Philadelphia Daily News' Scores

  • TV
For 555 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 3.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 The Wire: Season 4
Lowest review score: 0 Big Shots: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 293
  2. Negative: 0 out of 293
293 tv reviews
  1. The comedy's broad, the characters broader--Chris Parnell plays a control freak of a vice principal, Brooke Burns the former homecoming queen from Becky's year who's just joined the faculty--but there are moments when you can see it turning into something watchable.
  2. I'm thinking most of these kids seem way too old to be headed back to high school from the Hamptons. It's not so much the actors--it is their characters, who've morphed over the summer into people whose world-weariness is palpable and their genuine problems so few that the writers needed to manufacture some truly outlandish ones to keep things interesting.
  3. It might all have been a bit lifeless, had not Sutter, a writer on "The Shield"--which has so far kept its own tragic hero from speaking in blank verse--not cast his wife, Katey Sagal, as Jax's mother, Gemma.
  4. Across the pond, wisecracks, sexual tension and some broad shots at Britain's class system make for a predictable two hours with some pleasant scenery.
  5. Ball's done an entertaining job of turning Harris' stories about life in a small Southern town after vampires "come out of the coffin" into something adults who wouldn't dream of reading her books might be caught dead watching.
  6. I just knew that there seemed to be a Duchovny-shaped hole in the universe "Lost" co-creator J.J. Abrams had designed for his new sci-fi show....Fortunately, things pick up considerably in the second half of tonight's two-hour premiere.
  7. Thank goodness for Danny DeVito, whose total commitment to this insanity often makes the unbelievable just believable enough to be funny.
  8. What's bad for Seattle Grace isn't necessarily bad for Grey's, which needs all the medical drama it can muster to distract its doctors from their (mostly) dreary love lives. Guest stars don't necessarily hurt, either.
  9. Certainly Swayze, as undercover FBI agent Charles Barker, is better than his material. If The Beast, which turns on the relationship between the experienced and not exactly by-the-book Barker and the young agent, Ellis Dove (Fimmel), he's supposed to be training, is more rooted than reality than, say, Fox's "24," it can't be by much.
  10. Parts of tonight's episode and next week's also focus on the Dubois offspring and their own burgeoning psychic abilities, yet another growth opportunity for a show that keeps finding a way to survive in an ever-tougher world.
  11. If you watch the CBS show more for Baker's sunny smile than for the way he always seems to know when people are lying, ABC's Castle might be more your style.
  12. I gradually lost interest during the agents' first case together, which takes them on the road. Here's hoping the assignments get better. Because the warehouse itself is packed to the rafters with (sorry, Syfy) geeky fun.
  13. As Cycle 13 of America's Next Top Model gets under way, some of the stories seem sobbier than ever, though the young women telling them are shorter than usual.
  14. I found the first episode of "Survivors" incredibly depressing and began to think longingly of rewards challenges and hidden immunity idols. But a subsequent episode, though devoid of tribal councils, did provide enough heart and even occasional flashes of humor to make survival - and the continuation of "Survivors" - seem like a fate considerably better than death.
  15. There's very little that's unexpected in Make It, including the obvious editing of the gymnastics performances. But Emily's a tough character who's easy to root for.
  16. It's hard to say from one episode how the transition from movie to series will go, but producers have populated the show's Padua High--yes, the Shakespeare jokes just keep on coming--with interesting enough kids to make 10 Things a more than watchable high school show, anyway.
  17. Strahan's not yet up to his cast mates' level and the writing's uneven in tonight's back-to-back episodes--producers need, for instance, to figure out just how serious Weathers' character's forgetfulness is meant to be--but there are a few great moments.
  18. Nothing very important is happening here, but if you love "24" for its silliness rather than its sometimes muddled message, "Human Target" might just hit the bull's-eye for you.
  19. I've only seen two episodes and while I'm not yet ready to move in with the Bravermans, I'm at least curious to see what they're doing next.
