Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,661 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 53% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 44% 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 The Night Of
Lowest review score: 0 America's Funniest Home Videos: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 907
  2. Negative: 0 out of 907
907 tv reviews
  1. 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").
  2. Everything here feels lived in and actual.
  3. "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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. [Her] presence is what both illuminates and limits Gloria: In Her Own Words.
  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Azaria and Peet are great, together and separately. Both bring a humor and sympathy to characters that might otherwise prove difficult to tolerate, let alone like.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. A scorching look at the drug trade in a Baltimore housing project through the eyes of mid-level dealers and police. [31 May 2002, p.C1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  20. It preserves the domestically framed, socially engaged flavor of the original while mixing in new verve. And it has turned out very well: smart, fun, bighearted and less noisy and hectoring than Lear works of old could sometimes be.
  21. By loading his film with musicians and producers and songwriters who can take a song down to its components--some of whom were behind the scenes, some of whom were then just kids buying the records--Lee keeps his celebration smart and not soppy.
  22. Smash is a triumph.
  23. Bel and her staff are no longer young Turks shaking up the fusty old BBC; now they are, for better or worse, part of the mainstream news media, forced to question their own motivations as well as those of the Establishment. In the first two episodes anyway, this makes for a more sophisticated storytelling, a drama of adults who must take responsibility for decisions of the mind as well as the heart.
  24. The show's attitudinal mix of the jaded and amazed, the shocked and amused, is supported by the production itself.
  25. Creator Toby Whithouse takes all the themes associated with the cursed and the damned very seriously, and if his exploration of them is less baroque than other franchises, it promises to be even more effective.
  26. [Sontag's] personal magnetism is very much part of the story.... This alone makes for a highly watchable film, though Kates also dresses the screen with poetical visual interludes.
  27. Creators Ed McCardie (the British "Shameless") and Corinne Marrinan ("CSI") understand that characters are what make memorable television, though the shifting moods of the cinematography certainly doesn't hurt either.
  28. The show is exceptionally well made from top to bottom and pulls you in and pulls you along, owing not least to a host of terrific performances.
  29. If there's a better written, better acted, more originally conceived show on television, I defy you to name it.
  30. Terrific acting, crackling dialogue and geek-hip crime are not the only things that make this the most electric drama to premiere this fall.
  31. Even those who are normally allergic to capes and spandex are likely to be intrigued, particularly by Colter’s simmering performance. ... The supporting cast is equally enjoyable, particularly Alfre Woodard as Mariah Stokes, Cottonmouth’s cousin and a corrupt city councilwoman, and Simone Missick as Misty Knight, a streetwise detective and Luke’s would-be love interest.
  32. Cop show, fantasy, mystery, comedy, romance, puzzle -- there are a lot of ways to approach "Life on Mars," which begins its second and final season tonight on BBC America, and they all pay off.
  33. The tone may veer a bit wildly from grim to hilarious for an American audience's taste, but once Hamm and Radcliffe settle into their roles (and Hamm into his accent), it could very well live up to its U.K. rep and provide Ovation with some skin in the game.
  34. Marta Cunningham's documentary Valentine Road is a profoundly disturbing and extremely effective attempt to make us stop in our tracks and try to answer the questions we so patly ask.
  35. A complicated, and occasionally whimsical, series of tactics lend the 90-minute premiere the wide-open, yet tensely meticulous feel of a good heist film.
  36. At least initially, don't expect balance in other areas, either, for one of the religious right characters showing up tonight is a ruthless fanatic, the other a toady. That's politics, in Hollywood as well as Washington, D.C. [22 Sept 1999, p.F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  37. The first hour is overly obsessive-compulsive in plot points--code strings and routers as the new McGuffins--but the adolescent rage of its protagonist gives it emotional life.
  38. The real miracle here is how deftly the show avoids the soggy cliches of redemption so many of its forerunners have embraced. [26 Sept 2003, p.E1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  39. While it goes out of its way to cast these soldiers as the heroic equals, if not betters, of their "Greatest Generation" counterparts, the series does not have the same impact--mainly because these images, though at times awful and upsetting, are also much more familiar.
  40. An endearingly weird and bent new ABC comedy.
  41. Mostly the half-hour segments move in and out of often disjointed moments of Christine's escort-driven life at a pace that seems intentionally, and unforgivably, elliptical.
  42. Seek, stylish and superbly performed, BBC America's Cold War drama The Game offers more to look at than think about, but then there's something about espionage that almost always calls for a little eye candy.
  43. It's an intoxicating if precarious concoction, capable of exploding or imploding at any moment, which only adds to the fun.... She is able to keep words like "pathetic" and "deranged" at bay for the first hour through sheer force of will, but now that the concept has been established, the scripts will need to give her firmer footing and a little more room to move.
  44. It's a solid enough formula, and if the writers have overly epic ambitions, they also have a collective eye for detail.
