Philadelphia Inquirer's Scores

For 565 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 46% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 The Larry Sanders Show: Season 4
Lowest review score: 0 Inconceivable: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 300
  2. Negative: 0 out of 300
300 tv reviews
  1. It's a deeply moving, unforgettable experience.
  2. Rescue Me burns with authenticity, rising from the newly cluttered landscape of summer TV programming to become the No. 1 must-see. [21 July 2004, p.F01]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The first new drama series ever produced by Home Box Office, Oz, is a powerhouse. It will probably push the quality standards for television drama as far as HBO's masterful Larry Sanders Show has expanded the parameters of TV comedy series. [9 July 1997, p.C01]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  3. Among the most stimulating and entertaining series of the last 10 years and far and away the best new network show of the 1992-93 season.
  4. The [first episode], along with two other episodes sent to critics, dispels any of last year's feeling that The Sopranos was losing a little steam. They demonstrate a constant ability to surprise. [4 Mar 2001]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  5. In so many ways, it's as good as television gets.
  6. The Pacific groans with technically preposterous battle scenes, but it is the minute behavior of ordinary men both in and after those extraordinary circumstances that takes your breath away and helps put The Pacific in a class of its own among war movies.
  7. The best new TV show of the 2006-07 season.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Home Box Office has telecast several of the most scintillating series of this decade, notably The Larry Sanders Show, Oz, Arli$$, and Sex and the City. You can safely add The Sopranos to that glittering gallery. [10 Jan 1999, p.F01]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  8. Foul-mouthed, violent and potentially depressing with its unvarnished characters, The Shield also shocks your heart with pounding action and tickles your brain by presenting a cops-and-robbers world where almost everyone is at least morally ambiguous, at worst corrupt. [12 Mar 2002]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  9. Where The Comedians feels forced, Louie is at once more natural and more surreal--and one of the best comedies on television.
  10. Masterfully written by Chibnall and brilliantly executed by a superb ensemble cast.
  11. Sherlock strikes a perfect--and delicious--balance among comedy, pathos, murder, and mystery.
  12. It's no lie to say you don't get this sort of stylish and challenging stuff very frequently on TV, adult subject matter treated maturely in a series that makes you squirm and think.
  13. One of the best comedies in years.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The sharpness of the writing and the crispness of the acting demonstrate that cable's best situation comedy has lost none of its bite as it begins its fourth season. [19 Jul 1995]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  14. TV's best sitcom. [3 Jan 2004]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  15. The best that the new season has to offer, an elegantly written, splendidly acted, spiritual and moving family drama. [25 Sept 2003, p.D01]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Larry Sanders Show is brilliantly back, perhaps better than ever. [13 Nov 1996]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  16. Boston Med operates at the edges of real life in a way scripted shows can only approach. It is the single must-see broadcast-TV show of the summer.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Sanders' return is a reminder that Seinfeld is not alone as a significant achievement and advancement in contemporary television humor. [13 Mar 1998]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  17. A wonderfully complex drama, with plenty of sly humor, that showcases slick performances from its two stars, and magically straddles the parallel universes of film noir and high school high jinks, while generously tossing out amusing asides. [22 Sept 2004, p.D1]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  18. The perfect marriage of television and literature.
  19. With the tormented Luther, it's sometimes tough even to identify who is the cat and who is the mouse. Writing and acting come together to produce characters, more than stories, who are powerful, surprising, ambiguous, and all that other stuff.
  20. Murder One is, hands down, the season's best new series. Others may be scarier or funnier, but tonight's pilot demonstrates that Murder One is an intense expression of television art.
  21. [A] brilliant, layered cops-and-robbers series -- the best since NYPD Blue. [27 Oct 1996]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  22. The sumptuous two-hour opener to Season 6 is a remarkable piece of work--beautiful, provocative, and deep. It's an unexpectedly exquisite distillation of the show's themes and aspirations.
  23. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, whose pilot is the first feature-length film made in Botswana--a movie that starts off one of the most glowingly original, kindhearted, and genuinely engaging TV series of this fading decade.
  24. The best sitcom this year, and one of the best in a lot of years.
  25. The monumental production is worth bragging about.
  26. Brilliantly written, with stunning performances, this will be Luther's final year on TV.
  27. It's trying too hard, a rare and forgivable occurrence on TV. Still, the characters are crackerjack, the dialogue frequently poetic. [10 Oct 2000, p.E01]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It takes about 20 minutes for Lynch's TV debut, an eight-episode series, to wrap you in its clutches. After that, it's as easy to watch as a good Murder, She Wrote, but 100 times more interesting. By the end, you'll feel you know a lot less than you did at the beginning.
  28. The sweetest, funniest and most original family sitcom that has come to TV in a long time. [6 Jan 2000]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  29. The song and dance spills over everywhere, even onto the football field, in this season's best new TV show, Glee.
