitant ticket pricing they helped to usher in), but there’s enough here to give Eagles fans a captivating History lesson.
  61. 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.
  62. 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]
    • Boston Globe
  63. A finely constructed docu-dramatic piece, Cinema Verite folds together the stories of the Louds of Santa Barbara and the PBS filmmakers who took over their home, and it adds in both real and expertly re-created footage from the 12 episodes of "An American Family."
  64. Game Change is a compelling, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant dramatization of the behind-the-scenes machinations of the Republican side of the 2008 presidential campaign.
  65. It expands beautifully from the stereotypes, ultimately giving us portraits of very specific men and women and their very human trepidations regarding aging, attachment, self-esteem, and romance.
  66. Jonny Lee Miller does a fine job in his iteration. One series being brilliant does not preclude the next from being enjoyable.
  67. They've pulled together a vivid cast and evoked the ideal tone - not comedy, not psychodrama, not sci fi, but an intriguingly evasive blend of them all.
  68. You can feel creator Vince Gilligan (of "The X-Files") straining to build an emblematic American fable and forgetting to fill in his story with particularities and believable motivations.
  69. Murder One no longer has that sick kinship to reality. Last year's plot was eerie, uncomfortable, and brilliant, because the plausibility of a movie star standing trial for murder was constantly validated by O.J. Simpson's...By contrast, the election-year plot of a governor assassinated with his mistress, allegedly by an ex-mistress, is treated with anticlimactic, almost ho-hum gravitas in tonight's Murder One. Not even a show as fine as this one has been has the credibility to get away with that. [10 Oct 1996, p.D6]
    • Boston Globe
  70. 30 Rock returns tonight with its best foot forward.
  71. All the potential here is in the show’s resistance to the joyless atmospherics that have become the bane of comic-book shows and movies.
  72. The show no longer has that compelling air of discovery about it, since we know many of the characters well. But still, all of the small-town tensions and relationship undercurrents remain as direct and immediate and engaging as ever.
  73. The ratio of hit-to-miss is much better in season two, however, as musician-comedians Armisen and Brownstein have more clearly found their groove.
  74. Looking isn’t just disappointing, it’s infuriating. Looking offers one hopelessly out-of-date idea about gay life after another.... All of that said, Looking is still a unique moment in gay television.
  75. This is a place holder that looks a little like an infomercial. But The Glee Project, has heart, too, as it takes you behind the slick, overproduced veneer that is "Glee."
  76. Arrow isn't quite a bullseye on its first shot, but it hits the target.
  77. 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.
  78. Orphan Black has the potential to be memorable entertainment, if they [creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett] can continue to deliver each and every plot development with a human touch.
  79. The characters and the plotlines offer almost no surprises. They are generic and much too “Smash”-ish.... And yet, it is enormous fun watching Bernal steal the show.
  80. It’s a coming of age comedy that’s raunchy and sophomoric, but, as is typical with Apatow products, it’s also character-based and at times kind of touching.
  81. The entire series... has been amped up this time around. It's all gotten a little more Hollywood, even if it's as ensconced as ever in the plush offices and dramatic skyscrapers of New York. [9 Sep 2004]
    • Boston Globe
  82. While it by no means reinvents the concept, it is an entertaining-enough diversion that has sufficient fresh--or freshly recycled--elements to differentiate it from its ubiquitous procedural brethren.
  83. The Middleman is so light as to feel almost weightless, and compared to much TV, that comes as a relief. If comic books are meant to be escape, there are far worse worlds to camp in for the summer.
  84. The action is intense in "Sleeper Cell," and each episode includes at least one stunning moment of violence or betrayal. But character depth isn't sacrificed to keep the pace moving, and there are valuable calms between the storms.
  85. The show is mildly entertaining at best, with a few pluses--unusual story lines, particularly the one set after World War II, some gorgeous scenery, and one or two likable performances--counterbalanced by a few negatives. Least tolerable among the negatives: the occasional Harlequin Romance moments that have you waiting for the lass to shed her corset while the evening wind blows through Fabio’s hair.
  86. Shrek the Halls isn't much more than an extended skit: loud, hectic, unfocused.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Like Mary Tyler Moore and even the master, Bob Newhart, [Flockhart is] great at reacting to what happens around her. But right now, the characters around her aren't very interesting. [8 Sep 1997]
    • Boston Globe
  87. These episodes of Banana are lovely self-standing short stories that build to revelatory moments, but then they also add scope and layers of depth to “Cucumber.”
  88. What I like about Lone Star, what could make it the strongest TV newcomer of the season, is the ways in which it differs from classic nighttime melodramas. The show is as much a bittersweet character study of con man Bob Allen as it is a new spin on the Ewings.
  89. The gang of five -- star Vince, brother Johnny Drama, dude-in-waiting Turtle, manager Eric, and agent Ari -- has jelled into a dynamic unit.
  90. Collision is a satisfying emotional journey through the twists, turns, and overpasses of a dozen or so lives.
  91. It continues to be to Fellowes’s credit that he manages to write for such a large number and wide array of characters and yet makes viewers know and care about each one. None is purely hissable nor heroic, intentions are murky, and impulsive choices have major consequences, keeping the enjoyable soap at full lather.
  92. The series as a whole has a much better sense of itself, and a more confident tone, since Eli, his colleagues, and the viewers all understand that the guy is in fact a visionary. The coyness of season one is gone. The show, cocreated by Greg Berlanti, nonetheless falls short of being destination television.
  93. 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.
  94. It’s a sly, low-key comedy, one that makes affectionate fun of Americans and Swedes with equal vigor.
  95. Compared to the original, it's slicker, brighter, more obviously produced, and a smidgen less fun.
  96. It’s such a lovely thing--Cher helping her mother realize her dream after all these years--that I was able to let go of the special’s ulterior motive.
  97. The series is gripping, nicely styled, and smartly written, with a solid leading performance by Matthew Macfadyen as Inspector Edmund Reid, the head of H Division.
  98. The movie is so carefully stylized, any and all emotional import has been sucked out of it.

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