Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,097 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 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Homeland: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 America's Funniest Home Videos: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 585
  2. Negative: 0 out of 585
585 tv reviews
  1. While much of it is silly, corny or clichéd and relies more on easy effects — the power ballad, the overwrought sex scene — than on the subtle explorations of people and place that the pilot seems to promise, the series is, on the whole, highly digestible summer fun.
  2. Sometimes "John From Cincinnati" is a muddle, at other times rich drama and divine comedy. And sometimes it's all of that at once.
  3. Whether or not they add up to much, the scenes play well, and there are enough heavy-breathing soap-operatics, random acts of violence and unanswered questions to keep one idly watching.
  4. State of Mind is the weaker (and the more strenuous and sour) of the two [new shows on Lifetime], and all the more disappointing for the presence of the reliably interesting Taylor.
  5. It's just the same joke endlessly repeated--the everyday translated into geek-speak, and the obscure and difficult treated as if it were common knowledge.... These are perilous times for sitcoms, and Lorre & Co. may want to think up another.
  6. Notwithstanding the novelty of the setting, the nice Latin music and good individual work by the cast--Walker is especially notable in a role made to notice--Smits is the engine that drives the ship; he gives Cane at least an illusion of speed and substance and soul.
  7. This may not be as touching as "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings," or "God bless us every one," and it may resonate much more with the parents than the kids, but for a Christmas special about an ogre who may have overstayed his 15 minutes, it's actually not too bad.
  8. After watching two episodes, I was left with the thought with which I began: An iconic apartment building full of wacky characters would make a great TV show. Would, though. Not does.
  9. Zwick and Herskovitz do capture the sweet self-absorption of youth--love is never truer, dreams never dearer and life never as complicated as it is when you are 24--it's just that it all feels so familiar when we were so hoping for something new and exciting.
  10. Not surprisingly, given the scope of the show, some topics are nailed brilliantly--Chanel, the airport security agent, is perhaps among the greatest TV characters in recent history, and the adoption of an American child by an African actress is equally hilarious--while others, like local newscaster Alvarez or the pregnant senior citizen, are flat and trite or flat and weird.
  11. But even at 10 hours, Carrier feels cursory and incomplete. That's not to say that at most any given moment it's uninteresting--it's quite watchable--just that it doesn't add up to as much as it should.
  12. It has an appealing modesty that survives its bouts of aesthetic overexcitement--the occasionally lurching camera, hammering soundtrack, the sentimental pop song laid over the last couple of minutes as the principals silently end a long, hard day.
  13. From where I sit, it is something of a mixed bag, but it works more than it doesn't, and an impressive, semi-big-name cast helps keep it upright and lends the project an air of prestige--especially in the context of its modest little network.
  14. Their TV show, which might make the band more famous than its music, is lightweight, sometimes flat and sometimes embarrassing, with none of the deadpan brilliance of "Flight of the Conchords" or the sophisticated sitcomedy of the late “The Chris Isaak Show.”
  15. Even just a half hour in, it's difficult not to wish everyone would just lighten the heck up. The graphic novel noir feel is becoming increasingly oppressive, and everyone is just so grim.
  16. Lucas could spend the rest of his life filling that hiatus with adventures whose outcomes are basically irrelevant to the larger story he has already finished telling. Many battles make up a war, after all, and each is an episode waiting to be animated. The two I've seen are bagatelles--brief and insubstantial but colorful and fluid.
  17. Much of it feels dreadfully slow, not so much moody as stretched for time....Things do pick up significantly with the arrival of Christopher Heyerdahl as John Druitt.
  18. Except in the decorative details, it is exactly the same as every other gimme-a-job reality show ever made, with the contestants all banged up in a fancy dormitory from which they disappear one by one after themed weekly challenges.
  19. I can't say the pilot struck me as especially funny, but there are good things and talented people in it, and it looks good.
  20. It was an encouraging start.
  21. It's corny, ponderous, literary, ambitious, obvious and, at the beginning at least, as slow as molasses, but continually re-energized by Ian McShane as King Saul, or, as he's known here, King Silas Benjamin
  22. The Tudors remains lush and bejeweled, so much so that at times one fears it will simply collapse under its own weight, and, you know, we still have a few wives to go.
  23. Everything in the pilot, written by executive producer Claudia Lonow, is a hair or three too strenuous; Billie has been knocked down to a few easy-to-grasp impulses, and almost all the other roles are filled by stereotypes--Jensen's most wastefully--in stereotypical relationships. Nevertheless, the premise is full of interesting possibilities about love and age and unconventional parenting.
