Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,371 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 Seinfeld: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Cavemen: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 728
  2. Negative: 0 out of 728
728 tv reviews
  1. Like "Hank," The Middle is no Next New Thing; indeed, both argue for the opposite, the pleasures of the known, of craft and of watching people who know what they're doing do it.
  2. The premiere has the wonderfully distinctive geekiness but not the toothy bite of "The Simpsons," which was something spectacular to behold from the moment Homer uttered his first "Dohhhhhh!" There are some nice bits of amusement here, however, and surely the potential for growth.
  3. Traffic Light, like that old Mustang you had in college, splutters more than a bit when you turn the key, but eventually it gets going. And once it does, the splendid refinishing of a classic makes the inevitable bumps much more easily endured.
  4. The series is in most respects a typical action-comedy. But it has a nice swing and surprises you often enough, usually with some throwaway line, to feel invigorating in the end.
  5. It's all elevated by looking really beautiful (though not -- and this is the crucial difference -- stylish). The pictures fill in the blanks, and even as Skins strains credibility, it achieves moments of poetry.
  6. It's difficult to begrudge the producers their poetry--on one level, the imagery begs for similarly breathtaking language. But in this case, less might well have been more; the narration works best when it is relaying information rather than describing a "sun-spangled yearning to move."
  7. The details of Cheney's fall from grace in the waning years of the Bush administration are fascinating and narratively satisfying.
  8. The characters are more affectionate than antagonistic. They are dim, but mostly not dumb, countering what we have come to expect from portrayals of the middle- or working-class people of Boston.
  9. White People is more conversation starter than a revelation, but the conversations it could start are limitless and important.
  10. I was often moved by the dedication and heart on display.
  11. The action is active, the suspense tense, the actors game. It seems a little silly at times, but meet it halfway and the hour passes painlessly.
  12. It's a busy opening, including brief but satisfying guest appearances by Jorge "Hurley" Garcia and an elephant. The show is well played down to the smallest parts.
  13. It's almost as if, like its testosterone-fueled fighters, the show loses its mind every once in a while and just has to punch something, and punch it and punch it and punch it. Between these attacks, however, it relaxes into well-written scenes in which the wounded characters express ideas and feelings other than rage.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It's a psychologically rich study of love's mutability, presented in a boldly stylized, darkly comic manner.
  14. To be sure, this is the sort of engineered reality in which things mostly happen because someone is there to film them, and not the other way around. But that it is only a partial, edited view of its star--she has, for one thing, a husband, artist-provocateur Al Ridenour, who is neither seen nor heard--doesn't mean that real thoughts and feelings don't come through. It's best when they do.
  15. Lust because something's almost unforgivably cute ("Holy hottie, Batman" is an actual line) doesn't mean it can't also be very good and very funny, which The Ex List is.
  16. Like everything else in the world, the show is faster, louder and busier, which would not necessarily seem to be the best environment for learning.
  17. It is, for all its two and a half hours, a streamlined retelling, organized more around energy and atmosphere than facts and figures.
  18. Just because a show is mix 'n' match doesn't mean it isn't any good. After four years with "Prison Break," creators Matt Olmstead and Nick Santora know their way around this world, and Breakout Kings starts out with a promising blend of character and plot, action and dialogue, sweet and savory.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Looks like a fun ride, a crime drama with more laughs than gun battles. [31 Jan 1995]
    • Los Angeles Times
  19. I've watched the pilot possibly too many times not to notice how the parts have been glued together and the jokes teed up, but the performances are good.
  20. America's Next Great Restaurant doesn't have the drama of a Gordon Ramsay show, but it does have a behind-the-scenes factor that is fresh enough--who knew coming up with a logo was so hard?--and the subject matter has universal appeal.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    If you're not expecting the motion picture, Fast Times is rather pleasant. Not as wacky as "Square Pegs," the underappreciated 1982 CBS comedy that also focused on high school students and their teachers, it is no less appealing, boasting an attractive, engaging cast and a warm, gentle sense of humor. (And the high-energy, animated title sequence, featuring a theme song by Oingo Boingo, is dynamite.) [5 Mar 1986, p.C-10]
    • Los Angeles Times
  21. As schematic and derivative as it is, as invested in piling on the feel-good moments past the point even of suspended disbelief, there is something quite likable about Made in Jersey.
  22. It's hardly a new story... But ... 'The Following' is tricked out with enough narrative and casting bling to warrant the huge push Fox has given it.
  23. The personal business is interesting enough, if here and there inexplicable--like life, I hear you sigh--and does help make sense of why the characters act so needy around the office. But what Southland does best is to portray police work as a job--boring, trying, exciting by turns.
  24. You can either let this annoy you, or you can try to work out the meaning, or you can just enjoy the flow in a noncommittal way that does not preclude your being stimulated, shocked or held in suspense--like a fun-house ride. I am of the third disposition, and have also been of the first.
  25. Potts has some nice moments. Even an actress as able as she, though, ultimately buckles under the tonnage of this character's supremacy, and strong supporting work from Greg Serano, Tamala Jones and Vicellous Reon Shannon as the students she takes under her wing is not enough to shore her up. [30 Sept 1996, p.F10]
    • Los Angeles Times
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
    • 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  29. Although it's suspenseful, and Gedrick performs ably in the role that Johnny Depp played on the big screen, this latest series about an FBI agent's perilous double life isn't even in the same galaxy as "The Sopranos."
