Cleveland Plain Dealer's Scores

  • TV
For 231 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 61% higher than the average critic
  • 0% same as the average critic
  • 39% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 Game of Thrones: Season 5
Lowest review score: 0 Hot Properties: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 150
  2. Negative: 0 out of 150
150 tv reviews
  1. We have fifth-season banquet of delights spread before us.... With each season, that load is spread out more and more, with young players coming into their own and crafty veterans added to the cast. The storytelling also gets stronger and more assured, pushing Game of Thrones to greater and grander heights.
  2. Writer David Farr updated le Carre's novel with expert care, and his script is stunningly realized by a sensational cast guided by the unerring direction of Susanne Bier. Indeed, just about everything goes right in this sexy, riveting and suspenseful miniseries.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Anyone who doesn't think this is the best drama on television should have his head examined. [16 Jan 2000]
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  3. Still standing magnificently tall in its fifth season, Justified more than justifies its place as one of television's best dramas. That's a crowded field, of course, but, in this critic's opinion, it is not just one of the best. It is THE best.
  4. HBO made four of the 13 new episodes available for review. Taken as a whole, they stand as compelling proof that the series' creator and executive producer, David Chase, still is in complete control of the brilliantly constructed crime saga. [4 Mar 2001]
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  5. An intense, intriguing and exciting mix of action and horror. [22 Sept 2004, p.E1]
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  6. From the first frame, it's clear that Jackie Robinson is a genuine labor of love. The warmly crafted two-part, four-hour PBS documentary from filmmaker Ken Burns positively glows with its admiration for the man and his accomplishments. ... Another mighty home run for PBS.
  7. It's where quirky meets quixotic, and the mix is enchanting - equal parts wit and whimsy. [8 Oct 2000, p.11]
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  8. No drama mixes the profoundly painful with the profanely funny more expertly than Rescue Me, Denis Leary's FX series about New York City firefighters. As laughter wraps itself around anguish on this Manhattan landscape, you wonder if what's unfolding is an epic American tragedy or a raunchy workplace comedy. [12 June 2007, p.E1]
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  9. Generous with the laughs. A wonderfully quirky and stylish series from a creative team headed by director-producer Ron Howard, this isn't merely the best new comedy of the season. It's the best new show of any kind.[2 Nov 2003, p.J1]
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  10. Patience and attention to detail are rewarded handsomely, however, as Legion serves up a an instantly compelling narrative laced with an intriguing sense of mystery and wonder. It makes for a riveting adventure packed with razor-sharp dialogue, clever visual touches, surrealistic flourishes and wonderfully winning performances.
  11. The hallmarks of a Hawley show are wonderfully offbeat yet endlessly intriguing characters, boldly innovative visual flourishes, a somewhat antic sense of humor, marvelously textured universes, compelling performances and whip-smart writing. Are all of these elements to be found in the immediately riveting third-season opener of Fargo? Oh heck yah, youbetcha.
  12. A four-alarm run of fiery performances laced with hurt and hilarity. It means writing that swerves brilliantly from racy humor to lacerating pain, from steamy encounters to brutal insights. And it means spending quality time with some of the most human, street-level, flesh-and-blood characters you're likely to encounter anywhere in the television realm. [30 May 2006, p.E1]
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  13. Part of the intoxicating magic of Feud is the fierce relish with which Sarandon and Lange circle each other warily, clash, back off, then clash again. It is a mesmerizing, perfectly executed dance--a bitter tango staged somewhere near the intersection of "Sunset Boulevard" and the "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." The brittle dialogue rips along with waspish intensity, and adding to the storytelling wizardry is an outstanding supporting cast.
