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 5.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Malcolm in the Middle: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Luis: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 302
  2. Negative: 0 out of 302
302 tv reviews
  1. The strength of the script and Branagh's finely drawn performance--not to mention the excellent scenes between Branagh and David Warner, who plays Wallander's dad--make up for missteps [by the director].
  2. Suffice to say that Archer will probably appeal to viewers who like their comedy literate, demented and subversive.
  3. Happily, this generally well-told tale of a modern-day king and his restive court has more going for it than a charismatic performance from the dependably wonderful “Deadwood” star.
  4. Caprica is still finding itself, but it's worth your while, and if it can knit its various elements into a more coherent whole, it could get even better.
  5. This [is a] crisply shot, well-paced drama: It could venture into the darker and knottier realms of morality, as “House” did in its first few seasons.
  6. One of the best things about the season is that, via Joe Tobin, the show has given viewers if not someone to root for, someone to at least partially empathize with.
  7. The Season 2 premiere of the genre-tinged drama Fringe is almost the polar opposite of its bombastic Season 1 premiere, and that’s a very good thing.
  8. Still, like the second season of “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style,” which is airing now on Bravo, this show may work for you if you’re looking for a turn-off-your-brain escape.
  9. Nothing's less funny than a comedy that tries too hard. But Flight of the Conchords pulls off the neat trick of being amusing without appearing to try at all.
  10. Season 5 brings more of the same, but the characters are so well delineated and the performances are so solid that more of the same is a good thing.
  11. Though he seemed a little nervous and the humor seemed a bit broader, generally speaking, than it was on "Late Night," Conan on The Tonight Show worked just fine.
  12. As straight man and wild card combos go, Hanks and Whitford are well-matched, though "The Good Guys" really belongs to Whitford. He appears to be having so much fun that it's simply infectious.
  13. Even though broader does mean more conventional, conventional these days is underrated.
  14. Not all of the show’s demented comic gambits work, but Sunny gets points for inventiveness, and all things considered, the show is far more consistently entertaining than it was in its first couple of seasons.
  15. Funny, refreshing and bold. [4 Aug 2005]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Despite a few missteps, there's much to recommend.
  16. The regular sessions with comedians... provide uneven, occasionally forced-sounding comedy. While the moments that feel improvised between Katz and his guest sparkle (the animation is drawn to match the dialogue), the parts that feel like the same routine we'd hear at a nightclub can be rather lifeless, despite the program's efforts to pep them up by animating some of the stories told. But Katz and his principal co-writer, Tom Snyder, have wisely made the heart of the show Dr. Katz's tenuous relationship with his unemployed, still-living-at-home, adult son Ben. [1 Dec 1995]
    • Chicago Tribune
  17. Your tolerance for all this may depend on how many crime procedurals you need on your calendar. For some, this one may prove one too many. [22 Sep 2004]
    • Chicago Tribune
  18. The kind of well-made brain candy that nearly demands that you watch it with a bowl of popcorn.
  19. If State of Mind can work out its mixture of mild wackiness and emotional revelation, it may have a chance.
  20. "Sunny"'s lively energy can get a bit too manic at times... and the characters are not quite differentiated enough to make much of a lasting impression. For that reason, "Sunny" doesn't belong in the ranks of the very best recent TV comedies, such as "The Office" and "Arrested Development," where each character feels incredibly specific and real. Still, there are pleasures to be had in Philadelphia. [29 Jun 2006]
    • Chicago Tribune
  21. The dangers for the mostly engrossing “Riches” is that it occasionally hits the “we’re stealing the American Dream” theme a little too hard, and it remains to be seen whether it will coast on the taut, engaging performances of Izzard and Driver.
  22. Eli Stone is not quite there yet; the characters are pretty thinly drawn in the first few episodes, and the law cases seem heavily tilted toward the "little guy" side.
  23. The theme of the show is a metaphor for how McIntyre will start to dive into her life and listen to "wake-up calls from the universe." It's a slender concept, and the series may not stand out enough in this crowded summer season.
