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 5.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 The Wire: Season 4
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. Even when the show gets a bit melodramatic or overwrought, however, Parenthood's good intentions radiate throughout its many story lines. But do good intentions make for reliably compelling family drama? That depends on your tolerance for its frequent tonal shifts and occasional manic intervals.
  2. The Middle hits its comedic targets often enough, but its main problems is that it overdoes the quirkiness a bit.
  3. The radio call-in studio is fertile comedic territory. Less so, the home turf. Though Mahoney is a great actor, his character is so sour and bitter as to be off-putting. Some of the dialogue, though delivered with neat timing, is obvious and crude. [14 Sept 1993, p.2]
    • Chicago Tribune
  4. Sanctuary’s pace is a little on the stately side, and the show is competent if not particularly innovative sci-fi.
  5. It’s by no means must-see TV, but this is one game show you don’t have to be ashamed of getting sucked in to.
  6. This hybrid, which is competent but not terribly distinctive, may not be unique enough to thrill reality fans or familiar enough to satisfy devotees of “Deadliest Catch.”
  7. Though reminiscent of other TV fare, though standard in dialogue, plotting and performances, "In Justice" does boast a touch of originality by examining not only investigators, victims and criminals, but innocent bystanders ensnared in the crime web as well.
  8. May well be worth a look.
  9. Yes, this is more cover-your-eyes, cringe comedy -- the kind of funny that's hard to watch because it only works when innocent passersby, people like you, are manipulated and humiliated on camera.
  10. Though "Sunny" is admirably energetic, the comedy can seem repetitive after a while. [13 Sep 2007]
    • Chicago Tribune
  11. Nothing that happens next is particularly surprising, though the plot rolls forward with workmanlike efficiency.
  12. K-Ville is a solidly crafted drama with admirable focus and energy.
  13. Another workmanlike, reasonably decent thriller.
  14. It may not be blessed with the most felicitous dialogue of all time, but “Day Break” is a solidly constructed and fast-paced drama.
  15. Welcome to the Captain attempts a similarly shaggy, loose sitcom vibe, but isn't quite successful, though it's at least watchable.
  16. There's an uneven quality to the humor, and the snide putdown of "Leave It to Beaver"-land is starting to get old. [5 Aug 2005]
    • Chicago Tribune
  17. "Hex" takes a while to cast its spell, but it may yet prove itself worthy of viewers' attention.
  18. As solid and gentle a sitcom as the new season has produced. It is a show that tries for laughs not in the insult-throwing manner employed by far too many sitcoms or in unrealistic scenarios but in subtle, observational ways...That said, the show also is a feast of yuppie fatuousness.[20 Sept 1993, p.8]
    • Chicago Tribune
  19. If you don’t like hints of Harry Potter mixed in with fairly straightforward procedural elements, this may not be the show for you.
  20. Like it or not, this show is fairly amusing and not a blow against civility. [10 Sept 1990, p.C1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  21. Crowded, confusing and unafraid to be dull, "Sons & Daughters" also holds tremendous promise.
  22. And therein lies the main flaw of this otherwise entertaining show. Not much time is devoted to actually teaching the novices the top-notch technique that they'd need to make it in one of Ramsay's successful London establishments, let alone the restaurant that gives the program its name.
  23. For all its ferocity, and despite some excellent supporting performances, there’s a curious hole at the center of Sons of Anarchy. The character we’re supposed to be most interested in is something of a blank slate.
  24. The biggest problem with Fox's "Kitchen Confidential" is that star Bradley Cooper... is far too appealing to play a bad-boy chef.
  25. Mildly satisfying, but pretty formulaic.
  26. At least at the outset, there's more than just a lot of potential. There's a lot of everything.... Parental beatdowns! Sibling rivalry! Drug money! Terminal illness! Blackmail! Betrayal! Gold chains! It's all so much, so soon.
  27. Despite its jittery camerawork and souped-up graphics, "Justice" is just a reasonably well-made, meat-and-potatoes lawyer show.
  28. “Army Wives” is by no means a perfect show, but there’s a lot of potential material in the lives of these women.
  29. It's a rip-off of an earlier (and better) road trip series, Comedy Central's "The Comedians of Comedy," but worthwhile nonetheless.