  20. That for those of you who love True Blood for its soapy mix of sex and horror--and occasional flashes of humor--nothing important is missing from the three episodes I've seen of the new season.
  21. As for Scoundrels, it is, like its characters, far from perfect, but probably far better than you expected from a scripted network show in the summer.
  22. AMC's likely earned a little rope with a small but passionate audience. Whether Rubicon manages to establish more than an edgy mood will probably decide how long even the most masochistic of those viewers sticks around.
  23. I might not believe for a moment that any of these people actually exist in nature, much less Pennsylvania, but Big Lake, with its wink and a nod to a format that always required suspension of disbelief, is at least more than willing to own its silliness.
  24. Chase is a very competent action-adventure with a heroine who's so far not as interesting to me as, say, the deputy U.S. marshal Mary McCormack plays on USA's "In Plain Sight." That could change, though, if I gave her a chance, and for adrenaline junkies who appreciate the professionalism Bruckheimer's company brings to just about everything it produces, this is certainly a better way to spend an hour than wishing that guy would stop talking so you could get a better look at Hawaii.
  25. Now it's a talky but straight-ahead ensemble cop show whose cast includes Michael Imperioli ("The Sopranos") and James McDaniel ("NYPD Blue"). Think "Southland" in Detroit.
  26. Maybe there are superheroes who specialize in improving organic-farming methods or eradicating bedbugs, but they probably won't be getting network shows any time soon. Shows that parents might be willing to watch with their kids--and kids with their parents--remain few and far between, so it's too bad that the so far ordinary but at least well-meaning No Ordinary Family is facing off this fall against the phenomenon that is Fox's "Glee."
  27. If Harris, who's clearly meant to steal every scene he's in, seems a little too cool to be hanging out with the brothers from Omega Sigma, whose deficiencies haven't yet been fully cataloged, it's still not nearly as cool as he's going to need to be if he's to lead this slightly tired toga party right into "Conan's" waiting arms.
  28. Not every TV show has to leave you wishing for a Ph.D. in physics and total recall of Philosophy 101, and V, which seems to have embraced the cheesy goodness of the original, strikes me as a bit more fun this season.
  29. Southland, which seems to be at pains to give each of its characters and their stories equal weight, may just be a little too evenhanded for its own good.
  30. The premiere of Mr. Sunshine feels more forced at times than it needs to be, as if the writers mistrusted Perry and company's ability to wring humor from real-life situations and felt compelled instead to send in the clowns--with axes--to get the job done.
  31. Little of this stands up to close scrutiny, but there's a nice twist at the end of the pilot, and it looks as if every episode will begin with a fiendishly clever prison break by someone viewers might actually hope to see caught.
  32. I found myself more drawn to the part of next week's episode where we see Jo with her fellow physics grad students--think "Big Bang Theory" with "American Idol's" Kevin "Chicken Little" Covais--and wondering if a slightly less seductive Georgia (at any weight) might not have a better shot at being the funny girl.
  33. I can't disagree with those who insist the show passed its sell-by date a few years back, but it doesn't mean I'm not still fond enough of these guys to keep watching.
  34. Way over the top but potentially a guilty pleasure for those with the time to pursue it.
  35. Clever but somehow not very absorbing, Person might provoke the paranoid while leaving the generation who's grown up on camera wondering what all the fuss is about.
  36. It doesn't yet feel like just another cop show.
  37. Yes, it sounds insane (you can't have ghosts on CBS who don't help solve crimes) and like many of this season's pilots, it left me wondering how the show's premise could be sustained for more than a few episodes, much less multiple seasons. But it's an awfully pretty pilot.
  38. The show's set in Washington, where the crises that need managing are unending, so there's bound to be material, some of it all too familiar.
  39. Interesting enough to justify six hours? Probably not. But for those who watch "Game of Thrones" and "Spartacus" for the high body counts, it offers plenty of action.