  30. "Free Ride" is a bit more than passably good, but like "Arrested [Development]" it feels hard to love.
  31. Created by Dan Fogelman it is enjoyable if not impressive--not bad, and almost good.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. The show's shifts in tone can seem ungainly; the comedy, of which there is more than usual in such shows, sometimes rubs uncomfortably against the premise.... Yet the show is best when it's funniest.
  35. It's an uneven show that lacks the finely crafted eccentricity of a "Northern Exposure" and "Twin Peaks" or "Picket Fences" (other strange-small-town shows featuring police officers), but when I say "uneven," I do mean that sometimes it's good.
  36. 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.
  37. It does get a little pretentious at times, especially during the opening and closing narrations, but its pretensions are very much comic-book pretensions, and therefore allowable in what is, fundamentally, a comic book.
  38. The series keeps generally on the right side of things by virtue of the excellence and exuberance of the performances, which add flesh where needed; by moving fast enough to keep ahead of your second thoughts; and by spreading the ridiculousness around.
  39. World Without End is, to use a Python word, silly much of the time. But in a piece this big and busy, individual elements can stand out as enjoyable even when the whole is less than the sum of those parts.
  40. 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.”
  41. A cleverly conceived, at times visually lovely, but criminally long imagining of how Peter became Pan.
  42. American Horror Story is a big ol' brooding, baffling, ridiculous and occasionally compelling mess of a show.
  43. Old-chestnut premise notwithstanding, the show wants to be modern, and the humor occasionally pushes further than one might expect from a family comedy.
  44. 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.
  45. An expectation of failure is built into the comedy, so that at times the contestants are funny only in the attempt to be funny. At other times, given the circumstances, it may seem miraculous that they can be funny at all.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. As with most things Wolf, it is superbly cast, almost too well... But every small role is well cast too -- the judges, the defendants, the policemen. They help create a lively world that's more believable than it sometimes deserves to be, and it is almost always engaging.
  50. 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.
  51. It's an amiable show whose main purpose is to give Prinze a place to be amiable in, and it does that well enough, when it isn't straining for laughs or wandering too far from the path of probability.
  52. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  53. "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.
  54. The show starts out annoying and then gets less annoying. ... I don't have great hopes for this, but I had expected it to burn the eyes from my head, and that is not at all the case.
  55. Much of "Drive" is unabashedly derivative.... Much of it is also unbelievable... But two episodes in, it doesn't really matter.
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. 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.
  59. It's funny in its own way, smarter than most TV comedies and has a terrific cast -- all of which makes me wonder why I'm not more moved by it.
  60. It has its good points and its less good points, but there's enough of the former to merit a look.
  61. 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).
  62. It feels as if you've happened across a British sitcom or a rerun of "MADtv."
  63. 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.
  64. This is news that never quite rises to the level of an event: "David Mamet Came to Television and All We Got Was a Better 'E-Ring.' "
  65. This is one of those broadly played comedies that needs reining in and writing sharper than having Ritter play super dad in what, essentially, is a single-parent comedy.
  66. If it plays havoc with the realities of medical practice, well, so did "House." And to glamorize, sanitize and romanticize illness is, after all, an old Hollywood tradition; and this is a show with a target audience for whom even death, in soft enough focus, can constitute a sort of wish fulfillment.
  67. 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.
  68. A pretty good new series.
  69. Texas Rising is tonally challenged in a way that regularly undercuts its own inherent drama.
  70. 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.
  71. 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.
  72. It is buried in whimsicality and paeans to "feeling" and leaping into the void. And the stars do feel out of sync. (Williams is more comfortable riffing with James Wolk--"Mad Men's" Bob Benson--as... some other guy who works there.) We will give it some time.
  73. This is only an average situation comedy, but even the great ones have worn that makeup.
  74. 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.
  75. 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.
  76. The show fulfills its mission: It is an industrial entertainment, a candy-colored machine to snare budding consumers who (once again) are not being served so much as being served up.
  77. The celebration and surrender are enough to put the viewer in a vicarious good mood, no matter how unconvincing its context.
  78. The show... doesn't seem to be aiming for anything higher than a comfortable middle ground, bypassing a chance to watch Goldblum send up our preconceived idea of Goldblum.
  79. 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.
  80. 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.
  81. 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.
  82. If the Awful Truth of the Global Meltdown is the big carrot "Jericho" dangles before you, it is no more compelling than the question of which of the available good-looking girls Ulrich is going to get close to.
  83. It's a comic book, basically, a B-movie, a pulp fiction, and low enough in the cultural reckoning of things to set its own rules with impunity.... Part of the pleasure of the series is that particular pleasure of watching a super-heroic character who can't fail.
  84. 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.
  85. It is something less than magical, but it's pleasant and pretty and easy to watch.
  86. 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.
  87. 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.
  88. It works best at its most intimate, as family drama, and as another variant on "The Real World," in which people who would not ordinarily live together are made to do so.
  89. 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.
    • Los Angeles Times
  90. 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.
  91. It's rather old-fashioned, except that there's something real about the chemistry.
  92. Nevertheless, this is a kind of American classic that goes right against the grain of what cartoons are supposed to be.
  93. When it's not being completely ridiculous, Chasing Life is very good.
  94. Laughs rarely equal the sum of the gimmickry in "3rd Rock." ... Yet the first three episodes do have their amusing moments. [9 Jan 1996]
    • Los Angeles Times
  95. 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.
  96. 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.

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