  30. Barely a minute goes by in this new NBC sitcom ... without another gratuitous breast reference, as though the word itself is a riot. It's too bad, because if you can get past the sense that somebody wrote much of this with a Victoria's Secret catalog close at hand, there's actually a charming and perceptive comedy lurking inside, a neat counterpoint to all those series about urbanites on the make. [9 Jan 1996]
    • Chicago Tribune
  31. You expect the Big Moment on Grey's Anatomy, and the usual array of melodramatic developments in Thursday's two-hour season premiere. On the plus side, at least this episode isn't as padded and maddening as past two-hour Grey's episodes have been.
  32. Trekkies, beware. ... Nothing, but nothing, could match the 1966-69 original, right? Those of us who have been less diligent in our viewing habits, though, may see the spinoff as energetically entertaining sci-fi stuff, an alternately spirited and silly piece. [30 Sep 1987]
    • Chicago Tribune
  33. Even as you laugh at the clunky dialogue, cringe at the large hair, get annoyed by wardrobe stylists who think that the "Miami Vice" look was still hip in 1986, you will get sucked in to "Reunion's" murder mystery.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Women will like the show because it's empowering and because television, for once, presents guys to ogle. Men will like it because Trista's pretty attractive herself. [9 Jan 2003, p.8]
    • Chicago Tribune
  34. An amiable, pleasant piece...While the film was manipulative and filled with obvious humor, Keaton managed somehow to transcend the commonplace, but Jackson just doesn't have the same comedic timing or the ability to juxtapose artfully toughness and cuteness. [9 Sept 1988, p.C2]
    • Chicago Tribune
  35. Millman... is kind of an irritating guy, and the conceit of the show wears thin pretty quickly.
  36. While fitfully entertaining, not only is "China Beach" derivative, but the series... suffers from a leading lady who is not particularly likable, as well as an overabundance of strained humor and forced-march poignance. [26 Apr 1988]
    • Chicago Tribune
  37. A mildly amusing way to spend a half an hour.
  38. There was one brief shoving match on the program, in which a 15 year old "got in the face" of an 11 year old, but most of the program was pretty sedate, if not a bit bland.
  39. By the end of the five episodes HBO sent for review, one's interest in the tangled future of this offbeat clan may be piqued, but be forewarned, it takes a while -- and there are a lot of petty spats and crying kids -- before one gets to that point.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    This program will appeal to viewers who like car chases through crowded city streets, police cars leaping stretches of water onto the decks of ferry boats, lunch vans that go up in flames, food fights involving raw fish in prison dining rooms and the sight of two guys escaping from prison while dressed as Japanese geisha girls. [18 Sep 1985]
    • Chicago Tribune
  40. “This American Life” really begins to show its TV potential in episode three, when the show stops trying so hard to be perfect and lets its storytelling sprawl.
  41. An intermittently interesting summer potboiler with a creepy "Twin Peaks"-meets-"American Beauty" vibe, with a little of "The Riches" thrown in for good measure.
  42. The last half-hour of the pilot is by far the best part of Fringe; it’s full of twists, turns, action and suspense. And the first 20 minutes or so, in which a team of federal agents investigate a mysterious occurrence on a commercial airliner, is brisk and efficient, if (like much of Fringe) a little bombastic and overdirected. Aside from a cinematic dream sequence, the middle hour of Fringe is much more problematic.
  43. Though the writing here is inconsistent, [Louis-Dreyfus] just might stay around with this one, which gives her some chances to show off.
  44. Still, despite Chuck’s zippy pace and fun dialogue, this nerd-friendly "spy-fi" show from "O.C." creator Josh Schwartz has plot holes you could drive a truck through.
  45. Rome is slow, ponderous, terribly uneven and dense, more "The Wire" than "The Sopranos" draped in togas. But those who stick it out may well be seduced by the series' cumulative effort to create a complete, if repulsive, world. This is a bold cable offering, always a little more than sword-and-sandal kitsch and rarely, if ever, kind. [26 Aug 2005, p.C1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  46. "Brian" is easy, harmless viewing, sliding down the gullet as smoothly and reassuring as a glass of California merlot.
  47. Whedon's dialogue here, without contemporary pop culture to play against, feels a touch heavy. And there's only one great laugh, rare for so clever a writer. The result is that Firefly is intriguing but not compelling, but it least has the promise of a bright fellow at the helm. [20 Sept 2002, p.C3]
    • Chicago Tribune
  48. It may not have the subtlety or sophisticated wit of "Arrested Development," but it's not supposed to. It's more a combination of "The Office" and "Four Kings" -- with really good music and a distinctive, energetic visual style.