  40. Silly doesn't even begin to describe most of what goes on in the first few episodes....And yet, like an addiction to free-range hemoglobin, there's something undeniably compelling about the characters, human and otherwise, in a series whose plotting grows more twisted every year.
  41. Between their personal history and their decidedly different approaches to running the place, they're dealing with plenty of built-in conflict, but if the show's a hit, I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually united, just as Perry and his fellow "Friends" stars once did, to demand an end to (or at least a dialing back of) the monkey business.
  42. While I'm intrigued, I'd prefer to be carrying something stronger than a candle before I head too far down this particular rabbit hole.
  43. People who like their procedurals with punch--there's plenty of punching, not to mention kicking, in the pilot--might like CBS' period cop show just the way it is. But if I'm going to stay with Vegas, I'm going to need to be wooed a little.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    NBC's Smash returns for its second season Tuesday still a work in progress. But at least there is progress.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    An advisory at the beginning of this thing claims it's "inspired" by actual factual accounts...Snort. [10 Sept 1993, p.56]
  44. The World According to Dick Cheney has some chilling moments, from his dispassionate description of waterboarding ("It creates a sensation of drowning") to his 9/11 narrative, in which he takes responsibility for having authorized the shooting down of Flight 93 if it approached Washington. What it doesn't have is a lot of navel-gazing.
  45. Whether other people's secrets will prove to be as interesting as the intimations of Norman's not-so-sweet future remains to be seen.
  46. As the series goes on and takes a deeper interest in the multitude of characters he's gathered around him, Mr. Selfridge begins to come into focus. Whether you'll find it as engaging as "Downton Abbey" may depend less on any single performance than on how invested you can become in the rise of the modern perfume counter and off-the-rack dresses.
  47. No matter how beautifully the dead bodies are staged--and, like Dr. Lecter's dinners, the corpse presentations in Hannibal could be ripped from old issues of Gourmet magazine, if Gourmet had featured cannibalism--they're still meant to represent once-living people. So, if I'm less amused by this than whoever chose to title those episodes "Aperitif," "Amuse-Bouche," "Potage," "Coquilles" and "Entrée," call me a party pooper. Still, it's a gorgeous party, with hosts that include "Wonderfalls" star Caroline Dhavernas as a colleague of Will's and Laurence Fishburne as Will's boss.
  48. Defiance the TV show may not break new ground in its two-hour premiere Monday, but it does stand on its own as a watchable sci-fi series, with a Wild West vibe mixed with a bit of "Farscape"-meets-"West Side Story.
  49. McKenzie may look like Russell Crowe's younger brother - while playing nearly a decade below his own age - but for all the James Dean comparisons being bandied about, he's a character straight out of Dickens: a little bit Pip, a little bit David Copperfield. [4 Aug 2003, p.28]
  50. I'm reluctant to lose my heart again, much less encourage anyone to follow me down what could be a dead end. And yet I'm intrigued.
  51. Based on the few, non-consecutive episodes I've seen, it does seem willing, though, to pose some hard questions, including whether it's reasonable to expect that the people we pay to lie down with dogs won't ever wake up with fleas. Or worse.
  52. It's hard enough keeping track of the aliens in Falling Skies, but the first few episodes introduce so many new challenges and mysteries it makes my head hurt thinking about them.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It's good, clean and funny. But in their zest to cram in as many pratfalls and bean balls as they can, the producers concentrate on the mishap and almost never on the aftermath. Everything is edited down to tiny bites.
  53. It's hardly groundbreaking, but if you are documentary-challenged, or don't know much about Lee Harvey Oswald (Will Rothhaar) and his Russia-born wife, Marina (Michelle Trachtenberg), you might learn something. Also: Lowe's Kennedy hair is truly amazing.
  54. I don't mind seeing actors like Ed Burns, Milo Ventimiglia and Robert Knepper in nice suits, acting the way bad guys in old movies are supposed to act. I'm even happier to see Jon Bernthal all cleaned up and zombie-free. I just can't quite tell, after two episodes, whether their stories can compete with their setting.
