Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,312 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 3.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 The Sopranos: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Stalker: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 694
  2. Negative: 0 out of 694
694 tv reviews
  1. Along with the story line insights, there is a feeling of control overarching the early episodes, a narrative fluidity replacing the spikier, and quickly tiresome, need to shock. Oh, Hannah's still naked and body fluids anchor several conversations, but Girls seems to be maturing as a creative enterprise just as its characters are maturing as people.
  2. There is a cool cleverness to the show that is both attractive and off-putting; the characters are flawed and hyper-aware of their flaws, the stories so bent on covering every angle of self-examination that there is no real role for the viewer to play.
  3. [An] enlightening biographical documentary.
  4. Funny, yes, but in a revelatory way. It is not unusual for a working mother to view every relationship in her life as simply a matter of fulfilling the next indicated task, but I don't think it has ever been so wonderfully, and painfully, captured on television before.
  5. Writer and executive producer Jonathan E. Steinberg does an admirable job preserving the smart-mouth humor and ker-pow, splat fun while creating story lines and characters grounded in the alpha-male charm that made guys like Pierce Brosnan, Bruce Willis and Robert Conrad so popular.
  6. 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.
  7. Cleverly conceived, it boasts a star-studded cast (Gabriel Byrne, Dianne Wiest, Blair Underwood) who achieve, at times, theatrical transcendence.
  8. A dark and splendid "Dr. Who" spinoff with overtones of "Men in Black" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
  9. Like the wonderful documentaries of ESPN's "30 for 30" series, The Announcement not only captures a remarkable person and an unforgettable moment, it proves once again the universal appeal and importance of professional sports.
  10. Nourished by clever writing, the comic delivery of Allen and the earthy freshness of Richardson, "Home Improvement" is funny enough in spots to make you laugh out loud.
  11. Although Maria self-consciously identifies her family as "Spanish," the series displays its Mexicana proudly, and is just witty and offbeat enough to stand out from the crowd. [20 Sept 2002, p.C1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  12. Yet despite the distraction of its media grooming, the basic story of Whale Wars is quite a yarn.
  13. 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.
  14. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  15. Costars like Daly, Ivanek and Neuwirth promise great things, but Madam Secretary belongs, obviously, to Leoni, who conjures a gratifying mix of brains and heart, humor and flintiness without, and this is important, any sign of mental illness.
  16. What sets Push Girls apart [from other reality shows] is that these plots, and these women, are actually interesting.
  17. 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].
  18. A small-scale gem. [3 Aug 2005]
    • Los Angeles Times
  19. 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.
  20. Though both are actors with pasts that border on Hollywood satire, they appear more "real" than any other set of reality drama stars on TV today. No moral compasses here, no self-sabotage, no attempt to brand themselves with a phrase or a fist pump, just a very, very complicated family and fairly reasonable expectations.
  21. In Witness we are left with far more questions than answers or even observations....Fortunately, they're all good questions, important and worth asking in any format.
  22. 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.
  23. What it lacks in depth, Babylon makes up for in range and sudden brilliant commentary.
  24. 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.
  25. Co-written by O'Dowd with Nick Vincent Murphy, it is a finely crafted little jewel of a show. Its humor is quiet--which is not to say polite or conventional--but nearly every laugh line delivers.
  26. It's hard not to love a show with a comely apothecary, and it's impossible not to love the new season of Grimm.
  27. Miller is certainly competent and even compelling as this round of newly imagined Sherlock Holmes.... Liu gives her Watson the perfect blend of wariness and admiration--she is clearly brilliant in her own right and while she may be his keeper, she is not his chronicler. And her journey may turn out to be just as interesting as his.
  28. 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.
  29. A smart and highly suspenseful miniseries.
  30. If the premiere of Frasier does not manufacture laughs as consistently as one might expect from a "Cheers" offspring, it's still a cleverly written show with a quality cast that bodes well for the future. Mahoney is superb as the father, who reveals his inner feelings grudgingly, and Grammer is a master of the witty response. [16 Sept 1993, p.F11]
    • Los Angeles Times
  31. More a sketch than a thorough retelling--though still recommended as such--and as balanced as you can be about the scandal given the facts, the film begins at the end, or just before it, with the remarkable, once much-bootlegged footage of Nixon preparing to resign.
