Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,100 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 Malcolm in the Middle: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Painkiller Jane: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 586
  2. Negative: 0 out of 586
586 tv reviews
  1. 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.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Basically it's an amiable sitcom about a family that--sit down if you aren't already--happens to be Latino. [27 Mar 2002, p.C6]
  2. 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.
  3. There is a professional efficiency to much of the comedy. (It is funny sometimes.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. [Gilbert] seems like a real person, even in such a cartoon as this is.
  11. "Threshold" is a comic book, and passable as such.
  12. Although there is nothing compelling... ["Out Of Practice" is a] professional job and not hard to watch.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. "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.
  16. Polished and lively, it is also simplistic, melodramatic and half-baked — though it clips along nicely enough that you may not notice.
  17. "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.
  18. 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.
  19. Neither a disaster nor a triumph.
  20. Although we are meant to regard its dishonest protagonists as the epitome of contemporary cool, they come off as self-satisfied and pretentious.
  21. Nothing about the pilot of "Teachers" is particularly eye- or ear-opening.
  22. The film as a whole is a strange case of mostly excellent parts that make an overlong and tedious whole.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. It's a somber, often leaden affair, beset with stiff dialogue.
  26. I, the Jury, am still out on this one; it could go either way from here.
  27. If "The Class" feels calculated, unrelated to life outside sitcoms, and encased in amber, it's a competent American product, ultimately, no harder to watch than, say, a Dodge is to drive.
  28. Here it feels as if Sorkin has chosen an outdated media milieu for his secular humanist dramaturgy. His first TV series, "Sports Night," was ahead of the times, but "Studio 60" is behind them.
  29. The pilot has a "Steel Magnolias" feel to it: Too many stars, too many faces, too many names, a cornucopia of character business.
  30. The trouble with Feresten isn't his comedy; it's his difficulty creating any intimacy with the audience or the camera. He's got the irony down cold but the empathy not so much.
  31. You begin to feel strung along on an errand whose complexities can't mask the fact that the main character isn't great company.
  32. The show, in its way, is too slight to be totally fulfilling, tending to collapse into slapstick, but it can get by on moments.
  33. It was [creators Burnett and Beckerman's] style on "Ed" to be too cutesy by half, and so here
  34. There are more than a few problems here.
  35. Some of it is very enjoyable, some of it is silly but still enjoyable, some of it is too silly to be enjoyable, some of it is not silly enough to be enjoyable, and some of it is neither here nor there.
  36. The play, and the production, might have been better served by rolling a few cameras into the theater, but I know that isn't how people like to do these things.
  37. Such a concept seem ripe with delicious possibility. The show, unfortunately, is not. Played out as a cop procedural, it has a predictable narrative structure that at times resembles nothing so much as a prison.
  38. Unfortunately, so smitten are the creators of John Adams with historical earnestness and pedigree they seem to have forgotten how to tell a good story.
  39. Swingtown walks a fine line between being a period piece, down to the pudding cups, baseball shirts and snatches of the old "$10,000 Pyramid," and parody.
  40. Camp Rock isn't particularly good, but it's good at what it does. The product may be "inauthentic," if such a thing is even possible, but the way it will connect with a lot of little girls and more than a few little boys is real enough.
  41. Almost from the get-go there's far more galumphing than trotting going on, and not all of it done by prehistoric feet. Things pick up in the third episode and there are dodos in the fourth, but it's not enough, no, not nearly enough.
  42. It's not all bad, but nothing in it argues that it needed to be made other than to give the people who made it something to do. It's a mediocre misfire in which the odd good parts beg for a better home.
  43. Vampire fantasy, murder mystery, star-crossed love story, political satire, True Blood is all and none of the above. Not quite funny, not quite scary, not quite thought-provoking, the show's attempt to question the roots of prejudice is continually undermined by its own stereotyping.
  44. While there's nothing particularly wrong with Do Not Disturb, neither is there anything so inspired as to make you leap to your feet, crying, "Yes! This is what television needs! More workplace comedies! More hotels!"
  45. The performances, in and of themselves, range from solid (King's) to inspired (Marshall's)....But taken together, there is both too much and too little going on.
  46. If you are a fan of, say, "Little Britain" in Season 3, you will probably like "Little Britain USA." As for the uninitiated, well, I suppose it all comes down to a person's fondness for penis jokes.
  47. The problem is that in the pilot and an early episode, the crimes are nowhere as compelling as the characters. For a show like "Castle" that dares to launch a more classic version into an already saturated and tarted-up market, the murders have to be as complicated and compelling as the push-me-pull-you glances between the main characters, and so far, they just aren't.
