Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,578 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 54% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 43% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Homicide: Life on the Street: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Painkiller Jane: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 853
  2. Negative: 0 out of 853
853 tv reviews
  1. More troubling, and the bulk of his case, is the testimony of former Scientologists, some of them high-ranked, some of them claiming inside knowledge. Defenders of the faith will say that they are lying now when they say they were lying then, but they seem quite credible and composed to me--amazed at the people they'd been, astonished by what they couldn't see, ashamed at their actions or inaction.
  2. If the targets and tone of her comedy were clearly flavored by her “Daily Show” roots, Bee’s voice is completely her own.... The only bad thing about the premier of Full Frontal was its brevity.
  3. A show that is visually poetic, normatively compelling and, most important, sustainable for a good long haul.
  4. 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.
  5. It is, it really is, just as magnificent, powerful and enthralling as you would imagine.
  6. 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.
  7. Clearly, Ricciardi and Demos are on the side of justice, attempting to shed light on the dangers of imperfect police work and the very real potential for conspiracy. But when they showcase the awful thrill with which some members of the media reacted to the "great story" of Avery's second arrest, it's tough not to see a double standard. It is a great story, which is why they and Netflix chose to tell it.
  8. With its frank examination of race, gender and class, American Crime is the more thematically provocative show, a gratifying breakthrough for television and a truly golden child of the age.
  9. It’s a professionalized version of Rae's homely original that maintains her voice while sharpening everything that surrounds and supports it.
  10. Watchable but disappointing. [21 Sept 1993, p.F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  11. Despite its equivocal title, Almost the Truth beats any Python documentary yet made for comprehensiveness and depth.
  12. Silicon Valley is a comedy, certainly, and a very funny one, but it doesn't spend all its time reminding you of the fact.
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  16. It is an homage and a celebration, with something of a high-class homemade feel.
  17. 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
    • Los Angeles Times
  18. As twisty and spellbinding as ever. [28 Oct 2002]
    • Los Angeles Times
  19. Though sleeker and more graphically brutal than its ancestor, Roots remains a celebration of resistance through survival.
  20. 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.
  21. As in his 1994 "nine-inning" film "Baseball," the subject suits the director's deliberate, even poky pace, and the air of what might be called critical nostalgia that colors all his films. Jackie Robinson brings the old world to vivid life, but its messages are for today and any day.
  22. 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.
  23. Once your eyes adjust to the bedazzled opulence of Liberace's life in '70s and '80s Las Vegas, Behind the Candelabra becomes a darkly moving and provocative look at two lonely men who briefly found something like love before the maelstrom of fame, money and drugs, all churning within the confines of the sexual closet, blew it apart.
  24. There is a quiet naturalism to the production, quite distinct from Hollywood horror, in which every trick in the audio-visual book is marshaled to jolt you as far as possible out of your seat when the scare comes, and also from supposedly found-footage films ("The Blair Witch Project" and its progeny) that use aesthetic chaos to suggest actuality. This is altogether more mature.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  28. The show, and its survival, offers proof that quality can triumph in an industry driven by quantity and that even though necessity is the more fertile of the two, poetry can also be a fine mother to invention.
  29. 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.
  30. On the one hand, it's absolutely captivating, raw and unpredictable, a bubbling boiler of excitement rendered in the style of CBS' "48 Hours" and unrivaled by conventional cop dramas in prime time...On the other hand, the camera assumes the disgusting role of hanging judge by prematurely filling the screen with the faces of numerous suspects swept up in drug busts, some of whom may turn out to be innocent or may even go uncharged, for all we know. [7 Jan 1989, p.C1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  31. "Weeds" is odder, darker and more suspenseful than ever.
  32. The Walking Dead, like any good horror tale, still believes in the importance of monsters, perfectly balancing the struggle of basic human decency with those palsied four-in-the-morning moments when we are convinced that everyone around us is trying to eat us alive
  33. It isn't just good TV, it's revelatory TV. The genre's biggest potential game changer since AMC debuted the one-two punch of "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad."
  34. If early episodes are any indication, Season 3 will provide a glorious payoff for those EST-ian weeks down on the farm.