  30. The best traditional sitcom to arrive on the tube since "Everybody Loves Raymond." Perfectly cast, sharply written. [22 Sept 2003, p.E06]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  31. By opening up the drug world, transforming political constructs into complex, fascinating human beings as lovable (and hateful) as you and me, The Corner does compelling public service. It should be required viewing for public officials. [16 Apr 2000, p.101]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  32. This sparkling saga of an extended dysfunctional family has more laughs than regular characters.
  33. Justified itself stays on target all the time, too, an instant entrant in the best-new-show sweepstakes in a TV season that already has several solid candidates.
  34. Angel is more straight-ahead action than Buffy, but it is a spin-off that twirls terrificly. Plunked behind Buffy, it completes the most joyously entertaining two hours on television. [5 Oct 1999, p.E01]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  35. NewsRadio is, like Murphy Brown, a slightly sophisticated (it is television, after all) ensemble comedy set in the newsroom, in which each character blends a healthy portion of absurdity with a strong slice of reality. But NewsRadio is better than Murphy Brown ever was. [21 Mar 1995]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  36. A stunning, richly textured, feminist existential epic.
  37. More than any of Burns' documentaries except The Civil War, Prohibition provides viewers with a real feel for the times as well as new and surprising information.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Wuhl, who wrote the scripts for the first two episodes, is shrewd and witty in both the creation and delivery of dialogue, and outstanding in physical comedy. If sitcoms were judged like gymnastics, Sanders star Garry Shandling would grab the gold medal with a perfect score of 10 and Wuhl would be a cinch for the silver at 9.9. [7 Aug 1996, p.D01]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  38. Amy Brenneman, as Licalsi, is the dark-haired, more visceral contrast to Kelly's wife, Laura, played by Sherry Stringfield. Both women add depth to the drama, as do James McDaniel as the precinct commander, Nicholas Turturro as the new kid in the cop shop and Tom Towles as the guy from the Organized Crime Squad.
  39. An immensely satisfying - and immensely complicated - police drama. [31 May 2003]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  40. Another heart-stopping adventure show from "Alias"'s J.J. Abrams...Lost undertakes the ambitious assignment of developing 14 characters, including the usual tough guys and brave gals, as well as a rotund, lovable dolt, a 9-year-old boy, and a Korean couple who don't speak English, all suddenly thrust together to fight for survival. If anybody can meet the challenge, it's Abrams. [22 Sept 2004, p.D01]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  41. This season's best new show.
  42. The Amazing Race... looks like The West Wing of reality, the first of the descendants of Survivor that may outshine its parent. [2 Sep 2001]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  43. One of the best new series of the season. [30 Sept 2001, p.H01]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  44. One of the best new series this fall. [2 Oct 2001, p.C04]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  45. Richly detailed and wonderfully atmospheric ... If the first episodes are any clue, Marvel's Agent Carter will make millions of fans very happy, indeed.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It is rollicking fun. [11 Aug 1996, p.K01]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  46. It's a touching, funny, lively show that really does appeal to all ages.
  47. The Killing is also the least prepossessing, an eerily quiet, yet compelling and complex, tale of the way the murder of a teenager affects the lives of many people.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Elfman is captivating, impossible to dislike, fresh and sunny without being saccharine. Gibson, who looks a lot like Clark Kent, is a perfect pairing for her. And all four parents are masterstrokes of casting. Dharma & Greg bears every earmark of a hit. [24 Sept 1997, p.D01]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  48. It's difficult to take your eyes off the screen, not just because it depicts events that are at once moving and puzzling, but also because the pictures themselves are visually commanding. [13 Sep 2003]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  49. This may be one of the most beautifully crafted and original TV shows ever to get fall consideration on a big network.
  50. In the hands of executive producer Judd Apatow, late of Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared is sublimely kindhearted and funny. [25 Sept 2001, p.C03]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  51. One of the most powerful and original dramas to grace the broadcast networks in years.
  52. Let's get this straight. Everybody Hates Chris is not the Second Coming. But it is one of the season's best new series.
  53. It may not be a creative breakthrough, but it's lots funnier than the universal equation would predict.
  54. [A] gritty, visceral, and emotionally engaging thriller.
  55. Of course she cracks the fascinating weekly case, but it will be her continued efforts to make it again in the world of work, now that she's so old and doddering, and deal with her family, that will make The Good Wife worth watching week after week.
  56. We enter the third season following a shocking discovery that adds a delicious new dimension to the series: Dyad is only one of two cloning projects.
  57. Falling Skies generates its own excitement, very much worth the ride, like Lost and Jericho, to watch characters develop as they struggle under confusing and life-threatening circumstances.
  58. Torchwood doesn't disappoint: After tonight's slam-bang premier, subsequent episodes only get more outrageous.
  59. Danza's charges come alive in all their teenage complexity, and an actor best known as a doofus with a Brooklyn accent displays deep sensitivity while trying to navigate the intricacies of one really challenging job.
  60. Both Harry's life and his work are messy and complicated. The series lets both aspects breathe, without pushing for neat resolutions.
