Philadelphia Daily News' Scores

  • TV
For 650 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 50% 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 Broadchurch: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Big Shots: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 350
  2. Negative: 0 out of 350
350 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. All or Nothing at All draws from hours of Sinatra interviews and performances, as well as others' reminiscences, for a piece that's particularly effective in showing the singer as a young striver from New Jersey.
  3. I appreciate its willingness to be life-sized, if not exactly subtle, in a medium that increasingly demands its drama on steroids. And I applaud its rejection of nostalgia as much as I do its avoidance (so far) of serial killers. It's the fetishizing of the visual, not lack of action, that leaves me impatient.
  4. The pilot, posted on Amazon back in February for viewers to vote on, may have relied a bit too heavily on the sex-and-drugs angle. I found the setting intriguing, the characters less so. Subsequent episodes--I've seen seven--got me hooked.
  5. 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.
  6. Both cinematically broad and heartbreakingly specific, a melding for once of the best that movies and television have to offer.
  7. It's the too-bad-not-to-be-true stories Simon's telling about what the people of New Orleans were dealing with long after the waters receded that's kept my blood on simmer for the eight episodes I've seen so far.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Years of Living Dangerously, produced by James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger, does a good job in its premiere of widening the discussion of global warming.
  12. 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.
  13. Enlisted is both very funny and very sweet.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. While the situations are far-fetched, the emotions are real. And Rodriguez, as a young control freak coming to terms with a situation she can't easily control, or dismiss, is terrific.
  17. Given the characters who also turn up looking to sell comics and memorabilia, Smith's original idea--"Pawn Stars" with comics--might have been enough to win him a slot just about anywhere on cable. The podcast just makes it funnier.
  18. Showing people having sex while wired up to machines may have gotten viewers in the door, but it's the characters and the performances that should keep them there.
  19. Baker's adorable, but it's Simmons, as the hilariously confident dad, who makes Henry's a childhood well worth exploring.
  20. I watched the five new episodes NBC sent and couldn't wait to see more.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Along the way, Tom becomes briefly attached to potential ancestors who don't pan out or aren't quite what they first seem--a not unfamiliar experience is frequently rendered funny by just a small dollop of strangeness. Sometimes it's more than a dollop, but Family Tree doesn't dwell so long on any single absurdity to make anyone uncomfortable.
  24. 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.
  25. The writers of Bloodline apparently don't trust us in the deep water yet. But it's worth wading into, anyway.
  26. From its very first scene, Hereafter manages to capture the sense those of us being left behind sometimes get; that the person going already has a foot planted somewhere else. But it also, repeatedly, hones in on the joy that can hit unexpectedly at even the worst moments.
  27. 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.)
  28. I've seen all nine episodes of Luck's first season and I still don't know how to place a bet, much less pick a winner. But when the carousel finally stopped turning, I couldn't wait to buy another ticket.
  29. Forget the kids: I could happily watch Meloni and Harris banter and flirt for a half-hour a week.
  30. This unexpectedly charming, well-cast romantic comedy from Tad Quill ("Scrubs," "Spin City") represents something rare enough on NBC: a half-hour whose appeal might conceivably extend beyond the cable-sized viewership of savagely smart but more insular series like "30 Rock" and "Community."
  31. A strong supporting cast includes Margaret Avery as her sick and often fretful mother, Richard Roundtree as her father and Lisa Vidal as her producer and friend, Kara. But it's Union's commitment to all the craziness in her character's life (including sex in all the wrong places, with all the wrong people) that's likely to make Being Mary Jane my newest guilty pleasure.
  32. Things are lighter and brighter--and frequently funnier--in the Los Angeles of Life.
  33. I have a few quibbles about what happens after [the crash sequence], though I wouldn't think of spoiling it for the less rigid-minded. Let's just say that Abrams has a tendency to take his ideas several steps further than I might find necessary, which could explain why "Alias" lost me less than halfway through its first season. Here's hoping Lost won't wander that far. [22 Sept 2004,p. 38]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
  34. 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.
