Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,190 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 The Office (UK): Season 3
Lowest review score: 0 I Wanna Marry Harry: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 622
  2. Negative: 0 out of 622
622 tv reviews
  1. The globe's smartest, funniest, greatest comedy series. [19 Jul 1995]
  2. If its premiere epitomizes what's ahead, Steven Bochco's intense legal drama Murder One will be the best new series of the fall season. Period. Case closed. Jury dismissed with thanks...With "Hill Street Blues," "L.A. Law" and "NYPD Blue" already heading his resume, Murder One is quintessential Bochco, a well-acted, smartly written, meticulously presented hour that turns the law inside out while telling a good story that makes you feel like you're spying on these people through a peephole. Created by Bochco, Charles H. Eglee and Channing Gibson, it has that irresistible thing that identifies a series as a creative success: You can't wait for it to return.
  3. It integrates the boredom, self-delusion, dashed hopes and struggle for power into something bigger, and potentially better, and functions not only as a continuation of the story but a convincing conclusion.
  4. Arguably the best reason to own a TV set.
  5. "The Larry Sanders Show" opens its fifth season tonight by reminding viewers just how extraordinary it is, not only as one of the funniest, smartest comedies ever, but also in sometimes having celebrity guests depict themselves in ways almost as curious as stories on "The X-Files," the otherworldly Fox series that made [guest David] Duchovny famous.
  6. "The Sopranos" remains the elitist of the elite. ... Competing against its shimmery self, and the lofty expectations it creates, "The Sopranos" resurfaces once more as a superbly written and executed hybrid of popular entertainment and high art, offering up its own Golden Age of TV.
  7. Given the extravagances of the plot and the characters, that it feels plausibly seated in the real world is a testament to everyone involved in its production. But it is especially due to the actors.
  8. Twin Peaks teeters on the very edge of exquisite absurdity. Its genius is that it plays both on the level of subtly ludicrous melodrama and on the level of a baffling whodunit, as most lines of dialogue appear to contain a hidden meaning, most faces a dark secret.
  9. The thing about "The Sopranos" is that strands of character detail -- Carmela Soprano's fingernails, the way Tony breathes through his nose when he eats -- stay with you long after you've forgotten whose cut of a garbage route has precipitated a beef between which wiseguys.
  10. A genius series the equal of ABC's "NYPD Blue" at its best, and one that delivers more boom for the buck than either NBC's admired crime tome "Boomtown" or the irritating coppers of FX's "The Shield."
  11. A cops-and-crime hour reeking of atmosphere, wit and intelligence, an invigorating, essentially nonviolent series about homicide detectives that could be the "Hill Street Blues" of the '90s. [29 Jan 1993, p.F1]
  12. The acting is sublime, the writing wicked sharp, the sets and camera work astonishing, and in terms of ambition, be it narrative, creative, logistical or geographic, no other series comes close.
  13. As did the six previous episodes, the new installments generate a tension so awful, from circumstances so awfully lifelike, that you have to watch at times from behind laced fingers, with teeth clenched and the remote control close at hand.
  14. Each [episode] stands on its own as a TV art film, an independent work of short fiction.
  15. It's all kind of pleasingly thematic, alternately gritty and funny and caked with moral decay. Milch loves the wordplay; the show's language is one of its constant sources of pleasure. Not everyone's drunk in "Deadwood," but the liquor flows freely, lubricating the mood; the way the show is lighted, it always seems like late afternoon, and the set is a dingy, muddy Main Street with little side neighborhoods that function as slums. [6 Mar 2005, p.E28]
  16. For all its moments of poetry and insight, Mad Men too often feels less like a drama and more like the staging of a really good master's thesis.
  17. As always, the acting is so artfully straight-faced and the scripts so full of in-the-know nuance that "The Larry Sanders Show" seems to reek of behind-the-scenes television reality.
  18. To my mind, it's the best series of the fall, and with the tonally similar "Top of the Lake," possibly of the year.
  19. It's the first telling of a post-9/11 story that is all the things it should be: politically resonant, emotionally wrenching and plain old thrilling to watch.
  20. This is that rare series about kids that is written by people you can envision actually having been kids. [11 Oct 1990]
  21. A dozen characters, played by the inevitably glorious assortment of British actors, crisscross in an astonishingly fluid game of cat's cradle, bringing this small town miraculously to life but never straying too far, or too absurdly, from the narrative through line.
  22. Real talk shows should be as acutely funny.
  23. Downton Abbey, which premieres Sunday, is this generation's "Upstairs, Downstairs," both in theme--the daily dramas of a titled British family and their many servants--and in stature.
  24. The case [A Scandal in Belgravia] is much more complicated than that [photos involving a member of the British family] of course, so much more that it, as with the episodes that follow, occasionally threatens to collapse under its own writhing weight. Fortunately, the thrill of Sherlock Holmes was never so much plot as character.