  35. Unapologetically sleeker and more sentimental than any George Smiley tale, and streamlined to the point of simplicity when compared with the recent "London Spy," it is tense but linear, clearly framed to take full advantage of its stars' strengths and, it must be said, their cross-demographic fan base.
  36. If Johnson sometimes stretches a point to make a point — the link between public hygiene and competitive skateboarding, say — he is always intriguing and entertaining, his show thought-provoking and compulsively fun to watch.
  37. For those Americans who have fallen through some wormhole and have never seen "Law & Order," the British version is as good a place to start as any--Walsh, Bamber and Agyeman in particular deliver fine performances. And those put off by the new "Law & Order: Los Angeles" or just jonesing for the good old days, will no doubt find a trip to London positively...brilliant.
  38. Tyler Labine makes a most excellent wacky bearded sidekick, and Rick Gonzalez and Valarie Rae Miller round out the Scooby Gang. Auteur of slackerdom Kevin Smith ("Clerks") directed the pilot, which maintains a nice fairy tale tone even as it stresses the banality of the infernal.
  39. Garbus, director of the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning "The Farm: Angola, USA," fills in many of the blanks--to an impressive extent, given the obsessively guarded privacy of her subject--in a film that is both meditative and exciting, like the game it concerns, and mercilessly penetrating even as it reserves judgment on a man whose outrageousness practically demands it.
  40. All in all, this is a dynamic, addictive rendition of a complicated novel that catches the spirit of Dickens' "roaring streets" where "the noisy and the eager, and the arrogant and the froward and the vain, fretted and chafed, and made their usual uproar."
  41. It is less a portrait of two combustible stars, played with empathy and breathtaking control by Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter, as it is a surprisingly thoughtful excavation of a love that is both undeniable and untenable.
  42. Without making any great claims for the show's depth, I do sense a desire behind the sensation and soap to investigate something significant, if deceptively simple: how life changes in a moment.
  43. The value of the series, then, is its, well, weight, its relentless attempt to remind us of what we know, to connect many important dots and clear away the emotional and cultural fog that often blurs discussions about obesity, and to offer hope in the form of personal stories, regional projects and past success.
  44. It is striking more for its form than its contents, which are familiar. ... But it looks and feels like nothing else on TV.
  45. At once more modest and more ambitious than its predecessor; more focused on detail and yet more expansive. It is also excruciatingly funny, with an emphasis on excruciating.
  46. It's [Jessica Jones'] superhumanity, rather than her superpowers, that makes the show so riveting.
  47. [Writer/director/voice of Cleric] Steve Purcell's comic timing is splendid, as is his staging of the action scenes.
  48. 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.
  49. The film as a whole is a strange case of mostly excellent parts that make an overlong and tedious whole.
  50. This time around everyone, Byrne in particular, moves with an air of confidence that allows you to keep your eyes on the knives being juggled in the air rather than the person doing the juggling. Which is exactly where you want the audience's eyes to be when you're pulling off a con, or a show like Damages.
  51. It's a conclusion that seemed to me both contrived and honest, if that makes any sense, and it left me disturbed, though not, as Doctor Who often has, a sobbing wreck.
  52. An amusing, highly promising light drama from the WB about mother-daughter bonding that is tender, warm and loving in a natural way without heaping on the schmaltz. [4 Oct 2000, p.F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  53. What makes it so engaging is not that the series finds anything new to twist, but that it works so well with and within the strictures of the well-thumbed genres it combines in equal parts: spy thriller, murder mystery, backstage drama, triangular romance.
  54. The first episode may be a bit rocky in the beginning, what with the reintroduction of characters and story lines, but the second season of Damages promises to be even better than the first.
  55. Unlike many series--especially cable series--and despite the propensity of some family members to take undue advantage of Cam's new good fortune, the show is not broadly cynical about people or institutions, which makes it easy to like, despite its sometimes wobbly tone and occasional clumsy construction.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Bell does such a good job playing the world-weary Veronica that she manages to get away with voice-over lines like "I'm no longer that girl" and "The detective in me knew something was wrong" without sounding silly. She channels the charisma, smarts and frustration of Angela Chase, Claire Danes' character in "My So-Called Life." [22 Sept 2004, p.E12]
    • Los Angeles Times
  56. Even when the cut comes fast, they stay elegant; the images all register. We cut into conversations in the middle, suggesting talk that has been going on awhile and might go on longer. Scenes show as much as they need to, and just a little more, without seeming interrupted.
