Philadelphia Inquirer's Scores

For 735 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 54% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 The Sopranos: Season 3
Lowest review score: 0 Family Guy: Season 4
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 403
  2. Negative: 0 out of 403
403 tv reviews
  1. This is programming that will strike you as either prestigious or pretentious. The dialogue, as is often the case with LaBute, seems notably natural at times, terribly scripted at others.
  2. Cast, concept, execution--there's a lot to root for in Intelligence. But they'll be pushing a big rock up the hill week after week.
  3. Its nonlinear, whydunit approach makes the show stand out. The fractured loop-de-loop narrative creates not just surprise but suspense.
  4. A sharper creepy TV movie.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Smooth and stylish as it is, Farscape lacks one important ingredient: a new and breakthrough character. [18 Mar 1999]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  5. The production and period values are outstanding, as is the cast, especially Timothy Dalton as famed African explorer Sir Malcolm Murray.... As creator John Logan moves away from the horror by the Thames and more toward the internal demons that haunt his protagonists, Penny veers toward the overwritten and overwrought. But by then, you may well be in for a pound.
  6. It's funnier because it includes some comic sketches, but they are truncated. Further down, whole episodes focus on the Python movies, one for The Life of Brian, one for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. You get funny excerpts, but also lots of blah-blah.
  7. Yes, it's riddled with comic-book clichés. True, the dialogue is out of a Cracker Jack box, and most of its characters have less dimension than cardboard cutouts. But I'm a sucker for well-choreographed kung fu films. And Badlands--a Mad Max-ian postapocalyptic kung fu western that costars Emily Beecham as a killer beauty--has some wonderfully wigged-out fight scenes.
  8. The premise, and all the talking around it that we're forced to do in the name of propriety, is kind of laughable. Tomorrow's premiere, in which Drecker's house, and all the memorabilia from a legendary high school sports career, burn up in a fire--not so much. But the show picks up.
  9. Fascinating and perplexing, enjoyable and frustrating, intelligent and obtuse at the same time.
  10. 10 Items or Less is a quick hit of inanity, as close to The Office as anything else.
  11. This pilot's not quite as clever as those for Jane or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend were, but it's charming fun.
  12. The Grinder, which features William Devane as Dean and Stewart's father, has great energy. The nicely executed courtroom scenes are balanced with mordant scenes at home with the family.
  13. It's not until JJ, who can't speak but who has plenty to say, seizes control, that Speechless finds its own funny voice.
  14. Sutherland, a thoughtful actor who was limited to a few expressions in 24, gets to show more of his range here, shedding his action-hero persona for something even more reassuring: a grown-up.
  15. The Dennis Quaid-Jim Caviezel movie has been reimagined as a story about a police detective (Peyton List, Blood & Oil) who's trying to save her long-dead father (Riley Smith, Nashville), and it packs the emotional punch of the original.
  16. These two don't just have chemistry. They have a script that reintroduces Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs as characters who are as interesting facing each other across a dinner table as they are during a shootout or car chase.
  17. Though no sillier at heart than Under the Dome, Zoo or Extant, the Kings' Washington, D.C.-set BrainDead is sci-fi with a healthy sense of the ridiculous.
  18. Wipeout does have a crackpot obstacle course and its own sometimes hilarious commentators, John Anderson from ESPN's SportsCenter and John Henson from Talk Soup.
  19. Anger Management turns out to be a likable, nicely loaded sitcom.
  20. Sons of Liberty has a fairly good look, although it certainly doesn't match the production value of a blockbuster film. It does have some solid writing and a few strong performances.
  21. It's hardly required viewing, but it's enjoyable, light fun.
  22. It manages to be lush, gross, frightening, and ridiculous--all at the same time.
  23. It's energetic and inventive enough that I suggest you check it out. Maybe twice. Shonda Rhimes has certainly earned at least a second look.
  24. This series is notably dependent on its writing, specifically the crafting of its mystery plots. Because of that, Backstrom will probably turn out to be variably enjoyable from week to week. But at least it has the potential to be excellent.
  25. Both ABC's "Life on Mars" and CBS's Eleventh Hour have the comfortable feel of many shows that have come before them and lasted a long, long time.
