Newark Star-Ledger's Scores

  • TV
For 382 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 The Affair: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 In the Motherhood: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 184
  2. Negative: 0 out of 184
184 tv reviews
  1. "The Larry Sanders Show" is the most painful comedy on TV, and I mean that as a compliment. At its best, this half-hour sitcom, set in and around a Los Angeles-based talk show, achieves a sublime level of cruelty. [13 Mar 1998]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  2. A masterful two-hour finale to an already exceptional program. [21 Oct 2004]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  3. A scream, in the biting Britcom tradition of "Fawlty Towers" and the best depiction of middle management hell since Mike Judge's cult classic "Office Space." [23 Jan 2003]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  4. What Simon is doing with "The Wire" - besides crafting arguably the most realistic cop show ever - is taking the narrative style of books and translating it to television. ... By itself, it raises TV's collective IQ at least a few points. [29 May 2003]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  5. The acting, writing and directing are superb.
  6. The six-episode first season of "The Office" was so dark, so wicked, so brilliant that it was hard to imagine Gervais and Merchant topping themselves. But they have. By slowly chipping away at David's power base, they've made him even more desperate, petulant and bullying. (The less funny David gets, the funnier the show is.) [10 Oct 2003]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  7. The greatest dramatic series in the history of American television. [6 Mar 2005, p.1]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  8. But what's amazing, maybe even revolutionary, about The Corner is this: as its narrative plays out in six laid-back, detail-packed, one-hour installments, you come to see that all the major characters don't belong in this place, in this life. [16 Apr 2000, p.1]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  9. AMC’s "Breaking Bad" [is] still the best drama you’re not watching.
  10. In a season overstuffed with crime dramas, Boomtown is one of the two or three best, alongside CBS' "Without a Trace" and "Robbery Homicide Division." It has complex, compelling characters, a terrific cast of actors and a beautiful feature film look. But it would have all those things even if the stories were told in strict chronological order. [27 Sept 2002, p.53]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  11. If you enjoy seeing wealthy, petty people get their deserved comeuppance, this is the show for you. If you enjoy laughing, this is definitely the show for you - the funniest new comedy of the season by a wide margin...For a show about dumb, unfocused people, Arrested Development is wickedly smart and quick, willing to go anywhere for a good gag. [31 Oct 2003, p.49]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  12. Season six... starts off strong and only gets stronger - profane, offensive, cringe-inducing and hilarious. [5 Sep 2007]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  13. The fifth and final season may be the most overtly farcical, but only because things in this slightly fictionalized Baltimore have become, if you can imagine, worse than ever.
  14. And then, near the end of the premiere, something happened that put a dull ache in the pit of my stomach. I won't spoil it here - henceforth, it'll be referred to as The Bad Thing - but it seemed so tonally wrong, so in violation of everything that made the show and the particular characters involved so great, that I knew - I knew - this had been imposed on the production team by the suits at NBC. [5 Oct 2007, p.55]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  15. This is a smart, exciting thrill ride with a tick-tock momentum that will keep you glued to the edge of your seat. [6 Nov 2001]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  16. "Curb" never presents itself as anything but a cleverly plotted, deliberately offensive comedy. But it's more than a comedy: It's a comedy of manners, or bad manners; delightfully rude, and, in its unreal way, honest. [3 Jan 2004]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  17. "Extras" finally achieves the greatness expected of the Gervais/Merchant team with Season Two.
  18. Treme may lack the obvious narrative engine that the cops vs. drug dealers narrative gave "The Wire," but it's already a smart, engaging, moving and funny series, one that in many ways is more accessible than its predecessor.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The funniest new comedy in several seasons. ... "Malcolm in the Middle" is as fast and strange as any cartoon but occasionally has a depth you can't find without flesh-and-blood actors. [7 Jan 2000]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  19. It's an absurdist comedy about criminal behavior and suburban life that gently mocks its targets while taking its characters and their emotions seriously. [9 Jan 1999, p.23]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  20. The Lost season three finale was no fluke. The show has got its mojo back, and then some.
  21. The hour offers up office intrigue, romantic complications and a classic Don Draper pitch, not to mention the usual brilliant acting from all involved.
  22. Felicity is very clearly targeted at the Clearasil set that worships at the altar of the WB's "Dawson's Creek," but if the show can maintain the charm and poignancy of the pilot, adults may also want to pay homage to television's newest star. [29 Sept 1998, p.47]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  23. NBC's half-hour slice of small-town life isn't perfect right out of the gate; few shows are. But it's so sure-footed and engaging that it would be a pleasure to see how it turns out. [7 Oct 2000, p.43]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  24. There's definitely a joy to this series, no matter how dire things get for its characters.