  48. Television, like love, is a matter of chemistry, of which none is yet obvious between the leads here. Will it come? Trevor would tell you that you should know it in an instant, while Claire would reserve judgment; they're both right, of course, some of the time.
  49. While its cynicism about suburbia is superficially novel, the show itself is quite old-fashioned if not old hat: lame dad, smart mom, cute child, knowing child, strange neighbor. Door here, door there, couch in the middle.
  50. Where once Nip/Tuck crackled, it now whines and sighs; where once it shocked, it now plays nice.
  51. 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.
  52. Survivors is torn between the desire to go big--it's the literal end of civilization--and small--how would an ordinary person react to the death of everyone he knows? Regrettably Survivors succeeds at neither, getting stuck instead in a blurry bog of middle ground.
  53. 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.
  54. I didn't find much of it funny, but on a kind of purely analytical level I can see how the jokes are supposed to work, and might well work on some.
  55. Given the dark flavor of Shaun Cassidy's adult TV creations and his own experiences within the music machine, Ruby feels surprisingly ordinary and uninformed, put together out of scraps from the old sitcom drawer.
  56. Sadly, these factors [Kevin Nealon, Catherine O'Hara and puppet animation] only amplify my disappointment in what, on the basis of one episode and a handful of clips, looks to be a weak and wheezy show.
  57. Crude stuff for a family newspaper, but despite the warm-and-fuzzy-celebrity cred that star Courteney Cox brings to it, some funny lines and good acting all around, Cougar Town is a crude show, built on jokes about oral sex and droopy breasts, a show in which words like "coochie" are used with regrettable abandon.
  58. The Cleveland Show is neither sweet nor particularly funny, neither a family comedy nor a true satire.
  59. Between Sherri's grouchy father, adorable son and hapless ex, all the stereotypes seem to be running on full steam. It's a less-than-stellar debut, but a body set in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force, and it's hard to imagine the outside force that's going to slow Sherri Shepherd down any time soon.
  60. Ryan prompts the patrons to talk, but the stories don't really develop into much; and although the arms-buying demographic is indeed wider than one who has not spent much time in a gun store might imagine, their reasons for buying tend to be variations on the same few themes: I was robbed; I don't want to be robbed; guns are fun to collect and shoot.
  61. There are legitimately chilling, funny and suspenseful moments in the early episodes of "Happy Town," but the many fine performances are battered to death by a welter of plot twists and cheesy revelations that come speeding out of the sky like those murderous crows in "The Birds."
  62. It is so far minor stuff, inconsistent in tone and not particularly original yet fundamentally sweet and, if not stared at too hard, appealing.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Work of Art, which isn't as much bad as merely dull. Bad we could love; dull just sends us wandering off to the fridge, where inner essence consists of leftover meat loaf.
  63. Though my tolerance for tear jerking in-your-face, feel-good makeover shows is comparatively limited, I don't want to come down too hard on Breakthrough, however much it commodifies misfortune or stage-manages reality.
  64. It tries very hard not to take the expected path. Too hard, unfortunately. So determined are Hunt, executive producer/showrunner Jenny Bicks and Linney that The Big C be unsentimental that they jam early episodes with so many over-blown characters and wacky antics that it's impossible to attach meaning to any of them.
  65. It's difficult to make cold-blooded and calculating people interesting and empathetic, and yet it must be done. Because fight scenes will take you only so far. Especially when there are no big dance numbers.
  66. Detroit 1-8-7 is, rather than a slice of life, very much a slab of TV. And yet, as currently constituted, the show's only way forward is through the unlikely Fitch; his emotional awkwardness is more interesting than the cases he works.
  67. There's actually no reason this couldn't be a perfectly fine legal procedural, except there's no indication that anyone is attempting to make it one. The script is strictly writing by numbers.
  68. It's a noble goal and one hopes that after viewing School Pride, volunteers spring up, committees form and checks are written. Because to merely watch the show and wallow in its many throat-tightening moments would be to remain a voyeur, and then you're just part of the problem.
  69. It's clear that Wells has nothing but respect for the original material; if only he felt the same for American viewers. Unfortunately, [executive producer John Wells] seems to have bought into the notion that Americans need everything to be bigger, louder, messier and drawn in primary colors.
  70. In attempting to be both sprawling and intimate, The Kennedys winds up in a narrative no-man's land.
  71. As an attempt to tell the truth about an attempt to tell the truth about the state of domestic relations in a time of changing values, Cinema Verite fails--it cannot help but fail--as anything but a platform for some interesting performances and a few explicitly, loudly and briefly argued ideas about where one should draw the line when you point a camera into innocent people's lives.