  26. The story's too good to be undermined by a little woodenness.
  27. 1600 Penn has the unfortunate habit of milking every joke, even the most artificial and obvious ones. And its absurdist humor is hit-or-miss at best. And yet it has an undeniable charm, however superficial and ingratiating.
  28. It might take you three or four episodes to decide if you want to keep up with these guys. I do. And the fact that the show is on cable means everybody will at least have the chance to get hooked.
  29. It's too early to tell where Between will take us. But it's off to a great start.
  30. This is a solid addition to a saga we find endlessly fascinating.
  31. Poldark doesn't rise to the dramatic heights of Downton Abbey. And though it sometimes takes itself too seriously, it is an eminently watchable yarn.
  32. Mr. Sunshine looks promising, with former Friend Matthew Perry playing straight man in a swirl of kooks, including an especially amusing Allison Janney, who deliver consistent laughs.
  33. Scoundrels, at 9 p.m., and The Gates, at 10, may not be exactly the stuff you can't wait another week for, but both are watchable and fun, part of a big ABC effort to put something new, if not original, on the air most nights this summer.
  34. Great cast and intriguing storytelling may get viewers, and, more important, network honchos, hooked.
  35. Like Entourage, it boasts an affable cast. Johnson is the real draw, able to flex dramatic muscles he's not often given the opportunity to use.
  36. Wild, crude, and silly, at turns inspired and plain stupid.
  37. The Spoils Before Dying, which lampoons Hollywood's classic films noirs of the 1940s and 1950s, is a much more assured and accomplished piece of filmmaking. But it's not nearly as wonderfully original or manic as its predecessor.
  38. It's a deeply researched, visually superb two-part study of what the film terms "a decade-long natural catastrophe of biblical proportions." ... The second chapter on Monday night, "Reaping the Whirlwind," is slower and less informative.
  39. Tonight's episode employs the same he's-talking-about-one-thing, she's-talking-about-another, and neither-one-knows-it farcical convention that was frequently featured in Frasier, and goes back at least to Moliere. These pros bring it off with panache.
  40. This ain't brain science, folks. Just a well-written, nicely performed, and very, very, very familiar sitcom.
  41. Though it lacks the production value or special-effects budget of the Twilight movies, Bitten has a smooth, slick look and boasts solid performances.
  42. Ringer is no Buffy, so that's enough of that. It is a cleverly constructed take on the old concept of the evil twin, a soap opera staple that dates back more than a thousand years through movies, books, and poetry.
  43. Scoundrels, at 9 p.m., and The Gates, at 10, may not be exactly the stuff you can't wait another week for, but both are watchable and fun, part of a big ABC effort to put something new, if not original, on the air most nights this summer.
  44. The show has some hilarious moments and perks along between them as you might expect a Drescher show to. It's a fine and frothy companion to the big show on TV Land (is that an oxymoron?) at 10 p.m. Wednesday, the Betty White-starrer Hot in Cleveland.
  45. Careful viewing reveals that American customs bear the brunt of most of the gentle humor of this series that should fit seamlessly into NBC's goofballs-at-the-office (or in-the-classroom) Thursday-night sitcom block.
  46. Pelosi tells McGreevey's story in her eighth HBO documentary, the insightful, eminently watchable Fall to Grace.
  47. There are no twins, reality stars, or vampires, er, witches, but you're not alone in thinking that's the most preposterous concept of all. Surprisingly, cast and crew succeed in making the sugary sweet illogic palatable, if not a gourmet delight.
  48. The story is as predictable as the sunrise, but somehow, instead of distracting from the film's enjoyment, that adds to it. As the world spins faster and more coarsely every day, it's a quiet pleasure to watch an old-fashioned production in which virtue, charity, and hard work are rewarded.
  49. The whole web would unravel if each character weren't so interesting all by his or her own lonesome self.
  50. Although Hatfields & McCoys is slow moving, it's also oddly gripping.
  51. It's hard to find one that's not more entertaining than watching one of your winter favorites the second time around. Picking three or four regulars to go with summer's more esoteric fare, which includes Breaking Bad, The Big C, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and some others, makes an excellent TV strategy. The Protector deserves a slot in the rotation.
