Kansas City Star's Scores

  • TV
For 259 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 1.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Murder One: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Gossip Girl: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 147
  2. Negative: 0 out of 147
147 tv reviews
  1. 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]
  2. The best drama on television. [18 Sep 2004]
  3. To me, what allows “The Wire” to surpass “The Sopranos” in the pantheon of greatest American TV shows is its ambition and its anger.
  4. 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]
  5. 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]
  6. It's a heck of a show.
  7. 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]
  8. 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.
  9. “Everybody Hates Chris” is one of those rare nostalgia shows that doesn’t patronize childhood.
  10. 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]
  11. Color me confused on the concept. Are 20-somethings supposed to like this show? Good luck with those archaic pop culture references (Molly Hatchet, Carter/Mondale). Teen-agers? Sure - let them see that high school was just as vicious 20 years ago...Freaks and Geeks recalls a time a lot of viewers would rather forget. [25 Sept 1999, p.E1]
  12. The fourth season of Friday Night Lights (which already aired last fall on DirecTV) is as rich and dramatic and satisfying as ever.
  13. 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.
  14. 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]
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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]
    • 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]
  19. It’s definitely not the same-old same-old, for which ABC is to be congratulated.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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]
  25. Not only is it funnier than its lead-in, it’s improved on its impressive (and sadly truncated) first season on ABC.
  26. Rescue Me does everything “Lost” does. It balances character, drama, comedy and suspense while relentlessly pushing a dozen story lines forward.
  27. 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.
  28. Compelling if not entirely satisfying. [29 Oct 2002]
  29. Behind the Candelabra isn’t a smear job, but it’s not a revelation, either.
  30. Reaper is remarkably well-paced and hilariously well-written.
  31. The first hour... hits you with a potent cocktail of action and intrigue.
  32. I know there are a lot of people out there who can’t get enough of it, all the irritation and the narcissism and the racial tension and the yelling. But I’m not one of those people....Curb Your Enthusiasm leaves me just...well, a little bored.
  33. Flawless production design and lush cinematography make Rectify visually stunning, but its simmering mystery and artfully depicted dysfunction make every scene hum with tension.
  34. I liked this show immediately...A delightful, well-designed show from start to finish. [5 Oct 2000, p.E1]
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. It’s an ambitious and ever-shifting examination of the lack of foresight in a culture addicted to rapid change.
  38. In its second season, House of Cards is just like its main character: clever, ruthless, a bit too self-satisfied and surprisingly powerful.
  39. Whatever the reasons, True Blood has become stranger, more complicated and more satisfying to watch over time.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. Tough, gritty, almost exhausting to watch. [16 Sep 1994]
  43. “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.
  44. '24' remains the same show, perhaps even a better show than last season. [5 Jan 2005]
  45. If this one doesn't make you laugh, it may be time to report to the cryogenics lab. [26 May 1995]
  46. 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]
  47. 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]
  48. 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.
  49. It's the best drama pilot I saw over the summer.
  50. When Lost returns Wednesday with a thoroughly entertaining two-hour barnburner, you will want to be there.
  51. 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.
  52. I can’t say enough about how "Friday Night Lights" defied my expectations for what a TV show about football would be.
  53. [A] smart espionage drama.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. A lightly subversive sitcom set in modern-day Wisconsin.
  57. Elevate[s] the state of TV drama with fine writing, convincing acting and compelling stories. [16 Sep 1994]
  58. 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]
  59. 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]
  60. It’s not near HBO quality but certainly better than that “Sleeper Cell” tripe that Showtime put on last year.
  61. 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]
  62. If [Sorkin] intends to preach off-key sermons every week, “Studio 60” is going to get old fast.
  63. Ray Donovan is undeniably derivative, but it sure is fun. Liev Schreiber leads a stellar cast as Ray Donovan.
  64. I like the serious, gimmick-free approach of the show.
  65. The freshest take on the single-camera mockumentary since “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
  66. Every minute of "The Practice" is imbued with urgency, but it is a contrived, almost comical urgency. [2 Mar 1997]
  67. 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.
  68. While I prefer the British Mars, the show's premise is so strong that this decent execution of it is hard not to recommend.
  69. 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.
  70. Spellbinding ... Blends intelligent writing, seamless special effects and more wonderful creations from Jim Henson's Creature Shop. [19 Mar 1999]
  71. Alongside Roth, Shepard and talented character actor Tim Blake Nelson, Madden pulls off the sometimes treacly dialogue, but the insistent no-duh musings (“the die has been cast”) wear thin quickly.
  72. 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.
  73. 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!”.
  74. If Trump keeps showing us that success has not gone completely to his head, this should be a good season. [9 Sep 2004]
  75. I worry about Chuck. I see it moldering before my eyes. And it’s nobody’s fault
  76. Showrunner Julian Fellowes knew he had to spice things up, apparently, so he employed a lazy, “shocking” plot device that will leave fans sickened, indignant and wondering why Fellowes just didn’t give his beloved characters something worthwhile to do instead. That offensive event aside, this season’s repetitive tropes, recycled conflicts and predictable heartbreak are not worth the trouble this time around.
  77. '24' continues to distinguish itself as the most original show on television. [27 Oct 2003]
  78. There is a distinctly 2002 feel to this season of 24....But you know what? It all manages to hold together.
  79. 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.
  80. 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.
  81. Warehouse 13 has always been a hodgepodge of other people’s ideas and gimmicks, but the magic is how they’re thrown together here.
  82. An out-of-the-gate triumph.
  83. Of all the new mystery-driven dramas aspiring to be this year’s “Lost”... “Invasion” is the most absorbing and least hokey.
  84. How it all goes awry is the question that provides Caprica with its ripe potential. Unfortunately, a serious storytelling mistake in the early going has left me with doubts about whether it has the wherewithal to get there.
  85. 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s an atmospheric, pinned-to-your-seat winner.
  86. 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.
  87. The indie-director touches do not narrow the appeal of Louie. It is, however, strictly for adults.
  88. 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.
  89. An example of the pay cable channel at its finest.
  90. 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]
  91. Whether Chance has any actual superpowers might be a point worth debating if watching Human Target weren’t so much fun.
    • 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.
  92. 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]
  93. "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.
  94. The result is a challenging psychological thriller within a gripping crime procedural.
  95. A year after the Rosie Larsen case ended, this new chapter is compelling enough to earn some fan forgiveness.
  96. 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.
  97. A viewer-friendly diversion.