  55. For all their macho posturing, you've got to wonder sometimes whether Leary and Tolan didn't spend their younger days watching soaps. [13 June 2007, p.43]
  56. You don't have to have lived through Watergate to know that it's the cover-up that gets you, but there's much more happening in The Red Road, maybe too much to be contained in a six-hour first season, and some of it more interesting than what's going on between these two men.
  57. I just wish that its 90-minute premiere was a tad more entertaining, because I found a lot to like in two subsequent episodes.
  58. I want to like "30 Rock" more than I do so far, because I've always liked Fey. Yet it could be Fey - the actress, not the writer - I'm having trouble warming to.
  59. Whether you'll want to go the distance with "Big Day" will probably rest on how close you feel to the family.
  60. Much of what's swept up in "Dirt," from gay action stars to sad sitcom actresses, seems more dusty than dirty.
  61. Their efforts to better their lives through grand larceny feel forced, not to mention doomed.
  62. I just couldn't buy in.
  63. I don't want to beat up on Meyers here. He does justice to Hirst's Henry, if not entirely to history's, and being young and good-looking is hardly a crime. But like Tony Soprano, Henry VIII brings more to the table than charisma: Corrupted by absolute power, he's a bit of a monster.
  64. The first hour left me a bit cold, but the second, which arrived yesterday, filled in enough of the blanks to take me as far as Monday.
  65. Like so many current serials, [it] requires viewers to buy into the idea that its heroes have no choice but to do very unobvious things.
  66. In January or February, I might not have found room in my own schedule for a combination murder mystery and teen soap. I certainly would have wondered more about setting a show about adolescents among the ancients of Palm Springs. Now I'm just inclined to appreciate the little things.
  67. In Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, it feels as if he's sometimes forcing himself to emote for the cameras.
  68. There's a distinct "Alias" overtone to her initiation into the dark side of the force. If I'd liked "Alias," this might have me all excited. But I didn't, so I'm not.
  69. Kranz does look like a writer, for what it's worth. But if he's really as good as they say, he'd have written something better than this.
  70. I should probably feel bad, too, about finding all this silliness passably amusing, especially after having trashed its evil stepsister on ABC. But somehow I don't.
  71. I'm ashamed that a wounded Marine, about to be discharged after 15 years in the service, needs help from an entertainment show to find and afford civilian housing for himself and his family.
  72. McCormack, a rangy actress who looks more comfortable in Mary Shannon's tank tops and casual jackets than she ever did in the lawyerly business suits she wore way back on "Murder One," manages to make all this crankiness intermittently endearing.
  73. It probably wasn't their intention, but the producers of The Principal's Office have succeeded in capturing one reality of high school life that's often been overlooked on shows like "Gossip Girl" and "One Tree Hill"--the sheer tedium of it all, from the petty rebellions to the sometimes even pettier responses.
  74. MacLaine, who apparently decided not to bother to attempt a French accent, isn't served well by a script that essentially has her introducing flashbacks.
  75. Truth is, there's not terribly much to dislike about Opportunity Knocks, a kinder, gentler version of Fox's "Moment of Truth" in which families win by having their members answer not unreasonable questions about one another. There's not much to get excited about, either.
  76. It's a subject that was explored more deeply, and even a touch more believably, in BBC America's "Jekyll," a nail-biter of an update in which James Nesbitt inhabited both personalities so completely they barely even looked alike. Slater, by contrast, just seems like a guy in need of a good night's sleep.
  77. Defoe's ambitious bachelor is transformed into an ardent husband and father, whose memories of his previous life are so tinged with romance they include falling rose petals. I kid you not.
  78. Teddy's impulses are undeniably good ones, but tales of African corruption are nothing new and often cited as a cause of viewer fatigue. And though Teddy's expected to range far and wide, it remains to be seen whether The Philanthropist, and its debonair title character, have anything new to do--or say--about the problems he'll encounter.