  25. The artfully composed images are both crystal clear and cinematically creamy.
  26. A striking six-week miniseries delivering one of the rawest, truest, most provocative and involving dramas ever beamed to Americans. And one of the most important, defining a seedy, destructive junkie subculture in vivid, aching detail in the tradition of such theatrical films as "Panic in Needle Park," "Drugstore Cowboy" and "Trainspotting." [14 Apr 2000, p.F1]
  27. The performances are so wonderful it feels wrong to single any out. But Whishaw finds great power in stillness; Hiddleston fits himself admirably to his character's stages and turns of mind, resolving his coldness with his warmth, his cruelty with his generosity. And there is Beale's Falstaff--marvelously poignant, a scoundrel-hero, getting everything wrong. His sorrow at losing the transformed Hal is as tragic a moment as any here, his fall no less thunderous than Richard's.
  28. It's not quite perfection. Nearly everything to do with the character of Piper's fiancé, Larry (Jason Biggs), somewhat based on Kerman's now-husband Larry Bloom, seems problematic to me. Similarly, in emphasizing the humanity of the inmates, their warders have been made to look, for the most part, pathetic, foolish or monstrous. That is remedied in part this season by a deeper look at the staff, even as some of the more difficult prisoners, like Uzo Aduba's Crazy Eyes, are brought into better focus.
  29. Breaking Bad is as good as a show on this subject could possibly get, but the subject has its drawbacks. I like it, I admire it, but I can't say I enjoy it.
  30. In a more refreshing fantasy, Boomtown's L.A. appears to be almost a one-medium town. In early episodes, at least, there are no local TV pests to harass Little and her publication, who have the news all to themselves. Which is one more reason why some of us think so highly of this series. [28 Sept 2002, p.C1]
  31. In Season 2 the issues and tensions remain the same, but perfectly dialed up a notch or two.
  32. For all its willful outrageousness, Arrested Development is sort of gripping -- a continuing story that one actually wants to see continue, which is more than can be said of most of the new dramas the season produced. [31 Oct 2003, p.E1]
  33. Larry is getting a little ridiculous... and a little too mean even for Larry. [7 Sep 2007]
  34. It's not the greatest thing since sliced bread but rather a well-made sort of sliced bread, a thing you have had before but prepared with quality ingredients by bakers who know their business.
  35. The show thus far feels more observational than story-driven; it relies on our desire to listen to Rock talk. And we do want to listen, because Rock is hilarious.
  36. Many heads bend over this adaptation, each belonging to a master of his or her craft, and what emerges is a truly new, and miraculously accurate, definition of epic television.
  37. The alien Doctor is something of a Sherlock Holmes, and Sherlock Holmes is something of an alien. This is played often for laughs, in the series' funniest, and goofiest, year yet.
  38. Goldberg may be letting idealism infringe on Alan here in a way that detracts from reality. Moreover, Alan's sophisticated sense of humor seems terribly refined for his age. In many other ways, however, "Brooklyn Bridge" rings acutely true, from the production's natural lighting to the charming interplay among its characters.
  39. "Longford," perhaps, could as easily have been a stage play — a taut, four- or five-person one. But the filmmakers artfully weave in documentary footage of the period to remind us of the personal suffering and public hand-wringing the killers caused.
  40. It works because it's less about who we were then--it's a fantasy of who we were then, really--than about who we are now.
  41. Elizabeth and Philip react with the appropriate amount of fear for and protectiveness of Paige and Henry. No doubt, this will further widen the cracks already forming in their political/professional resolve, but there is no going back: The Americans puts the kids front and center.
  42. The lingering concussion of Sept. 11 does nothing to undermine Fox's new thriller focusing on terrorism. Instead, it adds to its credibility and makes it all the more gripping. [6 Nov 2001]
  43. Speaks with a more authentic teen voice than other series in this genre, becoming an antidote for WB's "Dawson's Creek," whose articulate, sophisticated high schoolers are adults in youthful bodies...The downside is that situations and characters here are so overdrawn, little space remains for subtlety or nuance. [25 Sept 1999, p.F1]
  44. "Curb" is a comedy of hostility, resentment, paranoia and obsessiveness. There are no feel-good moments, no life-brightening epiphanies, nothing, in fact, even vaguely resembling a resolution; things get as bad as you feared, and then the credits roll. [3 Jan 2004]
  45. Hannibal is much better than it once was, perhaps the guiltiest pleasure on television at this time.
  46. There is little in the way of "action"--it is possibly the slowest, most deliberative show on television, which is one of the things that makes it so lovely and mysterious.
