Philadelphia Daily News' Scores

  • TV
For 595 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 46% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 51% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Rectify: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Big Shots: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 315
  2. Negative: 0 out of 315
315 tv reviews
  1. The best show on television.
  2. Boardwalk Empire has been the glittering light at the end of HBO's tunnel for so long now that you might wonder if it--or any other show--could possibly live up to the hype. Amazingly, it does.
  3. It has plenty to say about the things humans are capable of and, like most great series, it rewards the careful viewer.
  4. There's not a bad performance to be had in Rectify, which even features Hal Holbrook as Holden's former lawyer. But it's Young, whose character veers from a deceptive lethargy to moments of dry humor, who carries every scene he's in as he finds ways to allow us glimpses of the man still imprisoned behind the mask.
  5. As always, execution matters. Broadchurch's is practically note-perfect.
  6. Masters of Sex, a biographical drama about sex researchers William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) that makes science sexy.... Sheen and Caplan are beautifully mismatched as the central figures in a story adapted from Thomas Maier's 2009 biography.
  7. Let's get this out of the way. Last fall's best new drama and this fall's best new drama have one thing in common: a 15-year-old girl. [18 Sept 1995, p.43]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
  8. Game of Thrones continues to tease out the most meaningful stories from George R.R. Martin's still unfinished fantasy series, "A Song of Ice and Fire," straying where necessary to highlight a possibly neglected character or perhaps just to produce something slightly less depressing.
  9. This Fargo, built to last for 10 [hours], allows the drifting menace of Thornton's character to take us for a much twistier slay ride.
  10. TV--or whatever it is we're calling Netflix--doesn't get much better than that.
  11. I wouldn't want to miss a word.
  12. While I'm thrilled to have something as deep and juicy as The Wire back after so long a break between seasons, I'm afraid that the show's very best years may be behind it.
  13. The Shield, which, based on the three I've seen so far, looks to be going out the way it came in: fast and furious, bloody but unbowed.
  14. This new-to-you season of "Friday Night Lights" is more than worth the wait.
  15. Matthew Weiner's stylish soap opera continues to be both stylish and sudsy in about equal parts, and, as always, I'd be happy to spend most of my time at the office with Don, learning the secrets of advertising and ignoring his mess of a personal life, if not for Don's precocious daughter, the inimitable Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka).
  16. Personally, I have even less interest in boxing than I do in those other worlds, so when I say I swallowed most of the 13-episode first season of FX's new boxing drama, Lights Out in a couple of marathon gulps, it's saying something.
  17. It remains, stubbornly and triumphantly, what it was: an unhurried exploration of the aftermath of a city's catastrophe, told through the experiences of those who didn't have the luxury of shutting off CNN when they'd had enough. And all set to some extraordinary music.
  18. Prohibition is barely more than a gulp next to Burns benders like "Baseball" and "Jazz," but it packs a punch, both as a cautionary tale and as entertainment.
  19. They're fully realized characters, not freakishly talented pawns, and their stories--and choices--reflect a real-life awareness I only wish "Glee" could muster.
  20. It's no mean feat, either, to follow three highly entertaining reinventions of stories involving one of literature's most adapted characters with three more even better than the first. But it must not be impossible, because Sherlock has done it.
  21. As cool as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" but with less other-worldly problems - date rape, a missing mother and a murder mystery among them - Veronica's navigating the tricky waters of a town full of secrets, on a network that until this season wasn't known for creating shows this good. [22 Sept 2004, p.38]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This show is so deliciously perverse that washing up afterward just seems the natural thing to do. [6 Apr 1990, p.75]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
  22. This is extraordinarily ambitious and entertaining television, wherever its pedigree.
  23. A haunting, beautifully executed French series, whose horror reveals itself so gradually that it may be Thanksgiving before you fully understand why what feels at times like a wonderful dream is premiering on Halloween.
  24. McConaughey and Harrelson are terrific together and intriguing apart, and whatever went on or is going on between them, and in the sadly complicated community they serve, is more interesting than the murder mystery that's meant to drive the story.
  25. [Phillips says] "Money, guns, America's going to get you whatever you need." And so--at least for those who prize artful ambiguity over dull certainty--should The Americans.
