Kansas City Star's Scores

  • TV
For 275 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 56% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 43% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 The Wire: Season 4
Lowest review score: 0 Gossip Girl: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 160
  2. Negative: 0 out of 160
160 tv reviews
  1. To me, what allows “The Wire” to surpass “The Sopranos” in the pantheon of greatest American TV shows is its ambition and its anger.
  2. The Shield" also features heart-stopping action scenes, the steady backbeat of its addictive soundtrack and highly entertaining chatter. The combined effect will kick down your door. [12 Mar 2002, p.E1]
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  3. This show has great casting, comedy that crackles and characters who show signs of actually possessing some depth to them. These are rare qualities for any TV show, which is why I ranked it my second-favorite new series of the fall. [22 Sept 2003, p.E8]
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  4. This sweet comic drama is the best new show of the fall. "Ed" is not only cleverly scripted but also marvelously cast and filled with little touches that make it absolutely endearing. [7 Oct 2000, p.E1]
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  5. The best drama on television. [18 Sep 2004]
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  6. It is a show driven not so much by story line as by story telling. We may never have seen a TV program so adept at painting brilliant little vignettes that have nothing to do with anything except the sheer pleasure of watching a scene unfold or hearing pitch-perfect dialogue. [3 Mar 2001]
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    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Over nine weeks and 10 hours, this extraordinary television event looks for humanity in the midst of carnage and despair. Time and time again, Band of Brothers finds it. [9 Sept 2001, p.11]
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  7. After True Detective, all the other TV cops hunting serial killers are going to look like copycats. It’s that the taut script and spot-on dialogue takes us on a ’90s noir roller coaster ride of Shakespearean tragedy with fearless literary aspirations, delivered by two actors at the top of their game.
  8. Murder One is by far the best new drama of the season, a sensational and intelligent combination of grit, mystery and conflict. [19 Sept 1995, p.E1]
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  9. “Everybody Hates Chris” is one of those rare nostalgia shows that doesn’t patronize childhood.
  10. An out-of-the-gate triumph.
  11. Hilarious, delightful and smart... "Eureka" may have the gumption to become the best sci-fi show since the late lamented “Farscape.”
  12. Since CBS doesn’t want us to see "Kid Nation" in advance, I guess I’ll just have to declare Kitchen Nightmares the best new reality show of the fall.
  13. Reaper is remarkably well-paced and hilariously well-written.
  14. Once again Simon and his producing partner, Ed Burns, plunge us deeply into the culture of foul-mouthed men, many of them barely out of their teens, who have ready access to firearms and agendas that have little to do with the American dream that you and I understood growing up. And, as before, you can’t stop watching it.
  15. It's a heck of a show.
  16. Justified is one of those programs where, when you get done with the three review episodes FX sends you, you're angry because you know FX could've sent more episodes if it wanted to.
  17. Each person in the ensemble is distinct and intriguing. This show is loaded with possibilities.[20 Sept 2002, p.E1]
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  18. Compelling. [20 Sept 2002, p.E1]
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  19. What a pleasure to find a woman who doesn't need to karate chop some no-neck to prove she's in charge. [27 Sept 2003]
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  20. Hugh Laurie is simply brilliant as the sarcastic, Vicodin-popping, cane-clutching healer in House. You want to see a heroic doctor? Go watch Matthew Fox save an island on "Lost." Want to see a terrific performance by a comedic actor who may singlehandedly save the medical drama? Here's your guy. [16 Nov 2004, p.E3]
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  21. What makes Boomtown so immediately interesting is that each of these people is treated like a main character, at least for a few moments. Rather than the standard objective, all-seeing-all-knowing camera, this show teases the viewer by using several highly subjective cameras, including some trained on bit players. I've seen this verite approach in documentaries, but this is the closest any fictional drama has come to approximating the effect. [28 Sept 2002, p.G1]
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  22. The result is a challenging psychological thriller within a gripping crime procedural.
  23. I liked this show immediately...A delightful, well-designed show from start to finish. [5 Oct 2000, p.E1]
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  24. Delightful. [6 Oct 2000, p.E1]
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  25. What makes '24' so nail-biting good is its use of layered storytelling, plot twists and visual trickery to create the illusion of action. The premiere starts slowly, then picks up steam as it darts deftly in and out of six different stories. ... The genius of '24' is that it makes each minute feel more precious than the last. [4 Nov 2001]
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  26. '24' continues to distinguish itself as the most original show on television. [27 Oct 2003]
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  27. The most promising new network show of the year...One part family drama, one part crime drama, one part internal metaphysical whatever, Joan of Arcadia draws us immediately into its slightly off-kilter universe. [26 Sept 2003]
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  28. Tough, gritty, almost exhausting to watch. [16 Sep 1994]
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  29. Spellbinding ... Blends intelligent writing, seamless special effects and more wonderful creations from Jim Henson's Creature Shop. [19 Mar 1999]
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  30. If this one doesn't make you laugh, it may be time to report to the cryogenics lab. [26 May 1995]
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  31. The core of the show is its characters, who are vividly drawn and well cast, and its tangle of provocative story lines. [22 July 2003, p.E8]
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  32. A violent, hair-raising combo of “The Ring,” “War of the Worlds” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” with a dash of official conspiracy.