  14. Amber Tamblyn (yes, she's the daughter of "Twin Peaks" star Russ Tamblyn) shines in the title role. Her Joan is a delightful adolescent mix of hope, doubt, joy, anger, anxiety, yearning and skepticism...Viewers searching for a promising new drama will do no better this season than Joan of Arcadia, which walks that tricky line of being spiritual without becoming preachy, touching without turning treacly, humorous without going for the cheap jokes. [26 Sept 2003, p.E1]
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  15. The Americans stands tall in a crowded field of quality dramas. It keeps getting stronger and stronger, a realization underscored by the arrival of the fourth season.
  16. Russell brings great subtlety and appeal to the role, in an engaging show that captures the exhilarating and sometimes scary possibilities of a time of life when everything feels new. [29 Sept 1998, p.1E]
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  17. "Justified" and Game of Thrones, each in its own way, has done its share to raise that bar to dizzying heights.
  18. A rich, risky and satisfying adult drama that could be the next "Wiseguy" - and there isn't much higher praise. [26 Oct 1996]
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  19. Murder One is shrewdly constructed, quickly absorbing and absolutely first-rate - the best new show of fall...Terrifically scripted and perfectly cast, the show gets its biggest lift from the shaven-headed Benzali, whose brilliant performance as the principled, supremely confident Hoffman could be the best advertisement for defense attorneys since Clarence Darrow. [19 Sept 1995, p.9E]
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  20. His character is brought low often enough, but no comedy soars higher.
  21. AMC's best current show? Not even close. By a big stretch, it's the "Breaking Bad" spinoff (and prequel series) Better Call Saul, which launches its third season in grand style. ... It feels like some kind of brilliant first cousin.
  22. Like "Freaks and Geeks," however, Undeclared is considerably smarter, sharper and slicker than your average network series. If at times the comedy strays below the belt, it justifies these moments by appealing to our hearts and minds. [25 Sept 2001, p.E1]
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  23. Under the guise of fantasy, Roswell manages to be insightful, profound, romantic, eerie, mysterious and funny. It artfully uses the alien characters as engaging stand-ins for countless teenagers who, rebelling against pressures to conform, feel like beings from another planet. [6 Oct 1999, p.1E]
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  24. The cast is first rate, delivering sympathetic and believable performances. The writing is intelligent, providing intellectual grist to the grisly moments. And the direction is as crisp as it is clever. [20 Sept 1999, p.1E]
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  25. The remarkable thing is that, even with a bigger cast, Kohan never sacrifices a whit of clarity or energy. Orange Is the New Black is as fresh and as vital as ever, and you don't always see that in a fourth season.
  26. Although the promising drama has its self-conscious moments when the offbeat stuff seems a trifle forced, Laurie delivers a consistently fascinating performance as the abrasive diagnostician. Even with the labored interludes, the series stands as, to borrow an old rock lyric, “a very, very, very fine” House. [16 Nov 2004, p.E4]
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  27. Perhaps the most astonishing thing about this stylish, wonderfully atmospheric British production is how fresh it seems. It's not as if this is a tale rarely told.
  28. Although some liberties have been taken with the characters and plot, it is an immediately intriguing, wonderfully textured realization of Dick's challenging book.
  29. If you have a strong enough stomach to get through the yuck-and-yikes surgical procedures, the dramatic rewards are great. If you prefer shows with an edge and an attitude, make your appointment with Miami partners Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon)...And if you like your television served up with wit, intelligence and a bit of daring, you won't have much to say if someone asks, "Tell me what you don't like about Nip/Tuck. "[22 June 2004, p.E1]
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  30. The writers do take the occasional misstep along the trail. The series has it didactic moments, to be sure, as well as the occasional cartoonish character (usually among those chasing the runaways). But these drawbacks are more than offset by the riveting narrative, the outstanding lead cast and a seamless weaving of the greater historical context into the ongoing story.
  31. The Walking Dead still has a strong grip on our imagination as it continues to aim at all three levels--brain, heart and stomach--with deadly accuracy.