  24. A neat melding of character, mystery, and big, glossy action. [23 Sep 1995]
    • Chicago Tribune
  25. That sense of saucy transgression married to surprisingly effective character development -- the magic formula of the first two seasons -- is a bit wobbly this year, but Nip/Tuck is more or less back on track, and the Carver is thankfully nowhere in sight. [5 Sept 2006, p.1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  26. Subversively hilarious.
  27. Winfrey's appeal is considerable and should, for a time, guarantee curiosity-fueled high ratings. It's a warm and serious show, a television time capsule that takes us to a quieter, safer and better place. [1 May 1990]
    • Chicago Tribune
  28. This new comedy, which stars the wildly talented Judy Greer, is terrific.
  29. "Betty" walks a fine line between satire and drama and, astonishingly, it doesn’t fall off that razor’s edge very often.
  30. While the story and drama aren't always successful, and occasionally border on the cloying or trite, "Daniel" is something fresh, mildly provocative and amusingly performed.
  31. This well-intentioned Sense gets the job done.
  32. Cavanagh's goofy, lovable performance isn't so over the top as to turn viewers off, and a nice ensemble cast backs him. [8 Oct 2000, p.4]
    • Chicago Tribune
  33. The writing is erudite and classy, the acting first-rate and the setting relatively novel. [1 Oct 1993]
    • Chicago Tribune
  34. Though the show can demonstrate narrative drive within particular episodes--the second episode of Season 2, for example, is moderately suspenseful--over the long haul.
  35. "Jericho" has a surprising ability to create tension from the unthinkable.
  36. Goldblum’s thoughtful, enjoyable presence is — rather than the one saving grace of an otherwise tiresome procedural — the centerpiece of a generally well-crafted drama, one that’s sprinkled with loving nods to Raymond Chandler and “Double Indemnity.”
  37. The plotting is OK, the dialogue is better and the two leads are appealing.
  38. This idea waiting to happen finds an imperfect but winning execution -- appropriately trippy, yet gentle enough to give it a nostalgic glow. [21 Aug 1998, p.T1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  39. Attractive but not arty, intelligent but not brainy. [22 Sep 2002]
    • Chicago Tribune
  40. A fine film but one lacking an emotional punch commensurate with its subject. [10 Sept 1993, p.N-1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  41. It may not sound funny on paper, and some of these snippets may not be quite as side-splitting as scenes from the deadpan British original, but this edition of “Creature Comforts” is good fun.
  42. Tin Man’s heart is in the right place, even if the execution of the story evokes, from time to time, creakiness of the metal man’s limbs.
  43. If audiences get less misogyny and more of the clever, clear-eyed social observation he is capable of, they may come to understand why he has been forever on the brink of stardom. [22 Jan 2003, p.10]
    • Chicago Tribune
  44. There's a sophistication at play in this show. The acting (Shipp has won two Emmys for his work in daytime soaps) is refreshingly unmannered. The supporting cast is solid, and the sets, costumes and soundtrack all work to create a distinctive TV world. [20 Sept 1990, p.15]
    • Chicago Tribune
  45. With a sexy, sumptuous look, "Soul Food" is that rare series that enhances and expands on the movie from which it draws its inspiration. Unfortunately, the show also shares the film's most troubling trait: It's a wonderful product about family, but it isn't appropriate for family viewing. [25 Jun 2000]
    • Chicago Tribune
  46. "Practice" has the kind of easy flow that comes from veteran sitcom experts.
  47. This is one show that could, with the right kind of leadership, make it to the playoffs.
  48. The show offers a satisfying dose of alien-flavored escapism, especially for younger fans of genre fare (Sarah Jane has a few hip and appealing teen companions).
  49. Though it soon settles into the standard patterns of an above-average (if overwrought) drama, the first episode of quarterlife may make you regret the creation of the Internet.
  50. Simm is also compelling (as he was in a couple of standout “Doctor Who” episodes earlier this year), though his performance is sometimes pitched to a level of intensity that the occasionally formulaic storytelling doesn’t quite match.
  51. His repetitive fights with his ex-girlfriend, Karen (Natascha McElhone), with whom he reunited at the end of last season, are by far the most tiresome part of the show. Much more fun is the easy camaraderie Hank has with his growing entourage, all of whom share his cynical and saucy outlook on life.
