Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

For 804 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 64% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 34% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Deadwood: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Dirty Sexy Money: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 553
  2. Negative: 0 out of 553
553 tv reviews
  1. Olyphant's devilish looks balance his white-cowboy-hat principles.
  2. The rest of the original crew is back, in varying degrees of denial, cluelessness, incompetence and narcissism. They have been missed.
  3. It was filmed over four months and distilled into eight episodes, with brilliant results.
  4. The drama can be over the top, and sometimes it feels like one big ego trip for Leary.... But the show is like the comic: imperfect but lovable.
  5. There are some great characterizations and attention to detail. If you stick with the series, you'll be treated to a lecture on the perfect briefcase by the droll Michael Cristopher that's worth the price of admission. And if you think your office banter is entertaining, try swapping in-jokes with the intelligence community.
  6. Ken Follett's 1989 historical novel had a resurgence in popularity as a 2007 Book Club selection, and should finally achieve world domination with this adaptation. Who knew the Middle Ages were so soap-operatically . . . dark?
  7. It's unclear how many more seasons Cathy will survive, and how much humor can be mined from her pain. The visuals just might stay with you, though, as long as you live.
  8. Ah, the joy of Glee. I thought the show had lost its way last season, trying to jam songs into theme episodes ("Hello"). But tonight's season opener proves that "Glee" is back in its groundbreaking groove, bringing music to the masses and making fun of itself in the process.
  9. The charm of the show--and of the Gallagher family--is in its anarchy.
  10. The action is fast, and I was pleased to find that scenes play out unpredictably. I do look forward to less explaining, though, and more insights.
  11. There's some smart slapstick, and I believe that Perry could be the one sane man in an arena that holds 17,505 people.
  12. It's "The A-Team" meets ... really good writing.
  13. Showtime has tantalized me for ages with glimpses of Jeremy Irons growling and groping his way through a role as history's most debauched pope. It finally arrives Sunday, and you won't be disappointed.
  14. With their moody new mystery series The Killing, AMC clearly knows what's good for us.
  15. The kingdoms are gorgeous to look at, down to the last loving detail - you could be entertained just by watching for the inventive suits of armor. The violence is spectacular; the sex is twisted. The producers even had a language invented for the Dothraki, which should please the Dungeons and Dragons crowd.
  16. At the end, Cinema Verite shows how the Louds dealt with the notoriety after the series aired, and where they are now. Cinema Verite blurs the lines even more - but there's a perverse logic to that.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    It's "Jericho" meets "V," with the good from both and the bad discarded. It'll raise the summer-TV bar significantly.
  17. As FX's hit series Rescue Me begins its seventh and final season tonight, the melding of comedy and drama is as deft as ever.
  18. The show sometimes lays on the misogyny a bit thick, but Timoney's alienation feels painfully realistic, thanks to Bello.
  19. The cable network's political drama even has my vote for the best new show of the season.
  20. Almost nothing about this series is conventional. That's part of the appeal.
  21. After watching four episodes, I can say that Awake has an addictive quality to it.
  22. Seeing Game Change is like living again through the campaign of 2008.
  23. Its distinctive voice makes it feel fresh and original, and the poignant comedy gets better with every episode.
  24. [Boss brings] back its intoxicating blend of soap-opera sudsiness, Shakespearean tragedy and scathing insight into big city politics, Chicago-style.
  25. [A] witty-but-poignant look at what it means to be a modern family.
  26. This third season is more in keeping with Downton's first [season].
  27. It's a fresh, compelling story about a couple of KGB operatives pretending to live the American dream as a married couple with kids in suburban Washington, D.C.
  28. Grey's wants to offer something for everyone, it seems, and does an admirable job not only of mixing drama, comedy and romance, but also of mixing in issues of today's complicated world of science. [24 Mar 2005, p.47]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  29. The shrewd thing about John Doe is that it uses its fantasy element as an addition, not a substitute for interesting characters and good storytelling. At its heart, this is just a mystery show with a twist. [20 Sept 2002, p.46]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  30. Lost may prove to be a find. It also could go down in flames. For its first couple of weeks, though, there's no question it's quite a thrill ride. [22 Sept 2004, p.65]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  31. The comparisons to "Ally McBeal" and the superior "My So-Called Life" are obvious, and there are plenty of reasons to pick this show apart. But when you're watching it, you don't care. These characters are already like old friends. You want to scream at them when they do something stupid and pat them on the back when they don't. [29 Sept 1998, p.45]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  32. Donnie Wahlberg, Neal McDonough, Jason Gedrick, Mykelti Williamson, Nina Garbiras, Gary Basaraba and Lana Parilla elevate this cop show into something that would be fairly interesting even without the "Pulp Fiction"/"Rashomon"-esque technique of telling stories from a variety of perspectives and in a non-linear time line. It's not entirely clear that this gimmick makes the stories better or more interesting, but it does make them unique. [27 Sept 2002, p.49]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  33. This is a darker "NYPD Blue," "The Job" without the jokes, the LAPD Rampart scandal without, so far, the indictments. Does The Shield need the R-rated language, violence and nudity that FX has allowed it? Probably not. But don't let that scare you off, either. [12 Mar 2002, p.39]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  34. John C. McGinley is a comedic genius. While series lead Zach Braff tries to channel Tom Cavanagh from "Ed" in this single-camera, laugh-track-free comedy about young doctors-in-training from "Spin City" co-creator Bill Lawrence, it's character actor McGinley ("Wall Street") who owns and almost singlehandedly carries the show in his supporting role as mentor Phil Cox. [2 Oct 2001, p.47]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  35. Deliciously disturbing, Hannibal is bound to leave viewers hungry for more.
