Philadelphia Daily News' Scores

  • TV
For 747 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 48% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 49% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Murder One: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Big Shots: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 411
  2. Negative: 0 out of 411
411 tv reviews
  1. Creator Tom Rob Smith's story may eventually seem far-fetched (or so I choose to hope), but Whishaw's performance as an emotional drifter who finds a focus only when it might be too late is too good to miss.
  2. 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."
  3. Richard Dreyfuss' [portrayal of Bernie] makes no excuses for the con artist whose decades-long fraud cost his marks billions. It does humanize his family, which knew sadness even before Madoff's big reveal, and features a strong performance by Peter Scolari as Bernie's brother Peter.
  4. The Man in the High Castle has no trouble building and maintaining tension. Honestly, it gave me nightmares. Missing, or at least muted a bit in the four episodes I've seen, though, was the sense I had from the book of how life, and even personality, could be shaped by occupation over time, rendering resistance less and less likely.
  5. The pilot does a deft job of managing expectations for a world we're used to seeing splashed on a larger screen.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Smartly adapted by Melissa Rosenberg, Jessica Jones doesn't require an advanced degree in comics history.
  9. A screwball comedy that's married Fey's responsible and subversive sides and harnessed the power of Alec Baldwin for funny, not fear.
  10. There's so much fun stuff going on in Supergirl, from cameos by Dean Cain ("Lois & Clark") and Helen Slater (1984's "Supergirl"), as Kara's adoptive parents, to the introduction of a sizzling hot James "Don't Call Me Jimmy" Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), that it seems churlish to complain about a subplot that threatens to spoil the fun by making a federal issue out of Supergirl.... Benoist's Kara is a joyful heroine and a tough one.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Accents (and a few updates) aside, this is one exported L&O that plays as if it never left.
  14. Smartly updated.... the new show owes as much to "The Larry Sanders Show" as it does to "The Office" or "30 Rock."
  15. That it's still funny is probably a kind of miracle, the kind you just might not want to miss.
  16. 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.
  17. Love doesn't reach the comic heights of You're the Worst, but it does bring the funny, much of it supplied by Claudia O'Doherty (Trainwreck) as Mickey's put-upon Australian roommate.
  18. 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.
  19. Zissis and Peet pluck the heartstrings as Alex and Tina do the dance of the modern rom-com, often with different partners, but it's Brett and Michelle whose struggles to connect make Togetherness a little too real to be funny.
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. Who cares who runs the law firm? The petty office wars are where it's at.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Tragedy works on Law & Order, and always has.
  32. UnReal is as much a show about the compromises people make to earn a living as it is an insider's guide.
  33. My favorite so far of the fall's two "Mad Men" wannabes and a show with more moving parts than a jumbo jet.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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).
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. Longmire is an entirely respectable alternative for anyone who'd rather not spend Monday morning rehashing the latest outrage on "Mad Men."
  41. 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.
  42. 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
  43. That small towns aren't immune from the same problems that plague big cities isn't an original idea, and having the people living in them face some overwhelming menace isn't new territory for King. But the dome's a little different, and certainly a welcome break from zombie apocalypses.
  44. A mildly gripping pilot involving half-brothers raised on different sides of the tracks in the same small town. I'm not remotely the target demo here - even the parents in this show, who include Moira Kelly, are younger than I - but I kind of liked it. Especially when it made fun of "Dawson's Creek." [23 Sept 2003, p.38]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
  45. As long as "Studio 60" stays backstage, though - while finding something a little more interesting for the genuinely funny D.L. Hughley to do - I'm likely to keep tuning in.
  46. Living in the Material World finds plenty to say, though, particularly in the final two hours, when Olivia Harrison's honesty contributes mightily to Scorsese's portrait of an artist more interesting than some of us may have realized.
  47. People who like their stories wrapped up neatly in 44 minutes or so (yes, I'm looking at you, CBS viewers) may find this one a Bridge too far, but for anyone who likes their cops complicated and their plots twisted, there are worse ways to spend a Saturday night.
  48. Neal still has Peter Burke (Tim DeKay), and the bro-mance between the art thief and his by-the-book FBI handler is still the best reason to watch this show.
  49. It may seem like an "SNL" sketch that's gone on too long, but give it time. The Last Man on Earth could be The One.
  50. Engaging.
  51. The Mentalist is anything but irksome, proving once again that watchable television isn't so much about originality--if something hasn't been done before, there might be a reason--as it is about execution.