  47. The wittiest, smartest, sharpest-written, most original comedy of the season.
  48. Gandolfini and Falco are excellent, as is the supporting work of Imperioli and others. And that grande dame of troupers, Marchand, is so coldbloodedly plausible as Livia that her eyes are ice and you can almost hear her heart freezing over. [8 Jan 1999, p.F1]
  49. With Treme (which refers to a New Orleans neighborhood and is pronounced treh-MAY), Simon, co-creator Eric Overmyer and their team of writers (including the late, great David Mills) have proved that television as an art form cannot only rival Dickens, it can hold its own against Wagner.
  50. There are no heroes or villains here, only people working out or being carried toward their individual destinies. And in who we root for and in what we root for them to choose, we also define ourselves.
  51. The show is crazy, man, now more than ever, and I mean that in the best possible way.
  52. Great stuff. Not a perfect strike, but close. [7 Oct 2000, p.F1]
  53. Among the most gratifying and promising new series of the fall season. [29 Sept 1998, p.F1]
  54. It's a work whose immense vitality and a persuasive naturalism overcome its occasional paroxysms of style or hammered-home points.
  55. There is a cool cleverness to the show that is both attractive and off-putting; the characters are flawed and hyper-aware of their flaws, the stories so bent on covering every angle of self-examination that there is no real role for the viewer to play.
  56. Modern Family is sharp, timely and fresh, complicated enough to be interesting but with a soft, sweet center because, and I'm speaking loudly so even cable channels can hear, there is nothing wrong with that.
  57. True Detective runs slow and steady without ever seeming to drag. Even minor characters get room to breathe, and seem independently alive; the briefest scenes seem to imply life beyond the frame.... The dance [Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson] do together here is work of a very high order, and all the reason you need to watch.
  58. I'll say now, before I get down to picking its nits--it has a few, and most might be predicted from the Spielberg oeuvre--that it's a splendid production, absolutely worth watching in its 10-hour entirety.
  59. It knows the buttons it wants to push (fear of flying, fear of abandonment, fear of the unknown) and pushes them, repeatedly, like a kid playing a video game.
  60. May be the best-ever film depiction of war in the trenches, large screen or small, and TV's loftiest miniseries since the Brits sent over "The Jewel in the Crown" in 1984. Give Band of Brothers a medal. [7 Sept 2001, p.C1]
  61. By rooting Top of the Lake in the real, Campion gives her more fanciful inspirations legs, and the mystery--which is, needless to say, not merely or even mostly the mystery of a missing girl--room to breathe. I have no idea where any of it's headed. But I am going along.
  62. It's an exquisitely rendered and masterfully acted film on Lifetime.... Underwood and Williams are eloquent and fine, but this is Carrie's story. With her shining ageless eyes and effortless physical grace, Tyson is quietly but relentlessly hypnotic in all she does.
  63. 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.
  64. It is all very beautiful.
  65. Clearly, he cares about firefighters and knows them, knows the cadence of their speech, what matters to them. But Rescue Me feels like a misguided gesture of goodwill -- one that serves Leary's vanity in addition to his heart.
  66. It is, to put it bluntly, a cast to die for. Each story line is well-drawn and compelling and each subtly represents a thread of Paul's own issues that come together in Gina's office even more effectively, if a bit more sentimentally, than they did last season.
  67. Dexter is a weekly marvel of writing, acting and conceit.
  68. Neither prequel, sequel or remake, this Fargo is instead a tonal accompaniment, a little more than kin, a little less than kind and a whole new breed of television.
  69. When it comes to the day's central oration, Akomfrah can't quite leave King alone, laying in music below him--not the usual sentimental suet, at least, but a distraction and a distortion nonetheless; those words need no accompaniment. And here and there he processes an image for dramatic (and sometimes confusing) effect. But these are bumps in an otherwise well-laid road.
  70. Without making any extraordinary claims for it, it is easy to watch and to recommend, mostly sweet-natured, with a host of well-shaded performances and almost nothing to insult your intelligence.
  71. None of Undeclared feels forced, and it helps enormously that the cast looks like it belongs, the actors fitting their environment perfectly. [25 Sept 2001, p.C6]
  72. It is cinematic in the sense that nothing in it looks quite real. But it works: This is not the London known as jolly and old, but the new chilly city of glass, a place of missed connections, of aliens and alienation. And the smart dialogue and warm performances--even Holmes has a discernible beating heart, or perhaps two--keep ice from forming on the production.
  73. The dialogue is "Deadwood's" calling card, with its mixture of gutter and Elizabethan grace. It layers Milch's broader, working theme -- the coming-together of various organisms to create a single, functioning one.
  74. In early episodes, Big Love quickly reclaims its astonishing ability to balance the insightful and the absurd, hilarity and heartbreak and the personal with the political. The hours race by and already the final season seems far too short.