  32. So funny that you might not notice it doesn't have a laugh track. [8 Jan 2000]
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  33. Stylish and briskly paced, Boomtown clearly shows the impact of "Pulp Fiction" in its quirky dialogue. The impact of "Rashomon," Kurosawa's film about a murder recounted in different ways, is most obviously seen in the program's structure. [29 Sept 2002, p.J1]
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  34. Every bit as intriguing as it is intelligent. [13 Jun 2005]
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  35. It’s raucously funny in its own right and in its own way. If the first season’s remaining nine episodes are anywhere near as laugh-out-loud hilarious as tonight’s opener, Barbershop: The Series will be nothing less than Showtime’s strongest entry yet in the comedy field. [14 Aug 2005, p.J1]
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  36. Already TV's most literate and stylish horror drama, "Penny Dreadful" is adding new and intriguing elements to the ambitious structure as the third season begins.
  37. It's a sentimental journey, to be sure, but it never gives in to sentimentality. And while Tyson leads the way on this trip of a Lifetime, she is surrounded by co-stars adding illumination at every turn.
  38. Meticulously detailed and seamlessly crafted, it has the look of a feature film and a sense of behind-the-scenes authenticity, and it could be the season's best new drama. [22 Sept 1999, p.6E]
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  39. Director Michael Apted and writer Michelle Ashford masterfully guide you back into the Masters of Sex story, providing a beautifully textured framework for these wonderfully nuanced performances.
  40. Although technically listed as a drama, make no mistake, it's one of the funniest programs on TV this season.
  41. The show has lost none of its expert knack for building suspense and tossing surprises.
  42. There are moments (like the aforementioned withdrawal episode) where you think about giving up on it. But those thoughts disappear once the show's surprise is revealed and Elliot recognizes his true purpose. That leads to Season 2's premiere being a thrill ride. ... Mr. Robot has the potential to be [as good as "Breaking Bad."]
  43. In some ways, the show recalls the early days of "Beverly Hills, 90210." With its exceptional writing and sensitivity, however, it resembles nothing so much as a "teensomething" version of "thirtysomething." [25 Aug 1994, p.1F]
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  44. A smart, stylish, sexy romp full of sizzling patter and clever chatter. Behind the glitz and glamour of Sin City are solid performances by Caan and his immediately likable co-stars. [22 Sept 2003, p.D7]
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  45. This is hardly a one-character show. Ray is at the center of the movie-land maelstrom, to be sure, but everything around him is intriguing. And everything speaks to danger.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Great fun. Leave your brain in neutral and enjoy the zany ride. When the twisting and turning are over, the briskly paced and visually intriguing Alias glides home as solid escapist fare. Don't ask questions. If logic gets in the way, this material will start unraveling like the proverbial cheap suit. Yet, while comic-bookish and derivative, Alias emerges as a winner because it shrewdly assembles bits and pieces of "La Femme Nikita" and other espionage thrillers. There's even a little "X-Files" trust-no-one paranoia thrown in for good measure. [29 Sept 2001, p.6]
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  46. Sarcastic yet engaging, edgy yet heartfelt. [2 Oct 2001, p.E1]
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  47. The show wins points for innovation, intelligence and solid production values. [6 Nov 2001]
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  48. Weaving the lives of these three towering Roosevelts into one triumphant 14-hour film, Burns has found another ideal prism for examining the American character and the American story.
  49. Drenched in whom-do-you-trust paranoia and dripping with suspense, "Invasion" grabs you by the throat in the opening seconds and never lets go.
  50. A wild joyride of cultural and generational dissonance, Dharma & Greg captures lightning in a bottle and looks like a hit. [24 Sept 1997, p.6F]
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  51. Stark and disturbing, The Wire, like HBO's "Oz" and "The Sopranos," is not for those of tender sensibilities. It is often violent and vulgar. But, make no mistake, it is often brilliant. [1 June 2002, p.E6]
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  52. This trio of tales uses plot elements from the original stories in wonderfully inventive and deliciously brilliant ways. In other words, knock the dust off of 221B Baker Street.
