PopMatters' Scores

For 484 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 33% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 62% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 7.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 The Office (UK): Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Get This Party Started: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 179
  2. Negative: 0 out of 179
179 tv reviews
  1. True, the episode threatened to jump the shark when it was revealed that James (Patrick Heusinger), the unsuspecting man Blair corralled to play of the part of her wonderful new boyfriend, had his own secret, ludicrous even by Gossip Girl standards. But in the coming episodes, Blair and Chuck retain their place as the series’ most exciting kids in turmoil, its salacious center.
  2. Instead of wink-winking at the audience about its own cleverness, The Goodwin Games mostly keeps things moving along at a snappy pace, with jokes as well. When the show gets too pleased with its own eccentricity, though, it becomes grating.
  3. It’s especially good when the mission is as preposterous as this one. True to Prison Break form, the new season is laid out as a series of tasks, the retrieval of The Company’s most vital information, stored on what is essentially a digital black book (as opposed to hole).
  4. The rest of the show goes on to prize sweetness over superficiality.
  5. The mix of appealing nerds and lack of truly grating nerds is calculated for viewers' comfort, but the first episode is decidedly bland, too. Viewers looking for a new take on the reality competition genre won't find it here.
  6. There's a lot of clunky setup, a lot of piece-moving to send the main characters back to Terra Nova, and a lot of explaining of rules once they get there.
  7. If the daily competitions for commissions don’t quite match the savagery of the male-on-male contests in Glengarry Glenross or In The Company of Men, they remain vicious enough to give the otherwise fluffy plotting a little bite.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Funny but inconsequential.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The Newsroom is timely, well acted, and big-hearted, but offers few surprises.
  8. If visuals are not mundane in Southland, neither is the dialogue, especially the incidental repartee that oils coexistence in a high-stress profession.
  9. Yes, Rizzoli & Isles is quick with cliches....[But] for all the stereotyping, it's hard to be mad at Angie Harmon.
  10. It does tend to love its sublimely self-confident hero, a quick draw and a smartass who nonetheless walks a sort of moral line that baffles his mostly rube-ish opponents. But the show offers other, pleasures that help to make up for what's predictable.
  11. If Elementary is a standard detective procedural, it is at least well done. This is largely based on the strength of Miller, who brings a rejuvenating energy to a genre full of morose investigators
  12. As White Heat covers so much historical ground--and offers a range of aging makeup effects--it suffers on occasion from a lack of humour.
  13. The particulars of the transition involve the usual melodrama, as each regular cast member has a chance to express his or her feelings about Grissom’s departure, however pissy or mundane.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Those who enjoy Sons & Daughters enjoyed Arrested Development more, and the same viewers put off by the latter's off-the-wall humor will also be put off the new show.
  14. Bates Motel isn’t Hitchcock, and doesn’t try to be. But the show does make intelligent use of what you already know about Norma and Norman in their efforts to “start over.”
  15. Despite the new episode’s title, “Ch-Ch-Changes,” not much here is different.
  16. Dark Matters has something for viewers who are easily titillated as well as those interested in history.
  17. The show's formula looks to be this: the silly plots swirl, the brokers scheme, and the minions toil, but in each episode, Liv finds a moment to chat with one of these wise, powerful, and inevitably troubled women. In these moments, Scandal is slightly less tabloidy and soapy, and slightly more beguiling.
  18. Zero Hour‘s first episode ends on one hell of a promising cliffhanger, including a shock that comes out of nowhere but still makes sense. If director Pierre Morel can ask for a few more takes (occasional scenes feel like actors are still rehearsing) and if the script turns as strange as that episode-ending shock suggests it might, Zero Hour may actually be more new than recycled.
  19. The problem is that the story in between the songs is still inconsistent and muddled.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Perabo shows herself capable of playing Walker tough or sweet, clueless or competent. Unfortunately, in the span of a single episode, she's asked to do all of the above.
