Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,533 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 53% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Big Love: Season 5
Lowest review score: 0 Full House: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 818
  2. Negative: 0 out of 818
818 tv reviews
  1. The sexy, urbane Friends -- from Marta Kauffman, David Crane and Kevin Bright, the people responsible for the HBO super-comedy "Dream On" -- starts fairly strongly tonight, improves next Thursday and in week three gets on a grand, hilarious, rip-roaring roll. It's the perfect series to bridge "Mad About You" and "Seinfeld." [22 Sept 1994, p.F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  2. Highly arresting. [20 Sept 2002, p.C1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  3. Great stuff. Not a perfect strike, but close. [7 Oct 2000, p.F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  4. It is striking more for its form than its contents, which are familiar. ... But it looks and feels like nothing else on TV.
  5. In its emphasis on character over plot it reminds me of movies from the pre-Spielberg '70s, and is in so many ways what I want from television that I feel almost like phoning each of you personally to deliver the news.
  6. It's [Jessica Jones'] superhumanity, rather than her superpowers, that makes the show so riveting.
  7. Each of the main pairings could hold a lesser show aloft; that Holland attempts to juggle and then connect them, while also exploring the divine and mundane events that draw people together, is impressive. That he pulls it off with wit and wonder is simply amazing.
  8. There is a quiet naturalism to the production, quite distinct from Hollywood horror, in which every trick in the audio-visual book is marshaled to jolt you as far as possible out of your seat when the scare comes, and also from supposedly found-footage films ("The Blair Witch Project" and its progeny) that use aesthetic chaos to suggest actuality. This is altogether more mature.
  9. It is impossible to watch the gravity-defying catches, the Olympian throws, and the hits soaring into the stands and not be moved. Watching professional athletes in the moments of their glory is a wonderful thing; knowing what was at stake makes it even more moving.
  10. Crafted to satisfy those generations of viewers for whom even "The Empire Strikes Back" looks quaint and old-fashioned, it is no less thought-provoking for being made to be fun.
  11. The show improves as it gathers context, and before long you stop thinking about what makes this Arrested Development different from all other Arrested Developments.
  12. It's delightful, all in all.
  13. But it's Claire, and the Underwood marriage, that makes "House of Cards" more than just a better-than-average addition to the genre of Antihero Drama Being Used to Establish a New Fiefdom in the Television Landscape (see also "Nip/Tuck," "Dexter," "Mad Men," "Vikings" and "Klondike").
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. [An] enlightening biographical documentary.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Cleverly conceived, it boasts a star-studded cast (Gabriel Byrne, Dianne Wiest, Blair Underwood) who achieve, at times, theatrical transcendence.
  22. A dark and splendid "Dr. Who" spinoff with overtones of "Men in Black" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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
  26. Yet despite the distraction of its media grooming, the basic story of Whale Wars is quite a yarn.
  27. 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.
  28. 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
  29. 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.
  30. What sets Push Girls apart [from other reality shows] is that these plots, and these women, are actually interesting.
  31. While it is funny, sometimes very funny, it also has the quality of a gift--a gift from the artists to themselves and one another as much as to their audience.
  32. 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].
  33. Infused with the considerable talents of Bertie Carvel and especially Eddie Marsan in the title roles, Peter Harness' adaptation is, like the book, a deft combination of Dickensian satire, Austenian wit and Gothic anxiety.
  34. A small-scale gem. [3 Aug 2005]
    • Los Angeles Times
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. It was good, it was very, very good.
  38. [Master of None] is smart, sweet and funny in ways both familiar and fresh.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. What it lacks in depth, Babylon makes up for in range and sudden brilliant commentary.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. It's hard not to love a show with a comely apothecary, and it's impossible not to love the new season of Grimm.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. A smart and highly suspenseful miniseries.
  48. 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
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. 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.
  52. 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
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. It matters less whether UnREAL is accurate than whether it is just true enough to provide a foundation for credible drama--and it very much does.
  57. Moffat and his very deep bench of talented performers create characters that defy expectation and grow in complexity with each episode.
  58. A smart, amiable, colorful new cartoon series.
  59. Style doesn't sink the story or make the details and milieu feel any less authentic. It will help the viewer to have a high tolerance for suspense because in every strand of the story there is a continual threat of violence and because most of the characters are on balance sympathetic.
  60. 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
  61. The show is a little motley, owing to a willingness to play with style and to give its directors room to move, and the plotting can feel a little methodical when contrasted with a greater urge to let character emerge and deepen gradually. You're never completely unaware of the artifice, but the series feels very alive nevertheless, as it moves in and out of the tropes, embracing some, avoiding others.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. 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.
  67. Early episodes are strong, if not as shattering as the inaugural season.
  68. 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
  69. 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
  70. 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
  71. 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.
  72. 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."
  73. It's not your mother's Bionic Woman. It's much, much better.
  74. "Surface" is steeped in Spielberg, and is better Spielberg than Spielberg has managed in quite some time.
  75. 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.
  76. 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.
  77. 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
  78. 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?
  79. 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.
  80. The two episodes I've seen are very good--engagingly twisted, more invested in ideas than jokes, often funny, usually admirable.
  81. 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.
  82. The Fades works.
  83. It's precisely the lack of traditional stage-managed drama that makes early episodes of the show so fascinating.
  84. 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.
  85. "Rome" is smart, dirty fun.
  86. 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
  87. 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
  88. 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.
  89. It does bear the compromises and conventions that routinely afflict biographical dramas.... But it's no worse in this respect than most such films and better than many — rarely cornball and, indeed, conceivably less melodramatic than the life it portrays. And it's always well played.
  90. The show is crazy, man, now more than ever, and I mean that in the best possible way.
  91. 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.
  92. Valerie and Alex are both oblivious and self-involved, but they also love each other, and Watkins and Dewey save them from stereotype with strong sibling chemistry and a surprisingly natural inclination for truth. This emerges slowly, in bits and pieces, often camouflaged by one-liners and set pieces (adjacent blind dates! the first one-night stand! Mom comes to town!), but it is truth nonetheless, hilarious, heartbreaking and miraculously resilient.
  93. 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.
  94. 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.
  95. 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.
  96. 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.
  97. Samantha Who? is as perfectly realized a comedy as the fall has to offer.
  98. 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
  99. 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.

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