Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,324 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 3.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 True Detective: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Painkiller Jane: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 703
  2. Negative: 0 out of 703
703 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Looking doesn't make the mistake of arguing that gay men are just like straight women, or straight men, or gay women, or even each other. Instead it tells the story of three guys who are friends in a strangely wonderful and difficult time and what that looks like. To them.
  4. This one is smartly acted, crisply written and willing to address all manner of issues--marriage, betrayal, family economics, friendship, even the pitfalls of public domesticity--in gratifyingly complex ways.
  5. When Fellowes allows his characters to show that mettle and strength are not necessarily the prettiest things in the room, Downton transcends its soap bubbles and more than earns its histrionic plot twists.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The premiere is inordinately entertaining, and the follow-up episodes previewed equally so. [23 Jun 1994]
    • Los Angeles Times
  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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    That there are long passages without dialogue, or indeed without what we commonly call action, will surely put some viewers off--it will be the Rubicon they will or will not cross. But I am happy to bathe in its careful, bad-dreamy atmosphere, to go with its twisty flow.
  7. 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?
  8. Despite its equivocal title, Almost the Truth beats any Python documentary yet made for comprehensiveness and depth.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Fox's Back to You is back to TV comedy basics: multiple cameras, live audiences but, mostly, laughs.
  9. That nonjudgmental, easygoing charm is precisely why the people in Key's life put up with him, and why viewers will be drawn to him. Rake may be the story of yet another anti-hero, but it's difficult to remember one this likable.
  10. 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.
  11. It's not only the episode's sharp writing but also its eroticism and its balance between the naivete and predictability of Neil and the spontaneity and instability of Alicia that give 'Flying Blind' its uniqueness. What a nice beginning.
  12. Three episodes in, the story is certainly serpentine, at times self-consciously so. But there does appear to be writerly method in the madness. More important, there is Farmiga, and she, like Norma, appears up to any task.
  13. A funny gala of fresh, cleverly bent whimsy and endearing lightness that brings out the burlesque best in Christine Taylor, allowing her to far exceed her campy neo-Marcia in two movie revivals of "The Brady Bunch."
  14. It's a powerful meditation on what happens to a community once a galvanizing threat is removed but then returns, albeit in a more benign state.
  15. 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.
  16. It is well-written and certainly well-acted, with plot and psychological twists as numerous and tantalizing as the streets on which they occur.
  17. Covert Affairs may not have the revenge factor of "Burn Notice" or the bromantic banter of "White Collar," but it's fast-paced, fun and every bit as charming.
  18. The dialogue has a nice snap, the jokes come from just to the left of where you expect them to, and the players are all first-rate.
  19. A few caricatures stick out among the characters, but the subtler conceptions, on the page and in performance, win out.
  20. There's still blood and gore all over the floor, mind you. Not to mention rape, gruesome torture and evil run riot, and that's just the first episode. But there's also a lightness of touch and tone, a backlight of sly humor and, more important, a clearly delineated narrative.
  21. A delightful, knockabout new sitcom.
  22. [An] immediately exciting new season.
  23. Artistically, it may be an unnecessary appendix, but I'm not complaining. More pie? I will make room somehow.
  24. Warehouse 13 is unapologetically and delightfully derivative, happily plucking the best stuff from our favorite shows and leaving all the heaviness behind.
  25. The Strain is an old-fashioned, marks-hitting horror quest in which a band of unlikely warriors attempts to defeat a thing of unspeakable evil Before It's Too Late.
  26. Close's performance illuminates rather than outshines with its high wattage.
  27. Community continues to achieve a tricky balance of cynicism, sentiment and surreality.
  28. 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.
  29. From the start, it's mostly on Hall to seduce us, and he's so artful with the material that he consistently elevates it.
  30. Refreshingly realistic in some ways (there is much jumping out of high windows, but the jumper is often actually injured) and soothingly romantic in others, "The Musketeers" is a captivating balance of spectacle and story, true enough to the essentials of the original, modern enough to understand the necessity of humor and self-reference.
  31. Be assured, "NewsRadio" is no "Larry Sanders." Yet just like that HBO series, Simms' new one plays better than it reads. That's because the characters are imbued with amusingly quirky affectations that aren't necessarily visible in a script.
  32. Though neither naive nor mum about its subject's destructive complications and contradictions, his brutal youth and abuse of women, Alex Gibney's film concentrates on Brown the performer--both as a musician and as a public political personage, the voice of black pride (say it loud!) and economic self-sufficiency.