  61. Throughout, Rectify maintains a remarkable rhythm--somewhere between reverie and anxiety. It takes its time, exploring characters' faces and gestures, their personal tics and their relationships--a glimpse into their souls.
  62. Cane, at 10 p.m., stars ever-hunky Jimmy Smits and a huge cast that ranges from a 12-year-old to Hector Elizondo and Rita Moreno, in a tale of--what else?--lust, money, romance and family intrigue. We've seen it all before, but never this appealingly.
  63. The Last Man on Earth is a rare creature--a sitcom that's actually funny.
  64. American Horror Story may not rank that high on a TV list, but fans of this kind of thing will want to chop themselves in half, strangle in a bathtub, and slit their throats--just to name a few of the things that happen in the first two episodes--if they miss it.
  65. The leads are extraordinary. Ireland brings a nervy and riveting conviction to the role of the advocate. For Gupton (NBC's Prime Suspect), this is a charismatic, career-making role, and the most potent inducement to watch The Divide.
  66. The laughs, as they should, come fast and hard from the characters, somehow likable in their social ineptitude. But if you can't see the situations - irreverent barely begins to describe them - as absurd, you might not have a lot of fun. [4 Aug 2005]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  67. Worst Week is a dandy confection, as slight and silly and flat-out hilarious as anything that's come along on TV in a few years.
  68. You ain't seen this stuff on TV before, my friends, and if you're smart, you'll search it out and enjoy.
  69. The one to look forward to this year is CBS' The Dovekeepers, the latest in a growing series of stories that recast traditional tales from heterogeneous, even conflicting, points of view.
  70. The cases aren't always exciting--there's a lot of waiting around--but the people we meet are always interesting and are depicted with class. This is Cops for people who hate shows like Cops.
  71. [Rollergirls] skillfully convey[s] the ups and downs of everyday life, man trouble, hard partying, athletic rivalry, in an unfamiliar culture. But the show adds a layer of visceral excitement, as superb camera work and editing bring the intensity of the competition into genteel living rooms.
  72. It's about the ultimate outcast and his efforts to become human. Like all good drama, it uses heightened characters to magnify struggles we all have.
  73. Valentine puts a modern twist on family drama that's edgy and fun without being overwrought or vulgar.
  74. [It] is sure to occupy a special place in Emmy voters' hearts.
  75. Despite its occasional heavy-handedness, Hunted will give genre junkies a real high--and some food for thought.
  76. The language is offensive, the characters, in one light, reprehensible. But they and their show are a lot like puppies, too - incorrigible, yet lovable. You can't wait to see whose slipper they'll chew next. [29 Jun 2006]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  77. The almost contemplative tone of the piece makes the suspenseful moments jump off the screen. But the pace, which is decidedly deliberate to begin with, slows about halfway through, as the political becomes deeply personal.
  78. Insightful, smart and lyrical, Spectacle soars when so much of cable TV seems intent on locating the most distressing nadir of human culture.
  79. The Americans may be a tricky concept to sustain, because it means bringing the protagonists to the very brink of discovery on a regular basis. But for now, it's a daring tightrope walk, full of action and suspense.
  80. It's artfully directed, but intensely grisly. And its atmosphere is far more coherent than its sometimes sketchy narrative. But it does string you along. With barbed wire.
  81. It's quick, quippy, and quite funny.
  82. It's an intelligent, surreal, mildly outrageous--and most certainly outraged--satire of life in post-industrial America.
  83. The writing has moments of embarrassing earnestness better left for a college-dorm bull session. For the most part, though, it is fearless and never shies away from showing its characters in a less-than-flattering light.
  84. It doesn't take a fanboy to appreciate the well-crafted AMC series, populated with capable, if lesser-known, actors, including Sarah Wayne Callies, who spent a couple of years running from less-apparent deadly threats on Fox's Prison Break.
  85. Extant has a clever concept that would probably work better on a bigger screen (especially the orbital scenes). But it's thoroughly entertaining--even if you wind up watching it on your shrinky-dink cellphone.
  86. Created by Courtney Kemp Agboh, the Emmy-nominated writer/producer of The Good Wife, and fueled by a powerful yet understated performance by Omari Hardwick, the series captures the spirit of Fitzgerald's novel while telling a story that's very much of our time.
  87. Only an occasional over-spicing of melodrama keeps The Unit from TV's top echelon. Even so, it's the best new dramatic series of a TV season that started way back in September.
  88. The shows are fun and exciting, Mr. Blow, perfect for a stay-at-home Friday night, having a few guys over for beers, or recording and watching when you wake up Saturday afternoon, after all that hard partying.
  89. Like The Office, The Mindy Project trades deftly on the humor of excruciating awkwardness.
  90. The pilot of Arrow is a darkly gleaming gem. If the show can keep up its cinema-quality action sequences and maintain an air of mystery to Ollie's agenda, this could be a really fun series.
  91. How I Met Your Mother is that rare TV comedy that relies more on character than jokes.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer

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