Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,670 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 Malcolm in the Middle: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Cavemen: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 914
  2. Negative: 0 out of 914
914 tv reviews
  1. Ethel is a moving, highly enjoyable, thoroughly absorbing portrait.
  2. Despite a bizarre courtroom sequence that strains credibility early in the episode, this is a very good start for Special Victims Unit, which promises to be a solid cop drama capable of occasionally stretching toward greatness.
  3. They're a bit too cute. Yet behind all the hipster wordplay, the characters are strangely charming.
  4. With admirable economy and keep-up-people pace, creator Peter Nowalk reveals both the imperial nature of his lead and quick sketches of the five students from the opening scene.
  5. If the characters are not particularly original, neither do they come off as artificial. The dialogue is 75% banter, but it is crisp and tart, and the actors make even the ripostes you can predict sound spontaneous.
  6. Some of this is schematic, to be sure, but it grows more organic as it goes along, helped by a strong cast.
  7. It's an accomplished piece of work. And it gains heft from a number of impressive cameos.
  8. "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.
    • 68 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.
  9. The series' strength is that it is difficult to pin down; it zigs when you expect it to zag.
  10. "Rome" is smart, dirty fun.
  11. The glamour in Pan Am may indeed be manufactured--doubly manufactured, given the re-created places and planes--but it's not empty: The show says, yes, this is as good as it looks, and it looks very good
  12. Murder in the First, a masterfully paced balance of tricky whodunit and character development, seems to have benefited from both Bochco's hits and the misses, as well as the cable-led experimentation with shorter seasons.
  13. For all the self-protective aggressiveness and passive aggressiveness on display, Idiotsitter is tender at its core and toward its characters.
  14. It totes a few smiles, but little to bowl you over, and it takes a spell getting used to.
  15. An emotional, necessarily freaky but surprisingly logical and altogether satisfying story and, one hopes, a reset for future seasons.
  16. I am not yet sold, but I will stick around a while to see what this future holds.
  17. It's not a perfect show, but to judge by its pilot, it has good bones and excellent prospects, with a cast that knows just how much fun it can have before it seems as if it is just having fun.
  18. 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.
  19. If the vagueness may irritate fans of the first book/film, it works well for the second, making this story a bit more open-ended and universal.
  20. It's very well-acted and meanwhile, when it can stand it, kind of tender, although it's far more interested in "Curb"-like moments of uncomfortable confrontation.
  21. As predictable, or artificial, as the show can seem, when you take stock of it--even in its dark themes and situations--it is vital and inviting, fundamentally true to its characters and hard to put down.
  22. 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.
  23. Though the laughs may come through gritted teeth and a pained wince, they are there. It's an enjoyable series, at least for the three episodes available for review.
  24. 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.
  25. Unfortunately, without a more solid platform, even the greatest performance can go only so far. Oyelowo is mesmerizing in the moment, but each moment dies behind him.
  26. if you're the type of person who needs every little thing, or indeed any little thing, to make sense in a pilot, then you should probably watch Fringe in solitude, preferably with the door closed, so the rest of us can enjoy it for what it is--an uneven but promising jumble of horror, thriller and comedy that is not afraid to reference SpongeBob and "Altered States" in practically the same scene.
  27. As directed by Peter Berg, this is smart, handsome TV, a witty, measured mix of sci-fi, soap and satire that offers new twists on old tropes.
  28. What it lacks in depth, Babylon makes up for in range and sudden brilliant commentary.
  29. While it's generally entertaining, there are times when it seems too obviously invented.
  30. Creator Jenji Kohan has kept it all going so far, the supporting cast remains the funniest on TV, and Parker, with her carefully calculated stillness and sudden reckless displays of fearlessness, is more riveting than ever.
  31. What Vice offers is not deep or thorough, but it is not without value. The news comes in pieces now; to get the full picture, you have to assemble it yourself.
  32. Though his [Carlton Cuse's] version is not quite as eerie and enigmatic as the French version, it's still pretty dang eerie and enigmatic, particularly for those watching the story unfold for the first time.
  33. Things get pretty wacky by the end--actually, they get wacky well before the end--but however unlikely, the proceedings are kept watchable by a cast that notably includes Ian McShane, Donald Sutherland, Rufus Sewell, and Eddie Redmayne.
  34. Nevertheless, this is a kind of American classic that goes right against the grain of what cartoons are supposed to be.
  35. By not belaboring the point--Ryan is not crazy, there is nothing supernatural afoot--the show stays fresh, the gimmick fades. The humor is frequently scatological or sexual, but a mitigating sweetness enfolds it all.
  36. Yet if Great News is mostly what one might call theoretically funny, it is certainly not unwatchable. It has its untaxing pleasures. It would not be a stretch to call it amusing.