  57. You will laugh, you will cry and if it seems a bit treacly, it is.
  58. More a sketch than a thorough retelling--though still recommended as such--and as balanced as you can be about the scandal given the facts, the film begins at the end, or just before it, with the remarkable, once much-bootlegged footage of Nixon preparing to resign.
  59. It's the miraculous simplicity of creating something from nothing that makes Runway endlessly watchable.
  60. Artistically, it may be an unnecessary appendix, but I'm not complaining. More pie? I will make room somehow.
  61. Funny and wickedly weird.
  62. Fine character actors abound, playing people on the rural edges, but it's the main character and Olyphant's performance that lift the sometimes labored plot lines and carry them over the finish line.
  63. Generation Kill tends to play as a series of discrete events. I suppose an argument might be made that this mirrors the way that the constant threat of extinction, and subject always to a sudden change in (rarely explained) orders, makes one live in the moment. I don't think that was what the producers intended, but it works well enough for watching it.
  64. Easily the the best, cleverest and nuttiest arrival of the 1989-90 season is The Simpsons...It's very small-scale, but perfectly conceived and executed. What we have here from creator Matt Groening is a rare confluence -- delightful writing, pictures and voices fitting like a Matisse. [12 Jan 1990, p.F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  65. Deadwood is engrossing, refreshingly well written and oddly relevant. [15 Mar 2004, p.E1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  66. Deliciously funny satirical gore. [10 Mar 1997, p.F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  67. It's one of the best things to come out of the fall season, but as a recreational television watcher, I like it too.
  68. The strength of the series lies not in the whodunit elements--it isn't hard to work out who's behind it, even if it isn't immediately apparent why--but in its eye for local details and small human gestures.
  69. Apart from a surfeit of split screen effects and some overbearing soundtrack selections, I have no quarrel with this series at all, and wore a lump in my throat through much of it.
  70. It is a suitably complicated and pictorially engaging work of period suburban mystery, with a large cast of characters
  71. Beyond the emotional pull of the individual stories, Get to Work breaks down a certain us/them barrier, showing with painful clarity the holes left by the absence of family structure and education.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The cast is fine and Steve Miner directs with sensitivity. There's real poignancy in the last scene between Savage and McKellar. It's a refreshingly gutsy half-hour, a look back at how things were -- and weren't. [31 Jan 1988, p.C-13]
    • Los Angeles Times
  72. Rick Beyer's fascinating, detailed and oddly delightful account of the World War II military camouflage artists whose job was not to hide men and materiel but to create battalions where none actually existed, drawing German eyes and ears to the wrong place.
  73. This is a rare TV union where cast, writers and directors appear to be of a single comedic mind; the humorous results speak for themselves. [7 July 1990, p.F11]
    • Los Angeles Times
  74. When death no longer holds the dread it once did, what's left is the fear of what life can become. And that is the boogeyman with which the characters must now wrestle.
  75. If the premiere of Frasier does not manufacture laughs as consistently as one might expect from a "Cheers" offspring, it's still a cleverly written show with a quality cast that bodes well for the future. Mahoney is superb as the father, who reveals his inner feelings grudgingly, and Grammer is a master of the witty response. [16 Sept 1993, p.F11]
    • Los Angeles Times
  76. Though some of the visual cues will be very familiar to fans of "Lord of the Rings" or even "The Tudors," Game of Thrones quickly finds that rare alchemy of action, motivation and explanation, proving, once again, that the epic mythology remains the Holy Grail of almost any medium.
  77. The only major kink in Northern Exposure is its tendency to have Fleischman and the others expose their flaws only to finish each episode by doing the good and right thing, as if guided by some invisible magic wand. Otherwise, this is magical stuff that deserves a permanent spot on the CBS schedule. [12 July 1990, p.10]
    • Los Angeles Times
  78. For a program known for its harum-scarum pace and keep-up-or-shut-up iconography, the Season 8 Saturday premiere of BBC America's Doctor Who opens slowly--even with the T. rex--and radiates a newly modern self-consciousness, albeit dressed in Victorian garb.
