Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Scores

  • TV
For 1,388 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 41% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 56% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 6.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 John Adams: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Dads: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 639
  2. Negative: 0 out of 639
639 tv reviews
  1. After so many iffy premises and shoddy pilots, what a joy to relax in the hands of a master...Two seasons ago, Steven Bochco created the best drama on TV, ABC's ''NYPD Blue.'' This season, he gives ABC -- and us -- a show that could challenge for that title, the seamlessly superlative Murder One. [19 Sept 1995, p.D1]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  2. Series creator Vince Gilligan wrote the first two episodes of this eight-episode batch, and they crackle, as always, with intelligence and an ever-lingering sense of dread.
  3. Brilliant. [21 Oct 2004]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There hasn't been a television drama as good as "The Wire" since the equally ignored "Homicide: Life on the Street" held down the bottom rungs of the Nielsen ratings a decade ago. [17 Sep 2004]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    • 98 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    "The Wire" is as complex a picaresque as one is likely to find this side of Dickens.
  4. "The Sopranos" returns in better form this year than it did at the start of its second season. New territory is explored and Chase seems more willing to push the Soprano story forward. [2 Mar 2001]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  5. What's most important is that Homeland provides a smart, thrilling hour of entertainment for the next 12 weeks.
  6. None of these twists are for the faint of heart, which is why Breaking Bad is a smart, thought-provoking TV show that elevates the artistic achievements of the medium.
  7. Maintains the quality viewers have come to expect.
  8. Through the first four episodes, Fargo remains a terrific thriller laced with black humor.... Welcome back, Fargo, which in its early going proves itself the best TV series fall 2015 has to offer.
  9. Through the first four episodes of the new season, the ever-excellent spy thriller explores the parent-child dynamic, introduces the concept of biological weapons and plays on the suspicions of FBI neighbor Stan (Noah Emmerich). The Americans is mostly adept at surprising viewers by not tacking in expected directions, although one plot results in a dead end that left me to wonder, why did the writers spend so much time on that?
    • 95 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There's something inspiring about series creator David Simon's trusting his audience enough to tell a complex story about the elusive motives of cops, drug dealers and longshoremen without shortchanging his characters' humanity in the process. [31 May 2003]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  10. Season four promises more of the same while expanding on stories in the books and in some cases improving on what could be long literary slogs.
  11. "Battlestar Galactica" is one of the most politically relevant and necessarily bleak series on television today.
  12. The show is just as strong as it was at the end of its first season. To be sure, Transparent isn't for everyone, and not because of its central transgender character, who’s actually one of the most likable of the bunch. Viewers are more likely to have a problem with the rarefied, tony Los Angeles setting, and the self-absorbed characters who populate the series.
  13. The series remains smart and thought-provoking but it's also quite funny.
  14. "The Office" is hilarious, but it is an acquired taste as it serves up comedy of the uncomfortable. [10 Oct 2003]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  15. Magnificently profane and entirely engaging, Deadwood remains one of TV's best character-driven dramas. [4 Mar 2005, p.W-45]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  16. Despite how outlandish some of the scenarios become, they remain relatable.
  17. Viewers who cringe at pathos may miss the occasionally lighter tone of earlier Mad Men seasons. But these are the circumstances the characters find themselves in. Besides, at this point in a series' run, most viewers are tuning in for the character stories, where some grace and positivity still pop up.
  18. Gritty, tough, no-holds barred television that feels more real than any other police drama on the air. It makes "NYPD Blue" look like a children's show. [10 Mar 2002, p.TV-5]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  19. Fans of “Six Feet Under” are likely to enjoy Transparent while those who find characters who make consistently poor choices frustrating and may be less enamored. “Transparent” isn’t funny all that often, but at its heart it does tell a relatively new, original story in a way that’s grounded and heartfelt without being at all saccharine.
  20. Viewers hungering for a twisty-turny, who's-right-who's-wrong thriller will find it in Showtime's domestic terrorism drama Homeland.
  21. It is much more of a psychological thriller that impresses with its use of an unnerving stillness.
  22. It’s dark, bloody and occasionally sexy, as it usually is, and Thrones fans wouldn’t want it any other way.
  23. Master of None avoids comedy conventions, eschewing a regular cast in favor of recurring characters and guest stars who pop up in episodes devoted to different themes. The show plays a bit like “Louie” in that way, but Master of None is funnier, less dramatic and tonally closer to Woody Allen’s lighter fare.
