Philadelphia Daily News' Scores

  • TV
For 732 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 2.5 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 400
  2. Negative: 0 out of 400
400 tv reviews
  1. What I can say is that despite my admiration for an energetic performance by Q (between "Hellcats" and "Nikita," the CW seems determined to show its new stars getting more of a workout than you'll see on, say, "Gossip Girl"), and a lingering fondness for West that goes all the way back to "Once and Again," there was nothing in tonight's episode that made me care enough about any of these characters to spend a single unpaid minute with them.
  2. 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.
  3. For anyone who loves science fiction and Moore's brand of allegory, Virtuality could be an intriguing two hours.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The results are uneven....it's that fierce, maternal determination [of Esther Jenner] that makes this first episode, at least, worth watching.
  7. 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.
  8. Driver's at her funniest in scenes where she and Marcus revel in their oddness, but "About a Boy" left me less sure of who Marcus is: He veers between painful naivete and canny opportunism with alarming speed.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Ben and Kate has great sibling chemistry, a cute kid (Maggie Elizabeth Jones as Kate's daughter, Maggie) and an appealing premise.
  15. Longmire is an entirely respectable alternative for anyone who'd rather not spend Monday morning rehashing the latest outrage on "Mad Men."
  16. 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]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
  17. The first two episodes are so full of clunky explanations that it's impossible to forget for a moment you're watching a TV show.
  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. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. O'Loughlin's American accent has long proved a hindrance, tending to leave him sounding flat and wooden, but he's hardly helped by the writing, which makes even the far more talented Smart sound not so smart, or the plotting, which is dark, and not in a good way.
  23. Even with the mystery in the White House, there's a lot to like about Madam Secretary beyond Leoni's trademark husky voice and dry delivery.
  24. 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.
  25. [Go On] is among the best new comedies of the season.
  26. 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.
  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. Way over the top but potentially a guilty pleasure for those with the time to pursue it.
  29. 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.
  30. You won't have to go far into the 90-minute premiere of Fear to catch sight of a dead-eyed face-chewer, but the first two episodes are more about the gradual realization that there's something going around that no one's really equipped to handle.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. If you didn't like Sorkin's politics before, I doubt you'll be any happier with them this season.... Technology continues to be a bugbear for Sorkin (maybe that's why he was so prescient last season about the NSA stuff?), but stupidity in general seems more evenly distributed this season.
  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. 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.
  37. I nearly wrote off Skins after the first episode. But as it continued--I've now seen three, the first two of which will air back-to-back on Sunday--I found some of the characters, including a dreamy anorexic named Cassie (Hannah Murray), starting to get under my own skin.
  38. 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.
  39. This is not unfunny stuff, but in a week in which a show that's willing to turn a satirical eye on race might have drawn real laughs, Chocolate News feels a bit like a lost opportunity.
  40. 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.
  41. Both provocative and funny. [14 Apr 2003]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
  42. At its best, it's a family drama in an unusual setting. And after some tweaking, a more entertaining one.
  43. Take away the heists (and maybe Smurf's more extreme displays of affection), and you're left with a family whose dysfunctions--greed, drugs, mental illness, and the like--aren't so rare, however much they may endanger the species.
  44. What Mom lacks in bite, it makes up for in balance, with a dependable number of laughs and a strong ensemble that includes French Stewart and Nathan Corddry.
  45. 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.
  46. Enlisted is both very funny and very sweet.
  47. The River makes effective use of the idea that sometimes it's the things you can't see so clearly--or at all--that are the scariest.
  48. Frankly, it's a dispiriting season and I won't miss the show nearly as much as I'll miss Blake Ritson's charming turn as Sir Hallam's royal friend, the Duke of Kent.
  49. This visually arresting thriller suggests that Gero is not easily pigeonholed.
  50. The show males good use of Johnson's winning smile.... Overall, though, its view of life after football is more sad than funny.
  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. 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.
  53. Easily the most sexually frank show of the four, it's also the funniest.
  54. It doesn't yet feel like just another cop show.
  55. Aided by her 13-year-old neighbor, Maria (Yasmin Paige), Sarah Jane faces down baddies every bit as big as those "Torchwood" takes on, but with (a lot) fewer sexual overtones. Could be just what The Doctor ordered.
  56. 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.
  57. 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."
