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 7.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 The Flag
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. All this tightly plotted baby nonsense doesn’t feel at all urgent, because, true to form, Nancy’s playing several angles at once, each with its own possibly lethal consequences.
  2. Unlike crime dramas, when the body is usually cleanly dead, by its very nature Three Rivers lingers on the processes of death and near-death at both ends of the story. Just how many poignant farewells can an audience take?
  3. As her professional relationship with Little develops, he clearly becomes the kind father she's been missing. And then there's that fiance at the premiere, never mentioned by name or appearing at any other point in the film, as if to suggest that with a proper male partner, Rowling's success is really complete.
  4. Like so many crime novel adaptations, Case Histories leaves the audience with a faint echo of a delightful original, oozing with talent, budget, and location shooting, and almost bereft of compelling content.
  5. That the pilot fails to provide a foundation for the show’s future direction does not bode well. The only thing that is clear is how much the Claytons dislike Sam.
  6. Napoleon Dynamite the series forms its comedic syntax in the vernacular of those established shows [The Simpsons, Family Guy] instead of retaining the singular phrasing of Napoleon Dynamite the movie, and suffers as a result.
  7. Based on the first two episodes, Alcatraz is a middling show.
  8. Cavanagh and McCormack bring what you know they will--an effective mix of fast talk and easy delivery to pitch the partners’ situations, which range from silly to predictable.
  9. The reason we might stick around is Audrey Parker. She also provides an alternative to the usual dark mystery associated with Stephen King's work.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    How interested will viewers be in its fictional scandals when real life offers much more sensational examples of bad behavior?
  10. It just needs sharper writing, and the supporting cast needs to be developed. While Kaling and Messina are charming and work well together, the rest of the show needs to catch up.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    This commentary on the emptiness of all-consuming family life might fare better were it not brimming with one suburban cliche after another. These cliches don’t indicate Dexter’s discomfort with the banality of his new environment. Instead, they’re just boring.
  11. While the particulars of these cases are not uninteresting, they are mostly lost amid the swirl of Jerry and Michelle’s careening between romance and competition, betrayal and “crossing the line.”
  12. Tell Me You Love Me begins within confines, its white, middle class, straight couples all dealing with versions of the same problem. That this focus might be "real" is not the question. More troubling, for a series banking on its newness, is that the focus is so familiar.
  13. It seems a missed opportunity: the premise of the spoiled rich kid and the sassy poor kid forced to team up is an old story that often works. But both Caroline and Max come across as prep school students who are slumming.
  14. This is dicey subject matter (especially for those viewers who have struggled to become pregnant or know someone who has), and at times the tone seems blasé, even offensive.
  15. Patrick dramatizes his sense of superiority, intimidating and irritating just about anyone who comes in contact with him....The Mentalist does offer its own charms, chief among them Baker’s low-key, apparently complicated sarcasm.
  16. You might be thankful that Sam has explained his job, with so many un-blocked metaphors, if you've never seen a show like Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior before. But because you've seen too many shows like this and too many teams like his, you're unimpressed. You're already too many steps ahead.
  17. Despite some obvious faults, Strike Back is a decent enough action yarn with slick production values. At the same time, though, the series is more concerned with gratuitous nudity--this is Cinemax, after all, so each episode includes a lifetime's worth of breasts and butt cheeks-than creating a story with any substance, character, or emotional weight.
  18. Maybe ABC’s social media strategy should include posting only the last scene of this episode and pretend the rest of it never happened. That, and changing the title.
  19. More often, the show is a show: the camera cranes out to show Cathy's loneliness, the half-hour closes with a bittersweet pop song or the point is made too obviously ("Cancer's not a passport to a better life, cancer's the reason I'm not gonna have a life"). Still, the show does illustrate a useful idea, that what you think is "normal" is only that, what you think.
  20. In its first season, Love in the Wild was thoroughly mediocre. But any improvements this year are sadly negated by the presence of McCarthy.
  21. For its part, House of Saddam provides little insight into Saddam Hussein. Instead, it repeats truisms about well-reported events, many of them best remembered as TV images.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Regardless of historical veracity, though, some of the drama here is shopworn.
  22. If the first offering, "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road," is any indication, the hoped-for resurrection of in-your-face frights is still a couple of corpses away.
  23. Save for Sheila, the parents are likable and their circumstances familiar, but Guys with Kids relies too often on predictable jokes.
  24. At times Outcasts degenerates into space melodrama, complete with teens regularly pissed off at their parents. The human community works through corruption, lust for power, and betrayal, but also shows love, dedication, and sacrifice.
  25. Unfortunately, the pilot doesn't suggest that there is anything more interesting at work here than a weak attempt to wring laughs out of aliens who are buffoons.
  26. The series has laid groundwork for minor and mostly predictable complications.
  27. The only thing connecting how Franklin and Bash act inside and outside the courtroom is a general willingness to wing it and hope for the best. But they're not as charming as the show thinks they are, and their triumphs don't seem so great.