  79. As marred and derivative as "ER" is, however, there's something quite seductive about this series.
  80. That the two men are in their 30s makes their perseverance more poignant--to somewhat overstate the case--and that they have no money places them in a long and honorable line of comedians who cannot put two cents together to buy a glass of seltzer.
  81. But it's Claire, and the Underwood marriage, that makes "House of Cards" more than just a better-than-average addition to the genre of Antihero Drama Being Used to Establish a New Fiefdom in the Television Landscape (see also "Nip/Tuck," "Dexter," "Mad Men," "Vikings" and "Klondike").
  82. Everything here feels lived in and actual.
  83. "The Wire's" Snoop would definitely not fit in. But this is the most impressive group of female characters ever assembled in a series, and it's not just window-dressing; each woman has a story and that story will be told.
  84. Beneath the twists and turns of Orphan Black's increasingly deep and vivid story lines lie the even more basic theme of revelation: How would you react if you discovered that what you had come to know as your life was based on misinformation.... From the space between wreckage and rebuilding comes much of our great literature, music and art. And now, Orphan Black.
  85. It delivers mixed signals. Because the language is elevated, the production assured and the acting fine, it can feel that something important is happening. But perhaps there is less here than meets the eye; maybe it's just a tricked-up mystery show. It comes on like satire, but it's too scattershot, too inconsistent, too over the top to make any significant points.
  86. Created by Scott Silveri, whose brother has cerebral palsy, the pilot crackles with one-liner wit and hilarious monologues, many, though not all, delivered by Maya, who all but vibrates with her tangled mess of take-no-prisoner standards and eternal optimism.
  87. The goings-on feel fresh in the way that kids at play make spy or space stories their own, even as they repeat what TV and the movies have taught them. This is just that with a budget, some deeper experience and the help of Jennifer Saunders, Rebecca Front, Dougray Scott and David Harewood, among interesting others.
  88. Ten minutes into the season premiere of Nip/Tuck and you have to wonder what those deeply disturbed plastic surgeons were doing wasting four seasons, and all that unexplored sexual tension, in Miami when they so clearly belong in Los Angeles.
  89. Themes from earlier Toy Story movies are also recycled, which should bother no one. Although Woody and Buzz get their screen time--with Jessie, they are the "Jules et Jim" of computer-animated cartoons about sentient playthings--it is the plucky cowgirl, facing her fears, whose story this is.
  90. This is just the kind of amusingly off-center comedy now missing from NBC's lineup, one of those rare, delightful meshings of concept, cast and execution, with producer Tom Cherones providing inspired direction. Nothing is forced. [31 May 1990, p.F9]
    • Los Angeles Times
  91. [Her] presence is what both illuminates and limits Gloria: In Her Own Words.
  92. Although the humor begins broadly, it grows on you as you adjust to its rhythms, and ultimately you hear yourself laughing out loud. This is easily NBC's best new series. It's also one of those distinctive comedies in which everything meshes. [2 Oct 2001, p.C2]
    • Los Angeles Times
  93. This Sense and Sensibility is truer not only to Austen's narrative, it more successfully captures the quiet precision of her singular mind--she was the master of finding poetry in domestic detail, and for that, the small screen is much better suited than the large.
  94. Though neither naive nor mum about its subject's destructive complications and contradictions, his brutal youth and abuse of women, Alex Gibney's film concentrates on Brown the performer--both as a musician and as a public political personage, the voice of black pride (say it loud!) and economic self-sufficiency.
  95. Gavin & Stacey is a gem of a show -- funny, touching and welcome proof that the romantic comedy can and will survive irony, Botox, Judd Apatow and all the vagaries of the modern age.
  96. It is something shy of electrifying and not always convincing, but it pulls you right along and offers too many good moments and fine performances not to recommend it.
  97. In Witness we are left with far more questions than answers or even observations....Fortunately, they're all good questions, important and worth asking in any format.

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