  75. It is a moment of fury and grace and wonder that this Heart, in which a brutally specific story is deftly re-tailored for another medium and time, loses none of its original passion or pointedness.
  76. But of what actually happens, I will say no more. You'll have to watch it yourself. And you should.
  77. Smart but never slick, funny but never glib, dark but never (praise all saints and angels) noir, Breaking Bad is actually not another addition to the Brotherhood of the Made Guy formula, it turns out to be the formula's antidote.
  78. You will find things still generally a mess come Sunday, but now there is at least the possibility of light.
  79. Olin is fine as undercover cop Cameron Quinn, as is Jason Gedrick... as recent parolee Danny Rooney... But everything else in this two-hour opener falls hard, from the artificial conflicts that serve the script, but not logic, to the merciless bloating during which nothing happens but mood music, to the needless violence and softening of homicide with clumsy humor. These cadences don't come close to harmonizing.
  80. Nashville is big, bold, wildly ambitious and great fun, with top notes of Robert Altman's "Nashville," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "All About Eve."
  81. This is at once a chucklingly good satire of political infighters and dishonest press barons... and a grim thriller whose scheming protagonist makes Richard Nixon look like a guileless wimp. ... Its flaws are not in the acting or in Paul Seed's directing, but in the writing ... Otherwise, "House of Cards" is no less than evil at its grandest, bolstered by one sterling performance after another as it moves smoothly toward its jolting conclusion.
  82. A show that is visually poetic, normatively compelling and, most important, sustainable for a good long haul.
  83. It is big, beautiful, beautifully acted and romantic, its passions expressed with that particular British reserve that serves only to make them burn brighter.
  84. Silicon Valley is a comedy, certainly, and a very funny one, but it doesn't spend all its time reminding you of the fact.
  85. A continually surprising thriller that maintains an air of imminent danger through its five or so hours (in six episodes), State of Play is a grander, more romantic creation [than Prime Suspect 6].
  86. Despite its equivocal title, Almost the Truth beats any Python documentary yet made for comprehensiveness and depth.
  87. In recent months, star Denis Leary and his co-creator/producer Peter Tolan have repeatedly promised a different show, one less bleak and heavy-footed than Season 4, and on this they most certainly deliver.
  88. Watchable but disappointing. [21 Sept 1993, p.F1]
  89. NY Med is a surprisingly addictive medical docu-series, fascinating as much in form as it is in function. The third in a series of similarly-themed programs prod
  90. It's high-pitched, unforgettable, knockout, electrifying TV...There should be a law requiring more series like NBC's new L.A. Law. [15 Sept 1986, p.C1]
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It turns out, though, that these guys are funny...The whiteness of the group is more problematic. Racial and gay/straight stereotypes are the target of a monologue by Scott Thompson, portraying an effeminate gay character. The script intends to skewer those stereotypes, but the blunt language and the fact that the group is white may lead some observers to question whether the sketch doesn't reinforce them. [21 July 1989, p.C6]
  91. It is an homage and a celebration, with something of a high-class homemade feel.
  92. This year, by contrast [to last year], the drama flows more naturally; it cuts closer to home, and nearer the bone, allowing Smith and McGovern, particularly, deeper material than has previously been their portion
  93. As twisty and spellbinding as ever. [28 Oct 2002]
  94. Not only does The Golden Girls offer meaningful portrayals of women in their post-middle-age years, but, as a bonus, it's one of those TV rarities, a comedy that's funny. Very funny. [13 Sept 1985, p.C1]
  95. There are only three patients this time around, and their stories, written by executive producers Anya Epstein and Dan Futterman, offer a thematic cohesion that seems richer, though perhaps more familiar. More important, the show remains a rare and wonderful opportunity to watch fine actors work their way through excellent material, earning it consistent praise and HBO's commitment, despite low ratings.
  96. Though it has the pokey pace and flat affect of his other films--for Burns, history is elegy--it is also one of his best works: more tightly focused than usual in time and place, with a clear shape, dramatic arcs and a conclusion that is at once cautionary and moving, topical and timeless.
  97. The filmmakers do not beat a political drum, they do not use an impassioned script or a soundtrack comprising brass and strings; they do not attempt to incite anger or outrage, sorrow or resolve in any way. Instead, they present the facts, simply and gracefully, and the result is devastating.
  98. Crafted to satisfy those generations of viewers for whom even "The Empire Strikes Back" looks quaint and old-fashioned, it is no less thought-provoking for being made to be fun.
  99. The Honorable Woman is great, in the most traditional sense of the word, which makes its flaws all the more frustrating. The first three episodes are often overwhelmed by soundtrack and studded with near-still-life shots meant, apparently, to offset the shootouts and establish the High Art factor of the series.

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