  79. The good news is that the show's first non-"Grey's" episode is a decided improvement and recaptures the sense of humor that the mothership seemed to lose last season. The bad news is that as a medical show, it's so predictable that anyone who's watched any David E. Kelley show in the past 15 years or so, from "Chicago Hope" to "Boston Legal," will see certain plot points coming a mile (or two) away.
  80. Tone--and we're talking cringe humor here--only takes you so far, and those looking for "Mars"-like subtlety should look elsewhere. But those who miss Veronica and company might want to tune in for the reunions alone.
  81. Cassidys aside, the Ruby pilot, at least, feels more Disney Channel than ABC Family, with a sitcommy pace that doesn't allow for much in the way of plot or character development.
  82. How much you'll actually care about any of them may decide whether you're ready to embrace the new Melrose Place.
  83. So far, though, there's nothing on The Jay Leno Show that's worth losing sleep over.
  84. Gross, who couldn't look (or act) less like Jack Nicholson and is the No. 1 reason you should run out right now and rent the Canadian series "Slings & Arrows," is a happy bit of casting that could add a little zing to this warmed-over dish.
  85. My guess is Fox figures fans of MacFarlane's shows know what they're getting into and may not care if racial parodies are served up by white guys or black ones. Those of us who maybe aren't so comfortable were never welcome in the first place.
  86. For sci-fi fans, the new V, like a Visitor, clothes itself familiarly, with actors from "Lost," "The 4400," "Firefly" and "Smallville," but until we see something we haven't seen before, we should probably go easy on the devotion.
  87. I hated more how little I even giggled at Running Wilde, whose pilot doesn't quite live up to its pedigree.
  88. It's Los Angeles, a city that's all too familiar a location to viewers the world over, and with all due respect to Detective Winters' tired-but-gorgeous brown eyes, there's not nearly enough here to distinguish the transplanted Law & Order from its aged parent or, for that matter, from plenty of other L.A.-based cop shows.
  89. I think Hines' heart is in the right place, but I'm tired of seeing people in need used as entertainment to get help they're actually entitled to as Americans.
  90. Those who still dream of making a killing on "Antiques Roadshow" might conceivably get a kick out of watching a bunch of guys try to outmaneuver one another for the right to take home whatever's behind Door No. 3, but if there's an acquisitive bone in your body, you should probably steer clear, lest you find yourself the subject of yet another cautionary tale on A&E's "Hoarders."
  91. It's lighter than "Heroes," but also less coherent. Still, fans of Summer Glau (you know who you are) probably won't be able to resist.
  92. So what we have here is another show in which pretty, mildly tortured people perform deeds of medical derring-do while trying to figure out how they, and various parts of their individual anatomies, might fit together.
  93. Plopped down in Baltimore, the loose-living adolescents in MTV's seemingly line-for-line version don't actually feel American, no matter what their accents are, and the plots that always struck me as more teen movie than teen reality seem no more realistic than, say, "Gossip Girl."
  94. There being few original ideas in television, execution matters. And though "Couples" fields a good cast, including Kyle Bornheimer ("Worst Week") and Mary Elizabeth Ellis ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"), the two episodes I screened mostly felt forced and formulaic.
  95. This is Mad Love, which takes a good cast--however tired I am of Labine playing the same guy--and forces them to try to make themselves heard over people who seem to think everything they say is hilarious.
  96. If you don't care for Criminal Minds, Whitaker, Garofalo and company probably aren't going to be enough of a reason for you to tune in. Their characters may get to be interesting from time to time, but the crime's always going to be the main focus.
  97. It's a happy mix of childlike wonder and mildly adult humor--too mild for "Two and a Half Men," but maybe too adult for Saturday mornings--that allows Reubens to be timeless and yet topical. But again, only mildly so.