  32. The smart, insightful writing of Liz Tigelaar, the crisp and vibrant exteriors of Portland and the palpable chemistry between all the leads combine to make it, dare I say, lovable, an entertaining hour that might even offer a few insights into the complicated ties of desire and regret, friends and family.
  33. 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.
  34. It is a suitably complicated and pictorially engaging work of period suburban mystery, with a large cast of characters
    • 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  35. There is a current of delight that runs through the show different from other reality contestants, where the grown-ups may feel they have their lives on the line; there is disappointment here, but little bitterness.
  36. The show, and its survival, offers proof that quality can triumph in an industry driven by quantity and that even though necessity is the more fertile of the two, poetry can also be a fine mother to invention.
  37. 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.
  38. Moffat and his very deep bench of talented performers create characters that defy expectation and grow in complexity with each episode.
  39. A smart, amiable, colorful new cartoon series.
  40. A rather bent sense of humor -- woven into a nice little whodunit -- is what lifts the flawed-but-engaging premiere of Picket Fences above the ordinary, raising expectations for the future. [18 Sept 1992, p.F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  41. 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.
  42. Convincingly mounted and splendidly played, the show packs in a lot without seeming to, moving from one weird scene to another while maintaining a kind of emotional integrity.
  43. 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.
  44. Viewers will sigh with relief to see this trio actually get along with one another. They listen, share in the laughs and coolly talk through decisions--it makes for a captivating panel that’s fun to watch.
  45. 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.
  46. Early episodes are strong, if not as shattering as the inaugural season.
  47. It's very funny, beautifully played, sometimes touching and, though its premise is familiar--rich family loses money--quite its own animal.
    • Los Angeles Times
  48. Although most of the premiere is forgettable, the second episode is wheezingly funny and the third is also a kick. [7 Oct 2000, p.F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  49. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  50. The argument for overturning Ali's conviction has nothing to do with politics or personality. Instead, it had everything to do with the legal fine print, which makes the film's climax more muted than you might hope.... The cast, led by Plummer and Langella, is so fabulous you might find yourself wondering if it isn't time for a dramatic series revolving around this Supreme Court.
  51. 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."
  52. It's not your mother's Bionic Woman. It's much, much better.
  53. "Surface" is steeped in Spielberg, and is better Spielberg than Spielberg has managed in quite some time.
  54. 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.
  55. It's not quite perfection. Nearly everything to do with the character of Piper's fiancé, Larry (Jason Biggs), somewhat based on Kerman's now-husband Larry Bloom, seems problematic to me. Similarly, in emphasizing the humanity of the inmates, their warders have been made to look, for the most part, pathetic, foolish or monstrous. That is remedied in part this season by a deeper look at the staff, even as some of the more difficult prisoners, like Uzo Aduba's Crazy Eyes, are brought into better focus.
  56. The Walking Dead, like any good horror tale, still believes in the importance of monsters, perfectly balancing the struggle of basic human decency with those palsied four-in-the-morning moments when we are convinced that everyone around us is trying to eat us alive
  57. Writer and executive producer Shane Brennan has worked on "NCIS" for years; he knows what he's doing and how to do it well; the casting is solid, the crimes international. What's not to like?
  58. 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.
  59. The two episodes I've seen are very good--engagingly twisted, more invested in ideas than jokes, often funny, usually admirable.
  60. The current episodes have more weight and intensity; they come off a shade darker and yet more sympathetic to its cast of co-dependent lost souls.
  61. The Fades works.
  62. It's precisely the lack of traditional stage-managed drama that makes early episodes of the show so fascinating.
  63. 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.
  64. "Rome" is smart, dirty fun.
  65. The scripts are one-line oriented and sometimes an ugly howl, and the central characters are perfectly cast. The growly O'Neill and Sagal -- who has a terrific mincing walk that she may have picked up from her days as one of Bette Midler's Harlettes -- were born to insult and perform bowling-ball humor. [4 Apr 1987, p.C1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  66. The glamour in Pan Am may indeed be manufactured--doubly manufactured, given the re-created places and planes--but it's not empty: The show says, yes, this is as good as it looks, and it looks very good
  67. Every performance here is good--the young actors are remarkable--and though the script sometimes goes just where you would expect it to, the characters seem authentically unpredictable.