  58. Forget the kids: I could happily watch Meloni and Harris banter and flirt for a half-hour a week.
  59. 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.
  60. Grim it sounds and grim it is, but in choosing to focus on the kind of survival stories that no one signs up for but that to some extent eventually shape us all, it can be unexpectedly eloquent about love and loss.
  61. Even with Barrett and Spencer's characters there to remind us that the good old days weren't good for everyone, and the hint of some overarching conspiracy, there's a romance to Timeless that so far makes it worth the trip.
  62. The Closer may be moving on, but she's left the franchise in good hands.
  63. This is more soap opera than satire, an intermittently entertaining but not exactly subtle look at the private and public lives of one extremely colorful family.
  64. 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.
  65. 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
  66. I bought into Ekman's ideas so immediately that I found myself looking at my watch as Lightman and company tried to persuade others. In the TV critic business, this is known as Not a Good Sign.
  67. No, it's not as unpredictable as "Mad Men," but at least it packs enough of a punch to keep the conspiracy theorists at bay.
  68. Their efforts to better their lives through grand larceny feel forced, not to mention doomed.
  69. "Sunny" simply isn't funny enough often enough to justify its rather labored envelope-pushing. [4 Aug 2005]
    • Philadelphia Daily News
  70. The pilot's a little slow. But a few episodes in, I found I wasn't bored a bit.
  71. This is a cast that for the most part has experienced good, even great, writing in the past, and while I'm not saying Martin's pilot is laugh-free, it's a sight closer to her deservedly short-lived ABC sitcom "Hot Properties" than it is to "Frasier."
  72. 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.
  73. 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.
  74. But it's Perabo, as an endearing overachiever who thinks on her well-shod feet, who makes Covert Affairs such an entertaining ride.
  75. A pilot that was better than it sounded on paper (though I'm not sure there isn't more funny chemistry between Marcia Gay Harden--who plays Wife No. 1--and Akerman than there is between Whitford and Akerman).
  76. 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.
  77. 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.
  78. 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.
  79. Both pilots [Hostages and "The Blacklist"] are among broadcast TV's better offerings this fall.
  80. It may not be an original setup, but the cast is good and the writing's better than you might expect from a former "Friends" writer who went on to produce "Joey."
  81. It's a finish [several seemingly disjointed stories are brought together by the end of the episode] more sitcommy than the show seems to call for, but one not weak enough to upset the balance of funny and heartfelt that made me want to see a bit more, even if it was just for the pleasure of this company.
  82. 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.
  83. 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.
  84. In Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, it feels as if he's sometimes forcing himself to emote for the cameras.
  85. For all its numbers wizardry, the overmanipulative Touch doesn't yet add up.
  86. Lighter than "Alias" but not nearly as much fun as "Chuck," it's serving up a couple who are maybe a little too good to be true, whether they're freeing a fellow spy or heating things up in the bedroom.
  87. I wouldn't say Lilyhammer is worth signing up for Netflix to see, but if you're already paying for it and you like Van Zandt--and Norwegian knits--it's certainly worth a look.
  88. It's at its best--if not necessarily its funniest--when Em and Doll are struggling to find a balance between their childhood selves and the more demanding adults they've become.
  89. 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.
  90. Lies is cynical enough to make "Up in the Air" look like "Once Upon a Time," but it's a stylish, sometimes witty cynicism.
  91. Golden Boy works as a decent cop show. But an epic one? Not yet.
  92. Yes, it's a CW series, but one that poses enough lifeboat-ethics issues to keep a freshman philosophy class busy for months.
  93. 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.
  94. [Casey Wilson and Ken] Marino have established a nice chemistry by the end of the pilot, which gives me hope for a show whose premise appeared limiting.
  95. An entertaining romp with strong performances, it seems a good fit for Lifetime.
  96. 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.
  97. McGinley is delightfully obnoxious, and the young lovers are quite sweet, but it's the undercurrent of resentment flowing in two directions that raises Ground Floor, if not to TV comedy's penthouse, at least to its second floor.
  98. Crisis takes kids in jeopardy, class conflict and adolescent (and national) insecurity and stirs them into a surprisingly effective thriller.
  99. New Amsterdam's pilot, directed by Lasse Hallstrom, who's also one of the show's executive producers, is as well-executed as any I've seen this season.
  100. Like Durant's ideal route, the five episodes I've seen of Hell on Wheels tend to meander a bit.

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