  20. It’s not new or challenging or even very strange. It is, however, plenty quirky.
  21. The result is a show that's more ABC Family than Tina Fey.
  22. It's an ingenious first two minutes of a series premiere, actiony and exciting and legible enough.
  23. That effort to seem "contemporary" carries over into the plot too: the new task force has "immunity" from the Governor to do whatever it takes to catch the bad guys, the better to keep up with shows like 24, one presumes. They aren't just detectives, they're a special arm of the law that doesn't have to adhere to "procedure" and "regulations."
  24. Even if it makes for far less gripping viewing in its sophomore iteration, Luther remains notable in the police drama pantheon for this stark perspective.
  25. We never know how fully such a mix might develop, and in this episode, it seemed undercooked by the end.
  26. Ringer is at times cleverly handled, suggesting numerous plot avenues for the future. Unfortunately, Gellar's wooden performance in the premiere episode doesn't bode well.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There are undeniably pulpy elements here, from the teasing out of material through multiple episodes to the melodramatic True Detective-esque credits sequence and crime reenactments. So far, it appears the film offers a spectrum of voices, some countering Durst’s.
  27. If the plot is thin, the show does offer other pleasures, including the actors’ improv skills, revealed in subtle and hilarious flashes of genius.
  28. At times witty and always good-looking, Undercovers needs to figure out how to balance its serious, silly, and gimmicky inclinations.
  29. This is pretty much how it goes on Chicagoland: Emmanuel against everyone else.
  30. Running Wilde demonstrates a distinct lack of its predecessor's lightning speed and intense saturation of jokes. This may be a structural issue: Running Wilde doesn't offer an intricate ensemble cast, but only the usual sit-commy supporting array, a wacky neighbor and a couple of crazy servants.
  31. All this worries Fiona, of course, and her compassion keeps Shameless--a remake of a hit British show--from being a glib mockery of poverty. She is the yin to Frank's yang, organized, focused, and efficient.
  32. When Tara and Sookie speak truth to each other (or seem to), True Blood is almost shrewd.
  33. To viewers new to the franchise, L&O: UK might prove a fine introduction. For dedicated watchers of the original, it might function as a kind of recap of the "best of" episodes from the series' entire life. But for the truly addicted, it will always be a paler, politer, well-bred echo of the Real Thing, better left on the side of the Atlantic where it originated.
  34. From a storytelling standpoint, though, the real juice of the show is going to lie in its long-form arcs. It's a delicate balance to maintain, and it will be interesting to see if Person of Interest is up to the challenge.
  35. Molly and her friends spend so much time name-dropping and worrying about reputations, we never feel connected to their pain or joy. The show’s foundational preoccupation with Hollywood does produce some humor, most often in film-based fantasy sequences.
  36. Walton’s Will is more jovial and goofy, a ladies’ man with at least one good and honest friend his own age in Andy. He’s also the primary reason to give NBC’s About a Boy any sort of chance to develop its formula.
  37. By turns treacly and rapturous, pedestrian and insightful, the documentary submits that, as Howard Bryant observes, "Most people have found a way to make their peace with the sport they love." Still, the history rankles. And here, too much of it is noted only briefly.
  38. My Own Worst Enemy looks like it’s been assembled from the leftovers of other pop-culture heavyweights.
  39. Frankly, the premiere's funniest don't focus on weight (these are also the lines featured most frequently in trailers, suggesting that someone is aware of the line the fat jokes are walking). Let's hope for a time-soon-when Mike & Molly runs out of fat jokes and moves on to explore the dynamics of two people falling in love while working to overcome personal demons.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    If the procedural plotting in FlashForward was ordinary, all the conversations about destiny and free will--and what any of it means for the poor sap who didn’t see anything during the blackout--made the first episode feel vibrant, engaged with heady concepts and questions.
  40. It’s a credit to Caspe and Marry Me’s other creators that the series premiere introduces all of these characters and their relationships seamlessly, without clunky, expositional dialogue about how they all met.
  41. It offers largely pedestrian observations of the difficulties of celebrity.
  42. Burnett's veteran producers and editors know their way around casting and cutting this type of show, and they've hit upon a good formula here.
  43. As the series continues to complicate the relations among past, present, and future, Ellison’s part in any of them is increasingly difficult to frame.