  52. This is undeniably an important story, told in a relatively no-nonsense fashion, about a complex set of events that even people who watch PBS' "Frontline" regularly may still be flummoxed by. And it's one we really do need to understand. As boardroom dramas go, "Too Big to Fail" is bigger on intrigue--and backbiting--than "Celebrity Apprentice." And, yes, it's a disaster movie. I just hope you're not expecting special effects. Or a Hollywood ending.
  53. Together Bridges and Martindale pretty much steal the pilot from everyone around them.
  54. I will, however, admit to being surprised by the pilot's ending, something I took as a sign that The Glades might be a fun spot to spend some summer Sundays.
  55. I've seen just enough of "NCIS" to appreciate its appeal, which I suspect lies in casting and character development (combined, of course, with occasional explosions of action). Those elements appear to be part of the DNA for NCIS: Los Angeles.
  56. ABC sticks its neck out a bit further with Life on Mars, a pretty good remake of a remarkable series that also appeared on BBC America
  57. Both provocative and funny. [14 Apr 2003]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
  58. Episodes mines Hollywood absurdities for dependable laughs, it's LeBlanc, playing himself, or more accurately, a character who shares his name and resume, who elevates the seven-episode first season above simple parody as the actor forced down the writers' throats. He might even be the most interesting character in the show.
  59. Hilarity is supposed to ensue, but having had some laugh-out-loud experiences already this season with ABC's "Modern Family" and NBC's own "Community," I may just be less disposed to find even an outrageous parody of NBC's troubles amusing.
  60. Narrated by Charlie (Griffin Gluck), a 12-year-old in a coma (yes, it's very "If I Stay"), Red Band boasts a telegenic young cast that otherwise spends little time lying down.
  61. It's Shahi, whose Kate may be grumpy but who somehow gets to smile more in one episode than she might have in an entire season of "Life," who lights up the screen and makes Legal a keeper.
  62. For anyone who loves science fiction and Moore's brand of allegory, Virtuality could be an intriguing two hours.
  63. I'm not sure how many belly laughs Linney will be able to wring from The Big C, but I can't imagine a more perfect mouthpiece for a woman who's literally dying to be heard.
  64. Is Karen Sisco art? No...Is Karen Sisco the best new show on ABC's schedule, a schedule that includes such gems as "Threat Matrix" and tonight's wince-fest, "It's All Relative"? Unquestionably. [1 Oct 2003, p.37]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
  65. Ben also seems to come from some money, a situation that's bound to create conflict but may also add to the uncomfortable sense that he (and we) are watching bad things happen from a too-safe distance.
  66. Thanks largely to some great singers and the comic delivery of Jane Lynch, packs more entertainment into an hour than some networks manage in an entire night. But sometimes I wonder if the show Fox is selling so hard is the same one Murphy's making.
  67. The winner tonight is "Suburgatory" creator Emily Kapnek's "Pygmalion"-inspired Selfie, whose pairing of Gillan and Cho is also inspired.
  68. In a season crowded with quality dramas that all seem to come from very dark places, ABC's plucky "Ugly Betty" shines as bright as the honking big braces young Betty Suarez wears.
  69. Ben and Kate has great sibling chemistry, a cute kid (Maggie Elizabeth Jones as Kate's daughter, Maggie) and an appealing premise.
  70. The Affair leans heavily on the performances of a strong cast, which includes Philadelphia's John Doman ("The Wire," "Gotham") in a recurring role as Noah's obnoxious father-in-law. I'm not yet entirely sold on the story, but I'm certainly curious.
  71. Mos Def, Colin Hanks and Edward James Olmos play characters with a religious bent in a season that doesn't yet feel as compelling as the one dominated by John Lithgow but allows Dexter to remain the way his fans most want him--alive and killing.
  72. The show's still playing with the balance between work and home, but that's what the time's for. And what's there right now is definitely worth watching.
  73. Peter Krause, who looks as if he's finally going to have at least a little fun for a change as he plays a character immersing himself, however reluctantly, in the world of the ultra-rich and ultra-irresponsible.
  74. While I stopped being a fan some time ago, I can say that at least one of the things that I've always liked about the post-9/11 firefighter dramedy is more in evidence in the three Season 5 episodes I've watched.
  75. Jane is utterly believable as the hapless Ray, who, during the show's first four episodes, lurches from one disaster to another. But his character's a little too weighted down - and, no, not by the equipment you never actually see - to make his leap into male prostitution seem like anything but a plot device forced on him by writers trying a little too hard to make a point.
  76. Marco Ruiz and Sonya Cross' odd-couple pairing often mirrors the relationship between reporters Adriana Mendez (Emily Rios) and Daniel Frye (Matthew Lillard), and I still find all of them interesting, even if I'm a little concerned that their parallel story lines may take The Bridge too far again this season.