  24. The season premiere is a little clunky as it cleans up the mess left after the show's first-season finale--the sooner the show moves beyond that, the better.
  25. Ultimately, after eight episodes that wax and wane in intensity, viewers learn whose worldview emerges as the accurate one in this case--Hardy's pessimistic take on human nature or Ellie's more positive outlook. In a small town where everyone knows his or her neighbor, unmasking the killer is almost as wrenching as the crime itself.
  26. Most of the time Sherlock's cheeky sense of humor makes this version of the character a delight.
  27. As a new year begins, viewers will be hard-pressed to find a more sumptuous, engaging drama than the "Masterpiece Classic" miniseries Downton Abbey.
  28. Deliberately paced but never dull, The Night Of offers a serialized criminal story that’s more interested in the characters and the criminal justice system’s process than in the crime itself.
  29. Atlanta provides an interesting slice of life and a slice that's not often seen on TV.
  30. Clearly this show is not for the easily offended. Not everyone will appreciate this kind of humor, but anyone who values smart, provocative comedy that's about truth telling will be intrigued.
  31. Somewhat shockingly, this 10-part, limited series quickly proves itself deeply engrossing and surprisingly entertaining, even though many viewers will know almost every beat of the story. Credit a strong cast--especially “American Horror Story” veteran Sarah Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark--and writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, working from Jeffrey Toobin’s book “The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” for turning this “trial of the century” into what could be the limited series of the year.
  32. GOT is easily television's most ambitious drama for expansive storytelling, but it doesn't shirk its duty to tell smaller stories about individual characters. That the series manages to excel at both is rewarding and breathtaking in its achievement.
  33. Just as in TV’s first flashback-heavy, multi-character drama “Lost,” it’s the flashbacks that deepen and humanize the characters, and that makes Orange a unique and outstanding series. Piper’s story may draw viewers to the show, but it’s her fellow inmates who make time spent inside this women’s prison worthwhile.
  34. Fans of sophisticated drama may feel there's a dearth of smart new shows on the broadcast networks but The Good Wife continues to be broadcast's best answer to the scripted dramas on cable.
  35. Bad challenges anxious viewers, but it remains one of TV's best hours, thanks to strong performances from the entire cast and the steady, guiding hand of executive producer Vince Gilligan, who proves in tonight's episode that he values realistic, risk-taking storytelling over the more convenient status quo.
  36. HBO shows aside, visceral Boomtown is the new exemplar of quality TV dramas on Sunday night... Boomtown engrosses. It's the season's strongest new drama, not just because it takes a chance on a novel format, but because it manages to tell stand-alone stories even as it develops the characters in its large ensemble. [27 Sept 2002, p.40]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  37. It takes some time to sink into the story--Olive (Frances McDormand, “Fargo”) herself is cold and aloof--but by Monday’s second part of the miniseries as viewers see the characters age through a 25-year period, there’s a relatability that starts to sink in as viewers come to recognize the damage one generation can inflict on the next.
  38. Rescue Me is not a show for the easily offended. Profanity is rampant along with sexual innuendo and references to sex acts. It can be profane in the extreme, however, and it rings true to the characters and their situations. [19 June 2005, p.TV-5]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  39. It's the most thrilling premiere hour of "24" yet.
  40. With its depiction of a warped, absurd family, Arrested Development is worth watching for fans of out-there comedy. [2 Nov 2003, p.TV-5]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  41. As season two begins, creators/executive producers Robert and Michelle King show no signs of standing pat. They're allowing the series and its characters to evolve while reminding viewers of the show's original premise.
  42. Should appeal to fans of Rock and to viewers who long for a family comedy reminiscent of "The Cosby Show" (albeit with a sharper edge).
  43. The psychological cat-and-mouse games the characters play are more interesting and a welcome respite from the intense, horrifying serial killer stories.
  44. FX's The Americans does the near-impossible of making viewers cheer for Russian spies in America and at the same time for the American FBI agents who are trying to unmask those Russians living in suburbia. It's an incredibly deft balancing act that's accomplished through strong character development all around.
  45. For some viewers, even fans of smart, high-quality TV, there may come a point when too many dark, layered television series become just as tiresome as too many look-alike procedurals. We haven't yet reached that point with Boardwalk Empire, but some episodes are more admirable than enjoyable.
  46. t's an entertaining episode that doesn't fall into the pacing trap so often seen in "Sherlock" where there's not enough story to hold the show up through its 90-minute running time. (Episode two fares worse in this regard, although it's still an entertaining outing.)
