Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,184 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 53% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 43% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 The Corner: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Painkiller Jane: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 619
  2. Negative: 0 out of 619
619 tv reviews
  1. "Curb" is a comedy of hostility, resentment, paranoia and obsessiveness. There are no feel-good moments, no life-brightening epiphanies, nothing, in fact, even vaguely resembling a resolution; things get as bad as you feared, and then the credits roll. [3 Jan 2004]
  2. As twisty and spellbinding as ever. [28 Oct 2002]
  3. Jack is the glue that holds the show together, and Sutherland, with his pained, superhuman skill set, makes him a physical statement about the toll violence takes, even violence committed in an attempt to save the world.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Whereas MTV seemed to pick the first cast simply because they were cool and identifiable for young viewers, this time they've turned up the burner by choosing a gang of extroverts as different in style and ideology as humanly possible. [24 Jun 1993]
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The premiere is inordinately entertaining, and the follow-up episodes previewed equally so. [23 Jun 1994]
  4. It's all kind of pleasingly thematic, alternately gritty and funny and caked with moral decay. Milch loves the wordplay; the show's language is one of its constant sources of pleasure. Not everyone's drunk in "Deadwood," but the liquor flows freely, lubricating the mood; the way the show is lighted, it always seems like late afternoon, and the set is a dingy, muddy Main Street with little side neighborhoods that function as slums. [6 Mar 2005, p.E28]
  5. The dialogue is "Deadwood's" calling card, with its mixture of gutter and Elizabethan grace. It layers Milch's broader, working theme -- the coming-together of various organisms to create a single, functioning one.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This compelling storyline could make the tale of battling basketball brothers a keeper for the WB. [23 Sept 2003, p.E11]
  6. Ten minutes into the season premiere of Nip/Tuck and you have to wonder what those deeply disturbed plastic surgeons were doing wasting four seasons, and all that unexplored sexual tension, in Miami when they so clearly belong in Los Angeles.
  7. The already evident lesson is that a moldy premise need not stand in the way of a good time. [22 Sept 2003, p.E1]
  8. The real miracle here is how deftly the show avoids the soggy cliches of redemption so many of its forerunners have embraced. [26 Sept 2003, p.E1]
  9. A continually surprising thriller that maintains an air of imminent danger through its five or so hours (in six episodes), State of Play is a grander, more romantic creation [than Prime Suspect 6].
  10. The episode has a few sentimentality issues (any plot point involving a music box walks a very fine line), but it doesn't matter much because the characters are so vivid they even outshine House at times, which can only be good for him.
  11. I haven't seen ancient ordinary life so well represented since "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," and I am not being funny.
  12. "Rome" is smart, dirty fun.
  13. But of what actually happens, I will say no more. You'll have to watch it yourself. And you should.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Bell does such a good job playing the world-weary Veronica that she manages to get away with voice-over lines like "I'm no longer that girl" and "The detective in me knew something was wrong" without sounding silly. She channels the charisma, smarts and frustration of Angela Chase, Claire Danes' character in "My So-Called Life." [22 Sept 2004, p.E12]
  14. It knows the buttons it wants to push (fear of flying, fear of abandonment, fear of the unknown) and pushes them, repeatedly, like a kid playing a video game.
  15. The show is crazy, man, now more than ever, and I mean that in the best possible way.
  16. It's the characters, and the character development, that continually lift the show out of soap into true opera, in which things writ large resonate with pinpoint accuracy.
  17. It's the miraculous simplicity of creating something from nothing that makes Runway endlessly watchable.
  18. On the one hand, it's absolutely captivating, raw and unpredictable, a bubbling boiler of excitement rendered in the style of CBS' "48 Hours" and unrivaled by conventional cop dramas in prime time...On the other hand, the camera assumes the disgusting role of hanging judge by prematurely filling the screen with the faces of numerous suspects swept up in drug busts, some of whom may turn out to be innocent or may even go uncharged, for all we know. [7 Jan 1989, p.C1]
  19. Creator Jenji Kohan has kept it all going so far, the supporting cast remains the funniest on TV, and Parker, with her carefully calculated stillness and sudden reckless displays of fearlessness, is more riveting than ever.