  44. If the show has the courage to probe this very contemporary evolution, Abby's tenure at IA might provide grown-up drama for women of an age more often served by sexist sitcoms. And if not, Lifetime may be delivering just another old-fashioned family drama with nothing new to say.
  45. Somehow, this ludicrous premise and uneven plot elements cohere into a fast-moving, exciting hour.
  46. Traditional sitcoms get mileage from the characters acting the same way in a variety of situations, and much of Cougar Town's warmth comes from that sort of predictability. However, the show got better when individuals changed a bit, and the premiere hinted at more of that to come.
  47. As before, the “big picture” plotlines are often the least convincing, mostly because the trippy angel talk is tough to pull off.
  48. If Community has been an underappreciated gem for the past three years, its fourth season premiere is sadly lackluster. But if the Dean’s episode-ending prediction isn’t entirely convincing, it could be that Guarascio and Port just need more time.
  49. Dani of the Perfectly Tousled Locks watches Charlie for the rest of us, her responses shaping ours.
  50. Assuming that you share its sense of outrage at what Jim Baker and Supremes wrought (in a decision they declared a one-off, not applicable to any future rulings), the movie offers easy targets and conclusions. But to intimate there was a way to “win” if only everyone had played fair, Recount has to back off the entrenched problems and the more horrific conclusion, that the system is rigged and no matter who plays it, the end is the same.
  51. Sit Down, Shut Up makes jokes about nut-sacks (of the legume variety). Still, it does one thing very right, and very like the beloved Arrested Development, with talented comedians delivering gags at an exhilarating, rapid-fire pace.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    With a focus on success at all costs, The Apprentice is not exactly feel-good viewing, but it's always compelling. And the heightened intensity this season's contenders bring to the game may leave viewers feeling like it's both fascinating and troubling to watch people on television scramble in the name of money.
  52. It’s this credibility that makes The Beast go. Even when the show trots out cliches (rainy nights, junkie informants and strippers, a pretty blond neighbor/love interest for Ellis [Rose, played by Lindsay Pulsipher]), Charlie is compelling, his many performances jaggedy and surprising, his rhythms weird, his sense of humor entertainingly bleak.
  53. Most of the time, Wipeout is quite wonderfully in touch with its unabashed silliness.
  54. As the film's "50 state road trip" reveals the multiplicity of these experiences, it shows as well that some "freedoms" have costs.
  55. While it returns Allen to a Mr. Fix-it style of parenting and some broad he-man comedy, the show offers fewer grunts and more shrieking female voices.
  56. While the picture it provides is certainly strange and paradoxical, it is also limited.
  57. What follows shows how Johnson exploits and also struggles in this "element," but the problem, as usual in The Closer, is that the cops' experience here is more familiar than believable.
  58. His new foray into television, James Ellroy's LA: City of Demons, delivers more of the same. And his pulp-noir style and fixation on dead women will probably appeal to fans but win no new converts.
  59. Each member makes a case for his or her status as the team's "linchpin," allowing the rest of us to see a little more about all, rather than the series' usual focus on Bones and Booth. A love letter to group synergy and the fruits of hard labor, the entire episode makes its own case for the team's existence. The whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.
  60. How To Make It delivers a conventional story with uncommon panache. It’s fun, especially for guys, but it’s aiming for boutique liquor and only tastes like high-end latte.
  61. As ordinary as this plot sounds, How To Be a Gentleman has a couple of things going for it, namely, Hornsby and Dillon.
  62. The Chicago Code appears to be aiming for a heady mix of action and political drama, and it mostly works. But it also takes itself very seriously, offering precious little levity to ease tensions.
  63. Entourage underscores how tenuous hegemonic masculinity is--and how much it depends on everyone playing his part.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    While the show doesn’t (yet) expand on its opening diagnosis of the “New Gilded Age,” it just might offer more careful consideration of other possibilities of self-interest.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    A good-natured show with a convincing sense of fun and a likeable cast, Chuck also has the wit, confidence, and grasp of the cultural climate to turn a running joke about a celebrity porn site into a major plot device.