  33. The heroine's fearless and clever character, the self-knowledge and self-possession her tormentors lack, and her gift for survival are fixed from first to last. She is sometimes thwarted but never altered. If this makes The Book of Negroes less psychologically complex than it otherwise might be, there are real pleasures and comforts to be had from it.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. The Casual Vacancy is a heartbreaking, thought-provoking if occasionally simplistic look at the tyrannical power of the picturesque.
  38. In the wonderful Family Tree, hangdog Chris O'Dowd, finding his life stalled after losing a girlfriend and a job in short order, goes in search of his roots and relatives.
  39. 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.
  40. Fortitude's only safety net is a cat's cradle of inter-linked, understated and strangely powerful performances.
  41. In Season 2 the issues and tensions remain the same, but perfectly dialed up a notch or two.
  42. It's possible that, barring a confession, you will come to the end of The Jinx unsatisfied, wondering how it was you spent six unreclaimable hours in the company of a person you have decided is a creep. Either way, it's fascinating as it gets there.
  43. Wolf Hall is both stately and fast-moving, exceedingly still yet highly suspenseful.... Though the series comes to a natural stopping place, it also feels, at the finish, incomplete.
  44. All the performers use the documentary setup to their best advantage, shooting the omnipresent camera knowing, comical and anguished glances, and generally treating it as if it were another character.
  45. Viewers will come to see Deschanel but they'll stay for the whole package because smart writing, confident timing and characters that are both familiar yet surprisingly fresh make New Girl the most promising comedy, and one of the most promising shows, of the season.
  46. Nashville is big, bold, wildly ambitious and great fun, with top notes of Robert Altman's "Nashville," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "All About Eve."
  47. Despite this silly and derivative setup, the pilot is actually a lot of fun. The performances are uniformly good and there are moments of promising depth to balance all the peppy hair-swinging, abs-flexing dance numbers.
  48. This year, by contrast [to last year], the drama flows more naturally; it cuts closer to home, and nearer the bone, allowing Smith and McGovern, particularly, deeper material than has previously been their portion
    • Los Angeles Times
  49. If the rest of the series is as good as the two episodes released early for review (the fact that Netflix made only the episodes directed by Fincher available is slightly worrisome), House of Cards will in all probability become the first nontelevised television show to receive an Emmy nomination, or four.... [However,] not everything in House of Cards lives up to the standard set by its leads; for all its cutting-edge delivery system, it is at times surprisingly pat.
    • 53 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.
  50. As before there is a nice balance between social drama and personal business, the tragic and the comic, exaggeration and authenticity.
  51. But of what actually happens, I will say no more. You'll have to watch it yourself. And you should.
  52. It is a sweet, rather sad piece that--like the songs, by Whedon and his brother Jed, which are at once mock-heroic and actually heroic, mock-moving and moving in fact--works both as parody and as a drama. It also works as comedy, from line to line and moment to moment, but it is not, really, a comedy
  53. It's a highly satisfying riff on the original work, as well as a credit to the modern British costume drama.
  54. 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.
  55. Delightful new science-fiction comedy.... Like candy, it is sweet, and sometimes sticky or nutty or surprising.
  56. For a program known for its harum-scarum pace and keep-up-or-shut-up iconography, the Season 8 Saturday premiere of BBC America's Doctor Who opens slowly--even with the T. rex--and radiates a newly modern self-consciousness, albeit dressed in Victorian garb.
  57. You either like Odenkirk's nervy, nervous and surprisingly soulful performance or you don't--and it's pretty hard not to like.
  58. Serious without being grim, uplifting without being saccharine, Falling Skies dares to image what feature films will not--a world in which Will Smith or Aaron Eckhart did not bring down the mother ship in time.
  59. Though it has the pokey pace and flat affect of his other films--for Burns, history is elegy--it is also one of his best works: more tightly focused than usual in time and place, with a clear shape, dramatic arcs and a conclusion that is at once cautionary and moving, topical and timeless.
  60. Outsourced seems to me the most deftly realized sitcom of the new season. It is no closer to reality than any of its Thursday night neighbors ( Ken Kwapis, of "The Office" and other good things, developed it and directed the pilot), but it has a top-flight cast, characters who show you who they are rather than telling you, smart writing, sure rhythms and a cheerful attitude.
  61. Using film instead of videotape gives Baby Boom an elegant, cinematic texture that visually separates it from most TV comedies. But it's the smart, amusing script by the co-executive producers, Shyer's direction (the pilot is so fast-paced that you get the feeling he used a bullwhip) and Jackson's appealing mix of ambition and vulnerability as J.C. Wiattthat give this early sampling of Baby Boom its main charm.
