Chicago Tribune's Scores

For 596 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 50% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 48% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 5.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 The Wire: Season 3
Lowest review score: 0 American Inventor: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 302
  2. Negative: 0 out of 302
302 tv reviews
  1. Not an unqualified success, but it is eminently watchable. What's more, it does the near-impossible: It doesn't make the viewer forget the original, but it actually inspires affection, instead of cries of "sacrilege!" from this rabid "Office" fan.
  2. The creators of this comedically-flavored drama clearly know what they’re doing and this season, it’s certainly worth taking a gamble on Easy Money.
  3. The real pleasures of this half-hour show come from its sly sense of humor and from Belle’s practical yet adventurous approach to her job.
  4. [A] deeply interesting, occasionally riveting show.
  5. Both the book and the miniseries sketch admirably human portraits of historical figures such as Adams, Jefferson and Franklin.
  6. Thankfully, "Weeds" avoids the strained farce of "Desperate Housewives," and despite being billed as a comedy, the perceptively written show is actually a credible look at lives stuck in neutral and people almost trapped by their addiction to a certain level of upper-middle class comfort.
  7. Appearing in her first TV series, Bergen brings in a full-court-press performance-stylish, sardonic and funny. Couple that with English's crisp dialogue, which consistently veers off just at the point it seems to be settling for the formulaic, and "Murphy Brown" comes up as a bright, promising half-hour. [14 Nov 1988]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even though it's riding the path already paved by the similar period drama, "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," the two-hour premiere of "Christy" stands solidly on its own, representing exactly what we could use more of: hearty, dramatic television. [1 Apr 1994]
    • Chicago Tribune
  8. She's self-flagellating, but in a nuanced, funny-sad and heartbreaking way, mixing slapstick and pathos with intelligence and the sharpest of comic instincts. [4 June 2005, p.C25]
    • Chicago Tribune
  9. In its solidly crafted premiere, the CBS drama demonstrates admirable restraint while still telling a reasonably interesting story.
  10. I blissfully enjoyed every minute of Lost’s smashing Season 4 start.
  11. Coming from Cannell, Wiseguy is, of course, all sweat and swagger, bullets and babes, breeziness and bravado. Men's bowling teams are advised to schedule their nights around this one.[16 Sept 1987, p.7C]
    • Chicago Tribune
  12. Though every detail of this lush Roman epic feels palpably authentic, history lessons don’t loom overly large; what’s most enjoyable about it is how deftly it mixes soap opera with senatorial debates.
  13. Written with a pen dipped in the clever-caustic "Cheers" well, it's high-spirited and clever. Most viewers will want to book future flights. [19 Apr 1990, p.21]
    • Chicago Tribune
  14. The biggest question hanging over "The Colbert Report" is whether the show’s sendup of the pomposity and fear-mongering of cable news blowhards will be as appealing in the long term as "The Daily Show’s" satire of public figures and the news media as a whole.
  15. Manages to get the balance of cuddliness and snark just right.
    • Chicago Tribune
  16. Dirty Sexy Money has everything you could hope for in a nighttime soap: a stellar cast, lush interiors, catfights, affairs, parties and jewels.
  17. [Season 2] is far better than the good but uneven first year of the show.
  18. Nip/Tuck is back to being the frothy, fun and knowing show it was in its early days.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Watching Golden Girls, you get the feeling that Harris had the good sense to fit the brand of humor with the actresses. There is a kind of Borsch Belt, take-my-wife-please approach to chasing the laughs, with everything in place but the nightclub rim shot, the obligatory ba-bump from the drummer on top of the punch line. [13 Sept 1995, p.5]
    • Chicago Tribune
  19. "Human Trafficking" manages edge-of-your-seat suspense and an unsettling blend of Dickensian horrors and documentary-style realism.
  20. Mad Men is first and foremost an intelligently made character drama.
  21. This is one of those comedies in which the actors’ and writers’ skills are so sharp that the whole enterprise feels effortless.
  22. As with "24," the whole enterprise, however action-packed, would fall flat if viewers didn't care about the characters, and "Prison Break" doesn't disappoint.