  53. It easily lives up to its advance billing as the best new show of the fall season.
  54. Travolta's cartoonish Shapiro is the exception, after all, and even most of the peripheral performances court favorable verdicts.
  55. '24' seems to have smartly reinvented the intriguing formula, getting itself back on track for what could be the best season to date. [9 Jan 2005]
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  56. The marvelously textured performances and addictive narrative remain the most compelling reasons to watch Outlander.
  57. Matching last year's blistering pace is a dizzying challenge for Netflix, but this is the team that can get them off to a flying start.
  58. If issues don't get in the way, CBS' The District is a good show - may be one of the TV season's most watchable new dramas. [7 Oct 2000, p.1E]
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  59. It's grittily atmospheric, sharply scripted and acted with a depth that becomes more apparent as the series goes on. It will leave you on the edge of your seat. [4 Apr 2000]
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  60. Checking in means checking out what's in store for the second season, and the tantalizing possibilities are gleaming like the surface of a highly-polished knife blade.
  61. Mr. Selfridge has some enticing items to tempt those shopping for a quality viewing experience. At the top of this list is the gift that keeps on giving: Jeremy Piven's wonderfully textured portrayal of Harry Gordon Selfridge.
  62. A low-key, deadpan program that is very amusing and unusually engaging. [27 May 1995]
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  63. An extremely smart, wildly eccentric and very adult comedy. And if Bacon is bringing the heat, then Hahn is the aching, searching heart of this series.
  64. Like "The X-Files," a series it resembles in both look and tone, "Threshold" is as much a horror show as it is a science-fiction program.
  65. Murder in the First is an immediately engaging crime drama boasting a deep cast and crisp direction.
  66. A darker shade of "Green"? Yes, at times, grim realities are made a trifle more real. Does that work? Yes, often wonderfully well.
  67. If some plot elements in the third season seemed forced (and they did), then Fellowes seems to have completely regained his balance in the fourth season. And that balance means expertly bouncing between the upstairs and downstairs worlds of Downton, letting the plot turns flow naturally, carrying us along joyously for the posh ride.
  68. There is a razor-sharp focus, as well as a renewed sense of purpose, in the six new episodes Netflix made available to critics in advance of the fourth-season premiere.
  69. Not all of the plots work at a high level. Still, even when things go wrong, you know the grand performances will save the Downton day. You're always in good company with this series.
  70. Frasier is also that rare supporting character who appears able to support his own series. Tonight's pilot gets Frasier off to a smartly written and deftly acted start that is especially lifted by the effortless pairing of Grammer and Pierce, who was a standout from the short-lived political sitcom "The Powers That Be." [16 Sept 1993, p.1F]
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  71. Sharply scripted, well acted and crisply directed by James Burrows, it makes comedy its main agenda, and reaches it with an authentic, matter-of-fact tone. [21 Sep 1998]
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  72. Aspects of Battle Creek seem familiar, to be sure, yet it registers high on the giddy scale thanks to energetic direction, clever writing and the comic chemistry generated by Duhamel and Winters.
  73. Beneath all of the insanity, BrainDead again and again demonstrates it has a brain in its head. It's goofy-good-time stuff, all right, yet it has a point.
  74. Part prime-time soap opera, part wicked social satire, this unpredictable newcomer has a blast poking around at the dark edges of a sunny and seemingly perfect suburban neighborhood. [3 Oct 2004]
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  75. Much of this sounds grim, but Breakthrough is anything but depressing in its overall tone. After putting towering problems into chilling perspective, the series humanizes the issues, keeping the focus on individual stories.
  76. A darker, more complex reimagining of the Archie universe. Did I say dark? Let's add moody, murky and, at times, creepy. It also is surprisingly engaging, thanks in no small measure to the winning performances of KJ Apa as Archie Andrews, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge and Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper.
