Philadelphia Daily News' Scores

  • TV
For 615 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 2.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Fargo: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Big Shots: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 329
  2. Negative: 0 out of 329
329 tv reviews
  1. 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
  2. It has plenty to say about the things humans are capable of and, like most great series, it rewards the careful viewer.
  3. The best show on television.
    • 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Transparent is either the best new series most people are unlikely to see or the best excuse Amazon can give you for signing up for a month's free trial.
  9. [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.
  10. As always, execution matters. Broadchurch's is practically note-perfect.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. This is extraordinarily ambitious and entertaining television, wherever its pedigree.
  14. TV--or whatever it is we're calling Netflix--doesn't get much better than that.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have so far done a remarkable job adapting a story with even more moving parts than the show's very cool title sequence.
  18. 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.
  19. [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.
  20. Two hours can be a long time for a show that's not heavy on action sequences, but "The Doorway" does eventually take us somewhere.
  21. This new-to-you season of "Friday Night Lights" is more than worth the wait.
  22. 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.
  23. I still don't know where it's headed, but it feels, finally, as if we could be getting somewhere.
  24. [Dunham has] crafted an honest and at least occasionally hilarious show that might even live up to its hype.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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
  29. If you've seen "The Killing," you may think you've already seen some version of the story that filmmaker Jane Campion is telling in the Sundance Channel's new miniseries, Top of the Lake, but I promise you, you haven't.
  30. 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.
  31. I wouldn't want to miss a word.
  32. Without Sam, this might still have been a pretty good film about how modern science works (and sometimes doesn't), and filmmakers Sean and Andrea Nix Fine, who won an Oscar this year for their short film "Inocente," do a fine job of finding the drama in a process that's not always inherently dramatic.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. To be honest, I'm weary of Baltar and his endless visions/hallucinations, as I am of the fleet's wandering as the surviving colonists try, somewhat fitfully, to find their way back to a home planet none of them remembers.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. The second series, as they call it in Britain, shows signs of strain, as creator Julian Fellowes throws one obstacle after another between his sets of star-crossed lovers (some upstairs, some down).
  48. A screwball comedy that's married Fey's responsible and subversive sides and harnessed the power of Alec Baldwin for funny, not fear.
  49. It's even funnier than I remember.
  50. 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.
  51. 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.
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. If you've loved every minute of Downton Abbey up to now, you'll likely still love it this season.
  55. 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.
  56. While it's not always easy to watch Time of Death, which is bound to trigger memories for those who've logged time with the dying, it's a gift to spend time with its highly individual subjects, who resist a one-size-fits-all approach.
  57. The Honorable Woman" doesn't give itself away easily--I was well into the eight episodes before a few things began to be clearer--but Blick uses his other characters so effectively that the wait doesn't seem wasted.
  58. Little Dorrit is the closest TV has to a sure thing: a relatively short-term investment with a satisfyingly large payoff.
  59. 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.
  60. 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.
  61. Accents (and a few updates) aside, this is one exported L&O that plays as if it never left.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. 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.
  67. 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
  68. Usher brings a sweetness to Cam that cuts through some of the cynicism around him. His character's far from perfect, but there are times when he seems a little too good to be true, or at least a little too good to be truly funny.
  69. 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.
  70. Frank Underwood may see himself as a man of action, but the odd explosion of violence notwithstanding, House of Cards is primarily a character study, one that can begin to feel a little stale after prolonged exposure. So maybe it's best to treat it like a box of chocolates. A piece (or three) at a time? Still delicious.
  71. Game of Thrones is a show worth watching based on a book worth reading.
  72. Schilling's Piper, engaged to the supportive Larry (Jason Biggs) and dodging the attentions of her former lover (Laura Prepon) as well as more aggressively amorous inmates, displays a nice comic sense as she encounters one prison Catch-22 after another. The supporting cast is a strong one. But it's Kate Mulgrew, as the inmate who rules the prison kitchen with an cast-iron fist, who steals every scene she's in, and should leave Netflix's streaming subscribers begging for more.
  73. I'm still not sure how much I buy of the overarching conspiracy that will have Sarah on the run from more than one set of bad guys--the action in Orphan Black doesn't leave a lot of time for overthinking these things--but for those up for a serious bioethics discussion, the openings are there.
  74. 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.
  75. While the acting's first rate, it's the mystery that drives Five Days.
  76. 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.
  77. 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.
  78. 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.
  79. Like its characters, Men of a Certain Age isn't perfect, and maybe not everyone who loved "Raymond" is going to love it. But this show about men who are, as TNT puts it, in "the second act of their lives," isn't a bad second act at all for Romano.
  80. 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.
  81. Based on what I've seen so far, we're looking at a killer season.
  82. 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.
  83. 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.
  84. 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?
  85. 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.
  86. It's Always Sunny is still very much It's Always Sunny, which should be good news to its many fans, especially those who may not long, as I do, for just a bit more subtlety now and then. But, hey, it's OK. DeVito and the rest are totally committed to everything they do, no matter how absurd, and more often than not, they manage to sell it.
  87. 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?
  88. 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.
  89. If you're one of the people who've so far managed the suspension of disbelief required to accept that Close's Patty Hewes could yet again find a way to pull protege Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) back into her orbit, Season 4 shouldn't disappoint.
  90. The play's conceit doesn't work particularly well on film and it doesn't help that the performance took place at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater before an unstudent-like audience. But as static as the staging sometimes feels, Fishburne is more animated than he's gotten to be in a while, delivering a performance that's as funny as it appears to be heartfelt.
  91. It says something about how unpatronizingly Last Tango treats its lovers that I wondered more than once during the six-episode first season (another's been ordered in Britain) if these two even belonged together.
  92. Both cinematically broad and heartbreakingly specific, a melding for once of the best that movies and television have to offer.
  93. 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.
  94. 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.
  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. Lange disappears into Big Edie, particularly in her later years, conveying both her frustrations and her sometimes poisonous personality so successfully that you might almost forget how much makeup was required to make her look like that. But for all Barrymore's efforts to do the same with Little Edie, she's a little too obviously making an effort, succeeding best when she's channeling her character's desperation for the world's (and her mother's) approval.
  97. 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.
  98. As odd-couple partners go, they're [Marco Ruiz (Demian Bichir) and Sonya Cross (Diane Kruger) are] wonderfully imperfect. {The] 91-minute pilot is full of surprises, large and small, and sets the scene for a larger story.
  99. It should be enough that it's smart and funny. Which it is, though there's always room for funnier.

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