  23. If you’re wondering if the Bravo reality linchpin is any good in its fourth season, well, of course it is.
  24. "The Real World"--while voyeuristic, stagey and sometimes maddeningly encouraging of fledgling adults' tendencies to navel gaze--is also blistering good drama, TV's most entrancing and rewarding reality show. [28 Jun 1995]
    • Chicago Tribune
  25. An impressively constructed thriller and an intriguing, timely exploration of what people at the apex of society will do to hold on to their power.
  26. The storytelling and dialogue are amusing, mildly touching and unpredictable...And Grey's Anatomy wins points for its cast, starting with Pompeo, who artfully combines brains, ambition, sexy good looks and glimpses of innocence. [25 March 2005, p.Zone3]
    • Chicago Tribune
  27. As these two families question their assumptions and experiences, we not only get insights into a thorny issue but, through the families on the show, we also get fascinating glimpses into lives we'd never otherwise lead.
  28. In Season 2, the show, brought back by fans who vociferously protested its cancellation, has become more topical and even more intriguing.
  29. Shrek the Halls may not be an instant holiday classic--nothing can really compete with the Grinch, the Peanuts Christmas special or the various Rankin-Bass offerings--but it’s enjoyable enough and likely to induce at least a few giggles.
  30. Thanks to a top-notch cast and unusually intelligent writing, "Kidnapped" is among the more promising of many new shows that pay homage to the granddaddy of the current suspense boom, "24."
  31. At three hours, this adaptation might seem a bit lengthy, but when Raisin’s female cast members are on the screen, the time flies by.
  32. There are some who might be jarred by the format, seamless as it is. And still others might be compelled to argue that with this format one gets neither a sitcom nor a comedy show, but insufficient portions of each...But there is an intriguing honesty to this method, and, in its fashion, it shows how life's tiny travail can work its way into comedy club laughs. [31 May 1990, p.C4]
    • Chicago Tribune
  33. Though Sci Fi only sent one Season 4 episode for review, it looks as though the prodigal pilot, as well as the rest of the Galactica crew, is in for a bumpy ride.
  34. The good news is that the smartly written "Saving Grace" is not a mess. In fact, it's one of the most distinctive new shows of the year.
  35. This year, there’s much more of the loopy, creative humor that its fans have come to know and love.
  36. I remain troubled by a big development at the end of Episode 1, which feels like too much of a stretch and is out of keeping with the show's admirable focus on intimate, believable stories. I hope it doesn't signal a move toward more obvious, predictable melodrama -- which already can be found all over the TV landscape. [5 Oct 2007, p.1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  37. The most refreshing thing about "Runway" is that it's not just a forum for "Survivor"-style cattiness or "Apprentice"-style trumped-up tasks. ... The beauty of "Runway" is the contestants on this win-your-own-fashion-business show have real skills. [5 Jan 2005]
    • Chicago Tribune
  38. If, as a woman, you've ever wondered how men act when they're together, how they talk to each other, how they deal with rage and confusion and lust, there's no better guide than this show, which may just be hitting its stride in its third season. [30 May 2006, p.3]
    • Chicago Tribune
  39. Turns out to be an engaging new hour, boasting crisp writing, near-cinematic production values and an almost fail-safe plot. [14 June 2002, p.3]
    • Chicago Tribune
  40. [Creator Doug Ellin's] real victory here is in making the series not so much a movie-biz lampoon as an exploration of friendship under an extraordinary kind of strain. What makes it more potent is that the strain hides behind such a glossy veneer: hot chicks, ready cash and glamor, even for pudgy Queens guys. [16 July 2004, p.C1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  41. It's all brought home with realism in the family relations and humor. [26 Sept 2003, p.C1]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Offer[s] a mixture of timeliness and wit that's still provocative. [18 Sep 1994]
    • Chicago Tribune
  42. Does Witchblade the series work? You bet, judging from Tuesday's premiere. [12 June 2001, p.3]
    • Chicago Tribune
  43. Aliens is generally an intriguing and worthwhile show, combining a "The Wonder Years" vibe with a subversive and effective topicality.
  44. It all promises to be addictive watching.
  45. Satisfyingly edgier than its cousin "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" premieres ... with a moneyed high-tech look and great special effects, a cast of interesting and weird-looking characters and, wonderfully, a heart and soul. [3 Jan 1993]
    • Chicago Tribune
  46. A gorgeous piece of cinema.
  47. This year, there’s more to enjoy than the usual (and often funny) riffs on nerd culture and spy clichés. Chuck’s more assertive and seems to actually enjoy his secret-agent status.