  47. "Longford" dives head-long into some of the most complex questions of human morality, and it's a pleasure to watch an actor of Broadbent's caliber tackle the notion of forgiveness with dignity and solemnity in what is easily one of the best TV movies you're likely to see this year.
  48. An uncommon comedy. Its rhythm is less jokey and requires a little more effort on the part of viewers, but the comedic payoff is better, too...I begged viewers to watch this series last year, and I'm not averse to doing it again: Please watch. If not for yourself, do it for me; if the ratings are low, Fox might replace it with yet another edition of "The Simple Life," and that's not good for anybody. [5 Nov 2004, p.WE-41]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  49. It's mysterious and exciting, a suspenseful and tense action-drama. [6 Nov 2001]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  50. The best new show of the season...It's less sentimental than "The Wonder Years" and not as concerned with its period setting. Unlike "My So-Called Life," which was real in a gloomy-doesn't-life-stink way, Freaks and Geeks finds abundant humor in the absurdity of the situations the characters face. [22 Sept 1999, p.C-1]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  51. It still has that unique ability to make you laugh through your wincing. Or wince through your laughing. [2 Jan 2004]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  52. Archer hits the comedy bull's-eye with smart, provocative writing.
  53. There's no question that "Extras" is a hoot, especially for anyone who spends much time observing the ins and outs of fame and the media, but Gervais is correct that less is more.
  54. The combination of music and some humor, particularly from Mr. Goodman's character, make "Treme" easier to digest than a David Simon series might otherwise be.
  55. Mad Men relies on its talented cast to communicate the unspoken, to get across the emotions and thoughts that roil just beneath the surface. I'll admit, there are times when I know I'm supposed to intuit something but I'm not completely sure what it is. And that's OK.
  56. Its slightly warped sense of humor won't appeal to some viewers, but "Malcolm in the Middle" qualifies as unique.
  57. Even in its sixth season Mad Men, remains a standout, a better series than 95 percent of what's on television.
  58. I'm not a huge fan of Mafia stories, but after watching several episodes of The Sopranos, I'm hooked. This is not the same old drama foisted on viewers by the networks. The Sopranos, created by David Chase ("I'll Fly Away"), has depth, dark humor and even a latent charm. The characters, unavoidably stereotypical at times, are believable and honest. [10 Jan 1999, p.G-5]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  59. Most sketch comedy shows decline with age but IFC's Portlandia continues to show signs of smart, savvy, new comic life in its fourth season.
  60. The Lost writers begin the season with a firm grasp on their story and a keen understanding that viewers won't object to the introduction of new characters as long as old favorites are well served.
  61. Mad Men exists on another level. Smart, mysterious and alluring, Mad Men remains a smooth concoction of period charm and psychological character drama.
  62. It was often laugh-out-loud funny as Ms. Horgan’s quips found equal footing with Mr. Delaney’s quick-witted retorts. Season two continues in the same tone but somewhat less successfully now that the pair are enmeshed in domestic woes.
  63. Taken altogether--the determined detective, the drug lord, the kooky encampment, the mystery of Tui's disappearance--Top of the Lake makes for a compelling mix of moody, character-driven drama.
  64. But NBC's comedy-drama Ed boasts sweetness, charm and innocence in equal measure. It's also extremely funny, albeit in an offbeat, low-key way. [8 Oct 2000, p.TV-5]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  65. These are fantastic characters with socio-economic backgrounds we rarely see in TV dramas, and that's one of the many things that makes FNL unique. Whether you can watch the show now or won't have access to it until 2010, FNL continues to be TV worth watching.
  66. There are times the whole affair feels little to similar to season one, but by the end of the second episode a new character has entered the series, promising to shake things up in a necessary way.
  67. Girls grew on me. As annoying as the characters can be, they also evince recognizable traits in absurdly realistic situations.
  68. Early on, Band of Brothers is more methodical, less emotional due to its large, unwieldy cast. Once the uniformed soldiers put their helmets on, it's tough to tell them apart. If you're like me, you'll spend too much time trying to figure out who just got killed to work up much sympathy for the mystery victim. [9 Sept 2001, p.TV-5]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  69. Southland" remains a stand-out series for its gritty, on-the-street scenes of police work and the engrossing stories of its characters.