  37. The Flash has neither the humor of "Dick Tracy" nor, even though much of its action occurs at night, the brooding darkness of "Batman." Despite great swells of action music, moreover, it lacks a true comic book sensibility that would dramatically set it apart from the rest of prime time.
  38. The series opens with an episode so nuanced and thoughtful, so quietly moving and genuine, it's almost impossible to believe it is made by many of the same people who helped build a family empire off the infamy of a young woman's sex tape.
  39. It was an undeniably endearing, energetic and star-studded hour of television.
  40. This About a Boy is as subtle as a chain saw.
  41. What Swank doesn't bring is any sort of emotional connection, either to Mary, Mary's son or the audience.... Mercifully, Blethyn eventually joins her on the screen and is, as ever, simple perfection, needing to do little more than utter two words with an anguished squint to break your heart into 50 million pieces. When the two meet up, Mary and Martha begins to transcend the drumbeat of its message.
  42. 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.
  43. It had a not-bad, pretty good, kinda funny, sort of smart debut.
  44. It's smart without either condescending to or patronizing the viewer.
  45. A perfectly entertaining period piece that has the misfortune of arriving shortly after a similarly themed but dramatically more compelling series, Netflix’s “The Crown.”
  46. "Thought-provoking" is an overused term in criticism, and one that can camouflage many sins. But here, for better and worse, is the real deal.
  47. 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).
  48. If it doesn't match "Battlestar" for ambition or poetry or sparkling dialogue--to judge by the three hours available for review--it's well-made, solidly scary and disturbing all the same.
  49. 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.
  50. It's "Desperate Housewives" all over again -- the whodunit overlaid by a titillating comedy of shame-based suburban manners and shame-based depravity, the word "bitch" used scandalously. [24 Sep 2006]
    • Los Angeles Times
  51. That the funniest straight-ahead sitcom of the American fall television season is a 2-year-old British import airing on a basic-cable network is because of a few things: a dearth of new American sitcoms, the availability of road-tested foreign product, and the ongoing expansion of the vast tracts of basic cable into the kind of programming that has traditionally defined broadcast television.
  52. "Casanova" only gets into trouble when it wants to mean something, and the more pointedly emotional moments seem cooked up to the point of hokum, but it's fun when it wants to be, and most of the time it just wants to be fun.
  53. 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.
  54. Ben and Kate is a sweet, smart new show from Fox that may turn out to be the best new comedy of the fall season.
  55. It's an old-fashioned sort of show, working unapologetically toward wisdom rather than cleverness, attempting to depict its setting as neither romantic nor dismal, the local color rising as much from silence as words.
  56. 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.
  57. The plotting sometimes sacrifices sense in the name of comedy and provides easy targets you won’t particularly mind seeing killed and eaten, but it’s tight and propulsive, and because the action takes place over a short period of time, the series never turns into "Variations on a Theme of Zombie Cannibalism." And the performances are charming.
  58. Like “Peaky Blinders,” Taboo is not easy watching. It requires intense focus to keep track of historical references, multiple characters and the complex storylines of his scheming enemies (or are they the good guys?). ... But it’s worth the effort. ... Hardy gives us such a magnetic central character with Delaney that he alone could carry the drama.
  59. Trial & Error is solid and funny, impressively cast and in no significant sense groundbreaking.
  60. Copper has come to entertain, not to educate, and it discharges that duty well.
  61. The already evident lesson is that a moldy premise need not stand in the way of a good time. [22 Sept 2003, p.E1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  62. The Event seems prepared to make its characters as complex as its storyline, always an event worth attending.
  63. 7 Days in Hell is as strange and splendid a bit of satire as you will ever find jampacked into 42 minutes of television.
  64. All in all, it's a rich work, full of detail and small moments, and grounded in reality by an utterly believable supporting cast partly drawn from the school where the series was shot.
  65. It does get a little pretentious at times, especially during the opening and closing narrations, but its pretensions are very much comic-book pretensions, and therefore allowable in what is, fundamentally, a comic book.
  66. Though the star power doesn’t arrive until the last two episodes, it’s the first half of When We Rise that is riveting. The early years are passionate and filled with urgency, mirroring the excitement and promise of an era still basking in the glow of the optimistic ’60s.
  67. Acting in his first television project, the Oscar winner portrays Madoff as an emotion-free money machine, taking advantage where he can, easily convincing himself that the people he’s bilking are aware of the game he’s playing, making them willing participants in their own downfall.
  68. Better Off Ted is funny, it's just not as funny as it might be, or should be, or, with any luck, will be.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Looks like a fun ride, a crime drama with more laughs than gun battles. [31 Jan 1995]
    • Los Angeles Times
  69. The pilot episode is so cliched, predictable, obvious, devoid of humanity or even human interest that one would actually like to say nothing definitive about it, in the reasonable assumption that next week's would have to be better.