  72. Once known, this fact [the series is based on the lives its creators] lends to the project an authenticity that might not otherwise be apparent, so steeped is it in the rhythms and conventions of the 20th century sitcom.
  73. As if afraid they will be accused of not taking things seriously enough, the creators walk through much of the pilot as if through a minefield, which is to say ver-ry slowly and ver-ry carefully. Not the best pacing considering the subject matter.
  74. Certainly Olbermann is refreshing, and singular, in the clarity of his mission, which is to defend the liberal point of view with the same sort of take-no-prisoners rhetoric that conservative pundits like Bill O'Reilly have wielded so effectively. But the blatant uber-medianess of his persona seems, at times, in direct conflict with that belief that "the weakest citizen is more important than the strongest corporation."
  75. Everything is presented far too briefly. For all her geographic ambition, Alexandra Pelosi winds up conducting an exit poll rather than telling a real story.
  76. The film aims for a dry authenticity that only fractionally reflects the big, wild volume on which it's based, cutting away nearly all of its poetry and most of its madness.
  77. We get a glimpse of some intriguing characters that we don't, however, quite come to know--not in the episodes I've seen, anyway--because we are being pelted the whole time with exposition and explanation. We're rarely allowed just to look or listen in or to think for ourselves.
  78. As is often the case with melodrama, I find Revenge essentially unconvincing and also quite likable.
  79. Hart of Dixie is a stack of familiar scenarios stitched together to form a pretty if not terribly substantial quilt, of the sort Zoe encounters in Bluebell.
  80. At something more than five hours, Prohibition, while interesting from moment to moment, is longer than it needs to be, and made even longer by Burns' habitual stateliness.
  81. Despite the strength of its parts, the whole feels very nascent and shaky.
  82. What viewers are left with, then, are some excellent fight and chase scenes, an outstanding supporting cast (who, alas, only highlight the main character's deficiencies) and a lot of truly beautiful location work. It may be enough, but it could, and should, have been so much more.
  83. The pilot is a minor thing but not an unpleasant one, once you get past the opening salvo of pubic-hair jokes.
  84. If for the most part this Treasure Island does not shiver my timbers, at a running time of three hours (four with ads), some things are bound to work, if only by the law of averages.
  85. Rays of charm do break through the haze of the ordinary and obvious, even if just for a line or a line reading.
  86. Though it is clearly based on research, with dialogue that scavenges the principals' own writing--it is never quite believable, either as history or drama.
  87. It is not a train wreck; it's just a train--chugging along from A to B, carrying the people, delivering the freight.
  88. The only experiment actually being done here is the ongoing one of determining just how long people will watch this sort of thing. That is an experiment with no end in sight.
  89. If you can live through the ridiculous hustle-forward, no-looking introduction to the story, what follows is entertaining enough, albeit in a mildly campy way.
  90. As a professionally discerning adult, I could not help but notice that the characters are fairly stock, the situations familiar and, some nifty digital backgrounds notwithstanding, the production continually felt more like an elaborate game of let's pretend than it did a window into some real other world. I didn't buy a second of it.
  91. It's not a bad show, it's just a bit too familiar.
  92. There is a story to be made from this, about aspiration and achievement and what goes on in the gap between them, but that is not a story that television, or any other form of American mass culture, particularly likes to tell. Underemployed flirts with it but more often settles for flattering its audience, reflecting not only its hopes but also its resentments.
  93. Neither the script nor the production is substantial enough to make the story quite stand on its own.
  94. The sets are terrific, as are the costumes, and the rich and saturated moodiness of the production values makes the tepidness of the story all the more disappointing.
  95. The deal you make with a series like this is, if it doesn't ask too much of you, you won't ask too much of it.
  96. SEAL Team Six, though inevitably exciting in its conclusion and touching at times, refuses to commit either way. This failure of nerve not only dooms the film as both docu--and drama but also contradicts its main theme.
  97. Narrated by Stone with no other voices (save actors filling in for various world leaders), Untold History is a hodgepodge of terrific if often disturbing historical footage and bizarre theatrical asides (including, at one point, the dictionary definition of "empathy" spelled out on the screen) that are almost overwhelmed by its invasive soundtrack.
  98. If this seems a hodgepodge of ideas, well, that is the general feel of Mankind--a scattershot catalog of man's greatest hits, lovingly enacted by a cast of grim and grimy thousands and propelled ever forward by a relentless soundtrack and urgent narration by Josh Brolin.