  52. The helpers seem compassionate, and Ferguson's story is so fascinating that her "journey" makes for good reality television.
  53. Though it makes several seriously absurd leaps of logic, American Odyssey will be a must-see for conspiracy lovers. The show's only real downside is that its utterly hyperbolic and sensationalistic tone overshadows and obscures some of the real political issues it touches upon.
  54. Brothers is funnier than many African American sitcoms before it, and much better (what isn't?) than 'Til Death, with which it will be awkwardly paired beginning next week.
  55. Violent and sometimes sexually tawdry, as only pay cable can be, Sleeper Cell is not for the faint of heart, but it provides well-constructed thrills with its tour of the morally ambiguous land of counter-terrorism.
  56. Whatever their era, Houdini and Doyle are the show. More interesting than the cases they worked on in the two episodes I've seen, they start out more as frenemies than friends, but it's a relationship with promise.
  57. So much of it is striking, particularly the work of two of the leads, Alfred Molina (The Da Vinci Code, Frida) and Michael Keaton (Batman, Live From Baghdad), who play CIA men with antithetical spy styles.
  58. ER is energetic, combining hints of Rescue 911 with splashes of L.A. Law in an entertaining concoction. [15 Sep 1994]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  59. NYPD Blue's James McDaniel joins Imperioli and a fine cast, including the City of Detroit itself, in this show that tries to imbue a Cops-like documentary feel to its action, all shot on location.
  60. A Gifted Man is solid enough, in fact, to make you forget it's a ghost story.
  61. [The children's] enthusiasm for 19th-century child labor, whether it's selling watercress in the streets, sewing, or spending countless hours making artificial flowers, is contagious. They complain less than the adults--or have been edited more charitably -- and seem to appreciate that their contributions are indispensable.
  62. The singular quality of the Coen Brothers' Fargo was the breathtaking, almost palpable tone it created by threading violence and wit through a staggeringly vapid Midwestern milieu. Fargo the series cannot recapture that fission, but it is enjoyable, funny, and, something TV rarely is, weird.
  63. The Ranch isn’t perfect. Colt’s stupidity is sometimes exaggerated to the point you wonder how he doesn’t walk into walls and there’s a Two and a Half Men relentlessness to the sex jokes that can grow old. But the Bennetts feel real, and so, surprisingly, does their ranch, even if it’s just a stage set.
  64. Preacher lets its mystery and mythology trickle out slowly over the four episodes provided for review, never being vague for vagueness' sake, or too obvious.
  65. Over the top, utterly crazy, but always fun, the second season follows James and Angela as they awaken to each other's secrets.
  66. The show, with a strange and hard-to-believe conspiracy underpinning, requires a leap of faith, but Swayze himself, gaunt and intensely energetic, is magnificent.
  67. It's pretty darned good.
  68. The show would be better if it got a little closer to the ground, but Wilde, with unusually beautiful production values (for a sitcom), completes a one-hour, laugh track-free, absurdist block that gives Fox its best chance at comedy success since The Bernie Mac Show and Malcolm in the Middle.
  69. The return of an old girlfriend, Elektra (Elodie Yung), gives us what may be an important glimpse into Matt's past, but also adds a second character who's more colorful (if more annoying) than Daredevil. Happily, the seven episodes I've seen also deal with Matt's daytime life and the struggling law firm he's running with his friend Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) and their peerless (and fearless) assistant, Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll, True Blood), two characters I might watch even if they didn't hang out with a tortured hero.
  70. Telenovela may not have depth, but watching Longoria mug for the camera ain't a bad way to spend half an hour.
  71. Populated by some super actors, the film, sometimes fascinating, sometimes too drawn out, gets inside the frenzied Florida jockeying for a presidential victory.
  72. Chuck is one of two new fantastical shows premiering Monday on NBC, making a Heroes sandwich. That's fantastical, not fantastic.
  73. The Red Road may not be SundanceTV's strongest drama, but it has a hypnotic power, a strange rhythm of dread that makes it far more interesting than most network dramas.
  74. You can probably tell this is not your average sitcom. What you probably can't sense is a surprising tenderness and gentle humor (along with the crass) in this family, living on the socio-economic fringes in the house of Jimmy's grandma, so dotty she rarely wears enough clothes.