  48. Hotel Babylon supplies an attractive cast, a cheeky attitude and just enough depth to keep you coming back for more.
  49. To watch the show is to be immersed in an interlocking series of utterly realistic worlds, from the street corner to the cop bar to the mayor's office.
  50. A stylish and innovative thriller that feels like the filmed version of the smartest airport novel you'll ever read. [6 Nov 2001]
    • Chicago Tribune
  51. This is adapted, loosely, from the Archie comic books, and it's played in a light, bright comic-book style that is at once winningly broad and smartly sly. [27 Sept 1996, p.1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  52. This "Bleak House" is sublimely bleak, as well as richly textured, superbly acted and intermittently funny. Fans of the epic adaptations that have long been the bread and butter of "Masterpiece Theatre" won't want to miss it.
  53. Besides its surefire pacing and startling moments, "Invasion" features a promising cast.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Television, for all of its frequent blood, guts and skin, is tame territory. It is so cozily familiar in its characters and characterizations, its car crashes and carnal capers, that when something as wild, weird and wicked as Twin Peaks comes along, it rattles the network landscape like a tornado in full fury.
  54. The dialogue is witty, the pacing is brisk and there’s some real heart amid all the tokens of the Palm Beach high life.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    [Mulder and Scully] are a lively team - look for love to blossom if ratings sag - and the show has some clever dialogue, a handsome look, unlimited plots (I'd imagine) and, of course, the specter of Big Brother keeping secrets from us all. [10 Sept 1993, p.Tempo 1]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    What helps Friends is that the show's creators have come up with a highly likable group of actors who are talented and charming, if not rip-roaringly funny. [21 Sept 1994, p.C2]
    • Chicago Tribune
  55. You may well be wondering if they are worth watching – perhaps for the first time. In the case of Pushing Daisies, the answer is a qualified yes.
  56. Given Fox's proclivity for outrageousness, Beverly Hills, 90210 (the number refers to the California city's ZIP code) is like totally tame, dudes. Though its premiere does include a teenage champagne-fueled romp in a hot tub, a near loss of virginity, and much conversation about sex, it treats the subject with uncommon sensitivity and understanding. [4 Oct 1990, p.C19]
    • Chicago Tribune
  57. If you like "Monk," you'll probably love this show, which may actually be even more enjoyable.
  58. Low key in concept, in style of humor and in star power, it's that rarity: a comedy that manages to be very, very funny without making parents watching with their children very, very uncomfortable. It's not necessarily a kids' show; it just gets its laughs honestly, without being crass. [13 Sep 1996]
    • Chicago Tribune
  59. If “Burn Notice” can keep up the energy and the inventiveness of its pilot, it’ll be a must-see summer series for me.
  60. A narcissistic writer bemoaning the Hollywood that overpays him? Color me fascinated
  61. It rivals the wildly successful "Star Trek: The Next Generation" in appeal, action and style. [26 Sep 2001]
    • Chicago Tribune
  62. With its young, often winning cast and its sparky, humorous dialogue, Reaper pays homage to the memorable shows created by Joss Whedon.
  63. Mirren, a true virtuoso at the height of her powers, is what makes this excellent two-part film worth watching, but there are many other pluses as well.
  64. Though it’s kid-friendly, there are things for adults to enjoy. Henshall is a quietly appealing actor, the pace is crackling and the dialogue has its share of witty asides.
  65. As on "The Simpsons," there is never the feeling of a joke being settled on, but rather it is worked over (and over and over) until just right. And there is the sense of a masterful hand guiding things, making creative choices that are both surprising and right. [28 Mar 1999]
    • Chicago Tribune
  66. When this show clicks in its first three episodes, it's because it violates a bigger rule, the one that says every New York firefighter, after the department's World Trade Center sacrifice, sports a halo and maybe a cape, and if he can carry a tune, he gets to sing at baseball games. [21 July 2004, p.C1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  67. The show’s ensemble cast is rock-solid, and makes you instantly root for this goofball gang.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    HSM2 is better than the original, and not only because its production budget is reportedly triple the first cable movie. The songs are bolder.... The acting by the returning well-scrubbed cast is better.