  28. When one cuts through its mix of slight pleasures and leaden annoyances, it's apparent that Dinosaur Revolution is not revolutionary in form or content, and moreover, that its melding of entertainment with science ends up disfiguring both.
  29. For the most part, 90210 seems unsure what to do with the Gen-X demographic, fitting in an awkward assortment of teachers, guidance counselors, and big sisters alongside the kid stars.
  30. Hood’s methods are unconventional, Eleventh Hour insists, but still, he’s strangely bland.
  31. Flashpoint works through the distress and damage it lays out here, it gets points for beginning with the difficulty, not with the triumph. Now, if it can just figure a way beyond the scary perp clichés.
  32. For every step forward (intricate plotting, Wentworth's engaging lead performance), the show also manages to stumble back (rote subplots, incessant lame dialogue as exposition).
  33. As a prestige show, it’s so serious, portentous, and polished, it’s not very much fun at all, so intent on wrapping its package in money and style that it forgets to put anything inside.
  34. These cases don't come together so much as they suggest a formula.
  35. Like The Closer, Major Crimes offers utterly predictable crime-solving.
  36. With the subtlety of a sledgehammer, the show right away telegraphs that there is more to Kaan than meets the eye, that he's not just a con. We're just not inclined to believe him.
  37. As much as they have at stake, neither Vince nor Dana is as much fun to watch as Max. Master of the arched eyebrow and the sly grin, Max is better than a circus act.
  38. When so much of the series depends on psychological nuance, the lurch into Hollywood action thriller confrontations is an outright admission of defeat. Sensationalism trumps subtlety once more. Both Luther and Idris Elba deserve so much more.
  39. Despite pacy editing, superb action choreography, and location shooting across Europe, the whole turns out to be yet another re-run of that updated Western, 24, which pits an arrogant outlaw protagonist against friend and foe alike.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    So aggressive is RENO 911!'s low-budget affect (not to mention its inconsistent pace and sometimes flat humor) that Cops looks positively polished by comparison. ... Still, and especially in its improvisational moments, RENO 911! offers occasionally engaging spontaneity.
  40. A joint effort between Showtime and the BBC, it features British humor and American humor. These don't always play nice together, and Episodes appears unsure of how to make them merge or which to privilege.
  41. If Go On isn't breaking new ground, it does manage to find humor, even among the most dour of premises.
  42. With a winning lead player and supporting cast, plus an interesting premise, Moonlight has potential.
  43. As of one episode, it's decently entertaining, though its sharp writing suggests potential. It's earned my interest for at least a couple of more episodes.
  44. Parts of the show seem archaic, more Life on Mars than life in a 21st century police department. Other parts seem careless bricolage.
  45. Unfortunately, the best bits of the premiere were the flashbacks to the finale, though their impact was watered down considerably in the context of an action-less storyline, filled with Grey's usual rambling pontifications.
  46. Freddie's stereotypically hard-hitting reporter's persona is soon tiring and irksome. Still, Freddie isn't so tedious as the show's "villains."
  47. Here everyone, even Bosley, seems interchangeable.
  48. Kid Nation does not mean to find out whether kids can do what adults could not. It means instead to demonstrate that these kids really would die without the intervention of adults.
  49. Cole is good and Price is evil. And neither one of them is remotely interesting.
  50. If this kind of comedy fails in its airless context, Todd Margaret's illogical universe can still be entertaining, at least for brief moments.
  51. While the characters remain thinly rendered types and the situations predictable, Orange is the New Black veers from melodrama to slapstick.
  52. The show piles on plot and cliché. You know too much already. And yet, watching her, you realize you can never know enough.
  53. The bar is set reasonably low for police procedurals and there is no reason to think that Memphis Beat can't clear it eventually. However, to "save" Memphis, maybe what the show needs is to let loose and have a little bit of fun.
  54. One needs to hone in on the performers to find reasons to stay engaged, because the plots and premises of Criminal Minds are worn thin as filaments by this point.
  55. They've done very funny work in other shows and movies, from Scrubs to Saving Silverman to 13 Going on 30. If the show would deemphasize its already tired premise, it might be another decent comedy about four quirky friends in the city
  56. Trapped in the hour-long drama structure, the half-hour sitcom that The Mysteries of Laura might long to be never finds its footing.
  57. Hawley’s film noir plot is reasonably Coen-esque in its twists and misunderstandings and character-motivated actions. But it can’t match the extremely particular style of the inimitable and unpredictable Coens, a target Hawley apparently chose for himself and misses by a country mile.
  58. Intelligence might probe these questions more, and so become richer than the latest show about a tortured male genius outsmarting the bad guys. Or it might just settle for flashy graphics, great action scenes, and underused actors looking good.
  59. Once freed from the scaffolding and backstory constraints of a series premiere, Journeyman may find itself.
  60. Intra-team melodrama doesn't distract from the film's focus so much as it illustrates it: again and again, the boys declare their need for payback.
  61. This sort of banter takes up a good portion of the Castle premiere episode, each instance of it reinforcing the always-already familiar premise.
  62. For all the characters’ feeble development, though, Scorpion doesn’t drag. And Lin’s action sequences at the end look great as well as ludicrous.
