Kansas City Star's Scores

  • TV
For 303 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 55% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 The Shield: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Gossip Girl: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 176
  2. Negative: 0 out of 176
176 tv reviews
  1. 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]
    • Kansas City Star
  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]
    • Kansas City Star
  4. 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.
  5. 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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  6. To me, what allows “The Wire” to surpass “The Sopranos” in the pantheon of greatest American TV shows is its ambition and its anger.
    • 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. The best drama on television. [18 Sep 2004]
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  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. "X-Files" fans have been talking up this show, sight unseen, for months, based mainly on rumors and snippets from the set. But Harsh Realm may well validate all that hype. [8 Oct 1999, p.F1]
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  10. Hilarious, delightful and smart... "Eureka" may have the gumption to become the best sci-fi show since the late lamented “Farscape.”
  11. 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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  12. Daredevil stands alone as an artful, gritty ensemble drama that could elevate the superhero origin story like HBO’s “True Detective” did for the crime procedural.
  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. The result is a challenging psychological thriller within a gripping crime procedural.
  16. 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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  17. 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.
  18. Spellbinding ... Blends intelligent writing, seamless special effects and more wonderful creations from Jim Henson's Creature Shop. [19 Mar 1999]
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  19. Delightful. [6 Oct 2000, p.E1]
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  20. 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.
  21. It's a heck of a show.
  22. An out-of-the-gate triumph.
  23. 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]
    • Kansas City Star
  24. 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.
  25. Tough, gritty, almost exhausting to watch. [16 Sep 1994]
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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. Each person in the ensemble is distinct and intriguing. This show is loaded with possibilities.[20 Sept 2002, p.E1]
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  29. I liked this show immediately...A delightful, well-designed show from start to finish. [5 Oct 2000, p.E1]
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  30. Compelling. [20 Sept 2002, p.E1]
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  31. Reaper is remarkably well-paced and hilariously well-written.
  32. '24' continues to distinguish itself as the most original show on television. [27 Oct 2003]
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  33. “Everybody Hates Chris” is one of those rare nostalgia shows that doesn’t patronize childhood.
  34. '24' remains the same show, perhaps even a better show than last season. [5 Jan 2005]
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  35. Ray Donovan is undeniably derivative, but it sure is fun. Liev Schreiber leads a stellar cast as Ray Donovan.
  36. 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.
  37. [A] smart espionage drama.
  38. When Lost returns Wednesday with a thoroughly entertaining two-hour barnburner, you will want to be there.
  39. Flawless production design and lush cinematography make Rectify visually stunning, but its simmering mystery and artfully depicted dysfunction make every scene hum with tension.
  40. 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.
  41. Warehouse 13 has always been a hodgepodge of other people’s ideas and gimmicks, but the magic is how they’re thrown together here.
  42. Worst Week is Rube Goldberg meets Murphy’s Law meets the parents. And it’s hysterical.
  43. 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."
  44. A violent, hair-raising combo of “The Ring,” “War of the Worlds” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” with a dash of official conspiracy.
  45. What makes this intriguing and ultimately irresistible serial thriller one of my favorites of the fall season are its characters.
  46. This is a very talky show, filled with Braugher soliloquies, and it will be hard to top the first episode, which plays out like a Greek tragedy... But I was spellbound, except for the jarring interludes involving Gideon's motley crew of medical students. [10 Oct 2000, p.E1]
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  47. Haggis’ journey into and out of Scientology could have made a fascinating film by itself, and he’s just one of a dozen articulate talking heads.
  48. Frances McDormand delivers another one of her consistent, airbrush-free performances in HBO’s four-part miniseries, an adaptation of Strout’s book that focuses more tightly on its title character and ends up drawing to a simpler, more raw-edged conclusion.
  49. Gunn and Tennant are flat-out fantastic in Gracepoint. The supporting cast, including Nick Nolte at maximum haggard levels, is compelling. They’re so good, it might take a while to notice that you’ve seen this story before, even if you haven’t seen “Broadchurch.”