  35. It's a funny scene [a pair of Canadian drug dealers visiting Detroit sing the praises of the Tim Hortons doughnut chain to a couple of guys from Kentucky who couldn't care less] but it also hurries the plot along and, so, in many ways it feels like a perfect melding of the minds of Detroit's Leonard and the Canadian-born Yost. Which pretty much sums up Justified, too.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. It should be enough that it's smart and funny. Which it is, though there's always room for funnier.
  39. Lies is cynical enough to make "Up in the Air" look like "Once Upon a Time," but it's a stylish, sometimes witty cynicism.
  40. 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.
  41. A very funny political comedy from "Doonesbury" creator Garry Trudeau and journalist Jonathan Alter that could hold its own with HBO's "Veep."
  42. 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.
  43. Silicon Valley, a new comedy about programmers trying to make it big in a world where unimaginable fortune may be only an app away, is both smart and funny.
  44. 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.
  45. It's even funnier than I remember.
  46. 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.
  47. The real fascination of The Americans can be found not in the lies Philip and Elizabeth tell the world, but in those they tell themselves.
  48. 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).
  49. Though the show takes the dancers' work at least as seriously as it takes their relationships, you won't need to know a plié from a pirouette to appreciate the drama, and yes, the touch of class, in Breaking Pointe.
  50. 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.
  51. Both pilots ["Hostages" and The Blacklist] are among broadcast TV's better offerings this fall.
  52. Is Saul funny? Yes, in the way that "Breaking Bad" could be very funny. And it's still Odenkirk, whose face alone is worth a comedy master class. But there's more pathos there than I'd expected, and a backstory that, like Walter White's, asks us to think about how much of one's destiny is predetermined and how much is due to circumstance.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. Little Dorrit is the closest TV has to a sure thing: a relatively short-term investment with a satisfyingly large payoff.
  57. Both pilots [Hostages and "The Blacklist"] are among broadcast TV's better offerings this fall.
  58. 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.
  59. There are few issues in Chicagoland that won't seem drearily familiar to Philadelphians--or the residents of any large American city--but the show, narrated by former Chicago Sun-Times reporter Mark Konkol, is remarkably engaging.
  60. Downsizing to television not only doesn't hurt Steel Magnolias--it may have brought it into better focus.
  61. The show has fun with the "Captain America" mythology--cutting to a radio program in which Peggy hears herself portrayed as a damsel in frequent distress--yet is more accessible to newbies than "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD."
  62. Game of Thrones is a show worth watching based on a book worth reading.
  63. 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.
  64. Overall, Hope feels like a very new take on an old, old story.
  65. The show will skip hours here and there, but the "24" clock will continue to run, and if the first two hours are any indication, the time away has been good for the franchise.
  66. There's nothing generic about the funny (and charming) Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
  67. 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.
  68. 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."
  69. The pilot does a deft job of managing expectations for a world we're used to seeing splashed on a larger screen.
  70. 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.
  71. 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.
  72. A screwball comedy that's married Fey's responsible and subversive sides and harnessed the power of Alec Baldwin for funny, not fear.
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. Accents (and a few updates) aside, this is one exported L&O that plays as if it never left.
  76. That it's still funny is probably a kind of miracle, the kind you just might not want to miss.
  77. Slightly harder-edged than "Amy," but just as estrogen-fueled, the best-timed show of the new season is a combination of the crime-centered procedurals CBS favors and a drama about the kind of family most of us have speculated about at one time or another.
  78. It's too soon to tell if The Event, the latest entry in the networks' race to find the next "Lost," isn't merely the next "FlashForward," since, by the end of an intriguing-enough pilot, you won't know much more than you did coming in (including whether NBC's willing to hang in there long enough for us to get some answers). But the cast is good.