  24. Lacking the subtext, satire and snappy talk that made "Buffy" golden, Demons (on the evidence of its first two episodes) has little on its mind past raising spooks and smiting them, but it does a fair enough job of that.
  25. Although overblown in message and action, The Bridge is well-performed and worth watching if only to see if it will stand by its thesis: that real change comes from people working together.
  26. Perfectly fine and nothing special.
  27. "Casanova" only gets into trouble when it wants to mean something, and the more pointedly emotional moments seem cooked up to the point of hokum, but it's fun when it wants to be, and most of the time it just wants to be fun.
  28. In theory, Southland could turn out to be a rich and textured cross between, say, "Hill Street Blues" and "Crash" with a little "Training Day" on the side, but the pilot, for all its horrific crimes and grimy street scenes, is strangely bland.
  29. If you're in the mood for some outer space, I wouldn't warn you away. Livingston and Harris work well together, and though it's too soon to know whether this will go anywhere interesting, it's also too soon to say it won't. I do wonder what's coming.
  30. The cleverest part of the show is that it makes the judges into contestants; they compete against one another for the right to invest in a business, and they haggle with the entrepreneurs over the terms of their investment.
  31. The series is not so different from, or significantly worse--or better--than the network's other two season premieres, "Melrose Place" and "The Vampire Diaries," which also affix stock characters, played mostly by good-looking young folk, to standard plot lines sexed up with pop songs and different flavors of visual glamour. Because they do not aim particularly high, they pretty much hit what they aim at.
  32. It is technically proficient--that is, the jokes consistently work, even when they don't add up to much--and its problems may not be unsolvable, if anyone even considers them problems in the first place.
  33. It is something less than magical, but it's pleasant and pretty and easy to watch.
  34. In spite of some talented actors, it all seems more scripted than lived, referring not the world but a world of things you've seen on TV, handled well enough to make Mercy passable, but never exceptional, television.
  35. It's a decent but not brilliant beginning.
  36. There's nothing here you couldn't imagine from the premise, but there's also nothing wrong with what's here: McGraw is a good foil for Grammer, and Grammer is good at what he does.
  37. Wootton is a quick-minded, thematically consistent improviser who thoroughly knows his characters, and obviously something of a daredevil: You can get hurt doing this stuff, or arrested. But as in Baron Cohen's comedies, the cleverness of the star is too much the point.
  38. Pretty Little Liars is one of those shows that manages to mildly, and perhaps unintentionally, spoof its genre while fully participating in it, and that's not a bad thing at all.
  39. The Gates, on the other hand, starts off with an even greater number of well-worn characters and storylines, but writers Richard Hatem and Grant Scharbo infuse them with a lot more life and a surprisingly high incidence of poignancy.
  40. Old-chestnut premise notwithstanding, the show wants to be modern, and the humor occasionally pushes further than one might expect from a family comedy.
  41. Their [Gethard and Parnell] interplay, once things get moving, is appealing, if not quite compelling, but what sold me on the pilot was the moment when 14-year-old Dylan Blue, as Gethard's beyond-the-law kid brother, revealed his dark side, and his gun; I was a little frightened.
  42. Many of those gags are mechanical and flat, although they are delivered as though they were not. But when the leads are focused on each other, size no longer matters and the show flickers to life.
  43. Creator Kyle Killen and executive producers Amy Lippman and Christopher Keyser (the latter two best known for "Party of Five") are betting that the callow charm of their leading man, shored up by tailor-made roles for Keith and Jon Voight, who plays gimlet-eyed oil tycoon Clint Thatcher, will overcome the ridiculousness of the setup.
  44. All their best scenes are with one another and have less to do with whatever case they're contesting than with their shared personal history--the characters are old friends, maybe lovers--and teasingly suggested future. The crimes, by contrast, are not particularly compelling, even when they are sensational, and feel invented merely to let the stars talk.
  45. It isn't until the glimmer of a plot finally emerges, after Todd stumbles into a Middle Eastern market with a can of Thunder Muscle, eliciting sudden mysterious interest--that the series inches past mere mockery to the promise of more muscular misadventure.
  46. Some of these women are troubled, certainly, but none of them seems like trouble. Indeed, I felt a little sad at times, watching--not as I usually do, for the society that could produce such a program, but for the actual women in it, as far as I could make them out.
  47. The first lines of this new chapter were promising, if not quite the fulfillment of his last wild nights at NBC, when caution was thrown to the wind.