  50. The people who create Eureka always seem to know how to add a few dabs of paint that no previous TV show covering time travel and electronic body transport had thought of.
  51. 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.
  52. I like the serious, gimmick-free approach of the show.
  53. Sharply written, compellingly acted, this is the crime procedural ABC has needed all along, one for the “Grey’s Anatomy” crowd.
  54. The Mentalist is safe, predictable, manufactured crime drama … and it works.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. A three-hour miniseries that bounces between tragedy and comedy with ease.
  58. 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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  59. A great first hour gets this comedic drama off to a fine start.
  60. 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.
  61. 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!”.
    • 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.
  62. 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.
  63. Rescue Me does everything “Lost” does. It balances character, drama, comedy and suspense while relentlessly pushing a dozen story lines forward.
  64. It's the best drama pilot I saw over the summer.
  65. Whatever the reasons, True Blood has become stranger, more complicated and more satisfying to watch over time.
  66. The dialogue is surprisingly fresh, even to someone who's watched way too many MTV reality shows.
  67. The History channel’s Sons of Liberty miniseries tells a satisfying tale of Boston’s slow burn toward rebellion in the 1770s.
  68. The moral quicksand that made The Americans so compelling for its first two seasons is deeper than ever.
  69. In its second season, House of Cards is just like its main character: clever, ruthless, a bit too self-satisfied and surprisingly powerful.
  70. 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.
  71. This is one smart, funny comedy that deserves better than the anemic time slot it’s getting.
  72. [The pasts of the ladies at Litchfield] are less “Shawshank Redemption” than “Goodfellas,” with every episode using sparse, smartly edited scenes to tell one inmate’s story.
  73. 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.
  74. The fourth season of Friday Night Lights (which already aired last fall on DirecTV) is as rich and dramatic and satisfying as ever.
  75. 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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  76. 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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  77. It's a more compelling, faster-paced and less frustrating journey than fans were treated to in “A Feast for Crows” and “A Dance With Dragons,” the novels that line up with the current action in Westeros’ winter-is-coming world.
  78. The Slap is rare TV, depicting the kind of drama viewers might find themselves caught up in. It’s nice to see a show shamelessly go about doing its manipulative business.
  79. 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.
  80. 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.
  81. 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.
  82. Sometimes slasher flick, sometimes courtroom drama, this Lizzie is a cynically dark, shamefully fun account of an all-American crime.
  83. 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.
  84. Every time the 1943 of Manhattan begins to feel like 2014, it returns to the nostalgia of movies like “The Right Stuff,” where brains and grit make the peace, back to a time when America trusted its fate to the smartest guys we could find.
  85. An example of the pay cable channel at its finest.
  86. I can’t say enough about how "Friday Night Lights" defied my expectations for what a TV show about football would be.
  87. 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.
  88. “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.
  89. 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.
  90. A lightly subversive sitcom set in modern-day Wisconsin.
  91. 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.
  92. The first hour... hits you with a potent cocktail of action and intrigue.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s an atmospheric, pinned-to-your-seat winner.
  93. I could watch Roger (ever-dapper John Slattery) fire people all day long (Sunday’s surprise firing is an epic one), but Don’s cryptic conversations with strangers can feel staid and scholarly.... And then--herein lies the addictive nature of the show--the action pauses for just a moment, the acting thrums with tension, and you feel satisfied that you have been a good student.
  94. The show’s salty-sweet themes of loyalty and redemption contrast nicely with the vile comedic speeches Leary has made a career out of delivering.
  95. 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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  96. 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.
  97. Like “True Detective,” The Knick benefits from a consistent vision and stellar cinematography. Its turn-of-the-century sets and costuming will transport viewers into the past more vividly than any stuffy sitting room in “Downton Abbey.” But it requires dedication to stick around with The Knick until the action gets going a few episodes in.

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