  45. This familiar package notwithstanding, the premiere of Gideon's Crossing delivers a complex and challenging main story of moral ambiguity as well as stunning performances by Andre Braugher as Gideon, Bruce McGill as a despotic patient with seemingly untreatable cancer and Russell Hornsby as chief resident Aaron Boies. [10 Oct 2000, p.F10]
    • Los Angeles Times
  46. It's perhaps appropriate to the subject matter that the show's main appeal is sensual rather than cerebral, grounded in a host of superb performances.
  47. The script can seem both a little precious and a little obvious at times, dropping references to Pandora's box, the golem, Einstein's definition of insanity and Schrödinger's cat. But all in all, it works.
  48. It's difficult to begrudge the producers their poetry--on one level, the imagery begs for similarly breathtaking language. But in this case, less might well have been more; the narration works best when it is relaying information rather than describing a "sun-spangled yearning to move."
  49. You either like Odenkirk's nervy, nervous and surprisingly soulful performance or you don't--and it's pretty hard not to like.
  50. What sets Push Girls apart [from other reality shows] is that these plots, and these women, are actually interesting.
  51. Becoming Chaz is undoubtedly one of the most thought-provoking films you will see on any screen this year, a frankly chronicled tale of Chaz's life as a transgender man that opens a more than occasionally mind-blowing conversation about the essentials of gender, and subsequently, sexuality.
  52. Community continues to achieve a tricky balance of cynicism, sentiment and surreality.
  53. It matters less whether UnREAL is accurate than whether it is just true enough to provide a foundation for credible drama--and it very much does.
  54. Cancer is, of course, its own ongoing holocaust, and Goodman is determined to examine it thoroughly, objectively (which is not to say clinically) and fearlessly. The result is possibly the least live-tweetable six hours of television you will ever see and also among the most important.
  55. 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.
  56. Although Romano is the keystone of the group, it is very much an ensemble drama buoyed by writing that protects the characters from the perils of self-pity and self-indulgence with quick and gentle humor and plot points that capture the forces a middle-aged, middle-class man might actually battle.
  57. Iit’s a deeply unsettling look at childhood mental illness, the blurred line between the virtual and real, and the potency of internet memes.
  58. Don't let the exposition-heavy first episode fool you; this may be a sword 'n' longboat epic with a handsome hero at its heart, but as adapted by Stephen Butchard, it subtly grows more complex with each passing hour until that hero becomes, to a certain extent, a supporting player in the far more dramatic epic of history.
  59. There's something about the terrible lighting, those horrible curtain dividers, the washed-out gowns that makes every patient seem extraordinarily vulnerable. Which, of course, they are, as are we all, including the men and women who provide our last line of defense in this life. This is precisely the stuff of great drama and of great documentary, but it gets a little troublesome when combining the two.
  60. It is the best new show of the fall. It's a rapturous mix of absurdly fairy-tale-romance and frantic modern complications, set in the picturesque drear of Yorkshire and brought to life by masterfully shaded performances.
  61. You can either let this annoy you, or you can try to work out the meaning, or you can just enjoy the flow in a noncommittal way that does not preclude your being stimulated, shocked or held in suspense--like a fun-house ride. I am of the third disposition, and have also been of the first.
  62. Smart and delightful.
  63. Peter Berg... seems to have decided that the show would only work if storytelling were pared down to quick-cutting iconography set to guitars.
  64. His style of filmmaking--to obsessively explore his subject from as many points of entry as possible--is the cinematic definition of thought-provoking.
  65. Held together almost entirely by Cranston’s performance, All the Way seems at times intentionally counter-intuitive; so much of the story’s advancement depends on deals that no one feels really great about that it’s hard to find the kind of catharsis many expect from these sorts of films.
  66. Even with its problems--we'll get to those presently--it's one of the best shows of the fall season.
  67. 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.
  68. The leads are all marvelous, with a complementary elemental division of attitudes: Kemper, air; Burrell, fire; Kane, earth; and Krakowski, water, as I reckon it. They rise to the occasion and make it an event.
  69. Even at its most obvious or ungainly, it's never less than interesting, and it's certainly not shy of conviction; no C.K. fan with an Internet connection and $5 to spare will want to pass it by.
  70. It's a little movie that feels big, without being self-consciously cinematic.
  71. The personal circus, while given much play, remains secondary to the cooking contest. And as usual, the crop of contestants is claimed to be the most talented yet, and they do seem well-credentialed (James Beard nominees, Michelin-star-winner), competitive and more than usually tattooed.
  72. Thematically ambitious with a strong and nuanced cast, Being Mary Jane, which stars Gabrielle Union, combines daytime television talking points with cable-worthy character depth.
  73. Though firmly in the Lucas tradition, this is also a Disney cartoon, for a Disney crowd and a Disney corporation--watching, you can almost feel the plastic and the plush--and whatever the characters are up to, however cute or sentimental the business, it is smartly designed and cinematically staged, and not hard to enjoy.