  75. A surprisingly effective personal drama.
  76. The script sometimes ties itself in knots trying to explain all the theoretical physics and horology that drive the plot, but in the early going, it hangs together pretty well.
  77. Imagine how much fun that discovery will be for a high school lad. And then imagine the anguish and guilt, as he quickly looks away from all those girls, naked beneath their clothes. That's pretty much Smallville in a nutshell: Not super. No boy. [16 Oct 2001, p.D01]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  78. The Carmichael Show, which co-stars Lil Rel Howery as Jerrod's brother Bobby and Tiffany Haddish as Bobby's ex-wife, relies on far too many cliches, but Carmichael manages to take hackneyed situations and turn them into something unexpected and fresh.
  79. It's a swell story, if sometimes grim.
  80. [New Amsterdam's premise] is not the greatest thing since the invention of the tin can, which came along right in the middle of our hero's life, but it turns out to be much less stupid than it sounds.
  81. Frequently wickedly humorous, it can also be as flat-footed as the tabloid topics that it dramatizes. Like them, however, it's usually juicily watchable and addictive.
  82. Looking for something new and different on TV? It's not Burn Notice. Looking for some summertime fun? It is Burn Notice.
  83. It may not be The Shield (what is?), and it isn't up to the standard of TV's other corruption-in-Chicago show, The Good Wife, currently the best drama on network TV. But after you get by the initial S.O.S. of the first episode, The Chicago Code may be better than the other police commissioner show, and at least as worthy to add to your weekly TV appointment lineup.
  84. The great thing about The League is that it feels entirely comfortable to return to.
  85. There's plenty of charisma to go around on 30 Rock, and Fey will go just about anywhere for a laugh. Her absurd, yet almost believable, showbiz send-up is full of them.
  86. It might have benefited from the subtler writing touch of Anderson, who was a prolific writer for stage (Anne of the Thousand Days, for instance) and screen, specializing in long-ago history, but it's still good fun on a big level.
  87. In its early going, Gotham is hamhanded and a little bombastic, but drop-dead gorgeous.
  88. This is a comfort-food smorgasbord for the Woodstock generation, a harking back to that vision of ourselves as a nation with shared ideals and values.
  89. Just as with "New Amsterdam," the second episode establishes that this seeming cliche of a show has a little bit more going for it than you might think, even if the ending fireworks appear to be a weekly event. (And, OK, they are kind of fun, if not exactly believable.)
  90. The pilot for Touch is actually rather intriguing and well-executed. My problem with the show is projecting how well it will play a couple of months into its run.
  91. 24: Live Another Day has all the old style and content hallmarks: the crazy, adrenalized action, the hidden-agenda plot twists, and the pounding Wagnerian countdowns to commercials. In fact, this abbreviated 12-episode revival may be an improvement because of the way it galvanizes the pace.
  92. Secrets & Lies pits Ryan Phillippe and Juliette Lewis in an intense if sometimes overboiled battle of wills over the murder of a 4-year-old boy.
  93. It grows into something less brittle--and funnier--over the six I've seen, as the couple explore their increasingly unpalatable options and we get to know them better.
  94. Los Angeles probably has more interesting locations than New York, and it certainly has its share of interesting crimes, so there's plenty of fodder for LOLA. It's literally warmed-over Law & Order, but that doesn't mean it's unappealing.
  95. All five characters, in fact, transcend the cheap stereotypes that lazy writers so frequently use to populate their sitcoms. That may not be enough to propel their show into the long green of syndication, but for a Fox sitcom, even cautious optimism is a step in the right direction.
  96. It has the usual cheeseball sets and gee-whiz computer graphics, but the quotas of weighty moral lessons and pseudo-scientific incantations seem to have been reduced, though hardly eliminated. [26 Sep 2001]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer
  97. It's much sweeter and funnier than it sounds.
  98. The postproduction excesses may sometimes distract from the series' wonder, which, if not quite up to Discovery's Planet Earth (2007) and Life (2010), is still jaw-dropping.
  99. A fun show with broad appeal. [6 Oct 1999, p.D01]
    • Philadelphia Inquirer

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