Kansas City Star's Scores

  • TV
For 278 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 0.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 The Wire: Season 3
Lowest review score: 0 Gossip Girl: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 163
  2. Negative: 0 out of 163
163 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. [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.
  3. Thanks to its excellent cast, led by Nat Faxon and Judy Greer as Russ and Lina, Married rises above its cliched setup.
  4. It’s Gretchen and Jimmy’s repartee, their unrelenting need to voice their awful thoughts, that makes Worst worth watching.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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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  8. 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.”
  9. 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.
  10. Time will tell whether this spin-off of NBC's cops-to-courts standby can lure an audience to Mondays. There's plenty here to work with. The question is, in what direction will creator Dick Wolf move it all? [20 Sept 1999, p.E1]
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  11. This behind-the-scenes look at the American presidency from the creator of "Sports Night" (Aaron Sorkin) gets off to a bumpy start tonight when viewers realize that the supposedly liberal chief executive played by Martin Sheen - who in real life is an actual fire-eating Hollywood liberal - has no minorities in his inner circle. (The first black face seen in the premiere episode is a traffic cop who pulls over one of the show's regulars.) [22 Sept 1999, p.F10]
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  12. If "Popular" can do for social stratification what "Party of Five" did for addiction, it may have a chance. [29 Sept 1999, p.F1]
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  13. Of all the new mystery-driven dramas aspiring to be this year’s “Lost”... “Invasion” is the most absorbing and least hokey.
  14. The constant toing-and-froing of “Mrs. Harris” might have gotten tiresome, as an earlier HBO effort at revisionist biography, “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers,” did. Bening, though, is somehow able to conjure up a completely new mood for each time and setting.
  15. A goofy and likable new comedy.
  16. It’s not near HBO quality but certainly better than that “Sleeper Cell” tripe that Showtime put on last year.
  17. It’s an ambitious and ever-shifting examination of the lack of foresight in a culture addicted to rapid change.
  18. Heche really shines in this role.
  19. It’s a smart series with a pacing that sometimes takes your breath away. Still, once the action pauses, will viewers want to spend time with a bunch of amoral characters?
  20. A gripping, one-of-a-kind drama.
  21. Sleek, action-packed and heavy on the acting talent.
  22. A good, potentially great, show.
  23. After the nerve-jangling first episode, I predict you’ll be hooked.
  24. It’s a hoot.
  25. "The Riches" reminds me a bit of "Big Love" the first time I saw it. I wasn’t sure whether to like these people or despise them, whether I bought the premise or not. And yet, at the end of the hour, I wanted to see more.
  26. Samantha Who? actually gets better as it goes along. There’s a lot of table-setting in this first episode, but I found myself enjoying a later episode, and Applegate is a big reason why.
  27. Once you get beyond the show’s homages, both to 1970s style and “Desperate Housewives,” this proves to be a groovy little summer soap opera.
  28. The new version bears less of a resemblance to “ER”-styled medical drama of the 2000 “Hopkins” than it does to “The Hills,” the MTV sensation that introduced a whole new visual vocabulary to unscripted TV. The stories still involve people being treated at Hopkins, of course, but what’s striking is how much time is spent outside the hospital with the docs and their families.
  29. Fringe does a pretty nifty job of balancing the demands of the paranormal genre against the viewer’s need for some comic relief.
  30. I like Gary Unmarried. It’s like other sitcoms I’ve seen of late involving newly broken-up households (remember when the sitcom single dad was widowed instead of divorced?).
  31. While I prefer the British Mars, the show's premise is so strong that this decent execution of it is hard not to recommend.
  32. The show is entertaining enough, but the American Hood, played by Rufus Sewell, won't remind anyone of Patrick Stewart.
  33. Surprise! It’s not nearly as bad as I thought.
  34. Thanks to the fact that Starz is pay cable and can say and show pretty much whatever it wants, this show ramps up the dramatic tension quickly and effectively.
  35. The latest re-imagining of Daniel Defoe’s classic tale of a man shipwrecked on an island far from home has already earned its keep.
  36. There is a distinctly 2002 feel to this season of 24....But you know what? It all manages to hold together.
  37. All those ingredients make for a stew that, initially anyway, needs salt....Having seen two more promising later episodes, I say give Dollhouse time. And in the meantime, enjoy the set, the so-called dollhouse.
  38. After a nine-month hiatus, one of the best new shows of last season returns from the undead with a bit more of the deviled edge that made it so great when it first emerged from the crypt in the fall of 2007.