  26. Though the supporting cast members are all good (Parsons particularly so) it's Kramer's fury, channeled through Ruffalo's manic energy as the writer's alter-ego Ned Weeks, that keeps The Normal Heart beating and preserves a horrific bit of all too recent history not in amber, but in anger.
  27. There's mystery, because the murder case is unresolved, but the drama lies in discovering what prison has made of Daniel and in seeing how he and those around him deal with the walls that still keep them apart.
  28. Both cinematically broad and heartbreakingly specific, a melding for once of the best that movies and television have to offer.
  29. If you can make the time in a season where most programmers think we're all too busy shopping to be watching anything heavier than "Miracle on 34th Street" (the Natalie Wood version, of course), then "Sleeper Cell" delivers.
  30. As taut and twisted a mystery as anything you'll find on television this summer.
  31. Grammer and Heaton slip easily into characters who won't be easily mistaken for Frasier Crane or Debra Barone, the writing's professional, the supporting cast dependable (and in the case of Fred Willard, another "Raymond" veteran, dependably hilarious).
  32. Geek TV is really the stories of people who've had greatness, not geekiness, thrust upon them, mostly in the form of unrequested superpowers. It should probably disturb me, but somehow doesn't, that the best of these, the CW's Reaper.
  33. This season, having already offered up Lindsay's perhaps too-facile explanation for what makes Dexter tick, the writers seem to be digging deeper into Butcher Boy's psyche, even as his colleagues find themselves digging deeper into his after-hours work. And as his pretend life becomes more challenging, it can't help but become more real.
  34. While the acting's first rate, it's the mystery that drives Five Days.
  35. In a sign that Runway's producers now know where the show's strength lies, the designers' first-episode challenge doesn't, for once, center on materials scooped up at the supermarket or home center but on actual fabric.
  36. I was kind of jazzed by the estrogen-fueled drama of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which, when you set aside the robots from the future, is really just a story about a woman (Lena Headey) trying to protect her only son (Thomas Dekker).
  37. I still don't know where it's headed, but it feels, finally, as if we could be getting somewhere.
  38. From the three episodes I've seen, I'd say that even after all this time, Jericho still has something to say.
  39. Margulies, who appears to have buried Nurse Hathaway - and her scrubs--for good, is a crackling presence in the courtroom and just about everywhere else.
  40. Things are lighter and brighter--and frequently funnier--in the Los Angeles of Life.
  41. I suspect anyone who's ever called a "help" desk seeking actual help, only to be asked, "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" won't need a translator to laugh themselves silly over The IT Crowd.
  42. One of television's best shows has been the exclusive province of DirecTV's 101 Network for months now, but finally "Friday Night Lights" is returning to NBC, with a third season that feels more like the first. In other words, no homicides, accidental or otherwise, just the very real human drama of life in a Texas town where football touches nearly everyone's lives.
  43. If you managed to miss all nine episodes of last season's best new show, worry not. The first three minutes or so should catch you up nicely.
  44. A sassy, slightly raunchy comedy about a serial dater who's told by a fortune teller that if she marries, it will be within a year--to a guy she's already met.
  45. A screwball comedy that's married Fey's responsible and subversive sides and harnessed the power of Alec Baldwin for funny, not fear.
  46. There are a few occasions when Clinton, a politician used to rolling right over interviewers to get his message out, finds himself speaking at the same time as Costello, but it's only noticeable because the host is for the most part the most self-effacing of interviewers.
  47. Cody's gift is for characters who do and say the unexpected while remaining real, but without Colette, it's easy to imagine Tara as a train wreck, or, worse, an acting exercise. Somehow she imbues Tara's alternate personalities--known as the "alters"--with enough substance to make them interesting, without making them so real that we forget they're a manifestation of an illness.
  48. The decision to create a Season 6 exit strategy for Lost may turn out to be one of the best things ever to happen to a TV series, restoring a sense of purpose for the show, which had been treading water.
  49. Dollhouse is less about the ninja kicks and witty banter than it is about instant transformations, and about making the audience care about a character who's likely to behave differently every time we see her. That Dushku mostly pulls this off is a happy surprise, as is Dollhouse, which has survived "Firefly"-like trials of its own to get this far.
  50. Having gobbled down all six episodes at a time when I should have been watching More Important Shows, I'm forced to confess that I was hooked.