  68. A delightful program. [14 Sep 1997]
    • Chicago Tribune
  69. In a dreary winter TV landscape in which smart, witty escapism is in short supply, Torchwood stands out.
  70. The curious thing about True Blood is that, even if you’re not that interested in their relationship, there are other things to enjoy, notably the supporting performances and the mostly efficient plotting.
  71. This cast is so good, especially Polaha and Appleby, that by the third episode it was surprisingly easy to put aside the lingering questions I had and tolerate the fact that at that stage, some of the supporting characters still came close to being caricatures.
  72. While this straightforward, unapologetically derivative thriller won't blow your mind, it's a whole lot better than ABC's "Happy Town" or CBS's "Harper's Island" and may turn out to be like NBC's "Journeyman" -- a slice of genre entertainment that slowly developed into a worthwhile weekly commitment (and, er, yes, was canceled too soon.
  73. Though Costello’s discussions with musicians falter from time to time, they also contain quite a few interesting stories and conversations. And whenever things threaten to slow down, the musicians just pick up their instruments and sing instead of speaking.
  74. It's gotten better at delivering on its strengths -- light character drama and caper-ish crime proceedings.
  75. Though the pace is zippy and a fair amount of the dialogue is snappy, Hutton brings a distracted, melancholy air to the proceedings, which doesn’t slow things down -- his nuanced performance keeps the show on an even keel.
  76. The surreal comedy of Steven Wright is clearly an influence on Martin (one of Martin’s jokes: “I wonder if there were any Goths in Gothic times”), but Important Things also has a boldly silly streak.
  77. There are caveats, but they would trouble me more if the creator were someone other than Whedon.
  78. The werewolves appear ready to supply some interesting, if rough-edged stories, but certain Season 3 plots wouldn't be missed if they faded away.
  79. Southland, which comes from “ER” executive producers John Wells and Christopher Chulack, is the more serious and satisfying drama, though it could use a little more of the lightness of The Unusuals.
  80. Will this strange combination of starry-eyed optimism and manicured irony eventually combust? Possibly. But until then, there's a lot to like about this weird and frequently winning hybrid.
  81. The results may not hit the mark every time (stories about Jack, Liz and Kenneth usually work, while those concerning Tracy and Jenna are hit or miss), but there are enough pointed, smart and effective barbs to make this show a must-see comedy even as it enters its fourth season.
  82. There's no darkness looming just yet, and the season premiere is almost too jokey at times--certain comedic bits are stretched longer than they should be. Still, this is quite a bold and energetic (if not frenetic) new edition of Doctor Who. Hang on to the TARDIS, fans, it looks like we're in for quite a ride.
  83. The best thing about White Collar is DeKay and Bomer’s chemistry; DeKay in particular is able to wring subtle comedy from Burke’s irritation at Caffrey’s ability to get something for nothing.
  84. Spartacus develops into an enjoyably soapy escape--a la the similarly sweaty and sex-drenched "True Blood"--as its first season progresses.
  85. Powers, the central character in the strangely compelling new HBO series Eastbound & Down is a down-on-his-luck pitcher whose glory days in the Major League are well behind him.
  86. Being Human's saving grace is that it takes these people's lives and personal complications seriously. Dead, undead or just occasionally furry, these characters aren't so far from human.
  87. By the third episode of the three that HBO sent, the show had begun to find a rhythm, and the sometimes sprawling narrative (which will unfold over 10 episodes in the show's first season) had begun to gel in a promising way.
  88. Those two formulas--loopy genius and mismatched cops—are smushed together in Warehouse 13, yet the whole enterprise is executed with competency and humor, so despite a wobble here or there, the show ends up working.
  89. When Drop Dead Diva is at its best, it’s about two women who have lost a lot but are learning that they’ve gained something valuable as well.
  90. Assuming FlashForward can tone down a tendency toward pomposity and create a mythology and characters worth following, it may well be a worthy addition to the roster of sci-fi tinged TV programs.
  91. The moments in which Jackie and the people in her ER find common ground -- that's when this show achieves liftoff.
  92. Overall, Parks appears to be headed in the right direction.
  93. Like most ABC shows, Eli Stone could stand to prune its cast and deepen its writing. But that's focusing on the glass half empty. So let's just be glad that this good-hearted show made it through the previous TV season and "Big Shots" didn't.

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