  39. For all those who are not confirmed “CSI” fans, this is worth a look.
  40. In other words, don’t hate it immediately just because it isn’t “Curb,” because if you love “Curb” you might eventually like Bored to Death.
  41. Whether Chance has any actual superpowers might be a point worth debating if watching Human Target weren’t so much fun.
  42. The Lost Valentine ultimately succeeds for two reasons: It is an engaging if somewhat convoluted little yarn. And White takes emotional command of the movie.
  43. Those who accept it for what it is--a funny, manipulative soap that relies on historical upheaval to frame its scarce plots--should be happy to hear that Downton’s new season is better than its last.
  44. Deception borrows a lot from that show and others, ending up more fun than challenging.
  45. If Grey's Anatomy falls short of being the next "ER," it's because it's too slickly produced. It comes with the kind of heart-tugging music and exquisitely lighted contemplative moments you might expect to see on, say, "The O.C." But the writing and acting, if not the staging, helped pull me through surgery. [26 March 2005, p.E3]
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  46. Mr. Selfridge really gets rolling in its third and fourth episodes, when its interlocking stories and Piven’s outsize performance settle into place.
  47. A year after the Rosie Larsen case ended, this new chapter is compelling enough to earn some fan forgiveness.
  48. Compelling if not entirely satisfying. [29 Oct 2002]
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  49. No one will mistake this for cutting-edge comedy but it is well-cast (especially Lithgow) and good-natured enough to please most viewers. [8 Jan 1996]
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  50. Some critics called the book incisive and addictive, while others dismissed it as pulpy and juvenile. Under the Dome checks all those boxes in Monday’s pilot episode.
  51. If Trump keeps showing us that success has not gone completely to his head, this should be a good season. [9 Sep 2004]
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  52. An entertainingly raunchy spoof of reality TV. [23 Jul 2003]
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  53. Mostly a hoot. [4 Feb 2005]
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  54. Carey, a stand-up comedy veteran, has great timing and expression. It's easy to relate to his working-class persona. Now if someone could just make his friends a little funnier, "Drew Carey" could be a winner. [13 Sep 1995]
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  55. It's an engaging set-up for what will likely be a hit, since it was obviously designed to complement the social-service minded "Judging Amy." [25 Sept 2001, p.E1]
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  56. Lead writer Daniel Knauf, who created HBO’s “Carnivale,” has tweaked Bram Stoker’s classic tale in delightful, if heavy-handed ways.
  57. The series hits its stride a few episodes in, when Lowe and Blackbeard finally get on a boat together to fight a common enemy, knowing they’re each just waiting for the right moment to kill the other. Their dynamic evokes the tense partnership between Al Swearengen and Sheriff Bullock in "Deadwood."
  58. The pilot is plodding at times, the result of a few too many heart-to-heart discussions among the characters. Still, Williams, Holliday and Heard create such fresh, memorable characters that it's impossible to get bored. [16 Sept 1995, p.E7]
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  59. Because "Traffic" is filmed like "24," you can experience the excitement of a whole season of Fox in just three nights. [25 Jan 2004]
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  60. It’s not that The Leftovers isn’t great storytelling, because it is. It’s just befuddling, violent and sad--more and more all the time, with no satisfaction in sight. Theroux is flat-out fantastic and Emmy-worthy in this role.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Sexy and stylish. [4 Oct 2003]
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  61. It’s a pleasure to watch Bean fall into his “legends,” or fake identities, even as the show pushes the boundaries of what TV audiences might accept when it comes to instantaneous computer heroics.
  62. Death Comes to Pemberley, on paper and the small screen, is not as satisfying as a newly discovered Austen novel would be.
  63. “Prison Break” could be the fall’s breakout hit, but only if other actors can bail out Miller.
  64. There’s nothing especially novel on “The War at Home,” except the way the familiar elements -- punch lines, fantasy sequences, sassy kids, talk-to-the-camera confessionals, bleeped profanity -- come together.
  65. An uneven but so far entertaining buddy show.
  66. A viewer-friendly diversion.
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  67. While not quite the out-of-the-gate obvious hit that “The West Wing” was, ["Commander In Chief"] has enough going for it that it may soon become America’s favorite soap opera about a president of the United States.
  68. It’s a grim two hours... But it’s not overly explicit, and the script and talent are better than most Lifetime films.
  69. [It] makes defense work look as sexy as anything on the high-tech "CSI."