  51. A drama on the order of "The Sopranos" or "The Shield," it's not about things--and people--getting better so much as it is about the struggle for survival. And like "Weeds," it's a show that might, if anything, have a little too much to say about the times in which we live.
  52. Alex's gender guarantees that her dynamic with the boss will be a bit different, and it's Glenister, whose Hunt continues to leave Harvey Keitel's in the dust, who's still the best reason to climb into this particular time machine.
  53. Cozy at times as any English village mystery, Smith's stories, like the snakes he often includes, have a way of striking when one least expects.
  54. The patients, too, are easier to take. With no one in sight that Paul's likely to get mushy over--the way he did so disastrously with Laura (Melissa George) last season--we're free to admire Mahoney's artistry as a CEO with panic attacks or to root for young Oliver, whose parents need therapy more than he does.
  55. What freshness exists in Sunday's premiere is largely due to Elliott, who's playing a character whose head(s) and heart(s) aren't yet fully synchronized.
  56. It's five nights of stimulating and ultimately disturbing television, and I'd like nothing better than to have more people to talk with about it.
  57. Between "Twilight," HBO's "True Blood" and the WB's upcoming "Vampire Diaries," I'd begun to feel overwhelmed by the undead. Then along came BBC America's Being Human to change my mind.
  58. It's vintage Larry - bad behavior that only gets worse as the half-hour goes on - and it begins to set the stage for the season's main event, the "Seinfeld" reunion that may or may not bring about another even more important one.
  59. House is too often dismissed as a formulaic show, as if formula were always a bad thing. It breaks its boundaries often enough, and though tonight's episode--appropriately titled "Broken"--would seem to be a prime example of that, half the fun is seeing the formula applied to strangers, in a very strange land.
  60. Based on what I've seen so far, we're looking at a killer season.
  61. I watched the five new episodes NBC sent and couldn't wait to see more.
  62. Obvious or not, I watched most of the 10 episodes without the scene-setters and was occasionally lost. But if the battles aren't always distinctive, the characters are.
  63. Creator Diablo Cody ("Juno"), in writing a family that's been living for a long time with a skewed idea of normal, shows how resilient people can find the funny in situations that to outsiders might seem tragic.
  64. Though Moffat's written some scary stuff for The Doctor before this, Saturday's season premiere feels like a fresh start.
  65. Personally, I've had about enough of vamps, even the moody Mitchell, but George can be a sweetie and Annie's irresistible, especially when she's making tea that she can't drink for dozens of people who never stop by. If you're already home on a Saturday night, why not spend time with a girl who probably needs to get out even more than you do?
  66. Better Off Ted may be a little too right for comfort about the work many of us do and the lives we live. But it's also funny.
  67. Little Dorrit is the closest TV has to a sure thing: a relatively short-term investment with a satisfyingly large payoff.
  68. Falco's simply magnificent in a role that exploits a certain no-nonsense quality she's always brought to even the nonsensical aspects of her characters.
  69. For a good three days afterward, I was tempted to introduce one of the pilot's best lines into casual conversation--no, I won't spoil it for you, but it involves sharks--yet I wondered if it might not just be a fluke. But I saw the second episode of Community yesterday, and the same thing happened.
  70. ABC is taking it one step at a time as it uses its biggest hit, "Dancing with the Stars," to give three of those shows a fighting chance. At least one of them actually deserves it. That would be Modern Family.
  71. She's a genuine character in her own right and The Middle worth checking out as the lead-in to the season's best new comedy, ABC's "Modern Family."
  72. It's a formula that's worked so far, and if you've already loved shows like "Psych" and "Burn Notice" and "Royal Pains," why shouldn't you love White Collar?
  73. It's even funnier than I remember.
  74. Certainly there's nothing fussy about the almost instantly endearing Treme, which matches some of the best actors working today with characters worth the hustle you'll need to catch up with their interwoven stories.
  75. I watched all of Season 1 and have seen eight episodes of Season 2, and beyond noticing that she's good at her job and not so good at her life, I still haven't figured out Jackie Peyton. Which is the way I like it.
  76. Together [Whitford and Hanks], well, they're just silly and in a way that made me feel a lot happier than anything on "24" has made me feel in a long, long time
  77. Huge is the latest addition to ABC Family's collection of shows targeted to tween and teen girls. Based on the two episodes I've seen so far, it's also one of the best, full of believable characters.