  49. "Head Cases" might have more of a chance if it gets a little bit sharper, edgier, funnier and surprising. But it's a likable, potentially promising premise, buoyed by the expert casting of its leads.
  50. After going through its share of growing pains, it now operates with clockwork efficiency. But the characters seem even more one-dimensional than they were last year.
  51. Feresten... is engaging in a slightly weird, self-mocking, Letterman-esque way, with only occasional forays into dippy post-frat humor.
  52. In other words, same old '24,' for better in the initially intriguing plot and worse in the way much of the story seems to derive from other shows, including 'The West Wing' and the narcotics mini-series 'Kingpin.' [28 Oct 2003]
    • Chicago Tribune
  53. The dialogue, when it's not establishing authenticity with technical terminology, offers up bad puns and trite truisms unworthy of an otherwise crisp production. [22 Sep 2002]
    • Chicago Tribune
  54. Judging from the first two episodes, the series remains both visually compelling and dramatically impenetrable, likely to attract ongoing fans but too confusing at this stage to attract new ones. [7 Jan 2005]
    • Chicago Tribune
  55. Overall, the new Fox sitcom is surprisingly winning, and the skilled Corddry is the main reason.
  56. The glimpses of old-fashioned heart in Sid’s story, and the characters’ deadpan humor, make this show a mildly intriguing chronicle of youth.
  57. Though it's competently made and catches fire dramatically from time to time, Canterbury's Law doesn't have quite as much dramatic depth as those other shows ["Damages," "House" or "Saving Grace"]do at their best.
  58. If you've never seen "The Sopranos" -- and haven't seen "Goodfellas," "Donnie Brasco" or some of the other morally ambiguous mob tales -- you may well consider it exciting television. Well acted and occasionally trusting the audience not to need everything spelled out for it, it could fairly be called a pretty good watch. [3 Apr 2000]
    • Chicago Tribune
  59. House seems a little off when it returns for its fifth season. My diagnosis: A chemistry imbalance.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    [Potts] plays Johnson a little stronger, a little grittier, a little more in control, than Pfeiffer did, and as a result is more believable. The series, too, is less of a simple-minded fable, incorporating a more detailed vision of the modern educational landscape, fleshing out Johnson's fellow faculty and having her rely less on teaching by bribe. [30 Sept 1996, p.3]
    • Chicago Tribune
  60. Roswell is, really, not bad. But in a prime-time universe crowded with quality dramas in general and quality supernatural dramas in particular, pretty good is not quite good enough. [4 Oct 1999, p.T1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  61. This new show is at least better paced than the horribly wooden prequels, but little about Clone Wars is involving.
  62. Compared with the superhit "Sweet 16," "The Hills" is more refined in its celebration of materialism, though no less celebratory.
  63. Familiar turf, but not bad, considering. Trouble is, the premise will wear out quickly. [24 Mar 1989, p.4]
    • Chicago Tribune
  64. Trouble is, very few of the show's other cast members make much of an impression, aside from Cassidy and Stephanie Jacobsen, whose medical-student plot is lifted straight from the Soap 101 handbook.
  65. The show demonstrates that none of Cox's ample comic skills have diminished; she still has impeccable timing. But she can be such a brittle presence that she needs to be surrounded by more sympathetic characters, not by friends who are, if anything, more raunchy and manic.
  66. Still, despite the witty dialogue and capable performances, everything on this wispy show is resolved a little too easily.
  67. The glut of characters and heavy-handed plot twists crammed into the first episode suggest that "Conviction" may prove too much of a good legal thing.
  68. Dexter’s life as a suburban dad feels claustrophobic, and the show has become repetitive and predictable.
  69. Why, Haven, why?? Without the Balfour, this might have been a blandish but watchable "X-Files" derivation. With the Balfour, well, his time on screen did not increase my desire to check out this "Haven" in future.
  70. Back for a second season after receiving way too much praise in its first, the plastic-surgery drama Nip/Tuck continues to be as garish as its Miami setting. [22 June 2004, p.7]
    • Chicago Tribune
  71. Bionic Woman, the disappointingly average remake of the Lindsay Wagner vehicle from the ’70s, comes to life.
  72. Though miles behind the sophistication of the earlier NYC-set "Seinfeld" or "Friends," "Kings" sometimes boasts laugh lines funnier than those, say, on "How I Met Your Mother," the CBS venture essentially after the same audience.