  70. Convincingly mounted and splendidly played, the show packs in a lot without seeming to, moving from one weird scene to another while maintaining a kind of emotional integrity.
  71. As the plot of V progresses, no doubt we will see the subtle strangulation of democracy by fascism--already the press has been corrupted--and that is a story that cannot be told often enough. Especially when it comes, like the V's, in such a fine, fun and attractive package.
  72. Neither the script nor the production is substantial enough to make the story quite stand on its own.
  73. The show is indeed diverting. Nothing surprising, but pretty consistently interesting and as easy to watch as any invented procedural.
  74. It is loud and manipulative and ugly to behold, but it isn't dull.
  75. It’s one thing to put on a show that’s professional and lacking any glaring mistakes; it’s another to do so with visual inventiveness. Zadan, Meron and Leon have raised the bar by figuring out how to do the latter.
  76. O'Loughlin's by-the-book performance is buoyed by a fast-paced script and a splendid supporting cast, including and especially Scott Caan as Danno, that radiates enough hit-making energy to render even Oahu's azure waters and perfect sunsets superfluous.
  77. Costars like Daly, Ivanek and Neuwirth promise great things, but Madam Secretary belongs, obviously, to Leoni, who conjures a gratifying mix of brains and heart, humor and flintiness without, and this is important, any sign of mental illness.
  78. Easy Money (9 p.m. Sunday on the CW) is easily the most intriguing new show of the season, if only because it relies on neither the great wealth, modern science or female bonding for its narrative thrust.
  79. It doesn't matter, finally, what becomes of them, we watch less in suspense than in wonder: wonder at the cheek and gall of these characters; wondering how true any of it is; and wondering, most profitably, at the performances, the least of which are good and the best of which are good fun.
  80. The best thing about Go On is, not surprisingly, Perry.
  81. 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.
  82. The writing is decent, with flashes of sideways wit.
  83. It's an enigma, at the very least uneven.
  84. It is a smart, affable, mostly unpredictable ensemble comedy that reminds us that in the 500-channel universe, fine things can happen in unlikely places, as long as you are clever about budget, commit to a sensible number of episodes--in this case 10--write well and cast right, and that what matters ultimately to heaven is not the eminence of the venue but the quality of the work.
  85. A to Z is the most promising comedy premiering on broadcast networks this fall. That's not saying much — this is not a particularly good year for new comedies — but it's saying something.
  86. Though Baron Cohen is clever and amusing and quick on his feet, his humor boils down to a few endlessly repeated gambits: malapropisms, misunderstandings, and outrageousness in the guise of innocence. [17 July 2004, p.13]
    • Los Angeles Times
  87. Despite a diversionary opening salvo of post-feminist raunch and unfortunate racial stereotyping, 2 Broke Girls is a solid, old-fashioned sitcom about two mismatched girls taking on the big city and makin' their dreams come true.
  88. Some will feel right at home here right away; and some will be in bed by then. For the rest, it's worth investing in a few episodes to get used to the milieu and the music; though the humor stays rough, the show feels sunnier as the company grows more familiar.
  89. James and Lathan are appealing--you could build a decent episodic series around his by-the-book rookie and her hard-as-nails veteran quite easily--and while Shots Fired lumbers as an issue drama, it’s diverting enough as a cop show.
  90. 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.
  91. As is often the case with melodrama, I find Revenge essentially unconvincing and also quite likable.
  92. It feels productively mysterious. The show tells you covertly a lot about the characters, building them up through bits of behavior and stray remarks that can seem contradictory at first but do start to cohere into something more complex.
  93. Fear the Walking Dead takes Los Angeles, and itself, very seriously. So seriously that in the first two episodes it is sometimes difficult not to laugh. At the general cluelessness of the characters, at the intensity of the local "realism," at the heavy-handedness of the Cinematic Symbols of Foreboding (Beware the Bounce House) and the sight of so many fine actors trying to keep their feet in a promising but initially borderline-absurd narrative.
  94. Three episodes in, the story is certainly serpentine, at times self-consciously so. But there does appear to be writerly method in the madness. More important, there is Farmiga, and she, like Norma, appears up to any task.
  95. It's precisely the lack of traditional stage-managed drama that makes early episodes of the show so fascinating.
  96. Canterbury's Law is a Frankenstein's monster of a dozen cop/law shows, a pale, lurching version of the flawed and fascinating women who are taking back television like so many modern Cagneys and Laceys.
  97. Viewers will come to see Deschanel but they'll stay for the whole package because smart writing, confident timing and characters that are both familiar yet surprisingly fresh make New Girl the most promising comedy, and one of the most promising shows, of the season.
  98. Despite some less-than-stellar story lines--Ray's feud with his rich neighbor, his constant referral to how things have changed since his parents' day--Ray comes across as a genuine Everyman. Who just happens to have a certain God-given talent that will allow him to survive.

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