  78. But it's Perabo, as an endearing overachiever who thinks on her well-shod feet, who makes Covert Affairs such an entertaining ride.
  79. Logue and Raymond-James have enough chemistry that I might have been content to wander behind them, at least for a while, as they poked their noses into one small and ill-conceived job after another.
  80. Less cheesy than "Dallas" or "Dynasty," Lone Star is a prime-time soap for a post-Madoff, post-Enron era and an audience that might root for a charming liar who'd like nothing more than to make everyone happy.
  81. Overall, Hope feels like a very new take on an old, old story.
  82. The Defenders, based on a documentary about a pair of hotshot Las Vegas lawyers, is easily the best thing to happen to Jim Belushi since "According to Jim" was canceled and people like me had to stop using him as a punchline....[And] They're not the only fun characters.
  83. I have to put in a good word for Fox's excellent Fringe, which returns with a strong episode tonight that helps demonstrate why Anna Torv was cast in the first place.
  84. Yes, it's worth asking how long this dance can go on, given that yet another cop is beginning to sniff around Dexter's affairs, but as long as the character keeps growing and changing, I'm content to see him practice his grisly hobby a while longer.
  85. Accents (and a few updates) aside, this is one exported L&O that plays as if it never left.
  86. Purists may scoff, but I'm more than a little enchanted by Sherlock, and by a cast that includes Rupert Graves as Detective Inspector Lestrade; Una Stubbs as Mrs. Hudson, Holmes and Watson's landlady; and Zoe Telford as Watson's love interest, Sarah.
  87. In Showtime's seemingly unwatered-down version, William H. Macy plays the drunken dad, Frank Gallagher, convincingly enough that you can almost smell the alcohol (along with less-pleasant scents) seeping from every pore. (Other highlights include Joan Cusack as an agoraphobic homemaker whose life's about to change and Emmy Rossum as Fiona, the oldest of Frank's daughters.)
  88. It's quibbling to say that it feels at times as if Downton Abbey had been custom-designed for those of us for whom period romance is mother's milk, studded as it is with plucky heroines, accidental heirs and scheming dowagers, with just enough history thrown in to make the melodrama seem highbrow. It's not, really, though. It's simply delicious fun.
  89. What Code is is a show that's not afraid to be just a little bigger than life, if only to guarantee that after a long day in the real world, those of us who like our TV cops at least as interesting as our TV criminals will want to come along for the ride.
  90. Is Veda what happens when we shelter children from economic realities? Is she a bitch because her father left? Or simply a bad seed? That we never really find out didn't ruin Mildred Pierce for me. The story, after all, isn't called "Veda Pierce," and what remains is a surprising amount of fun, given that we're talking divorce, Depression and dysfunction.
  91. Writer-director Neil Jordan's first foray into series TV is everything you'd want in a premium-cable costume drama: lush, romantic, violent, tragic, funny--and far enough in the past that few of us are likely to argue.
  92. The best reason for tuning in to The Killing is that it might re-sensitize those who've seen one too many episodes of "Criminal Minds"--or overdosed on local news.
  93. Game of Thrones is a show worth watching based on a book worth reading.
  94. Why else would someone who grew up in the spotlight submit to an examination of his most private relationships and feelings if not to try to win strangers' hearts and minds?--but it's not nearly as interesting as the adjustments occurring to and around Chaz himself.
  95. I'll just say that the three-episode run of Zen, based on a series of mysteries by Michael Dibdin about a Venice-born, Rome-based cop named Aurelio Zen--you thought maybe he was a Buddhist?--was absorbing enough that I'm planning to check out the books next.
  96. A lot of the rest may feel like a rehash to women (and men) of a certain age, but for anyone not old enough to remember a time when network anchors, all male, felt free to make fun of the fledgling women's movement on the evening news, Gloria might yet have something to say.
  97. [There's] a level of ambiguity executive producers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa might not have gotten away with when they were writing for Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer on "24," but it's part of what makes Homeland, adapted from an Israeli series created by Gideon Raff, one of the season's most intriguing dramas.
  98. [A case] that's gradually revealed to be more and more horrific. The only thing that makes watching this story unfold even slightly bearable are West and Watson's performances.
  99. Lies is cynical enough to make "Up in the Air" look like "Once Upon a Time," but it's a stylish, sometimes witty cynicism.

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