Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,206 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 44% 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 Rectify: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Anchorwoman: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 630
  2. Negative: 0 out of 630
630 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Old-chestnut premise notwithstanding, the show wants to be modern, and the humor occasionally pushes further than one might expect from a family comedy.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. This is only an average situation comedy, but even the great ones have worn that makeup.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Crimson Petal could lose an hour without sacrificing a single scene or word of dialogue, and it would still seem slow and moody.
  22. 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).
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. American Horror Story is a big ol' brooding, baffling, ridiculous and occasionally compelling mess of a show.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. A cleverly conceived, at times visually lovely, but criminally long imagining of how Peter became Pan.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. Created by Dan Fogelman it is enjoyable if not impressive--not bad, and almost good.
  38. 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.
  39. [Scott Baio's] naturally relaxed presence mitigates the show's more hectic leanings.
  40. The celebration and surrender are enough to put the viewer in a vicarious good mood, no matter how unconvincing its context.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. It has its good points and its less good points, but there's enough of the former to merit a look.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. Where "The Returned" was content to tell its story in elliptical scenes and character sketches, Resurrection keeps them tightly tied together and bound to an investigative uber-narrative--Marty and Maggie are partners in detection with the requisite possibility of romance. The result is a lot of narrative that often strays too far from the original and much more provocative conceit: Hey, we see dead people.
  51. There is a professional efficiency to much of the comedy. (It is funny sometimes.)
  52. There are many fine moments in 'Klondike,' cinematic scenes of grandeur and dialogue that rise to poetry. But too often both then fall prey to self-conscious staginess, many repetitive scenes of dirt and endless conversations about the animal nature of man.
  53. A very far cry from O’Brien’s lanky swagger or Leno’s self-confident poise and, to be frank, the whole "who, me? host 'The Tonight Show?'" seemed laid on a bit thick in parts.... Once Fallon moved behind the desk, and in front of a truly fabulous wooden miniature of New York, he seemed more comfortable.... After presenting Fallon with his own (red) guitar, [U2] sang an acoustic version of their Oscar-nominated “Ordinary Love,” which sounded, as so few late-night performances do, just fabulous. And that is where Fallon will make his mark on the show.
  54. When Believe tries to be meaningful, it's also at its most obvious, and the show could prove to be too willfully touching for its own good. But it doesn't seem impossible to me that they could get the mix right.
  55. It's probably enough to say that if you like this sort of thing, this is just the sort of thing you'll like. (If the tautology fits, wear it.) Rodriguez knows how this machine works as well as anyone alive. Whether such sensationalist kicks are good for us "as a people," or indeed as people in particular, is a question the culture and its guardians and gadflies have been batting around for years. A decision is not due any time soon.
  56. Chicagoland is a mosaic, as befits its many-cultured metropolitan setting--and for better or worse. The series moves fast to get it all in, muscling you with its Big Shoulders and too-present hip-hoppy soundtrack, giving you just enough of its characters--including kids and cops, a doctor, a rapper, a restaurateur--to make you feel you should be getting more of them.
  57. 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.
  58. Although the characters are too inconsistent to be entirely believable and often act too inanely to be respected, there are enough nice moments here to lift "The Outsiders" above the ordinary and give it promise.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    An uneven debut.
  59. There is much to like and learn from the miniseries. Alas, executive producer Stephen David and his creative team seem intent on getting in their own way, cluttering up the inevitably fascinating narrative (offered here by Jeremy Renner) with all manner of clunky historical reenactments, hyperbolic characterizations and a soundtrack that should be shot for treason.
  60. 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]
  61. When it's not being completely ridiculous, Chasing Life is very good.
  62. A more than occasionally funny show in which Gabi (Emily Osment), an appealing but financially challenged food blogger, becomes personal chef to Josh (Jonathan Sadowski), an appealing but romantically challenged tech-ionaire.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Only moderately enjoyable.
  63. 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."
  64. The premiere has a nice look, and its "Rashomon"-style flashbacks are very well shot. It also features a socko ending and one ingenious bit of plotting involving thieving hookers. Yet the storytelling is often muddy, and sorting out characters and determining who does what is more of a challenge than the episode is worth. [6 Oct 2000, p.F1]
  65. It's an enigma, at the very least uneven.
  66. Watchable but disappointing. [21 Sept 1993, p.F1]
  67. This split-personality series that speaks with two voices: one thoughtful and intelligent, the louder one glib and derivative. [29 Sept 1999, p.F6]
  68. Glimmers of good acting peep through this maze of melodrama. Yet "St. Elsewhere" practiced more interesting medicine, and Kelley's Emmy-laden "Picket Fences" is bolder and more likable. More significant, so is "ER."