  70. If you're a fan of nuanced, character-driven story-telling, there's no question The Pacific is the superior effort.
  71. It’s a lush production--The costumes! The locations!--that’s still appropriately gritty for its 1529 setting and sure to appeal to fans of historical fiction. But it may be a bit slow-paced for fans of Showtime’s “The Tudors,” which told the same story with more soapy shenanigans and gusto. Mr. Rylance gives a quietly commanding performance as the intelligent, politically astute Cromwell.
  72. The family comedy gets a welcome and winning update in ABC's Modern Family, the fall's best new sitcom.
  73. Pushing Daisies captivates with an emotionally resonant story and dazzles with its bright visual imagery. Fans of delightfully daft fairy tales, this one's for you.
  74. Lost itself has a certain intriguing quality that makes it worth coming back for more. [19 Sept 2005, p.TV-5]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  75. They're not making evolutionary leaps but these men do show enough signs of progress that viewers who appreciated their struggles and triumphs in the first season will have renewed reason to cheer them on in season two.
  76. it's the danger of Dexter being found out that permeates these episodes, upping the pressure and keeping the series as tense and twisted as it was in season one.
  77. Filled with dark humor and a mix of quirky and menacing characters, Fargo blends whimsy and tragedy in a highly watchable mix. It's easily the best produced work ever from writer Noah Hawley.
  78. Tonight's premiere has a zippy energy that can be attributed to the writing and Mr. Cumberbatch's riveting, gonzo performance. He plays Sherlock as authoritative and arrogant but also with a hint of excited madness that makes for an engrossing new take on this classic character.
  79. How sadly true and truly funny. [25 Sept 2001, p.C-1]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  80. Show Me a Hero spends too little time with these characters [African-American residents of existing Yonkers housing projects] in early episodes for them to make as big an impact as the drama surrounding the white politicos arguing about their future.
  81. This new season gets off to a rousing start that lives up to high expectations.
  82. In its first two episodes, season two of Saul offers a welcome return to form.
  83. [A] fascinating, challenging series.
  84. Tonight's season premiere does a fairly good job of wrapping up the sixth season finale and setting the stage to move forward but there's still a fair amount of cleanup to be done.
  85. It all blends together in an entertaining, easily digestible hour.
  86. Writer/series creator Julian Fellowes weaves together an engrossing tapestry of stories, although some of them stretch credulity or peter out.
  87. The Normal Heart sets up a bit of a “this happened, then this happened” rhythm that does not bode well. But just as quickly, the film gets this historical crutch out of its system and begins to explore in greater depth the characters and their relationships.
  88. It’s a series about the complications of life, relationships and especially perspective. It’s also the most innovative new TV series of 2014, especially from its fractured approach to storytelling.
  89. Revealing more of what makes these characters tick could remove some of the mystery about them, but Portlandia makes a compelling comedic case for offering this backstory.... The humor is broader and funnier in this half-hour [second episode] that also delivers some surprising plot twists whie acknowledging thier "logic problems."
  90. It's an interesting and damning film but not as engrossing as HBO's recent "The Jinx" series.
  91. Even on the rare occasions when those shows [like CSI or Law & Order] tell stories involving the death of a child, they're almost never as raw, palpable and grim as The Killing, an engrossing, well-made drama series that viewers should embrace despite its tough subject matter.
  92. Taken as a whole, the three episodes mark a decent reintroduction but individually these episodes are basically daring viewers to watch. It's like producers are actively trying to repel viewers, not because the episodes are overly violent but because they often don't make much sense.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    There are scenes in the first five episodes of the new season that are as compelling as anything television has to offer. But the viewer has to wade through material that fails more often than not to deliver on its promise.
  93. Smart writing, talented actors playing realistic characters and a pace and cinematography reminiscent of HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show" or "Arli$ $ " make Sports Night one of only a handful of new series that warrant viewer attention. There's just one problem: It's a half-hour series that bears more resemblance to a drama than a sitcom. [22 Sept 1998, p.G-7]
    • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  94. There's no question about the quality of this relentlessly suspenseful drama about former high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston), who turns to drug dealing to raise money for his family after he receives a terminal cancer diagnosis. Whether viewers can stand the nerve jangling they're in for as season two begins will be decided on an individual basis.
  95. Overlong compared to the compact, well-edited six hours of "The Jinx," "Making a Murderer" could use a lot of tightening. ... And yet it's a fascinating story.
  96. It's a thought-provoking drama that doesn't in its first three episodes seek easy black-and-white answers or scapegoats, painting all its characters in varying shades of gray. And while the characters are flawed, they are not insufferable as on NBC's "The Slap."

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