  25. True Detective keeps you on your toes, and will keep you glued to the screen.
  26. Some episodes and moments have such undeniable dramatic power that you may weep; others may just leave you scratching your head. [9 Sept 2001, p.1]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  27. There’s no performance quite on par with Damian Lewis’s star turn as the quiet, decent company leader in "Band," but the three leads all take advantage of their showcase roles to craft characters that transcend both war movie cliches and the actors’ own mixed backgrounds.
  28. Now that Sutter and company have finished the long and difficult task of fixing what wasn't working, I want to know everything it has to offer--even if some of those things may give me nightmares.
  29. Though I enjoyed NBC’s pilot for Community a little bit more, "Modern Family" has as assured and entertaining a start as you could hope for.
  30. It's the best-looking pilot of the season--maybe the best new show, period--even though it may not look that good in the future.
  31. The phrase "stream-of- consciousness" doesn't do it justice. Geyser-of-consciousness is more like it. What holds it together is the program's unique comic voice. [12 Sep 1997]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  32. Because Dexter's victims are always so evil, we're inclined to root for him, but moments like that--or one in where Dexter admits he doesn't really care about saving innocents, just scratching his itch to kill--gives the show more moral complexity than you would expect, and it's the better for that.
  33. For fans of the original movie, there are a number of callbacks to savor.... We're looking forward plenty of long, cold winters.
  34. Apatow despises formula. If he didn't, "Freaks and Geeks" might still be on the air, and while Undeclared isn't nearly as pessimistic or painful, it's just as observant - and, at times, even funnier...All I know is that re-watching the first few "Undeclared" episodes in preparation for this review gave me my first good, hearty laughs since Sept. 11. By taking the "Freaks and Geeks" formula and making it shorter, sweeter and mostly wince-free, Apatow has created a great new comedy that could become a major hit, even if Steven himself never gets around to picking a major. [25 Sept 2001, p.23]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  35. Chiklis always sells his end of it, and when he has a great actor opposite him, you don't really notice how puzzling the story arcs would get.
  36. Outside of McGee, the new season suggests that Rescue Me has gone as far as it can go as a comedy/drama hybrid. Almost all of the best scenes are the funny ones - or the ones that start dark, then turn funny, like Tommy brainstorming with Mike (Mike Lombardi) on the best way to euthanize his ailing mother.[12 June 2007, p.41]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  37. The premiere episode is riveting--the best pilot I've seen this fall. (That admittedly is not saying much.)
  38. It is slow, and it requires work and careful observation, but when it achieves its breakthroughs, the effects can be as extraordinary and dynamic as any other drama on television.
  39. You have to work to watch this show. Characters and plotlines whiz by in a blur, and if you blink, you may miss an entire subplot. But the payoff is more than worth the effort: With its deep characterizations, dark humor, unpredictable plots and brilliant musical score, "EZ Streets" is fascinating television, unlike almost anything else now on the air. [27 Oct 1996]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  40. At a time when every TV comedy seems content to look and sound like every other TV comedy, any show that tries to break the mold deserves to be applauded. And a show like Sports Night that's snappy, well written, thought-provoking, and sometimes funny and moving at the same time deserves no less than a standing ovation. [22 Sept 1998, p.59]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  41. It's at once a simple, R-rated office comedy about a bunch of people who would have nothing to do with each other if they didn't work together, and a pretty wicked satire of the quest for fame at all costs.
  42. Fey's parts of the premiere are terrific, and next week's episode is an even better--and sillier--showcase for her.
  43. With this cast, and the writing of Fresco and company, I expect Ted season two to again hit the heights of that first season. But these two episodes are a reminder of how hard it is to pull that off.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The documentary finally sags a bit in the final hour, albeit inevitably, as Jones and Timlett detail the making of the group’s final film, "Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life," by which point all six men were quite ready to be done with each other for a while, and then as we briefly glimpse them in their post-Python lives.
  44. The writing is sharp, and laughs are both low (Ehrlich commissions a Latino graffiti artist for a street-cool logo that turns out to be incredibly, hilariously vulgar) and high (in the same episode, Ehrlich's repeated attempts to avoid coming off as racist come off as racist).
  45. By reattaching his misery to 9/11, and by reminding us that everyone around him still shares in the miseries of that day, Rescue Me has lit a new fire under both the man and his show.
  46. A show this whimsical needs a few anchors to avoid floating away altogether. Emerson is one, and the hands-off Ned and Chuck romance is the other.
  47. A relentless, ambitious perpetual motion machine that may go down as the most exciting thriller in TV history. [27 Oct 2002]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  48. The premiere doesn't necessarily have the sort of mythical, spine-tingling moments that the first season provided from time to time, but the acting remains strong (particularly by Chandler and Britton, the First Couple of primetime) and it feels like an episode of Friday Night Lights in a way that very little of season two did.