  33. This is one smart, funny comedy that deserves better than the anemic time slot it’s getting.
  34. What makes this intriguing and ultimately irresistible serial thriller one of my favorites of the fall season are its characters.
  35. I can’t say enough about how "Friday Night Lights" defied my expectations for what a TV show about football would be.
  36. The first hour... hits you with a potent cocktail of action and intrigue.
  37. You will regret tuning in even a minute late for the premiere.
  38. It feels like Haggis and Moresco are picking up right where “EZ Streets” left off.
  39. With all the crazy gags, pitch-perfect dialogue and a fresh hero at the center, it’s hard not to see “Andy Barker” as the spiritual successor to “Police Squad!”.
  40. An example of the pay cable channel at its finest.
  41. “This American Life” on TV achieves the same contemplative mood as the radio show. And it has a striking spareness of imagery, much as “Life” on radio has a spareness of sound.
  42. Torchwood is so much more tricked-out with talent and visual wizardry, moves at such breakneck speed and makes such demands on its viewers that it leaves most American TV shows in its dust.
  43. The results aren't much different from a video game, for the violence on Chuck is pretty cartoony, but after watching two episodes I’m hooked. This is a fun escapist show.
  44. A great first hour gets this comedic drama off to a fine start.
  45. A lightly subversive sitcom set in modern-day Wisconsin.
  46. It’s definitely not the same-old same-old, for which ABC is to be congratulated.
  47. Sharply written, compellingly acted, this is the crime procedural ABC has needed all along, one for the “Grey’s Anatomy” crowd.
  48. After four seasons of showing us cosmetic enhancement from every conceivable angle, Nip/Tuck is ready to take its scalpel to something else: the entertainment industry. I’m not saying that it’s going to work or that Nip/Tuck's longtime fans will appreciate the gesture, but tonight’s episode introduces us to a show-within-a-show that is simply dreadful, and that alone (to this TV critic) is worth the price of admission.
  49. As the last of my DVD screeners ended, and I found the story wrapped around me, constrictorlike, I had to agree with old Gus: It feels true. Very true.
  50. The comedy has a loose, improvisational feel to it, but is still pretty fast-paced. And the four characters are at their funniest just in the room alone, swapping lines with each other, an experience a lot of dudes in their 20s can relate to... or so I’m told.
  51. Things may end badly for Vic, or not, but this I know for sure: The next time The Shield cheats its viewers will be the first.
  52. Worst Week is Rube Goldberg meets Murphy’s Law meets the parents. And it’s hysterical.
  53. The Mentalist is safe, predictable, manufactured crime drama … and it works.
  54. The dialogue is surprisingly fresh, even to someone who's watched way too many MTV reality shows.
  55. I like the serious, gimmick-free approach of the show.
  56. The secret to the show’s success is not any of the overly familiar parts, but the nutty way Leverage throws them together. Also, Hutton is a great actor who generates plenty of crackle between Nate and his fellow fleecers.
  57. As a comedy, it’s surprisingly entertaining....But what ultimately kept me watching, through every screener Showtime provided, was this audacious bit of acting from Collette.
  58. When Lost returns Wednesday with a thoroughly entertaining two-hour barnburner, you will want to be there.
  59. Breaking Bad is not an easy show to watch. [But] this is the Cranston show, and for those of us who still see reruns of “Malcolm in the Middle” and the red-faced, eye-bulging slapstick that Cranston was put through on that show, he is quite a revelation on Breaking Bad.
  60. In the end, I had to give in to sheer enjoyment. My wife and I couldn’t load the next episode into the DVD player fast enough.
  61. The one-person-shows these recurring characters put on each week are what give In Treatment its vitality, and of course it helps that HBO can draw from top stage talent.
  62. Rescue Me does everything “Lost” does. It balances character, drama, comedy and suspense while relentlessly pushing a dozen story lines forward.
  63. The fourth season of Friday Night Lights (which already aired last fall on DirecTV) is as rich and dramatic and satisfying as ever.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Southland is built to be bigger, and in that sense it succeeds immediately, thanks to excellent casting (especially Michael Cudlitz and Regina King as a cop and a detective), gritty location shooting around L.A. and storytelling that doesn’t hold the viewer’s hand.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s an atmospheric, pinned-to-your-seat winner.