  48. It's the fabulous shamelessness, the awful and yet admirable brilliance of the thing. Whether Palin will ever run for office or not, Sarah Palin's Alaska sets a new standard for political ads.
  49. Yet if the pilot is generic and wan, it is at least sweet-tempered and not completely offensive (though this is somewhat at odds with its cinematic heritage).
  50. For all its flaws, there's something attractively amiable about Harry's Law. A little more grit, a little less speechifying, and a better verdict might yet arrive.
  51. Although the pilot feels somewhat made-to-order and its characters are schematically arrayed - press materials describe them as "the everyday couple" (Kyle Bornheimer and Christine Woods), "the high-passion couple" (David Walton and Mary Elizabeth Ellis) and "the couple that strives to be perfect" (Hayes MacArthur and Olivia Munn)--subsequent episodes grow looser and more natural, even as they get stranger.
  52. This is only an average situation comedy, but even the great ones have worn that makeup.
  53. OK, it's not Chekhov or even "How I Met Your Mother," to which it will inevitably be compared, but it's a lot better than the I'll-do-anything-for-pizza jokes that precede it.
  54. As is the case with pilots, the seams tend to show--the bountiful expository dialogue makes no effort to veil its purpose, and the production is a tad too insistent that we find these scamps charming. But they are fairly charming at that, and though the spy stuff is all unconvincing hokum, the company is easy to bear.
  55. Pope is a likeable woman, smart and sensible. Although the Difficult Boss is a common feature of Bravo series, by network standards she is egoless as the Buddha. Indeed, as a protector of the almost-born from the fuzzy thinking and distracted inattention of their parents, she is a bastion of perspective.
  56. I can't say I found much of Workaholics especially funny, but neither do I have it in my heart to hate it. On a craft level, it's very nicely made, the actors are weirdly appealing, and its spirit is not mean, but sweet.
  57. For fans of the canon, South Riding is "Masterpiece" comfort food, enjoyable enough in the moment, but melting away to nothing but sugar and fat by morning.
  58. Too Big to Fail is pretty consistent low-key entertainment if not exactly enlightening (because it is an impersonation of the truth) or gripping (because we already know how it sort of ends).
  59. With any luck, subsequent episodes will find a sharper, cleaner stride. All the elements are there, it's just the alchemy that seems a bit off.
  60. Skidding through twists and turns aplenty, the intentionally soapy plot generates a lot of fun froth, but Gellar has a hard time playing one troubled and complicated woman, much less two.
  61. American Horror Story is a big ol' brooding, baffling, ridiculous and occasionally compelling mess of a show.
  62. All of which adds up to a nice, moody, entertaining-enough hour and the troublesome question of how interesting this will be by the third episode.
  63. Nevertheless, this is a kind of American classic that goes right against the grain of what cartoons are supposed to be.
  64. None of the characters--including the usual smart hot girl, mean hot girl and mean hot guy--range beyond well-established types, and the show would have to stand on a chair to aim any lower. But it is mostly sweet-tempered and oddly moral, and, as I write these words, I do not hate it.
  65. Still, for all the unlikely things the Gaytons make happen in order to get their characters into place, and the dogged refusal of a couple of those characters to become interesting at all, the show gathers steam as it goes on.
  66. A cleverly conceived, at times visually lovely, but criminally long imagining of how Peter became Pan.
  67. This Napoleon Dynamite is all go, go, go, racing, if nothing else, to keep pace with the host of other animated prime-time shows it joins.
  68. It is nowhere near as smart as "White Collar" or as strangely touching as "Necessary Roughness" and seems content to hit well-worn marks, though more than occasionally with welcome style.
  69. The crimes of the first four episodes revel in plot twists and medical conditions so ludicrous that they eventually become endearing, as does, against all odds, McCormack's performance.
  70. Whatever else you make of it--and it's enough to say that if you like this sort of thing, you will like this thing--it's all, or partly, for a good cause.
  71. Crimson Petal could lose an hour without sacrificing a single scene or word of dialogue, and it would still seem slow and moody.
  72. Much about the pilot felt flat or programmatic to me, but much was likable as well, especially the nonchalant tenderness between the male leads. And the cast is good.
  73. Despite the frantic and at times clunky initial execution, there are times when The Mob Doctor shows signs of transcending the typical doc-with-something-extra medical procedural.
  74. Created by Dan Fogelman it is enjoyable if not impressive--not bad, and almost good.
  75. Though it is flat and obvious at times, and some might call it ill-paced--I think of it as leisurely--it is only a little sanctimonious and not at all stuffed.
  76. [Scott Baio's] naturally relaxed presence mitigates the show's more hectic leanings.
