PopMatters' Scores

For 481 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 6.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 57
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 177
  2. Negative: 0 out of 177
177 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Freddie's stereotypically hard-hitting reporter's persona is soon tiring and irksome. Still, Freddie isn't so tedious as the show's "villains."
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Parts of the show seem archaic, more Life on Mars than life in a 21st century police department. Other parts seem careless bricolage.
  16. Here everyone, even Bosley, seems interchangeable.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. These cases don't come together so much as they suggest a formula.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Based on the first two episodes, Alcatraz is a middling show.
  23. 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.
  24. The show's historical bread-and-butter is accompanied by a thin dramatic gruel, for the most part.
  25. Like The Closer, Major Crimes offers utterly predictable crime-solving.
  26. If Go On isn't breaking new ground, it does manage to find humor, even among the most dour of premises.
  27. Save for Sheila, the parents are likable and their circumstances familiar, but Guys with Kids relies too often on predictable jokes.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. All that said, 666 Park Avenue is diverting enough, if hardly original.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. Cole is good and Price is evil. And neither one of them is remotely interesting.
  34. 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.
  35. Why is Charlie here? He doesn’t get involved in the action, only generates equations that are truly unexciting.
    • 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.
  36. While the characters remain thinly rendered types and the situations predictable, Orange is the New Black veers from melodrama to slapstick.
  37. 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Regardless of historical veracity, though, some of the drama here is shopworn.
  38. 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.
    • 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. The show piles on plot and cliché. You know too much already. And yet, watching her, you realize you can never know enough.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. Trapped in the hour-long drama structure, the half-hour sitcom that The Mysteries of Laura might long to be never finds its footing.
  47. 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.
  48. Had Keenan and Lloyd devoted more time to providing their characters with depth and less to flinging insults, viewers might have developed empathy for them and better understood why they feel such aggression toward one another.
  49. Hopper [is] so misfitted for this role that he seems perversely perfect.
  50. Anyone who learned politics from The West Wing will feel adrift in Commander in Chief's vacuum. Where are the polls, the clamoring press? We get little proof that the nation President Allen governs even exists.
  51. Conviction is an awkward show.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Despite some promising moments in the first few episodes, the show seems destined for the same fate as Ellie.
  52. The series proceeds to follow Jenny’s remarkably bland course of revelation.
  53. If you strip away the designer shoes and drinks, the show is left with all the hallmarks of a typical teen melodrama.
    • 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.
  54. It’s as if quarterlife comes with a prefab drinking game: take one shot when the waterworks start, another if the word “scared” follows.
  55. With so much going on, one would expect Swingtown to be exciting, but it’s not. Behavior that was scandalous in the ‘70s isn’t today.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The two-hour Season Four premiere sends FBI Special Agent Seely Booth (David Boreanaz) and forensic anthropologist Bones Brennan to England, and the result is disappointing, lacking the series’ usual wit and cool science-y stuff.
    • 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.
  56. At once schematic and preachy, it never indicates the stakes--either for its “diverse” players or for you.
  57. Unfortunately, clumsy writing gets in the way of potential insight.
  58. The show is, in various ways, just such a trick, not quite convincing viewers that its shtick is authentic, but granting that those viewers get the joke (and will forgive, and even enjoy, the cheesy results).
  59. The connections are sudden, relationships shallow, and dialogue glib.
  60. What's ultimately frustrating about The Event is not the lack of answers (though the pilot does conclude with Sophie telling President Martinez, "I haven't told you everything") or the dreadfully lazy characterizations. It's the insistence that the plot somehow taps into something that's happening right now in the United States.
  61. For starters, they need to offer intriguing characters and meticulous plotting. The first episode of Chase provides neither.
  62. We cheered for Jack McCoy to convict the scumbag criminal on Law & Order and for Ally McBeal to speak out for the wrongly accused. Here, there are no easy answers, but the difficulty doesn't tax viewers' intellectual curiosity so much as their patience.
  63. Better With You might try to be a straight-up joke/punchline/laughtrack sitcom. But that dooms it to comparisons with the other ABC shows such as Modern Family and The Middle that bookend it on Wednesday night. Those shows both have more distinct attitudes toward institutions like families and, particularly, marriage, than Better With You seems likely to find.
  64. Unfortunately, the rest of the episode follows Dexter's descent into a routine guilt spiral, blaming himself for Rita's death (he should have "been there" to "protect her"), rather than ruminating on how it feels to be on this receiving end of a serial killing. How a series this smart could overlook the far more interesting angle is as much of a wasted opportunity as it is a disappointment.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    It doesn't help that the vehicles reviewed thus far aren't surprising (Lamborghinis, Mustangs, Aston Martins), but the shenanigans the hosts set up for themselves can be thrilling.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The first episode offers little to recommend. However, if the show can keep up with the boys as they undergo their own awakenings, then it might eventually offer something fresh to the campus comedy canon. If not, the series will become a comedy of last resort.
  65. The trouble is, they don't surprise you. Their routes to redemption are laid out early and often.
  66. The show seems aware of the questions raised by this narrative dynamic, but hasn't sorted out a way to do more than note them.
  67. In another series on another network, Kate might have stood out. Stuck on USA, though, she's an extraordinary woman on an ordinary show.
  68. Yet another medical-mystery-forensics drama set in a large American city.
  69. 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.
  70. While the interviewees here can look back and put pieces together, fragmentation and lack of focus may be Gettysburg's most authentic effect.
  71. Some celebrities will surely offer better material to edit than Hasselhoff, famous and not. Future episodes promise encounters with Reggie Bush, Kathy Griffin, and Mike Tyson. Tyson in particular may bring just enough crazy to the table to tip the genre scales back to train wreck.
  72. As George W. Bush describes his thinking on September 11, it's hard not to wonder, well, what he was thinking. It's a mystery that remains unanswered in George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview.
  73. 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.
  74. Unforgettable is a show cobbled together from the once good bits of once good shows.
  75. 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.
  76. It's as though the show imagines that if can just cut from one event to another fast enough, no one will notice how shallow it all is.
  77. Filmed and set in a soggy, green-washed Portland, Oregon, its procedural plotting and visual flair carry it along when it occasionally lapses into something like camp.
    • 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.
  78. Unsupervised appears content to amble along, reiterating what we've seen before.
  79. The performance and the script's stretches (stick around for Peterson's climactic strip search) are less convincing than campy.
  80. 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.
  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 standard pieces are all here, just fit into the hour in a different order.
  83. It is to say that this mimicking is just that, as if the creators here have watched those shows ["24" and "Homeland"], but have no original inspiration, and instead think that plot twists in and of themselves make a drama bracing.
  84. While you want to love the mere existence of Octavia Spencer on TV every week, the show works awfully hard to make this hard.
  85. Even with all its CGI trappings and somber Washington, D.C. setting, Threshold feels minor, an amalgam of The Abyss and maybe Dark Skies.
  86. The comedy that does occur in How I Met Your Mother isn't enough to compensate for its inconsistencies.
    • PopMatters
    • 42 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Unfortunately, Criminal Minds confuses critical thinking with supernatural abilities.
  87. Feels strangely empty and hamstrung.... If you like your soaps without novelty, nuance, or bite, Related has four girls for you.
    • 24 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    These stereotypes (the befuddled one, the needy one, the sexist pig) hardly make for the most engaging cast of characters.

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