  74. Watching "My Name Is Earl," you feel like you're in a movie, or at least a movie trailer. In ways more good than bad, it's immediately comprehensible.
  75. Well made and never boring--the director is Julian Jarrold ("Becoming Jane")--Appropriate Adult is a first-class example of what British filmmakers do well when they are not trying to look like American filmmakers.
  76. Anchored by amazing performances by Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore, the Grey Gardens that premieres tonight is, like its subjects, a brilliant, moving, hilarious and mesmerizing mess of a movie that miraculously captures what made the Beales such iconic characters.
  77. The carefully crafted labyrinth of lies, swindles and half-truths threaten to implode at any minute, and it’s that suspense and tension--along with the absurd situations that Marius finds himself in--that make Sneaky Pete such a smart, riveting and often tense ride through a complicated web of family, crime and everything that should (but doesn’t) separate the two.
  78. All of which adds up to a pilot that is much more admirable in its intent than its execution, a better conversation-starter than episode.
  79. Valerie and Alex are both oblivious and self-involved, but they also love each other, and Watkins and Dewey save them from stereotype with strong sibling chemistry and a surprisingly natural inclination for truth. This emerges slowly, in bits and pieces, often camouflaged by one-liners and set pieces (adjacent blind dates! the first one-night stand! Mom comes to town!), but it is truth nonetheless, hilarious, heartbreaking and miraculously resilient.
  80. From the start, it's mostly on Hall to seduce us, and he's so artful with the material that he consistently elevates it.
  81. Both as twisty mystery and armchair vacation, it's a good way to pass a summer night.
  82. Destitution has never been quite as appealing as it is in The Durrells in Corfu, the latest slice of picturesque Anglophilia from “Masterpiece.” The six-episode series is escapist entertainment in the most literal sense.
  83. What is remarkable about "Life Support" is how it avoids every pitfall of the standard issue-based TV film and, indeed, of most TV films, period.
  84. It has its good points and its less good points, but there's enough of the former to merit a look.
  85. Like the wonderful documentaries of ESPN's "30 for 30" series, The Announcement not only captures a remarkable person and an unforgettable moment, it proves once again the universal appeal and importance of professional sports.
  86. Mad Men has found a strange and lovely space between nostalgia and political correctness and filled it with interesting people, all of them armed with great powers of seduction.
  87. The humor has as much to do with the form as the content, and much care and cleverness have been devoted to making these pieces look right, from film stock and lighting, to period graphics, to furniture and clothing; the art direction is exceptional, and as such, delightful throughout.
  88. It is not a perfect series; episodes stall here and there, or swerve into unnecessary flights of fantasy or absurd narrative developments, but then a moment of quietly huge revelation blows the story onto a whole other plane.
  89. The heroine's fearless and clever character, the self-knowledge and self-possession her tormentors lack, and her gift for survival are fixed from first to last. She is sometimes thwarted but never altered. If this makes The Book of Negroes less psychologically complex than it otherwise might be, there are real pleasures and comforts to be had from it.
  90. [Steven Tyler] may be all talk, the initial good cheer may wear thin and we may be begging to be slapped around by Cowell in a few weeks, but for now it's just nice to have judges who aren't learning how to be stars themselves. Which means that this year, maybe the show can be about finding a real American idol.
  91. It is, for all its two and a half hours, a streamlined retelling, organized more around energy and atmosphere than facts and figures.
  92. Covering nearly five centuries, half a dozen groups and a dozen wars, with interviews from 100 subjects, Latino Americans looks to be exactly what it claims to be: the most thorough documentary on Latino American history yet made.
  93. Wyle is funny and charming and dispenses just enough fascinating arcane knowledge to keep things semi-educational, the special effects are great, Newhart and Curtin are always great to see, the ubiquitous Davison ("Knight Rider") is obviously having a blast as Lazlo, and really, who doesn't like a good vampire story?
  94. As a story about how the past became the present (which makes us, in relation to its characters, people of the future), it is very much in line with its subject, and has been made with much the same mix of enchantment and suspense.
  95. As much as I love what Lewis and Patinkin—as well as Baccarin and Saylor—do here, Danes is what makes Homeland remarkable.
  96. For all the switchback plotting, the sudden revelations that bring some earlier plot or plotline to naught, the show never feels too obviously manipulative or out of control. This is in part because of the restrained way it's shot and acted.
  97. It's a grand if inconsistent experiment that, from the moment it opens with a definition of magic realism, wears its considerable ambitions on its sleeve.
  98. 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."
  99. The personal business is interesting enough, if here and there inexplicable--like life, I hear you sigh--and does help make sense of why the characters act so needy around the office. But what Southland does best is to portray police work as a job--boring, trying, exciting by turns.
  100. Spotnitz takes his time in all things, and the slow pace of the first six episodes of The Man in the High Castle often work against the agitated drama of its imagery.

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