  77. The celebration and surrender are enough to put the viewer in a vicarious good mood, no matter how unconvincing its context.
  78. There are enough interesting ideas inherent in the material to warrant giving The Americans a chance, and interesting enough ideas that one wishes a little more attention were being paid to them, and a little less to the usual spy-jinks.
  79. New show runner Joshua Safran has, in any case, declared himself a fan of the show, promising changes more surgical than wholesale, a promise disappointing in its way. Nevertheless, he has trimmed much deadwood.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There's not much suspense here, but the two leads, and the hour's teacup worth of mystery, are just enough to keep this flying saucer aloft.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Sounds funny, and it is. In a style reminiscent of "South Park" and "Beavis and Butt-head," but not nearly as crude, Clone High mixes pop culture and historical references with some crassness. The problem is that the first episode, which focuses on crushes and beer, doesn't quite live up to the obvious comedic potential behind the killer premise. [20 Jan 2003, p.C24]
  80. As drama, it's uneven, often cliched, even silly, but, like the store in which it's set--and whose ground floor, mezzanine and facade have been splendidly re-created--so variously stocked that you will likely find something here to take home.
  81. Bogged down at times by moody re-creations (often unforgivably accompanied by the strains of a muted trumpet) and endless footage of Bin Laden, Manhunt is not a definitive telling either. Indeed, its strength lies in its awareness that there is no way to completely tell this particular story.
  82. Its uniqueness and arresting style don't earn it an unqualified endorsement here, for its first two Fontana-written episodes are absolute downers--there's no light at the end of a tunnel, nor even a tunnel--that offer no central characters to like or pull for...Be forewarned, too, that Oz is flat-out the most violent and graphically sexual series on TV. By contrast, it makes ABC's "NYPD Blue" look and sound like dancing Barney. [12 July 1997, p.F2]
  83. Most of what doesn't work in the pilot happens when the production strives for a big effect or grand stroke, while all of what works best happens in the close space between the leads.
  84. A cynic might think Twisted is a bald attempt to capitalize on the success of "Pretty Little Liars" while possibly adding a Y chromosome to the mix. The non-cynic might see in Danny yet another metaphor for the alienation and "otherness" many teens feel.
  85. Moderate achievement. [6 Oct 2000, p.F1]
  86. Laughs rarely equal the sum of the gimmickry in "3rd Rock." ... Yet the first three episodes do have their amusing moments. [9 Jan 1996]
  87. Every pilot is burdened with establishing character, jump-starting the narrative and hooking the audience, but Under the Dome unnecessarily force-feeds us its first hour to its own detriment.... Which isn't to say Under the Dome won't wind up being fun to watch. All of the performances seem promising.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Fast and furious with the exposition and Sci-Fi-losophy 101 expostulation, it may be the briskest two-hour TV pilot on record.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Despite very likable characters, deft acting and the psychological twist, the rest of Monk appears to be pretty standard issue. [12 July 2002, p.34]
  88. In terms of pure, element-defying excitement, the show is no match for "Survivor," which took the cutthroat ethos of corporate America and stripped it down to its basest, most primal essence.
  89. Larry is getting a little ridiculous... and a little too mean even for Larry. [7 Sep 2007]
  90. It has its good points and its less good points, but there's enough of the former to merit a look.
  91. It totes a few smiles, but little to bowl you over, and it takes a spell getting used to.
  92. As comedy it's hit-and-miss; what sells the show are the in-between things, the nonsense sibling spats between Dennis and Dee, the way Charlie's voice rises as his anxiety level does, the loose play of the banter. But if giving DeVito a prominent role will up the attendance, it doesn't immediately up the comedy. [28 Jun 2006]
    • 31 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Though the voice-over narration could have been more informative, the biggest drawback in the first two episodes was producer Nigel Lythgoe functioning as the Donald Trump of dance by firing dancers right and left. [30 Jul 2005]
  93. "Murphy Brown" doesn't exactly sizzle in its debut. ... It is a show you'd like to see again, however, which is more than you can say for much of the TV genre it caricatures.
  94. "Carnivale" is beautiful to look at, but it drags. ... To watch "Carnivale" is to feel you have purchased a moody Tom Waits concept album, where he's banging on trash can lids and mumbling about Satan into a megaphone. [7 Jan 2005]
  95. An aura of staginess, of manufactured drama and strenuous comedy, surrounds the show and works into its every cranny and nook. As a result, one never feels that the pair are in even as much danger as they're actually in. Yet it is not without charm; indeed, its appeal is in its pretense.