  49. It has so much going for it on paper -- notably Mary-Louise Parker as a pot-dealing soccer mom -- but the series' creators remain so pleased with themselves that they're rarely as funny as they obviously think they are. [13 Aug 2007]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  50. The CW's Reaper and NBC's "Chuck," the two shows featuring the aforementioned Sam and, um, Chuck, are an unusual pairing in that they're not only both good--with ABC's "Pushing Daisies," they're the best new shows of the season.
  51. Those three performances are so good that they lift up everyone around them, whether it's Combs (best whenever he has Rashad or McDonald to spar with) or John Stamos, surprisingly subtle in what could be a thankless role as the white man who doesn't want the Youngers moving into his neighborhood.
  52. The "Seinfeld" plot doesn't kick off until the season's third episode. The first two, meanwhile, are a reminder of what a brilliant show, and a deep cast of characters, Larry has built ever since he said goodbye to Jerry and company.
  53. Though it rushes a bit through its final episode, Torchwood: Children of Earth is big in a way that very little of TV aspires to anymore. Until we see what kind of late charge "Mad Men" will have when it returns in mid-August, this is the most exciting television of the summer.
  54. Nothing short of a TV miracle: a family show that's sweet, but not too syrupy, bitingly funny, but not mean-spirited and fun for viewers of all ages, without appealing to the blandest common denominator. [5 Oct 2000, p.37]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  55. Toward the end of the second episode, two characters who have no business acting chummy with each other get in the back of a car together and do exactly that. And rather than make me eager to pop in my screener of the third episode (which I did, eventually), it just killed all the buzz I had built up to that point.
  56. The funniest and most romantic new show this fall. [24 Sept 1997, p.31]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  57. The most stylistically innovative comedy to hit American television since HBO's great, barely seen "The Larry Sanders Show" ... It's also the most squirm-inducing look at everyday deceit that I've seen outside of an Albert Brooks or Woody Allen movie. [14 Oct 2000]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  58. The pilot, in which Yost liberally borrows Leonard’s trademark lean dialogue from "Fire in the Hole," has a swagger to it, and also a sly sense of humor....Without Leonard’s writing to directly adapt, the later episodes are a mixed bag.
  59. If the world that Simon, Burns, Wright and company drop us into can be confusing at first (mirroring, as they intended, the confusion that Wright felt at the time), it's a fully-realized one that's both thousands of miles away (literally and figuratively) from the Baltimore of "The Wire" and one that will feel very familiar to anyone who spent a lot of time watching McNulty and Bunk drink at the train tracks.
  60. The sheer amount of cussing is so great that even the unoffended may be too distracted by it to pay attention to anything else in Deadwood. That would be unfortunate, because lurking just behind the wall of profanity is a magnificent, fire-breathing work of art - an amazing meditation on violence, social order and the cruel reality of the Wild West. [21 Mar 2004, p.1]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  61. Whedon tries to blend comedy, horror and action, a very combustible mixture - as evidenced by the wildly uneven "Buffy" movie - but he seems close to perfecting the formula here. [10 Mar 1997, p.31]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  62. With the start of season two, it looks like the expectations might finally meet the reality--or however real a show with aliens and time travel can get.
  63. And as the new season begins, it becomes clear that gags are easier to write in abundance than gag lyrics. The non-melodic portions of the show are still a scream.
  64. The series tells hard, funny truths about marriage and parenting that often escape notice in other stories - truths which suggest that writer-creator-producer Marc Cherry and his collaborators have actually taken the time to understand the people they're satirizing. [2 Oct 2004]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  65. The humor provided by the new setting makes the show a bit more palatable than it was last season, but Nip/Tuck is still Nip/Tuck, for both good and ill.
  66. Whether Tara is herself or someone else (including a new alter), "Tara" works as both a character drama and an absurdist family comedy because the characters are so well-drawn, and because what happened before isn't forgotten as the show moves forward.
  67. Horne and Page have sweet chemistry, but what makes the show work is the cast of eccentrics that Corden and Jones have created around them.
  68. Last year's body count also makes some of this year's deaths feel routine; I spent a good chunk of the early episodes figuring out which characters had lived just a little too long, if you know what I mean.
  69. The first two ABC episodes of Scrubs, premiering back-to-back tomorrow night, more closely resemble the series in its marvelous early seasons, and suggest that Braff's victory lap will be a memorable one.
  70. The performances by the three lead actresses (and by Amanda Seyfried as Paxton and Tripplehorn's eldest daughter) are so strong, and the nuances of life in such a complicated relationship so endlessly fascinating, that I'll suffer through the rest for a few episodes at a time before Bill's unsettling stare or Roman's calm, criminal sense of entitlement chases me off again.