  20. "Surface" is steeped in Spielberg, and is better Spielberg than Spielberg has managed in quite some time.
  21. All in all, it's a rich work, full of detail and small moments, and grounded in reality by an utterly believable supporting cast partly drawn from the school where the series was shot.
  22. While this sort of thing has been done before -- "Curb Your Enthusiasm" on the high end of Hollywood self-referentiality, and the nasty, brutish and short-lived "Fat Actress" with Kirstie Alley on the low -- it has been done here exceedingly well.
  23. A considerably above-average Generation Y sitcom that manages to be both sharp and sentimental, like "Seinfeld" with feeling.
  24. A small-scale gem. [3 Aug 2005]
  25. It's very well-acted and meanwhile, when it can stand it, kind of tender, although it's far more interested in "Curb"-like moments of uncomfortable confrontation.
  26. It takes no time at all for the new team to establish its authority; the new "Who" feels at once traditional and fresh, and completely right.
  27. The show thus far feels more observational than story-driven; it relies on our desire to listen to Rock talk. And we do want to listen, because Rock is hilarious.
  28. A "heightened reality" show, one might call it, but one which makes its subject palpable and which, because it is made with care, lets you care too. It's the more artful portrait, paradoxically, that paints the truer picture.
  29. A dark and splendid "Dr. Who" spinoff with overtones of "Men in Black" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
  30. It's a conclusion that seemed to me both contrived and honest, if that makes any sense, and it left me disturbed, though not, as Doctor Who often has, a sobbing wreck.
  31. Cop show, fantasy, mystery, comedy, romance, puzzle -- there are a lot of ways to approach "Life on Mars," which begins its second and final season tonight on BBC America, and they all pay off.
  32. That the funniest straight-ahead sitcom of the American fall television season is a 2-year-old British import airing on a basic-cable network is because of a few things: a dearth of new American sitcoms, the availability of road-tested foreign product, and the ongoing expansion of the vast tracts of basic cable into the kind of programming that has traditionally defined broadcast television.
  33. Hotel Babylon is willfully bright and sexy--like the Parker's décor, it updates a '70s sensibility--but also has a nice eye for detail, good minor characters and well-flowing dialogue.
  34. It's a work whose immense vitality and a persuasive naturalism overcome its occasional paroxysms of style or hammered-home points.
  35. It's smart without either condescending to or patronizing the viewer.
  36. With all those Emmys, viewers expect a lot, and two episodes in, 30 Rock is prepared to deliver, serving up the self-conscious, fast-moving, quick-witted comedy it has all but trademarked.
  37. Close's performance illuminates rather than outshines with its high wattage.
  38. The first episode may be a bit rocky in the beginning, what with the reintroduction of characters and story lines, but the second season of Damages promises to be even better than the first.
  39. This time around everyone, Byrne in particular, moves with an air of confidence that allows you to keep your eyes on the knives being juggled in the air rather than the person doing the juggling. Which is exactly where you want the audience's eyes to be when you're pulling off a con, or a show like Damages.
  40. One of the season's best new shows.
  41. From the start, it's mostly on Hall to seduce us, and he's so artful with the material that he consistently elevates it.
  42. Dexter is a weekly marvel of writing, acting and conceit.
  43. A smart, amiable, colorful new cartoon series.
  44. It's a little movie that feels big, without being self-consciously cinematic.
  45. The strength of the series lies not in the whodunit elements--it isn't hard to work out who's behind it, even if it isn't immediately apparent why--but in its eye for local details and small human gestures.
  46. Because it's fun to watch the rich and mighty stumble and scheme, which novelists as diverse as William Thackeray and Judith Krantz have long known. In the first two episodes at least, the quality of the acting and the writing brings depth to what could so easily be the fetid shallows of life issues of the rich and famous
  47. The show looks to be a smart, stylish crime drama that just happens to revolve around a group of women as so many have revolved around men.
  48. Samantha Who? is as perfectly realized a comedy as the fall has to offer.
  49. Anchored by the sensible sensitivity of Nick, Dirty Sexy goes over the top and back again, as brightly fun and cheesy as a carnival ride.