  70. If [Sorkin] intends to preach off-key sermons every week, “Studio 60” is going to get old fast.
  71. The effects-laden pilot of “Painkiller Jane” is certainly watchable.
  72. I didn't get much of a sense where this show was going from the pilot, though there was nothing to hate about Big Bang Theory, and the writing’s every bit as sharp as "Two and a Half Men" and "Dharma & Greg," comedies overseen by Big Bang producer Chuck Lorre.
  73. Like young Jaime, it's going to take awhile for this show to find its artificial legs.
  74. There’s no doubt Life is blessed with a fine lead actor, an intriguing premise and better writing than most new shows this fall. It’s just that viewers aren’t going to find that promising TV drama buried underneath all the crime procedural.
  75. From what I can tell, it’s going to be the same show every show.
  76. It will take awhile to figure out whether Sons of Anarchy was worth the investment of our time.
  77. My hope is that True Blood will get all of this tub-thumping out of the way in a few weeks and start its tremendous potential as an ensemble drama with hints of comedy.
  78. True, Cannavale and Paulson take some getting used to, at least among those of us who remember Piven and Marshall. But the premise still has miles more appeal than a “CSI” knockoff.
  79. It is a stew made from a teen-slasher base with chunks of prime-time CBS crime shows and some daytime spice stirred in. If the first six minutes work for you, you’ll probably want more.
  80. It works because the three regulars--Zach Braff, Donald Faison and especially John McGinley--are all over these episodes, and the four newcomers are kept in their place.
  81. I worry about Chuck. I see it moldering before my eyes. And it’s nobody’s fault
  82. Unlike the previous Hanks-Spielberg efforts, each of these men is really on his own journey, and the changing shift of focus doesn’t help us build affection for the characters, either. The other problem with “The Pacific” is not really its doing. We’re in two wars now; comprehending a third seems a tall order for most people.
  83. I was disappointed by the opening episode, which left me with the distinct impression that Taye Diggs (playing a newly divorced doctor in the practice) and Tim Daly (Walsh’s first love interest on the show, but I’m sure not the last) were simply working off their ABC contracts that began on other, now-canceled shows. The portrayals of alternative medicine were unfortunate and too much forced zaniness.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It all has the potential to add up. Eventually.
  84. Brothers really is not that bad a show.
  85. This one starts out at a frenetic clip, and even A-list talent is helpless in the face of the formulaic banter that such occasions demand. Only when the show slows down--midway through, does Parenthood suggest that it may have something worth watching.
  86. Unfortunately, whoever developed this show couldn't trust the audience to accept Piper Perabo's character as strong enough to get out of a pickle or two without male intervention. I won't reveal how, because the first episode is otherwise very enjoyable, thanks to a solid supporting cast including "O.C." dad Peter Gallagher, Kari Matchett and former WB/UPN heartthrob Christopher Gorham.
  87. In the tradition of "The Day After" and "My So-Called Life" comes The Big C, an important show premiering Monday that's not necessarily a great show.
  88. The Following, compelling and frustrating from its opening credits, sets viewers up for a season-long, blood-soaked rematch between an evil intellectual and his law-enforcement nemesis.
  89. Rocha, combined with the new format of The Face, creates a real threat to the Tyra empire.... [But] The Face, with a focus on posing, strutting and styling in its first few weeks, has room to fall.
  90. It's all fairly paint-by-numbers with a fair amount of physical comedy, yet I couldn't help laughing out loud at times - watching Bynes give a terrier the Heimlich maneuver, for example. [20 Sept 2002, p.E1]
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  91. [A h]ighly implausible if smartly written hour. [16 Sept 2002, p.E1]
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  92. The Bridge will no doubt tie all these threads together in 13 well-executed episodes, after a lot of red herrings, victims killed in horrific ways and one final twist. It’s guaranteed to be a depressing journey, and it’s starting to feel like one we’ve been on before.
  93. Monday’s premiere was one of the most nearly perfect half-hours of television I’ve ever seen.... [But] I can’t imagine tuning in “The Colbert Report” four nights a week just to watch a caricature.
  94. The show teeters at times on incomprehensibility but is brought back each time by its two stars.
  95. A mildly amusing sitcom that is promising -- including the sense that it promises to go nowhere fast.
  96. As someone who’s on the fence about Silverman — I get what she’s doing, but I’m not sure it’s worth the adoration it often receives — I found myself chuckling more when I went through my notes on the first two shows than when I was watching them.
  97. Goldblum has a commanding presence that may overcome the ho-hum storylines and overdone talking-ghost motif.
  98. It’s like “Men in Trees” ... for men.

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