Chicago Sun-Times' Scores

For 761 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 65% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 32% 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 Murder One: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Back to You: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 528
  2. Negative: 0 out of 528
528 tv reviews
  1. It's mean. It's nasty. It's dirty. It's sick. It's addictive. It's "The Larry Sanders Show," the funniest comedy series on television. [19 Jul 1995]
  2. Steven Bochco's daring legal serial is the most exciting and innovative new drama since "ER." It's a fictional variation of the O. J. Simpson trial.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The season five pre­miere "Live Free or Die", more than maintains the series' record of excellence.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It takes a little while to get into it (episode two clinched it for me), but once you get used to the accents and dry humor, you're hooked. [23 Jan 2003]
  3. Despite high praise, there are two serious problems: (a) The first new episode is crazy confusing, and (b) over the course of the first batch of episodes, the story lines don't develop quickly enough.
  4. "The Sopranos" ... continues to shock, stun and amaze. It is why you get HBO, why you get cable, why you get a television. [12 Jan 2000]
  5. Television's funniest, nastiest comedy series. [13 Nov 1996]
  6. 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]
  7. This is the best the drama has been in some time.
  8. The quality of talent in front of the camera matches the high standards behind the scenes. As a cop ensemble, the Homicide squad has the spice, dry wit and ethnic diversity of the "Hill Street Blues" crew, with even more eccentricities and a heightened sense of realism. Like the New York partners in "Law & Order," the Baltimore detectives grind it out with street-tested police procedures. [29 Jan 1993, p.55]
  9. The sharply written, slow-paced premiere ratchets up the tension on what’s reported to be the bloodiest 10-episode season yet.
  10. It takes a while to get into the rhythms of Gervais' writing and seemingly improvised acting, but once you've become a fan, it's the kind of show you can watch over and over. [10 Oct 2003]
  11. 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.
  12. Not for the squeamish, the second season debut of this raw, unrefined Western takes about 10 minutes to get wound up and then it zips along with the first signs of civilization -- outside government and the telegraph -- threatening to invade. If the language doesn't make you wince, the stinking mud of the vice-filled mining boomtown will practically make your eyes water. What creator David Milch is saying about the foundation of U.S. expansion west isn't always easy to take, but it's often poetic just the same. And the performances led by Ian McShane, Brad Dourif and Timothy Olyphant are something to behold. [4 Mar 2005, p.57]
  13. 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]
  14. 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]
  15. You should feel nervous before any great date, and Don never disappoints. He'll make you feel like you are in on the joke with the innest in crowd on television. Anything these ad men are selling, I'll buy.
  16. An utterly dry and brilliantly written dissection of life behind the host's desk. And with its unflinching but affectionate inside look at the pettiness, narcissism and deceit that characterize the TV business, it's probably truer than most of the networks' fact-based miniseries. [22 Jun 1994]
  17. It’s eerie, suspenseful and yes, subtitled, but give the premiere a chance and you’ll return for more.
  18. A clever combo - sophisticated sitcom meets late-night talk show. [14 Aug 1992]
  19. "Curb" may be ridiculously silly, but, unlike "Extras," its shenanigans are inventive.
  20. The beauty of this series is that it's so entertaining and so well-executed.
  21. A vicious and timely show-biz satire. [1 Jun 1993]
  22. A powerful, engrossing yet sometimes hard to watch six-hour elegy. [14 Apr 2000, p.39]
  23. 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]
  24. Creator Jenji Kohan (“Weeds”) continues to tell the fascinating stories of women rarely seen on “TV” in season two.
  25. The bleakness is a little relentless for my taste, but you have to marvel at the series' dark vision. Odenkirk is working with the best of the best, and he knows it.
  26. 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]
  27. It's not for everyone. Let's say that upfront. Eastbound & Down will either make you choke laughing, or wish that you could bleach the profanity from your brain.
  28. The fifth season of this filmlike thriller is metaphorically knocking my socks off. My actual socks remain on.
  29. It's really quite good and oddly entertaining, as cynical as it is.
  30. The characters are unforgettable, and the history, of course, is more entertaining than fiction. The filming of Boardwalk Empire just may be more decadent than the decadence it's celebrating. It's not TV, and it's not really HBO. It's an event, not to be missed.
  31. [A] rare work of brilliance.