  50. It is all very beautiful.
  51. Although The Sarah Connor Chronicles has gadgets aplenty, it has what "Bionic Woman" never quite acquired: a brain and a heart.
  52. That the two men are in their 30s makes their perseverance more poignant--to somewhat overstate the case--and that they have no money places them in a long and honorable line of comedians who cannot put two cents together to buy a glass of seltzer.
  53. Cleverly conceived, it boasts a star-studded cast (Gabriel Byrne, Dianne Wiest, Blair Underwood) who achieve, at times, theatrical transcendence.
  54. The pilot is an especially persuasive hour of action-adventure, but subsequent lower-budget episodes preserve the esprit and suspense.
  55. Playing it long and lugubrious but with a tantalizing twinkle, Lewis (last seen in the States as the hateful husband in "The Forsyte Saga") may well wrest the mantle of sexiest troubled American played by a Brit away from Hugh Laurie.
  56. The show is consistently clever and lively, well played and directed, its corners filled with nice throwaway lines and small visual jokes.
  57. Gossip Girl is eye candy, and mind candy, as pretty as a perfectly prepared martini--one that some nasty, picture-perfect have-it-all may or may not have drugged.
  58. Tyler Labine makes a most excellent wacky bearded sidekick, and Rick Gonzalez and Valarie Rae Miller round out the Scooby Gang. Auteur of slackerdom Kevin Smith ("Clerks") directed the pilot, which maintains a nice fairy tale tone even as it stresses the banality of the infernal.
  59. The dialogue is always to the point, yet it gives even the bit players enough room to create something memorable.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Fox's Back to You is back to TV comedy basics: multiple cameras, live audiences but, mostly, laughs.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    To say that Tin Man is not as good as its near-perfect models is not to damn it, even faintly. Like Sci Fi's "Flash Gordon" update--which the Halmis also produce and which it resembles far more than it does "The Wizard of Oz"-- it's a good-looking, entertaining fantasy adventure, with a cast that is easy to spend time with.
  60. High School Musical 2 s zippier, bouncier, prettier, more soulful and even more musical than its predecessor, and that's saying something.
  61. It's not your mother's Bionic Woman. It's much, much better.
  62. This is at once a chucklingly good satire of political infighters and dishonest press barons... and a grim thriller whose scheming protagonist makes Richard Nixon look like a guileless wimp. ... Its flaws are not in the acting or in Paul Seed's directing, but in the writing ... Otherwise, "House of Cards" is no less than evil at its grandest, bolstered by one sterling performance after another as it moves smoothly toward its jolting conclusion.
  63. Gavin & Stacey is a gem of a show -- funny, touching and welcome proof that the romantic comedy can and will survive irony, Botox, Judd Apatow and all the vagaries of the modern age.
  64. There is little in the way of "action"--it is possibly the slowest, most deliberative show on television, which is one of the things that makes it so lovely and mysterious.
  65. There are no heroes or villains here, only people working out or being carried toward their individual destinies. And in who we root for and in what we root for them to choose, we also define ourselves.
  66. It's very good, although as sad and disturbing as the mustache implies.
  67. Smart but never slick, funny but never glib, dark but never (praise all saints and angels) noir, Breaking Bad is actually not another addition to the Brotherhood of the Made Guy formula, it turns out to be the formula's antidote.
  68. Creator Toby Whithouse takes all the themes associated with the cursed and the damned very seriously, and if his exploration of them is less baroque than other franchises, it promises to be even more effective.
  69. Psychological sleight of hand can't fill an hour every week. For that you need complicated, interesting crimes and complicated, interesting characters solving them. The Mentalist seems prepared to deliver just that.
  70. Scenes unspool, lives unwind, wicked acts are done, but so is justice, and under the lovely and indifferent African sun, it seems there is all the time in the world. It's hard to imagine a better place to be.
  71. The show moves fast without seeming to rush you. The timing, on the part of actors and editors alike, is excellent--both Bornheimer and Smith are good physical comedians--so that even while you can set your watch by the Next Bad Thing About to Happen, tension is created, suspense maintained.
  72. Warehouse 13 is unapologetically and delightfully derivative, happily plucking the best stuff from our favorite shows and leaving all the heaviness behind.