  68. The show is crazy, man, now more than ever, and I mean that in the best possible way.
  69. Covering nearly five centuries, half a dozen groups and a dozen wars, with interviews from 100 subjects, Latino Americans looks to be exactly what it claims to be: the most thorough documentary on Latino American history yet made.
  70. 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.
  71. The religious overlap--both Christian and Jewish extremists appear to be involved; the word is still out on the Muslims--lends Dig a certain resonance and depth, just as the location work in Jerusalem gives it authenticity. But in the end, it's about a man who needs to save the world to save himself. Or maybe it's the other way around. Either way, Dig promises to be a whole lot of crazy fun to watch.
  72. Battle Creek may be a little low-boil compared to other network mysteries, which I don't account a fault; even when it runs to caricature, it stays convincing. And if it doesn't break any new ground, it nevertheless feels fresh and genuine.
  73. As a story about how the past became the present (which makes us, in relation to its characters, people of the future), it is very much in line with its subject, and has been made with much the same mix of enchantment and suspense.
  74. Samantha Who? is as perfectly realized a comedy as the fall has to offer.
  75. The already evident lesson is that a moldy premise need not stand in the way of a good time. [22 Sept 2003, p.E1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  76. The Fairly Legal writers manage to make this intellectually formidable centerpiece lively and intriguing and Shahi, whose timing is just as exceptional as her looks, makes it funny and sexy. The rest of the cast give us characters who may have started off stock but quickly become multilayered and, like the show itself, capable of all manner of surprises.
    • 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  77. 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.
  78. 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.
  79. It's the whole over-the-top insanity of it all, the splendid and glorious belief that if you say even god-awful lines firmly enough, if you look hot while drawing some weapon with which you clearly have no familiarity, if you acknowledge the yawning chasms in plot by saying things like "This is crazy" and "Do you trust me?" often enough, your audience will stay with you. Which is the creative spirit that drives this town, shared by the masterpiece and the utter mess alike.
  80. A considerably above-average Generation Y sitcom that manages to be both sharp and sentimental, like "Seinfeld" with feeling.
    • Los Angeles Times
  81. 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.
  82. 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.
  83. There are also familiar dialogues between the brain and the body (golden) and a bit of hand-in-the-Jello-bowl mugging (not so golden), but all in all, the special lives up to its name. Neither finished, nor diminished.
  84. Beyond the emotional pull of the individual stories, Get to Work breaks down a certain us/them barrier, showing with painful clarity the holes left by the absence of family structure and education.
  85. There is plenty of irony in Silverman's presentations, but her title is sincere.
  86. Even with its problems--we'll get to those presently--it's one of the best shows of the fall season.
  87. Well made and never boring--the director is Julian Jarrold ("Becoming Jane")--Appropriate Adult is a first-class example of what British filmmakers do well when they are not trying to look like American filmmakers.
  88. The alien Doctor is something of a Sherlock Holmes, and Sherlock Holmes is something of an alien. This is played often for laughs, in the series' funniest, and goofiest, year yet.
  89. Terra Nova manages to introduce a panoply of narrative threads and themes while telling a remarkably clean story, both in terms of plot line and tone; Terra Nova is whole-family friendly.
  90. There is plenty of that--the good, the beautiful and the etc. Some of it is conjured by CG magic (the Red Queen's palace is splendid, and the White Rabbit's ears a masterwork), and some by just good storytelling and performer chemistry, which Lowe and Socha have in abundance. Add to that a smattering of witty dialogue, clever character twists and, of course, the Victo-goth steampunk look, and ABC has another shot at redefining the family hour.
  91. One of the season's best new shows.
  92. 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.
  93. The show mines the long-standing tension between those who believe in fate and those who believe in control while holding all strains of outrageous behavior up for both mockery and scrutiny.
  94. [Writer/director/voice of Cleric] Steve Purcell's comic timing is splendid, as is his staging of the action scenes.
  95. The opening plot has some cracks, but none that can't be stepped over in an hour that is often transfixing and has you looking forward to the next episode. [9 Oct 1996, p.F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  96. Modern Family is sharp, timely and fresh, complicated enough to be interesting but with a soft, sweet center because, and I'm speaking loudly so even cable channels can hear, there is nothing wrong with that.
  97. This air of familiarity notwithstanding, the pilot is splendidly rendered; effective in the expected ways in a way that makes you forget you expected them.
  98. 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.

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