  63. The plots of the first episodes have none of the labyrinthine structure of classic Seinfeld episodes; they feel more like vehicles for prewritten bits. They’re funny, but they don’t sound like regular people talking. This artificial sensibility is exacerbated by various performances.
  64. The show's historical bread-and-butter is accompanied by a thin dramatic gruel, for the most part.
  65. To ensure you understand the magnitude of all this emotional mayhem, Maddux helpfully narrates in generically navel-gazing voiceover.
  66. Lie to Me offers well-designed (and repeatedly, very white) interiors, utterly formulaic scripting, and familiar characters.
  67. While Hung has its stage set to see some of these types of stories play out, scene after scene positions Ray as a cipher for other characters.
  68. Unfortunately, The Secret Circle's first episode doesn't offer much beyond all this plotty set-up. Specifically, it's missing what made other supernatural shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Supernatural successful: funny, quirky, and layered characters.
  69. Like other roads in other seasons, those in Manitoba will assuredly begin to look routine over time, leaving show creator and executive producer Thom Beers to rely again on exaggerated danger, overbearing music cues, and personal conflict to provide the drama.
  70. Rhys Meyers is mostly effective during such inserting, exuding exotic appeal and sensitive yearning—at least when he’s gazing on his object of desire from afar. When he speaks, his appeal is dulled by his flattened, put-on American accent, which makes him sound like Chris Pine.
  71. Like so many plot turns in Outlaw, this one is too convenient, too silly, and not a little audacious. It helps that the show knows it.
  72. That Bo’s gifts remain somewhat beyond her control or comprehension makes her a puzzle but also predictable. Bo will indeed be on a winding road, as she must be just a bit of a person who will irritate and mystify her jokester-action-hero protector, as she must seem both odd and sympathetic to the adults watching her, in her world and in yours.
  73. The Fosters needs more than good intentions and tentative, sanitised handling of its subject to survive once a same-sex couple central to a US drama passes unnoticed.
  74. Though she performs a heartfelt song about her mixed emotions, the implication being that Bobby's songs are lies and hers tell truth, the episode's ongoing comedy bits don't support this distinction.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Combining the flashy trashy aesthetics of reality TV and the rodeo circuit, Rodeo Girls is at its best in the ring itself, as the camera speeds around the barrels with horse and rider.
  75. Why is Charlie here? He doesn’t get involved in the action, only generates equations that are truly unexciting.
  76. The show has been notoriously slow in setting up the plot everyone knows already. While the pokey details have included the protracted not-quite-romance between Erica and Father Jack (Joel Gretsch) and the precise loyalties of black-ops and terrorism expert Hobbes (Charles Mesure), the new year brings at least a veneer of urgency.
  77. Drop Dead Diva seems regularly to be patting silly, charming women on their heads and telling them they're cute, as when Jane's new boyfriend (David Denman) tries to soothe her by saying, "When you get mad, you're pretty adorable." Such irritations undermine the show's kicky surrealism.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Other shows do complicate and elaborate the geek mystique ("CSI" and "Bones" come to mind), but all we’re likely to get from The Big Bang Theory are missed communications, fumbled opportunities, and general yuckety-yucks.
  78. It's like the producers have set up Breaking In to be an action-comedy but nobody involved really cares about the action portion. But if the show is starting as a mild disappointment, it's far from terrible.
  79. With more time, this Coma might have provided more thrills and chills, and also explored some of the monumental issues raised by changing technologies, corporate interests, and political frameworks. Unfortunately, it doesn't do any of this.
  80. Conviction is an awkward show.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    This isn't to say Are You There, Chelsea? is completely hopeless. There are bright spots. The brightest, predictably, is Handler.
  81. Some of this talent is visible in the premiere episode's poetic counterbalancing of empty landscapes and claustrophobic casino back-offices, and actors' convincing performances.... When it comes to plotting and scripting, though, Vegas is far less sure-footed.
  82. The connections are sudden, relationships shallow, and dialogue glib.
  83. Yet another medical-mystery-forensics drama set in a large American city.
  84. The trouble is, they don't surprise you. Their routes to redemption are laid out early and often.
  85. In another series on another network, Kate might have stood out. Stuck on USA, though, she's an extraordinary woman on an ordinary show.
  86. The series proceeds to follow Jenny’s remarkably bland course of revelation.
  87. The promos for New Girl suggest that it's something new or at least mildly unusual. But its first episode looks like more of the same.
  88. While you want to love the mere existence of Octavia Spencer on TV every week, the show works awfully hard to make this hard.
  89. The standard pieces are all here, just fit into the hour in a different order.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The individual performers, enthusiastic as they seem to be, are hardly helped by this approach. Shannon and John Michael Higgins (who plays Kath’s new boyfriend, Phil Knight) are both used to playing lovable buffoons. But their time is largely wasted here.
  90. The story is silly, but not trashy enough to make it your latest guilty pleasure.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Hart of Dixie doesn't look to be much more than what you'd unfortunately expect.
  91. Unforgettable is a show cobbled together from the once good bits of once good shows.

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