  64. Once it gets past the cumbersome background exposition, The Finder begins to find its specific groove.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    While the portrayal of the disorder is gimmicky, the show sustains a particular charm, thanks to solid performances and its honest treatment of the complex relationships in this unconventional family.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    If there aren't a lot of surprises in The Inbetweeners' new season, that in itself is expected by its fans. Conceived as a down-to-earth antidote to the glossy sexcapades of Channel 4's other teen series, Skins, The Inbetweeners displays kids warts and all.
  65. While this is a lot of plot to deliver in one episode, Revolution manages it efficiently. But still, it doesn't feel very special.
  66. The shaman contrivance is surely tedious, but it appears that New Amsterdam uses the immortal design not as a way to Forrest-Gump its protagonist into a set of trite historical situations, but more cleverly, to ask questions about those situations.
  67. Just when it could've coasted off its accumulated good will and anticipation, Boardwalk Empire raised the stakes instead.
  68. The team assembled in the first episode is less a team and more a loose collection of brooding loners.... [Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is] an oasis amid all this peevishness.
  69. It’s to this busy show’s credit that the pilot doesn’t feel disjointed. All of these disparate parts are working more or less harmoniously.
  70. There's enough action-packed monster fighting to keep the show exciting, the character development is solid, and the cerebral overarching plot will keep sci-fi fans interested.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Doomsday Preppers can't seem to help occasionally taking a jab at the undeniable eccentricity of prepping, or generally making light.
  71. The first episode is not a courageous start, despite good acting from the ensemble cast, generous location shooting, and a quirkily realized context.
  72. When Falling Skies is clicking, it remains a very entertaining show that fills a niche.
  73. With this shaded tone and careful plotting going for it, In Plain Sight is a welcome addition to USA’s line-up of detective shows. Especially when it keeps focused on the new places and new identities, rather than the old memories.
  74. It's through such visual devices that Lie to Me repeatedly aligns viewers with Lightman's view. In much the same way, the show frequently cuts to commercials via photos of celebrities looking variously guilty according to FACS, so that you might recognize the expressions Lightman describes, and so feel that you can see what he sees.
  75. [The show has] married the procedural to melodrama, with occasionally intriguing results.
  76. Happy Town‘s rhythm is like that, pitching between the obvious and the obscure. It’s not yet clear where it’s “snap sharp.”
  77. C.S.I.: Miami is very slick, very clever, and very eager to please.
  78. Forceful but also vulnerable, flawed and brilliant, Liz is plagued by her self-righteousness and, judging by a couple of episodes, the show is plagued by her rightness.
  79. It's the rock-solid basic format that makes the show feel vital even 11 years and 22 seasons in.
  80. Of course, satire doesn't need to rely on realistic or three-dimensional characters. (In fact, it most often relies on two-dimensional types.) But it does need a fresh and consistent point of view. Absent that, ONN is best when it indulges in simple absurdity.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Royal Pains is a pleasant excursion, with some great one-liners and a chance to tweak its well-worn formula.
  81. Ari's misfortunes and an event at the end of this season's third episode hint that Entourage may yet drift back to Season Seven's darker and potentially more cathartic territory, a conclusion for the series that tells us something new about the industry, perhaps. Another possibility is that the show's makers are preparing for a future movie.
  82. Even as this plot pattern bodes ill, Margulies and Panjabi make a formidable team.
  83. All that said, 666 Park Avenue is diverting enough, if hardly original.
  84. Despite these obvious missteps and in between the blatant attempts to appease original fans, Night Stalker shows promise.
  85. The writers need to differentiate how Allen Gregory relates to Jeremy from how he relates to Julie. If the show had Allen Gregory treat Jeremy and Julie differently, there'd be more opportunity for a wider variety of jokes, including some that don't involve yelling.
  86. A little tedious for the rest of us, who have seen such exploration before.
  87. The series doesn’t mean to dig deeply into contemporary African social problems or politics, instead, it offers up middlebrow mysteries that can be solved in an episode’s time, a heroine who is keenly observant and positively feminine, a vague sort of half-step forward from Nancy Drew or Jessica Fletcher.

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