  69. Oft-funny but problematic. ... {The] humor ranges from inspired to cheap and sophomoric. [29 Jan 1999]
  70. The best thing Criminal Intent did was dump its low-brow, lower-IQ pilot. What remains, though, is routine at best, the violent master criminal planning a million-dollar diamond heist in the premiere naturally proving no match for the brilliant, X-ray-sighted Goren.
  71. What it all adds up to tonight, unfortunately, is something akin to a very slow camel or burro ride across long stretches of arid desert. There's dialogue galore, but comparatively little action and virtually no suspense.
  72. More often than not, however, most of the laughs are junior too.
  73. Early Firefly lacks majesty, and also that its laborious pace is hardly Star Warsian. [20 Sept 2002, p.C1]
  74. Everwood has much going against it, most notably an absence of subtlety that undermines Brown and others. He is so arrogant and smug (with a bedside manner bordering on the smarmy) that he's likable only compared with his conveniently snotty and mean-spirited rival. It's a stretch, by the way, that Abbott would be the only doctor in this rather cosmopolitan hamlet of 9,000 prior to Brown's arrival. [16 Sept 2002, p.C1]
  75. Leno's got his desk, he's got his guests and no one expects him to do anything but what he's done for so many years: protect the "Tonight Show" franchise. After all that has happened, that may or may not be enough.
    • 33 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The cheese factor is undeniable, but The Bachelor makes a connection with its audience beyond the vicarious thrill. [25 Mar 2002, p.C20]
  76. Where once Nip/Tuck crackled, it now whines and sighs; where once it shocked, it now plays nice.
  77. Though Baron Cohen is clever and amusing and quick on his feet, his humor boils down to a few endlessly repeated gambits: malapropisms, misunderstandings, and outrageousness in the guise of innocence. [17 July 2004, p.13]
  78. It is, to be fair, watchable enough, if watched uncritically, and not without flashes of high craft; art and inspiration are a little beyond its grasp. [3 Jan 2005]
  79. It's "Desperate Housewives" all over again -- the whodunit overlaid by a titillating comedy of shame-based suburban manners and shame-based depravity, the word "bitch" used scandalously. [24 Sep 2006]
  80. All of the wives are more interesting than their husband. Paxton's character remains a problem for me and, as the pole on which this tent depends, a crucial one.
  81. I suppose there are women in the world as empty as the instantly beddable Maxim babes the producers habitually drape around their boys, but it would help to give them even something stupid to say -- it strikes a wrong note, this neo-retro sexism, even if it accurately reflects the world view of the characters or, indeed, their actual world. It's a failing that even the presence of Debi Mazar (great, as always) as Vince's publicist and the intriguing Samaire Armstrong (from "The O.C.") as Eric's budding love interest does not redeem. [17 July 2004, p.E1]
  82. Though the TV version catches some of the tone and replicates the topicality of the big-screen originals, and shares executive producers, it lacks their grounded reality -- not too surprising, really, for a work of fiction based on a work of fiction -- as well as their warmth. [12 Aug 2005, p.E2]
  83. Although we are meant to regard its dishonest protagonists as the epitome of contemporary cool, they come off as self-satisfied and pretentious.
  84. Polished and lively, it is also simplistic, melodramatic and half-baked — though it clips along nicely enough that you may not notice.
  85. The comedy equivalent of low-hanging fruit. [3 June 2005, p.E1]
  86. [Gilbert] seems like a real person, even in such a cartoon as this is.
  87. That the story... snakes around a lot, tossing supernatural red herrings in its wake, keeps it oddly compelling, even as it grows increasingly preposterous, not only as regards the supernatural but as to how people really act.
  88. "Threshold" is a comic book, and passable as such.
  89. "Inconceivable" is a much more tentative exercise than "Nip/Tuck," offering only the mildest hints of comment on the world it depicts, of affluent people going to great lengths to bear children.
  90. Nothing about the pilot of "Teachers" is particularly eye- or ear-opening.
  91. It's a decent enough show, a soap opera essentially, playing around with heavy themes and life-changing events but lightweight enough not to make you think too hard or keep you glued to the television when you decide you want something from the refrigerator — the TV equivalent of a beach book.
  92. Like "Martha," in which she is required to appear interested in celebrities and to whip up the crowd, "The Apprentice" is not a perfect fit.
  93. Hewitt is quite good, or as good as the show allows; there are some potholes along the way, as the script sacrifices sense to sentiment.
  94. Although there is nothing compelling... ["Out Of Practice" is a] professional job and not hard to watch.
  95. Neither a disaster nor a triumph.
  96. "Human Trafficking" is at once a sobering, tough-to-watch dramatization about girls taken from the streets of their hometowns around the world and sold into sexual servitude and a clichéd drama about said topic.
  97. Given that it wants to seem edgy and quirky, "Saved" is remarkably rich in cliché... Still, it's no worse than average and has Tom Everett Scott in it, which is a nice thing for TV viewers.

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