  73. Stories aren't particularly dense or surprising, and some of the conflict feels quite contrived
  74. "Run's House" doesn't offer anything new to the genre.
  75. Estes and Jones are appealing, slightly underplaying their buddy shtick. In a galaxy far, far away, their act might click. But in our universe of cop show overload, they're just another team grappling with grisly violence and unrepentant evil.
  76. Purely as a cop show, Life on Mars is competent but not that compelling, though O’Mara does a fine job as Tyler.
  77. A grim, formulaic drama.
  78. A lead-footed imitation of that fine old radio show, "The Bickersons," which featured Don Ameche and Frances Langford, Married . . . with Children spotlights still another couple trading verbal tweaks and brusque banter. [3 Apr 1987, p.5]
    • Chicago Tribune
  79. I have nothing against procedurals per se, but all this rather soulless copy has going for it is the jaunty performance of LL Cool J and a fairly efficient tick-tock plot. Depending upon your mood or preference, that may be enough.
  80. What's missing most from Rescue Me's first couple of episodes, at least, are scenes of firehouse camaraderie among Gavin and his fellow firefighters. [13 June 2007, p.12]
    • Chicago Tribune
  81. It's an intriguing idea for a reality show, and it more or less survives Fox's cheesy presentation.
  82. Judging by its initial effort, it's a harmless, pretty romp. [22 Sept 1989, p.1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  83. Hung, despite some droll humor and the occasional dry insight, is even more of a disappointment.
  84. It's nicely cast but pretty much a pure formula piece from the Bruce Helford ("The Drew Carey Show") factory. The welcome diversion from the family sitcom recipe is that it puts a Latino (who happens to be pretty funny) in the lead role. But Helford drops in altogether too much gratuitous crudeness to make this acceptable as family viewing. [27 Mar 2002, p.C3]
    • Chicago Tribune
  85. Everything about "Andy Barker"... is lovingly created. And there are some laughs, but the show fails to truly catch fire.
  86. As a crime drama, "Medium" has a long way to go to match the dramatic propulsion and seductive intricacy of the likes of "Without a Trace." The storytelling is flat, even predictable, whether you're psychic or not. [3 Jan 2005]
    • Chicago Tribune
  87. Ron Swanson's (Nick Offerman) short “tour” of his office--a loose, throwaway moment at the end of the episode--is the funniest thing about the otherwise strained Parks pilot.
  88. The first substantial segment wasn't exactly a laugh-riot--it was a musically themed trip to a car wash with singer Dan Finnerty. Even if it was only moderately funny, it reinforced the Jay Leno Show brand of inoffensively average comedy and also established that the show would not be dominated by a couch and celebrity guests.
  89. If not for the impish, unpredictable charm of Paul Gross, who plays the mysterious Darryl Van Horne, the pretty, superficial Eastwick might have fallen completely flat.
  90. It's a broad, unsubtle sitcom, one that may be worth watching for White, but otherwise is only moderately amusing at best.
  91. Well, it wasn’t “Masterpiece Theatre,” and it wasn’t outright terrible.
  92. Better is Brody, a bundle of oddball mannerisms and naked yearnings as he plays Seth, the one character the writer truly seems to identify with and understand. Obsessed with sailing and acutely self-conscious, Seth is given a degree of specificity that would be affecting in another show but here serves primarily to underscore how generic everybody else is. [5 Aug 2003, p.C1]
    • Chicago Tribune
  93. But the problem with "Real World" hasn't been the absence of a goal, mercenary or otherwise. It's been an increasingly obvious self-seriousness and lack of self-awareness, traits the show shares with many of its participants. ... Forcing a business startup will surely force a lot of the series' requisite conflict, but it seems as artificial a notion as much of the Miami Beach architecture. [10 Jul 1996]
    • Chicago Tribune
  94. What a disappointment to find that the third season of Dexter is all over the map and lacks the crackling tension the drama had supplied in previous years.
  95. It's only June,? but I can confidently state that you won’t see a weirder show than "John From Cincinnati" all year long.
  96. It’s hard to invest much in Sam when his behavior is contradictory or gullible and when he seems downtrodden much of the time.
  97. There are a few confrontations or comedic moments that catch fire, but mostly "Men" just ambles along, sometimes perceptively and sometimes lazily observing the lives of these guys, who have stumbled into middle age and its grinding routines and hard-won but significant satisfactions.

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