  64. With its demented story lines, idiotic characters, out-of-control banter and fantastic send-ups of a spy genre that had seemingly been overspoofed already, Archer is destined to put another feather in the cap of FX.
  65. It's the best drama pilot I saw over the summer.
  66. AMC’s The Prisoner isn’t going to reinvent TV the way McGoohan’s brainchild did. For six hours, however, it’s compelling enough in its own way to make you its captive.
  67. Not only is it funnier than its lead-in, it’s improved on its impressive (and sadly truncated) first season on ABC.
  68. Yes, Treme is a tremendous document of the period following Katrina, how it shattered not just homes and infrastructure and tourism but, most important, families. All of that is on the surface and pretty accessible.
  69. Whatever the reasons, True Blood has become stranger, more complicated and more satisfying to watch over time.
  70. While capturing all this with seemingly unfettered access, Wrong finds the little dramas that provide insight into what it's like to be a resident at one of the world's premier teaching hospitals.
  71. I'm happy to report that, much like the disembodied head of Richard Nixon (who shows up in the second episode), it's the same barrel of laughs it always was.
  72. The indie-director touches do not narrow the appeal of Louie. It is, however, strictly for adults.
  73. Warehouse 13 has always been a hodgepodge of other people’s ideas and gimmicks, but the magic is how they’re thrown together here.
  74. The darker tone of Haven (including a haunting piano soundtrack) and reliance on paranormal, rather than technological, story elements form an ideal counterpoint to the wonkery of "Eureka."
  75. It's a bright, fun little show, adhering to the formula that has worked for so many other light dramas on USA: tight writing, a little romance, whirly movement.
  76. Ripper Street was clever enough not to hang its hat on the over-examined killings of the five Ripper victims, and clever fans of police procedurals will relish spending eight hours with cops who have to invent the crime-solving tools at their disposal.
  77. [A] smart espionage drama.
  78. It's safe to say you've not seen anything like it on network television. And not to put too fine a point on it, but the shock does wear off after a few minutes. [22 Sept 2004, p.F3]
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  79. Somehow it works, thanks in part to a tangled intrigue that pulls this lowly matriculator into a conspiracy of the highest order. [29 Sept 2001, p.E1]
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  80. It brings its own style of spine-tingling dysfunction to the screen.
  81. Flawless production design and lush cinematography make Rectify visually stunning, but its simmering mystery and artfully depicted dysfunction make every scene hum with tension.
  82. It has personality to spare, so much that you forgive it for its romantic notion that a bunch of highly paid TV people constitutes a "family." [22 Sept 1998, p.F1]
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  83. The freshest take on the single-camera mockumentary since “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
  84. This extremely promising series combines the human drama of the David Janssen TV show with the stuntwork of the 1992 Harrison Ford movie. And while neither lead has the Hollywood aura of Ford or Tommy Lee Jones, Williamson and Daly are well-matched as the cat and mouse. [6 Oct 2000, p.E1]
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  85. '24' remains the same show, perhaps even a better show than last season. [5 Jan 2005]
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  86. Ray Donovan is undeniably derivative, but it sure is fun. Liev Schreiber leads a stellar cast as Ray Donovan.
  87. Orange is scary, smart and relevant, and it will make you wonder why no one thought to give the “Oz” formula a dose of estrogen before now.
  88. Elevate[s] the state of TV drama with fine writing, convincing acting and compelling stories. [16 Sep 1994]
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  89. This just feels like the show "CSI" should have been all along. [23 Sep 2002]
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  90. Smallville roped me in. The most intriguing premise is that young Clark is only starting to grasp the enormity of his arriving on Earth a dozen years earlier. [16 Oct 2001, p.E1]
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  91. Paired with the endearing self-awareness and cerebral nods to pop culture Whedon brings to his best projects, it’s the perfect setup for fall’s most promising new TV show.
  92. Although it’s a medical drama on one level, Masters of Sex is frequently laugh-out-loud funny, with romances, mysteries and coming-of-age stories unfolding throughout its large cast.
  93. While its premise isn’t new--anyone remember “Total Recall 2070” or “Mann and Machine”?--the show’s ambition, solid cast and pure production values make it a worthwhile diversion.
  94. Sometimes slasher flick, sometimes courtroom drama, this Lizzie is a cynically dark, shamefully fun account of an all-American crime.
  95. In its second season, House of Cards is just like its main character: clever, ruthless, a bit too self-satisfied and surprisingly powerful.
  96. Walton and Stockham are a seamless comedy team straight out of the gate. Their banter is more salty and cynical than sappy, but that’s how it gets to you.
  97. Penny Dreadful is a smart, self-referential Dracula vs. the Wolf-Man vs. Frankenstein concept delivering the scares, chills and laughs that summer TV needs.

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