  52. Goldberg is so sure-footed and likable in her part that she may at last have found a comfortable home for her talents, after some disastrous big-screen interludes. Stapleton, handsome and pert as ever, displays the gifts of timing and tact that brought her three Emmys. [30 Mar 1990, p.5C]
    • Chicago Tribune
  53. It’s a slender conceit for a television show but also a novel one. And the romantic sense of yearning that infuses “Six Degrees” is refreshing in a TV schedule full of corpses and cops.
  54. The series shows signs of rising above its airport-bookstore pedigree, and it just happens to boast the best and deepest cast of any autumn newcomer. [17 Sept 1995, p.7C]
    • Chicago Tribune
  55. The series would fall apart if Al-Farik were a cardboard cutout villain. Who’d want to watch eight hours of this man’s journey if he were just a shallow action-movie bad guy? But thanks to Fehr’s brave, layered performance, it’s impossible to ignore Al-Farik or the ideas that motivate him.
  56. "My Name Is Earl" is cheeky, inventive and often bewitching.
  57. There is more of a silliness to it. No question, ALF is dumb and puerile. I rather liked it. [22 Sept 1986, p.5C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    In many respects, "Spenser: For Hire" is just another cop show. But the characters come on strong, speak in complete sentences, bleed when cut and offer us some humanity in a medium where linen jackets and Ferraris have assumed control. It's hard not to like Spenser, and it's hard not to like "Spenser: For Hire." [20 Sep 1985]
    • Chicago Tribune
  58. As a whole, the dramedy is much more enjoyable than it was last season, which was a bloated and repetitive mess.
  59. There's restraint in the presentation here, at least compared with other shows in this ilk. The stories are touching and tell us at least a little about pretty amazing medical advances.
  60. It's good news that much of Season 4 will focus on Brenda's investigative team and on police department politics.
  61. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles returns with a solidly enjoyable action-oriented outing.
  62. Oddly entertaining. ... If you're a fan of Spader's ability to make creepy characters watchable, if not likable, then this solid hour is worth your time. [2 Oct 2004]
    • Chicago Tribune
  63. By the time the many story threads link up... "The State Within" has an unstoppable momentum that’s as good as the best of "24."
  64. A strange feeling came over me when I was watching the Season 2 premiere of Saving Grace. I actually wished that the episode was longer.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Those who have seen "Picket Fences" should have a good idea about what "Hope" offers: moral crisis and guilt trips. [18 Sep 1994]
    • Chicago Tribune
  65. Still charming, a lively and frothy imagining of what might happen if Sabrina got mixed up with darker forces. [7 Oct 1998, p.6]
    • Chicago Tribune
  66. I found it to be more or less the same competent procedural that it was last season.
  67. The charms of this series are subtle, but only grow over the course of the first few episodes.
  68. The show may not quite be as immersive as it was at its best; we may not see the likes of FNL’s breathtaking first season again. But in Season 3, it’s more evident than ever that many of FNL’s most powerful moments occur when there’s no dialogue at all.
  69. The show’s pace is brisk and efficient, and Headey (“300”) and Glau bring welcome intelligence and energy to their roles as very protective women.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Even if the big story strikes you as too arty for its own good, a student film on a professional budget, it's worth watching for the tone-perfect production design. [12 Sep 2003]
    • Chicago Tribune
  70. It brings with it last season's same gift for immediately innards-knotting suspense, fate-of-the-free-world plotting and page-turning viewing, if such a metaphor can be mixed. It also hits the implausibility buttons much earlier in its run, although part of '24's' genius is that it drives so relentlessly forward that it leaves no time for contemplation. [29 Oct 2002]
    • Chicago Tribune
  71. This version of “The Andromeda Strain” is paced well; it gives Crichton’s story a hint of blandness but it also marches through the plot with no-nonsense efficiency.
  72. Meeting the Walker clan and getting a glimpse at their personal lives... is like being led to a table of tantalizing appetizers. Even as you take a sample of these introductory delights, you’re wondering whether the main course will live up to your expectations.