  77. There is a warm sense of family in this series. There is a distinctive sense of style--of being its own kind of show. And there is a sly sense of humor. On all three counts, Jane the Virgin delivers.
  78. Will is as sensual as it is suspenseful, as bawdy as it is bloody, as lusty as it it is lyrical.
  79. What truly makes the Bays-Thomas collaboration smarter than your average sitcom is the storytelling chances taken by the script.
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  80. This show manages to give us the hilarious, horrific and heroic... and it has brains.
  81. With a cast led by Michael Chiklis and CCH Pounder, The Shield isn't just pushing boundaries. It's bashing through them like police officers wielding those door-destroying battering rams. The results are often quite arresting... Chiklis and Pounder are terrific. Their co-stars aren't even close to being in their league. [12 Mar 2002, p.e5]
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  82. Murder One survived on appeal after approaching cancellation. It makes a great case for itself tonight. [10 Oct 1996, p.8E]
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  83. In a season overloaded with domestic sitcoms, Dave's World is distinguished by featuring the least annoying and most realistic kids, and by being based on the work of a Pulitzer Prize winner, humor columnist Dave Barry. [20 Sept 1993]
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  84. The tone of the second season is slightly different from the first, yet he remains remarkably true to his stated metaphoric mission. Have no fear, it's the same Penny Dreadful, but Logan is shaking things up in all kinds imaginative ways.... No if about it. Penny Dreadful works.
  85. The documentary not only is a moving tribute to the prolific director who died at 84, it's a reminder of what's too often missing from so much of television and pop culture--conversation... real, in-depth, smart, respectful, insightful conversation.
  86. Once this crime thriller lures you in and really gets going, it's an off-to-the-races ride that never forgets to delve deeply into the dark sides of the central characters. Derivative? Yes, but in endlessly sly and fascinating ways.
  87. It's a slow start to be sure, as American Gods gradually, deliberately but surely draws you into its elaborate, impressively nuanced world, where old myths and religions intersect with new American gods.
  88. It's an ambitious and engrossing combination of mystery story and medical drama - and a powerful reminder that docudramas can be more than true-crime sleaze. [11 Sept 1993, p.1E]
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  89. Smartly and humorously written, spiced with cartoonish mayhem and over-the-top acting, it visually resembles the "Dick Tracy" and "Batman" movies, deals in the sort of speculative scientific fantasy that distinguished "Quantum Leap" and the miniseries "Wild Palms," and provides ... escapist fun. [19 Mar 1994]
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  90. Although "Reunion" has its labored and lackluster moments, it is an admirable attempt to try something a little different with traditional prime-time formats. Give this one major innovation points.
  91. The result is a delightful horror hodgepodge packed with eerie surprises, colorful characters and Gothic plot twists.
  92. It is packed with towering performances that boldly and magnificently reinterpret characters who have become part of our national folklore.
  93. despite some clunky moments, Daly's The Fugitive sprints well past the vast majority of this fall's freshman series. [6 Oct 2000, p.5E]
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  94. Emphasizing action more than character, Babylon 5 is a show that's simply grittier, more exuberantly freewheeling and more fun [than "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"]. [25 Jan 1994, p.9D]
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  95. Clueless pulls off the balancing act of being bright and sophisticated while remaining almost squeaky-clean. [20 Sept 1996, p.1E]
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  96. The good news is that Snowfall, the searing FX drama about the 1980s crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles, does start moving at dazzling speed after a slow, plodding start. The bad news is that this occurs somewhere about the fourth episode.
  97. "My Name Is Earl" is a good show that doesn't quite have the feel of being the next "Seinfeld" or "Cheers." But like Lee's Earl, Garcia's feel-good concept is strangely effective. If not brilliant, it is ambitious, and it is definitely funny.
  98. While The Strain is pretty much a cauldron churning with familiar ingredients, the dark brew bubbling inside is served up with a great deal of panache.

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