  36. The series has a cinematic feel, with plenty of stand-alone, poignant moments punctuating each episode.
  37. One serious failing of the pilot is that, well, the group is nearly all white. There's barely a healthy tan in the bunch. Sorkin and Wells claim this is true only of the first episode and that more people of color will be added in subsequent hours....They better be. Not only is their absence an affront to minorities everywhere, it's an insult to our intelligence in what otherwise is a very smart show. [22 Sept 1999, p.47]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  38. During the first hour of Oz, you aren't likely to grin or chuckle at the shocking pain, cruelty, horror and hopelessness in "The Routine" -- unless you appreciate grim irony and twisted gallows humor. [11 July 1997, p.35]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  39. Half the fun of Behind the Candelabra is watching these two Hollywood heavyweights deftly tackle roles that could have been career-enders not that long ago.
  40. Funny stuff. Now if only it could find an audience. [5 Nov 2004, p.51]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  41. This update is well-written, well-acted, well-shot and, well, just darned entertaining. [6 Oct 2000, p.55]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  42. "Desperate Housewives" is, quite simply, a very good time. [30 Sep 2004]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Has as much nerve as "The Simpsons" when it burst on the scene. [11 Aug 1997]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  43. Larry David's greatest asset as a comedian and a writer has always been the ability and, more importantly, the courage to straddle the razor blade's difference between funny and painful. [13 Sep 2002]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  44. Its lack of niceties makes for a love-hate affair for viewers. [2 Jan 2004]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  45. Brenda is the closest thing to a real character we've seen in police procedurals so far. [8 Jun 2005]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  46. Stresses hard-edged realism over contrived climaxes. [19 Sep 1994]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  47. Attains often-sublime lucidity by its second episode. [16 Sep 1994]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Fans of the show can rest easily: The season premiere is quintessential Quahog. Traditions are trampled. Envelopes of taste are pushed -- heck, shoved. Sacred cows sizzle on the grill. [28 Apr 2005]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  48. Reiser brings a gentle sense of the absurd to his strange but affectionate view of modern marriage. [23 Sep 1992]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  49. It's not as nasty as "Larry Sanders," but "NewsRadio" will tickle discerning audiences with its finely tuned sense of irony and its frank handling of office intrigue, power struggles and sexual tension. [21 Mar 1995]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  50. Deserves a medal for daring gambles in timely storytelling. [22 Sep 1995]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  51. A clever combo - sophisticated sitcom meets late-night talk show. [14 Aug 1992]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  52. It is nearly impossible for [The Sopranos] to match expectations, which may be why it doesn't. ... The series has grown coarser, more base. [28 Feb 2001]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  53. An instantly engaging show that seamlessly delivers stimulating dramatic situations and juicy romantic comedy. [8 Sep 1997]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  54. With its cross-culture conflicts, bright writing, amusing co-stars and sizzling chemistry between the two leads, Dharma & Greg could be television's best romantic comedy since "Mad About You." [24 Sept 1997, p.53]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  55. It makes the most of its pay-TV platform by showing plenty of skin, but the sex scenes service a bigger story made all the more compelling by a couple of strong leads in Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan.
  56. The premiere feels a bit slow coming on the heels of last season’s wild ride, but the second episode will leave you hungry for more
  57. While no one will mistake Helena Bonham Carter for a twin of the legendary violet-eyed actress, she’s more than convincing alongside “The Wire’s” Dominic West, who brings a troubled Richard Burton to life.
  58. It’s eerie, suspenseful and yes, subtitled, but give the premiere a chance and you’ll return for more.
  59. The cult favorite’s fifth season deftly hits the reset button and starts out strong with back-to-back episodes.
  60. This outgrowth of a cult-hit web series is a lighter, wackier and often funnier version of HBO’s “Girls.”
  61. The language and sentiments are often unfiltered and raw, maybe more than you want at times, but Leary is a master at playing guys on the edge and this is an extraordinary showcase, by turns moving, funny and stunning. [21 July 2004, p.61]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  62. In the vein of Bill Murray, [Leary] is now a subtler tragic-comic actor who signals both tough luck and buoyant twinkles with a smirk and a glance. [30 May 2006, p.39]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  63. This haunting six-episode season explores the deep divide between a parochial community and a marginalized Native American tribe.