  62. As the plot of V progresses, no doubt we will see the subtle strangulation of democracy by fascism--already the press has been corrupted--and that is a story that cannot be told often enough. Especially when it comes, like the V's, in such a fine, fun and attractive package.
  63. Funny and wickedly weird.
  64. Smooth without being slick, textured but not self-indulgent, Arrow reminds us that the best stories we tell are both revelatory and a whole lot of fun to watch.
  65. If it pulls off what it seems capable of doing, Blue Bloods should be both a good cop show and an evocative family drama. So something for everyone, just like a good Sunday dinner.
  66. American Odyssey is very much its own creation: clever, exciting, colorful without being self-consciously so. Most important, it is only occasionally ridiculous in the way conspiracy thrillers inevitably are.
  67. Unforgettable and not to be missed ... At times it overreaches, overdraws, oversentimentalizes. Yet among its excesses are troves of dark brilliance that mark "China Beach" as a potentially significant series.
  68. Without making any extraordinary claims for it, it is easy to watch and to recommend, mostly sweet-natured, with a host of well-shaded performances and almost nothing to insult your intelligence.
  69. It is amiably absurd and mildly profane, entertaining in a dry, droll way.
  70. 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.
  71. 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.
  72. [The taped linking] bits feel a little forced compared to the sketches, which are consistently smart and smartly acted and flow easily from ordinary premises to weird conclusions.
  73. Ethel is a moving, highly enjoyable, thoroughly absorbing portrait.
  74. 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.
  75. Garbus, director of the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning "The Farm: Angola, USA," fills in many of the blanks--to an impressive extent, given the obsessively guarded privacy of her subject--in a film that is both meditative and exciting, like the game it concerns, and mercilessly penetrating even as it reserves judgment on a man whose outrageousness practically demands it.
  76. The show has a nice sense of detail and a comic puckishness that every zombie police procedural needs. At times genuinely scary in the way it's meant to be, it's also moving in the way it's meant to be.
  77. 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.
  78. 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.
  79. As shamelessly superficial as the crowd it memorializes, but so sophisticated in its approach to shallowness that it's also great fun. [5 June 1998, p.F28]
    • Los Angeles Times
  80. Hatfields & McCoys is a star-studded, gorgeously produced and astonishingly nuanced look at America's most famous family feud.
  81. The writers seem so concerned with ensuring that their characters are preternaturally decent and likable that they go for sunny skies when there should be storm clouds....But Kodjoe and Mbatha-Raw are so energetic and appealing that it's hard to take your eyes off them long enough to worry about such matters, and they both seem up to just about anything.
  82. 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.
  83. 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.
  84. What makes it so engaging is not that the series finds anything new to twist, but that it works so well with and within the strictures of the well-thumbed genres it combines in equal parts: spy thriller, murder mystery, backstage drama, triangular romance.
  85. It's one of the best things to come out of the fall season, but as a recreational television watcher, I like it too.
  86. 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.
  87. The show is consistently clever and lively, well played and directed, its corners filled with nice throwaway lines and small visual jokes.
  88. 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.
  89. The case [A Scandal in Belgravia] is much more complicated than that [photos involving a member of the British family] of course, so much more that it, as with the episodes that follow, occasionally threatens to collapse under its own writhing weight. Fortunately, the thrill of Sherlock Holmes was never so much plot as character.
  90. Seek, stylish and superbly performed, BBC America's Cold War drama The Game offers more to look at than think about, but then there's something about espionage that almost always calls for a little eye candy.
  91. The value of the series, then, is its, well, weight, its relentless attempt to remind us of what we know, to connect many important dots and clear away the emotional and cultural fog that often blurs discussions about obesity, and to offer hope in the form of personal stories, regional projects and past success.
  92. O'Loughlin's by-the-book performance is buoyed by a fast-paced script and a splendid supporting cast, including and especially Scott Caan as Danno, that radiates enough hit-making energy to render even Oahu's azure waters and perfect sunsets superfluous.
  93. Sweet, smart and quickly addictive, it's a classic cross-cultural romantic comedy with top notes of satire, but a brave and true heart.
  94. Hannibal is much better than it once was, perhaps the guiltiest pleasure on television at this time.
  95. NY Med is a surprisingly addictive medical docu-series, fascinating as much in form as it is in function. The third in a series of similarly-themed programs prod
  96. If Johnson sometimes stretches a point to make a point — the link between public hygiene and competitive skateboarding, say — he is always intriguing and entertaining, his show thought-provoking and compulsively fun to watch.

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