  32. This is a show worth watching, and worth the effort it might take for newbies to get up to speed.
  33. Overall, co-creator Steven Moffat and writer-actor Mark Gatiss have delivered a whip-smart follow-up.
  34. I said this is an old-school literary movie because it is a gallery of objective portraits, leaving the viewer to absorb narrative while pondering various parallels and themes.
  35. After a dark and often depressing season four, it's refreshing to start things off on a more jovial, lighter note. That's not to say the premiere is devoid of angst, disappointment and drama. It's just buoyed by an unusually high amount of humor.
  36. This thriller is a fast-paced ride through the minefields of domestic and international relations.
  37. Funny stuff. Now if only it could find an audience. [5 Nov 2004, p.51]
  38. '24' looks to be appointment television. [6 Nov 2001]
  39. Like the kids it's about, this show deserves a better fate, however. (Saturday night at 7? Come on, NBC.) It's a dry-eyed but ultimately sweet program, and if you're home alone on a date night, it's for you. [24 Sept 1999, p.48]
  40. Its lack of niceties makes for a love-hate affair for viewers. [2 Jan 2004]
  41. It’s the thinking man’s serial-killer drama, a twisted tale that never trolls for cheap scares but is plenty terrifying.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Based on the first episode of the second season, "Mad Men" is still one of the best series currently on television, if not the best.
  42. While the tendency might be to overpraise this oddball but smart and keenly observed family comedy about the ordinary life of an extraordinary child simply because it arrives square in the middle of a TV season in which most TV comedies have been simply awful, it is nonetheless one of the better shows to come down the pike. [6 Jan 2000]
  43. Catch up with the series while you can. These are the glory days, my friends.
  44. [An] insightful sketch show.
  45. As a series, Treme is a tough slog. I was by turns confused, bored and sad.
  46. The only reason I'm not giving the third season opener four stars is because the show is competing with two earlier, exquisite seasons. Sunday's episode feels like something is missing -- a hook, something to make it physically painful to wait for new episodes.
  47. Ed is, unabashedly, a feel-good show that dangerously flirts with being too eccentric, too sentimental and way too whimsical...It's nothing short of a miracle that it manages to toe each of those lines without crossing any of them -- the kind of miracle that has you thinking all good things can happen and ultimately will. [6 Oct 2000, p.54]
  48. 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]
  49. Its distinctive voice makes it feel fresh and original, and the poignant comedy gets better with every episode.
  50. It was filmed over four months and distilled into eight episodes, with brilliant results.
  51. This fast-paced mockumentary perfectly captures the experience of parenthood.
  52. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson should star in everything, always--that’s how mesmerizing they are as Louisiana criminal investigators in HBO’s new anthology True Detective.
  53. It’s a majestic, 10-part movie medal of honor for every person who ever put on a uniform because he believed he was one of the good guys.
  54. 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]
  55. The best miniseries in the history of television..."Roots" remains the most important miniseries ever in terms of its impact on our culture--but for overall quality and artistic reach, Band of Brothers is a superior piece of work. I've seen virtually every major theatrical film released this year, but I'm not sure any of them has resonated with me in the way that Band of Brothers has. [9 Sept 2001, p.6]
  56. The 18th Amendment--that "Noble Experiment" that turned out to be one of the country's biggest civic failures--is the subject of a fascinating new documentary by Ken Burns.
  57. Pushing Daisies deserves its high praise. It's the best new drama of the fall, finding sweet hope in morbid tragedy.
  58. 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]
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Everyone has to bring their A-game and, for the most part, they do.
  59. Dexter, one of the best shows on TV this decade. High praise, indeed. Deserved.
  60. The show’s pace is slow in spots, but the dark humor and twisted tone make it oddly compelling.
  61. 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.
  62. Probably isn't for everyone, but surely more than a few viewers will identify with the misfits of all backgrounds and (judging from the presence of Loudon Wainwright as father to Steven Karp, the series' central character played by Jay Baruchel) ages thrown together in an anxious environment of self-discovery and perhaps too much freedom. [25 Sept 2001, p.47]
  63. The rest of the original crew is back, in varying degrees of denial, cluelessness, incompetence and narcissism. They have been missed.