  64. [An] insightful sketch show.
  65. It’s the thinking man’s serial-killer drama, a twisted tale that never trolls for cheap scares but is plenty terrifying.
  66. This thriller is a fast-paced ride through the minefields of domestic and international relations.
  67. Not only is it funny, it has an air of authenticity thanks to co-creator Mike Judge, who mines his previous experience as a Silicon Valley engineer for laughs.
  68. The premiere lacks the gravitas of last season’s heavily symbolic opener, but it sets the stage for what promises to be a tumultuous, enticing end run.
  69. The show’s pace is slow in spots, but the dark humor and twisted tone make it oddly compelling.
  70. It's hard to say from the series whether "Stolen Summer" will succeed as a movie, but it's abundantly clear that Project Greenlight works as television. [30 Nov 2001, p.59]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  71. It’s a fast-moving trip down memory lane featuring lots of familiar faces, such as computer hacker Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) in full “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” mode, plus some intriguing new villains.
  72. It’s clear that C.K. made good use of the time off to recharge his creative batteries. The season’s third episode, “So Did the Fat Lady,” is his best yet.
  73. The pilot is riveting but, like our protagonist Barry, a bit joyless. Here’s hoping the series doesn’t collapse under the weight of its own gravitas; it’s a compelling premise that plays out in a part of the world not often seen on TV.
  74. A mix of joyous wedding day flashbacks and sometimes painful present-day interviews results in a compelling narrative that should be required viewing for anyone about to walk down the aisle.
  75. Sisco smolders but never flames up or burns out, played by Gugino with a steady, unflinching calm that reflects a character who never makes presumptions and who's willing to see the shades of gray in typically black and white situations, like any great Leonard hero or heroine. [1 Oct 2003, p.61]
    • Chicago Sun-Times
  76. The intrigue escalates in the next episode where things are heating up in Chicago, home to a couple of this season’s compelling new players, Al Capone enforcer Mike D’Angelo (Louis Cancelmi) and crime fighter Eliot Ness (Jim True-Frost).
  77. This gritty, atmospheric “Batman” prequel ranks as the fall’s best new drama on broadcast television.
  78. The season premiere is The Newsroom at its best.
  79. It’s more of a slow burn, a psychological study in grief, guilt and what can happen to a marriage tested by tragedy.
  80. The world of TV benefits from having another good show, with relaxed Spade at the desk, mocking the Stepford-like trance with which entertainment-news shows like "Access Hollywood" mindlessly idolize stars into saints and sinners.
  81. It should get tighter as the season progresses. But I already laughed several times at the silliness of this week's first episode, which is more than I can say for most sitcoms.
  82. "Boondocks" is a charming, amusing and good-looking cartoon. What's more, it establishes fertile, identifiable characters and story lines.
  83. It's a better film than a viewer, and certainly a parent, could expect from a movie based on an 18-inch piece of plastic.
  84. That cast and the sweet but not disgustingly sugary direction uplift "Mattress" from what could have been a merely not-horrible event.
  85. A well-written and well-cast, if broadly drawn, show.
  86. "The Unit"... is predictably Mametian only in that it's interesting, tightly written and finely shot.
  87. It starts out a little cutesy but quickly finds laughs in crisp writing and really strong (and blessedly not-overblown) acting.
  88. This is the best the drama has been in some time.
  89. "Miracle Workers" is genuine, naturally sweet and never exploitative.
  90. The minute "Thief" begins running tonight on cable's FX, television reclaims its best actor.
  91. There's peril in traveling the well-worn path of unrequited love and adulterous wives. But what makes this beginning of "Brian" work is that the characters are nicely drawn archetypes, not stereotypes.
  92. "Desire" is (I can't believe I'm saying this) good. Compelling. Stupid. Well-acted. Not terribly written. Funny on purpose. Better than most series on TV.
  93. "The Class" is a good example of how any premise can be turned into good fiction, even if it's cluttered with tired cliches.
  94. The execution is cute, silly, heartfelt and sweet (not saccharine), plus it's shot at the cinematic level of a moderately funded romantic comedy movie.
  95. It isn't as ambitious or objective as HBO's "The Wire," but it's about as close as broadcast TV gets to "The Wire." It finely depicts the daily grim and gritty existence of kids and adults dealing with narrow hopes, sad expectations, provincial victories, race and poverty.
  96. The acting, writing and directing are subtle and graceful.
  97. "Rome" treats viewers as long-term fans of deep terrain. To follow "Rome," it is required you keep up. If you do, you may be rewarded with a fine tale, proper acting and a better-told history lesson.

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