  79. This season, a rebuilding one for several characters, seems to be taking a less sudsy approach, focusing instead on the devilish details of how the system works (and doesn't) that can only make Brotherhood's realpolitik that much more real.
  80. Unless she and her cowboy boots walk on water next week, Dangerous Minds will have a tough time topping itself. [30 Sept 1996, p.45]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
  81. Who cares who runs the law firm? The petty office wars are where it's at.
  82. While I, too, had and continue to have doubts about the experiment--or about any unscripted show that puts minors on camera--I found the first hour of Teach to be surprisingly responsible. Maybe even a little bit educational.
  83. Not everyone's going to like this or other aspects of Sister Jude's story, which essentially does for nuns what the first season did for real estate agents. But it's the kind of cliché meant to appeal to parochial-school survivors of a certain age of which, yes, I'm one. And Murphy another.
  84. Plenty of new challenges await the survivors, led by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), whose performance as a man who's had ruthlessness thrust upon him continues to be a series highlight.
  85. Besides, whatever its antecedents, NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? turns out to be pretty good TV. Even if it's maybe a bit slicker than it needs to be.
  86. The adult cast is superb... but it feels as if the young actor playing Adam (Sean Giambrone) might have been kidnapped from a more conventional TV family.
  87. And though there are a few clunkers along the way... the largely theater-trained cast is as solid as the writing, which only grows stronger in two subsequent episodes.
  88. I don't know that Looking starts out being very good at what it thinks it is, either. But it's intriguing enough to be worth a second or third date before deciding.
  89. But Cane--and, yes, I'd say you're also supposed to think of it as "Cain"--has a darker purpose, and one that might not fit as easily on crime-and punishment-oriented CBS, whose viewers may not all be ready to see Smits as a guy with more than a touch of Tony Soprano. I want to believe, but I'm not there yet.
  90. Tragedy works on Law & Order, and always has.
  91. My favorite so far of the fall's two "Mad Men" wannabes and a show with more moving parts than a jumbo jet.
  92. Though Ethel can't possibly be construed as a tell-all, much less the work of an impartial observer, it's great that someone finally got her to talk at all.
  93. I can't fault the emphasis on some other characters' stories--including Nucky's valet, Eddie Kessler (Anthony Laciura), and nightclub operator Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams)--or the additions of Jeffrey Wright, Ron Livingston and Patricia Arquette to a cast that's already one of the strongest in television.
  94. Yet for all the gentle ridicule heaped on Walters' character in Filth, her Mary is closer to a three-dimensional figure than Whitehouse's nemesis, BBC head Sir Hugh Greene (Hugh Bonneville).
  95. In a season overrun with "Lost" wannabes, "Heroes" zigs where so many zag, keeping the ethnic diversity, the hidden connections between the characters and, of course, the overarching mystery, but infusing them with something that feels entirely fresh and yet whose appeal is as old as comic books.
  96. A world that admits vampires probably can't afford to deny entry to shapeshifters and the other so-far unclassified supernatural types who've made their way to Bon Temps, but there's an awful lot going on in True Blood this season, and not all of it is equally interesting.
  97. Though I took a strong dislike to tonight's patient, Laura--and was more than casually interested in no one but Wednesday's patient, Sophie--I've somehow made it through 23 episodes so far, and found something in each that advances the storyline.
  98. Longmire is an entirely respectable alternative for anyone who'd rather not spend Monday morning rehashing the latest outrage on "Mad Men."
  99. As the season's eight episodes progress, and she's forced to open her life to a bit of outside scrutiny, cracks begin to appear in the facade. And while that's not enough to turn her into a victim--we're not talking Lifetime here--it does gradually transform her into the character Showtime most needs her to be: someone whose company might actually be worth paying for.
  100. But if you watch this one at all - and Fox hasn't increased the odds by waiting so long to introduce it - it'll be for Laurie's fierce and funny exploration of the doctor in House. [16 Nov 2004, p.53]
    • Philadelphia Daily News

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