  71. The only real sin of "Joan" so far is the presence of Joe Mantegna as Joan's police chief father. Mantegna, as always, is great, but his presence in what should be a small role apparently freaked out someone at CBS. So Hall tries to give him more to do by devoting a good chunk of each episode to unrelated crime stories - very mediocre ones, at that. [26 Sept 2003, p.57]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  72. I've seen five Archer episodes--and laughed frequently and loudly at all five.
  73. Though there isn't anything appreciably wrong with the third season, it's hard to fight the feeling that maybe Dexter is a concept that has reached its expiration date.
  74. There are moments when John Adams stirs up the passion its author clearly had for the subject -- Adams firing off a rifle in the middle of a battle at sea with a British warship, the first public reading of the Declaration, George Washington (David Morse, in the second-best piece of casting other than Giamatti) whispering his oath of office at his inauguration -- but too often it's just as muddy and dull as its subject was accused of being.
  75. While at times it feels like a bleak HerskoZwick drama--"Fortysomething Going on Fiftysomething"--the stories are leavened with humor, and the chemistry between the leads, and their fine performances.
  76. For the most part, it's an eye-opening look at the business of show, with a lot of Hollywood color throughout. [29 Nov 2001, p.57]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  77. If you can get past the blatant attempts to sell an ABC News production to fans of ABC dramas--prepare yourself for a lot of going-into-commercial cliffhangers where the surgical patients don't seem to be waking up--Hopkins is a rewarding, and often surprising, experience.
  78. I've seen both of tomorrow's episodes, as well as next week's, and I loved every minute. But I'm also a geek who read Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov growing up.
  79. The drama is one of the season's best because it makes you care even when you know something big is coming -- and because it finds pleasant little surprises along the way.
  80. They're flashy and can be briefly shocking or funny or even moving, but the more they go over-the-top, the less impact they have for me.
  81. Twists and rule tweaks will only carry a reality show so far by the time you're into the sixth season. The format itself has to be durable, and the casting has to be sharp--both of which seem to be the case in the early going.
  82. In an ideal world, Katims and Nutter would have taken the best elements from their previous series: the keen insight into teen behavior of "My So-Called Life" and the inventive storytelling of "The X-Files." Unfortunately, Roswell gets it backwards, using both the self-importance of the former and the paper-thin characterization of the latter. [6 Oct 1999, p.73]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  83. Sick, twisted and darkly funny, "Dexter" is easily the best drama in Showtime history.
  84. The jokes are tight, and Anderson, whipsawing between smooth playa and high-pitched dismay, is a very likeable lead. There is is a feel-good resolution, although not quite as sappy (and sappily effective) as those on "Modern Family."
  85. What could be a relentlessly grim procedural (again, "The Killing") is instead a compelling drama that works (so far, at least) on a number of levels: as a mystery, as an idiosyncratic buddy story, and as a textured sociopolitical treatise. But don't let the latter scare you off.
  86. Lucas' interactions with House are far funnier than any previous pairing of House with a recurring guest star. On the minus side, it's a role so aware of its own quirks that Lucas might wind up being a polarizing figure....As for the returning characters, the mix still isn't right.
  87. The show does such an amazing job of evoking a world not that long-gone, and in a way that makes it equal parts alluring and appalling.
  88. If you gave up on either one because they seemed tired or just annoying in their familiarity, now might be a good time to try a return visit.
  89. It’s a bland, interchangeable bunch, with most of them having a single identifiable trait.
  90. Aliens is very much in the vein of previous nerd comedies like "Malcolm in the Middle" and "Freaks and Geeks," though it's not as explosively funny as either one of them.
  91. For one night, this is the best House, and its leading man, have been in a long time.
  92. Smith's work in "The Eleventh Hour" showed us exactly what Moffat saw in that audition...."Eleventh Hour" is also a great build-up for Karen Gillan's immensely likable Amy Pond, who has by far the most interesting, emotionally resonant backstory of the modern companions.
  93. Perhaps recognizing the professional problem, the show's writers return with an episode where the crime has a painful personal connection for Grace. Some of the scenes still drag, but it's stronger than most of the season one episodes.
  94. An earnest, soulful update of the Superman myth. [16 Oct 2001, p.55]
    • Newark Star-Ledger
  95. I have no interest in fashion, little inherent fondness for soap operas, and I'm absolutely not the gender this show is targeting. And based on the two episodes I've seen, I'm going to be watching "Ugly Betty" every week. It's that much fun.
  96. Damages offers two superb performances by old pros Glenn Close and Ted Danson.... One thing it doesn't have: a compelling main character. It's a doughnut show: lots of sweet, satisfying goodness around the edges, nothing in the middle.
  97. The Good Wife is confident and polished, and a much better showcase for Margulies than her last legal drama.
  98. Has a fine, film noirish vibe and an irresistible mystery hook. [25 Sep 2002]
    • Newark Star-Ledger

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