  64. Based on the first three new episodes, I can continue to put Rescue Me on my list as one of the best 20 shows that have ever been on TV. [13 June 2007, p.51]
  65. It’s also an intimately personal tale of Kramer’s heartbreaking first-hand experience with the disease. Directed by Ryan Murphy, it’s bound to put Emmys in the hands of a remarkable cast.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Never mind the feminine religious cult Baltar falls into in this premiere. Add that to the clue-packed promotional photograph circulating of the BSG cast mimicking "The Last Supper," and what began as a deep, dark sci-fi drama seems to be turning into an anti-Arthur C. Clarke religious tract.
  66. 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.
  67. The "EZ" dialogue is terse, suggestive, pointed and often ambiguous. The complicated "Streets" story deals with issues of truth, honor, justice, vengeance and loyalty. Its stark moral conflicts, set in a shady criminal underworld, deserve positive comparisons to "On the Waterfront," "Serpico," "Where the Sidewalk Ends" and the first year of "Wiseguy." [25 Oct 1996]
  68. Toss in some sex and Southern-style politics, and you've got plenty to sing about.
  69. With their moody new mystery series The Killing, AMC clearly knows what's good for us.
  70. One of the better new series this fall despite a habit of turning mawkish in the last five minutes each week. It's helped immensely by its very endearing characters. [22 Sept 1998, p.41]
  71. 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.
  72. Take away the nude lovemaking scene, the revolutionary level of potent cussing, the curiosity-stirring controversies surrounding Steven Bochco's premeditated shock elements, and NYPD Blue remains one helluva cop show. [21 Sept 1993, p.35]
  73. This third season is more in keeping with Downton's first [season].
  74. The sometimes laughable soap opera aspects of the first year have been minimized. The pulse-racing, adrenaline-fueled suspense has been ratcheted up. If anything, this white-knuckle joy ride now moves faster than the clock that ticks steadily through each episode. [28 Oct 2002]
  75. The acting is brilliant, the problems are relatable, and the truths Dr. Weston is chasing are profound. On the other hand, In Treatment is the epitome of American self-indulgence, both for the actors and the characters they're playing.
  76. The Dust Bowl is more like eat-your-vegetables television than some of Burns' other endeavors, namely his last PBS documentary, "Prohibition." But it's still a worthwhile examination of an overlooked chapter from our past that holds plenty of lessons for our future.
  77. The use of animation makes it feel even more like something you’d see in a high school science class. Special effects have come a long way since 1980, yet they manage to be less impressive in this updated version that shoots for the stars but falls short.
  78. 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.
  79. The new episodes find the upper-middle-class mother of two evolving into a gangster. This is a good move for the show. [13 Aug 2007]
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's a beauty--in many ways richer than the Broadway production--and should not be missed.
  80. The series has a cinematic feel, with plenty of stand-alone, poignant moments punctuating each episode.
  81. Tedious.
  82. It's a lot of fun. It's funny. And stars Bret Harrison and Tyler Labine have better chemistry than most duos on TV.
  83. 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.
  84. There's nothing wrong with "The Nine." It's just essentially a step above pedestrian.
  85. In the end, it all amounts to pretty much the same thing: a half hour with a self-sabotaging wit.
  86. It’s a lot to juggle, but you can count on the payoff to be worth the trouble. Power, weakness, greed, violence--what’s not to like?
  87. Irons and the rest of the cast are spot-on. The writing and directing are fairly crisp. Perhaps, though, tracing Elizabeth's life for 20-plus years subtracted from my becoming intently involved in each period of this biopic.
  88. 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]
  89. It’s a cinematic story whose focus isn’t polar bears and receding glaciers.
  90. Olyphant's devilish looks balance his white-cowboy-hat principles.
  91. Warning: This is not "Cheers II." With the morose Crane as the central character, the Frasier spinoff reflects the gloomy, occasionally pompous personality of the guilt-burdened shrink and the star who plays him. The humor is moody and cerebral, like the chilly Grammer. But that's not bad - especially in this season of warm and gooey domestic sitcoms. [16 Sept 1993, p.43]
  92. Perpetually miffed, always digging himself out of one disaster while inadvertently miring himself in yet another, David is either making you wince or making you laugh. Unfortunately, it's probably more of the former than the latter. [13 Oct 2000]
  93. "Desperate Housewives" is, quite simply, a very good time. [30 Sep 2004]
  94. The cult favorite’s fifth season deftly hits the reset button and starts out strong with back-to-back episodes.

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