Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,240 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 3.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Game of Thrones: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Cavemen: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 648
  2. Negative: 0 out of 648
648 tv reviews
  1. Sometimes "John From Cincinnati" is a muddle, at other times rich drama and divine comedy. And sometimes it's all of that at once.
  2. 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.
  3. "The State Within"... is something less than perfect, but if you have a taste for high-level skulduggery and do not mind being totally confused much of the time, it's an enjoyable enough ride — fun, sometimes exciting, basically intelligent, occasionally preposterous.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  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. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. It was an encouraging start.
  17. 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.”
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. It is something less than magical, but it's pleasant and pretty and easy to watch.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. It's a decent but not brilliant beginning.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. Old-chestnut premise notwithstanding, the show wants to be modern, and the humor occasionally pushes further than one might expect from a family comedy.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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).
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. This is only an average situation comedy, but even the great ones have worn that makeup.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. 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.
  52. Crimson Petal could lose an hour without sacrificing a single scene or word of dialogue, and it would still seem slow and moody.
  53. 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).
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. American Horror Story is a big ol' brooding, baffling, ridiculous and occasionally compelling mess of a show.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. A cleverly conceived, at times visually lovely, but criminally long imagining of how Peter became Pan.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. 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.
  67. 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.
  68. Created by Dan Fogelman it is enjoyable if not impressive--not bad, and almost good.
  69. 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.
  70. [Scott Baio's] naturally relaxed presence mitigates the show's more hectic leanings.
  71. The celebration and surrender are enough to put the viewer in a vicarious good mood, no matter how unconvincing its context.
  72. 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.
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. 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.
  76. 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.
  77. It has its good points and its less good points, but there's enough of the former to merit a look.
  78. 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.
  79. 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.
  80. 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.
  81. 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.
  82. There is a professional efficiency to much of the comedy. (It is funny sometimes.)
  83. 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.
  84. 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.
  85. 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.
  86. 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.
  87. 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.
  88. 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.
  89. 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.
  90. 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.
  91. 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
  92. When it's not being completely ridiculous, Chasing Life is very good.
  93. 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.
  94. 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.
  95. Hirsch is, as usual, wonderful and more than capable of taking Abraham's story line wider and deeper than well-meaning banter and bromides assigned him, but in early episodes the story seems determined to showcase its more predictable aspects.
  96. 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Only moderately enjoyable.
  97. 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."
  98. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times

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