  73. Some of the dialogue, as is Kelley's wont, goes a step too far. ... But the pace is fast and no case served up in the preview episodes (one and four) is less than compelling. [3 Mar 1997]
    • Chicago Tribune
  74. Despite the fine work of Pace and Friel--who convey tenderness despite the director’s efforts to stamp it out--the sheer quantity of forced whimsy and visual razzle-dazzle can be exhausting.
  75. The show, so far, doesn’t have quite the right ingredients--it could use something more combustible in the mix.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Addicting, like watching a really grimy train wreck, this sorry, sordid tale of Harris' obsessive love and descent into prescription pill addiction is icy, ironic and typically HBO in the frankness of its sex talk.
  76. Spade's character... could grow quickly tiresome, but San Giacomo has a nice touch with comedy and the feminist in the halls of fashion is a promising premise. [3 Mar 1997]
    • Chicago Tribune
  77. "Cop Rock" is less innovation than next logical step (some might even say overdue step) for an increasingly music-conscious medium. [26 Sep 1990, p.1C]
    • Chicago Tribune
  78. Some episodes feel a little padded, and the show occasionally skates nervously over the more painful aspects of these girls' lives, but High School Confidential is a mostly compelling study of the lives of 12 girls in a middle-class Kansas community.
  79. Has enough chuckles to make it worth your while, providing you have an irreverent sense of humor. [29 Apr 2005]
    • Chicago Tribune
  80. Branagh directs his actors through the intricacies of Shakespeare’s language with a sure hand, though I sometimes wished during the forest scenes the camera didn’t swoop and swivel quite so much.
  81. As it is, Trust Me, which perks along energetically but lacks emotional heft, may be one of those shows that stacks up on my TiVo, along with other shows I don’t get around to viewing.
  82. The problem is, though this good-natured show doesn't lack for energy, Cupid is a little bland and formulaic.
  83. I tend not to watch it after the first few episodes of each season, because it tends to travel somewhat repetitive storytelling roads (i.e., every week, science goes awry, then science is used to fix what went awry)....I like the implications of that bigger arc, which promises more depth, which Eureka needs.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Though Linney can't be anything but amazing, The Big C feels like a more or less competent assemblage of elements we've seen before on various Showtime "comedies."
  84. This pleasantly low-key drama has little trouble creating an atmosphere, but the pace is sometimes slack in the first four episodes.
  85. The Unusuals doesn’t have the balance between the comedy and the serious stuff right yet, but Terry Kinney lends a welcome acerbic note as the station’s seen-it-all leader, Sgt. Harvey Brown.
  86. Eleventh Hour does what it sets out to do: It puts a talented actor (Rufus Sewell) through his crime-solving paces on rain-slicked streets, in dark warehouses and in spooky labs that look almost identical to the rain-slicked streets, dark warehouses and spooky labs on almost every other CBS drama.
  87. The rest of the new or new-ish faces are occasionally funny one-note characters....Still, the old crew made me laugh on more than one occasion as I watched the first two episodes of Season 9 (the Todd made me giggle every time he turned up).
  88. As guilty pleasures go, Harper's Island may hit the spot. Though perhaps it would have worked best as a summer series?
  89. Rachel Blanchard plays Cher (Emma), and while she still isn't up to Alicia Silverstone's standard for merging self-involvement and philanthropism she does a much better job with the new, stronger material, tonight dispensing bad advice in a guest stint as her school paper's Ann Landers. [20 Sept 1996, p.1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  90. The Gates actually moves along at a brisk enough clip, and though it's bland around the edges, it introduces enough mysteries to keep things more or less interesting (there are allusions to a "code" residents must live by, and presumably that doesn't refer to local regulations on lawn care).
  91. The first episode of Enemy ended up being a relatively compelling hour of television. As competent as it is, though, it’s hard not to think that the premise contains some holes.
  92. The rest of Breaking Bad doesn’t consistently reach the level of Cranston’s performance. But for some, his depiction of Walt’s earnest desperation may be enough.
  93. Swayze’s performance is almost reason enough to tune in--if you don’t mind the show’s more derivative elements--the actor’s co-star, Fimmel, is often the least interesting thing about The Beast.
  94. Given that the love-hate scenario between Beckett and Castle is fairly predictable, Castle’s success may ride on the quality of its murder mysteries, and it’s encouraging that the show’s second episode is better than the first.

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