  77. As an eccentric genius, Williams is in familiar waters, and he's found a playmate in James Wolk, who's somehow able to keep up with an actor whose streams of consciousness can be Class V rapids. Gellar's playing it straight, but a scene in which she has to sing in front of Kelly Clarkson suggests she's game for anything.
  78. I wouldn't recommend taking every word of "The Tudors" as fact, much less citing it in a term paper, but as historical fiction, it's proven remarkably robust.
  79. There's nothing cutting-edge about Cristela, and there doesn't need to be.
  80. The language is occasionally anachronistic, McShane's bishop is perhaps a bit too Snidely Whiplash to be believable and I'm not sure there's a subtle moment in the entire eight hours, but The Pillars of the Earth is nevertheless the television equivalent of a page-turner: Once I'd stuck the first DVD in my player, I could find time for little else until I'd finished it.
  81. As USA dramas go, Necessary Roughness is about halfway between "In Plain Sight" and "White Collar" on the believability scale, but it's summer and I like Thorne, whose character is feisty and funny and shrill only when shrillness is absolutely justified.
  82. The personal and the policy stuff don't always mesh perfectly, but if adding soap gets a few more people to open their minds, it will be worth it.
  83. At its best, it's a family drama in an unusual setting. And after some tweaking, a more entertaining one.
  84. I generally don't place myself in that crowd [viewers who think there's nothing funnier than an overweight guy with a jock-strap tan line], being more "Elf" than "Old School," but McBride's Powers exudes a Mitch Williams-meets-John Kruk vibe that's hard to resist, and, hey, I laughed more than once.
  85. You might not want to sign on for a summerlong journey right away, but Malkovich's theatrical pirate probably deserves an hour or two hosting this after-dinner cruise before you decide if NBC's gone completely overboard.
  86. Derivative as it is from a distance, Red Oaks often redeems itself in close-ups.
  87. This is a season of politics and principles, of might and martyrdom. If you're here just for the sex, you're likely to be disappointed, unless the trysts of relatively minor characters interest you as much as Henry's.
  88. Yes, it's a CW series, but one that poses enough lifeboat-ethics issues to keep a freshman philosophy class busy for months.
  89. Empire isn't a subtle show, nor does it pretend to be: Characters say things like, "I'm here to get what's mine" and "Music saved my life." But amid all the prime-time soap-opera posturing, there are moments that feel like something more, as Lucious and Cookie catch up, or Jamal and Hakeem collaborate.
  90. Golden Boy works as a decent cop show. But an epic one? Not yet.
  91. You don't need to speak geek to watch Halt and Catch Fire, any more than you need to know corporate law to love "Suits."
  92. At least one aspect of Stef's relationship with her ex (Danny Nucci) seems unlikely, and Lena works at the most beautifully sited school in America, which all the kids happen to attend. But there's heart here, and a message about not throwing away children that belongs on a network that puts "Family" in its title.
  93. Grandfathered" is Stamos at his handsome-but-vulnerable best. Its pilot, a snappy half-hour sprinkled with celebrity cameos and one-liners, isn't groundbreaking television, but it sets the table for a multigenerational rom-com.
  94. Given that the show largely consists of the animated Gervais and Merchant sitting around a table with the notoriously round-headed Pilkington, disabusing him of one oddball notion after another, it's strange that Gervais would've chosen this show to carry his name. But true believers--or fans of "The Life & Times of Tim," whose second-season premiere follows at 9:30--may well have a yabba-dabba-do time.
  95. Once you get past the fact that our three heroines appear to have been chosen with hair-color endorsements in mind - Scott's hair is nearly black, Meyer's is auburn and Skarsten's a blonde - Birds of Prey looks as if it might have possibilities. [9 Oct 2002, p.44]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
  96. Timothy Spall steps onto the screen as one of Dickens' most ambivalent villains in a largely unexceptional version adapted by Sarah Phelps.
  97. The pilot's intriguing and the twentysomething Prescott's a believable enough TV teen (and a twin in real life). It's too soon to say if Finding Carter is the show girls raised on "Gilmore" have been waiting for, but it represents an encouraging departure for the "Teen Mom" network.
  98. I've seen one only episode, so it's hard to say where Powerless is headed. It has a good cast, though, and for all its comic-book trappings, its effort to find some fun in a fickle economy could make it a good fit with its lead-in, NBC's already terrific Superstore.
  99. It feels like a good fit for the franchise.

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