  73. Hunt Baldwin and John Coveny, who created Trust Me (and have been writers on “The Closer") are former admen themselves; they chose the milieu to explore the creative process among a group of people with a collective-neuroses score high enough to maintain a smart and breezy comedy.
  74. There's something about the terrible lighting, those horrible curtain dividers, the washed-out gowns that makes every patient seem extraordinarily vulnerable. Which, of course, they are, as are we all, including the men and women who provide our last line of defense in this life. This is precisely the stuff of great drama and of great documentary, but it gets a little troublesome when combining the two.
  75. Although Romano is the keystone of the group, it is very much an ensemble drama buoyed by writing that protects the characters from the perils of self-pity and self-indulgence with quick and gentle humor and plot points that capture the forces a middle-aged, middle-class man might actually battle.
  76. Wyle is funny and charming and dispenses just enough fascinating arcane knowledge to keep things semi-educational, the special effects are great, Newhart and Curtin are always great to see, the ubiquitous Davison ("Knight Rider") is obviously having a blast as Lazlo, and really, who doesn't like a good vampire story?
  77. As directed by Peter Berg, this is smart, handsome TV, a witty, measured mix of sci-fi, soap and satire that offers new twists on old tropes.
  78. Berman produces a deft juggling trick of heart and humor, balancing Deb's shallowness with some solid common sense and Jane's inadequate self-esteem with kindness and legal brilliance.
  79. The contest consists of family members answering questions about one another to win money and prizes, which is straightforward enough and entertaining on its own. But what makes it work so well, I am surprised to say, is the Big Gimmick: the fact that the show is staged on the contestants' front lawn.
  80. Easy Money (9 p.m. Sunday on the CW) is easily the most intriguing new show of the season, if only because it relies on neither the great wealth, modern science or female bonding for its narrative thrust.
  81. A lively, thought-provoking and often humorous quasi-biopic of a real-life crusader in which there are no angels, or devils either, just a nation in the midst of change for which not everyone is prepared.
  82. You can't really improve on the story of "Oliver Twist"; the best you can hope for is to bring it to life, which the two-part "Masterpiece Classic" version skillfully does.
  83. Sweet, lyrical and a little cracked, it's worth seeking out.
  84. I'll say now, before I get down to picking its nits--it has a few, and most might be predicted from the Spielberg oeuvre--that it's a splendid production, absolutely worth watching in its 10-hour entirety.
  85. Costello (who has subbed for David Letterman) makes a fine host--a bit reverential at times, but never as pious as, say, James Lipton can become over at the similarly configured "Inside the Actors Studio."
  86. Anchored by amazing performances by Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore, the Grey Gardens that premieres tonight is, like its subjects, a brilliant, moving, hilarious and mesmerizing mess of a movie that miraculously captures what made the Beales such iconic characters.
  87. Despite its equivocal title, Almost the Truth beats any Python documentary yet made for comprehensiveness and depth.
  88. For all its moments of poetry and insight, Mad Men too often feels less like a drama and more like the staging of a really good master's thesis.
  89. The Alzheimer’s Project is an ambitious, disturbing, emotionally fraught and carefully optimistic four-part documentary exploring virtually every angle of Alzheimer's disease that can be explored on television
  90. Yet despite the distraction of its media grooming, the basic story of Whale Wars is quite a yarn.
  91. It is a bit like Martin Scorsese's "After Hours," filtered through the sensibility of a Whit Stillman and sprinkled with "Flight of the Conchords"--and yet it feels new, because it is so completely itself, consistently itself, a mix of romance, adventure and stoner comedy (there is a lot of pot about) that never abandons the world the rest of us can recognize.
  92. Project Runway is a hard act to follow. Still, if you like watching people make (sometimes) beautiful clothes from nothing in no time--the first challenge is to make a little black dress from a little black T-shirt--The Fashion Show has that too.
  93. Even with its problems--we'll get to those presently--it's one of the best shows of the fall season.
  94. Creator Ian Edelman keeps his characters on the right side of caricature and avoids the kind of melodramatic confrontations their relations might typically suggest.

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