PopMatters' Scores

For 485 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 7.4 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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The story is silly, but not trashy enough to make it your latest guilty pleasure.
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    In its premiere episode, Once Upon a Time offers a mix of hope and cynicism, coupled with familiar television and film allusions (not unlike the Shreks).
  7. Twisted combines a handful of stereotypical ideas about romanticized teenage criminals with fresh perspectives on how humans understand or fear one another under intense stress.
  8. 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.
  9. It’s a co-production with an outside company, poorly scripted and directed.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Death Comes to Pemberley works so well because the characters are so perfectly realized. Affairs, unwed pregnancies, and murder all abound, but at the heart of the series is the story of a marriage.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Lacking both comedy and tragedy, Enlisted earns no such commendations.
  10. The River plainly evokes Lost.
  11. 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.
  12. Parts of the show seem archaic, more Life on Mars than life in a 21st century police department. Other parts seem careless bricolage.
  13. 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.
  14. It's surprising that he's [Cross] written a sitcom so reliant on physical comedy, and cast himself in the rather one-dimensional, repetitive main role. The show's best lines possess a crackling absurdity.
  15. When Falling Skies is clicking, it remains a very entertaining show that fills a niche.
  16. As each individual seeks his or her limits, the group is coming together, sharing their difference and their secret. No Ordinary Family is set up to develop these relationships. It is off to a promising start, tweaking a lot of superhero conventions without seeming like a parody.
  17. 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).
  18. Sleeper Cell is compelling television primarily for its excellent performances and chilling premises, rather than its plots. Alarming as these may be, they are rendered here with predictable rising and falling action, a bit of romance, and some tidily resolved conflicts.
  19. Based on co-creator Tom Perrotta’s 2011 book, The Leftovers imagines a range of responses (and too often, responses accompanied by anxiety-making piano or violin trills).
  20. Like The Closer, Major Crimes offers utterly predictable crime-solving.
  21. It's more interesting when Elaine takes aim at the easy-target man's world she inhabits.
  22. 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.
  23. American Horror Story: Asylum reintroduces the first season's nightmarish craziness but also sets it within a coherent basic history. It helps too that the new cast appears to be so tight.
  24. Lie to Me offers well-designed (and repeatedly, very white) interiors, utterly formulaic scripting, and familiar characters.
  25. 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.
  26. These political hiccups are unfortunate, but not deal-breakers. Bored to Death is undeniably smart, and so it could very well be laying the groundwork for all these wincing moments to be properly unpacked by an apt post-modern femme fatale (mom?).
  27. 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.
  28. So no, the jokes aren't as haute as the cuisine. But presentation, on the plate or on television, goes a long way, and Confidential has the look of a winner.
  29. This is not a show that wants to be analyzed. Rather, it demands that you enjoy it. And there is plenty of humor to mine in the premise.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Love Monkey is an anomaly, an intelligent, well-written dramedy for adults about adults, even if some of the chords it hits are in a minor key.
  30. Details of color and composition do the work usually handled by too much expository dialogue, granting access to Dani and Charlie’s thinking.
    • 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.
  31. If you miss Warehouse 13, or liked Friday the 13th: The Series, or Tia Carrere in The Relic Hunter, then The Librarians is worth a visit.
  32. Somehow, this ludicrous premise and uneven plot elements cohere into a fast-moving, exciting hour.
  33. 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.
  34. Even with all its CGI trappings and somber Washington, D.C. setting, Threshold feels minor, an amalgam of The Abyss and maybe Dark Skies.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Despite some promising moments in the first few episodes, the show seems destined for the same fate as Ellie.
  35. While this is a lot of plot to deliver in one episode, Revolution manages it efficiently. But still, it doesn't feel very special.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. Dark Matters has something for viewers who are easily titillated as well as those interested in history.
  40. So far, its mix of spirituality and science, familial and global struggles, is galvanizing.
  41. At times witty and always good-looking, Undercovers needs to figure out how to balance its serious, silly, and gimmicky inclinations.
  42. It’s not always clear what either woman gains from the friendship, and while maintaining the imbalance of power would feed the show’s bleakly comic seam, the fourth episode’s final scene suggests an impending shift when both Em and Doll audition for the same role, creating new and welcome tensions going forward.
  43. When Tara and Sookie speak truth to each other (or seem to), True Blood is almost shrewd.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. Stick with it through the second episode: it gets moving quickly in the subsequent episodes, and turns into a grim frontier revenge saga, with intriguing personalities and interconnecting storylines.
  48. Mob City fails to make connections between now and the repercussions of the ‘40s, say, the marginalization of democratic debate, the pathologizing of women’s agency and autonomy, and the hysterical politics of fear and insecurity in an increasingly global economy. These daunting themes remain off screen here, leaving only a series of monotonous conversations and shoot-outs.
  49. The problem is that the story in between the songs is still inconsistent and muddled.
  50. Detroit 1-8-7 has a long way to go before it comes close to equaling Homicide, but it's off to a promising start.
  51. Unfortunately, clumsy writing gets in the way of potential insight.
  52. 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.
  53. A compelling mystery, it maintains a measured pace, inviting viewers’ patience.
  54. So much of the outright horror is recycled from films-The Shining, Don't Look Now, Poltergeist-but the plotting and pacing feel vaguely original, sometimes complicated and sometimes satirical, like American Beauty.
  55. Based on the first two episodes, Alcatraz is a middling show.
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. All that said, 666 Park Avenue is diverting enough, if hardly original.
  59. If the premise intrigues you, watch or rewatch Blade Runner instead, and offer Almost Human the all-too-human body swerve.
  60. 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.
  61. Drawing parallels between the city’s decadence and that of its inhabitants is a fairly obvious point to make, so using it for more than just establishing shots is overkill, specifically pulling the viewer out of emotional moments. It’s a small quibble, though, and thankfully, the only complaint about this new season so far.
  62. The general integrity of the first episode offers some hope that it won't become a Procedure of the Week melodrama.
  63. Referencing literary works and imitating horror films may seem derivative, but by drawing from the familiar, The Following obviates the need for extensive exposition and jumps right into the action.
    • 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.
  64. 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.
  65. Yes, Rizzoli & Isles is quick with cliches....[But] for all the stereotyping, it's hard to be mad at Angie Harmon.
  66. The series proceeds to follow Jenny’s remarkably bland course of revelation.
  67. The supernatural premise underlying Bella’s quest may be fantastic, but the urgent desire to find a husband “before it’s too late” is unfortunately all too common.
  68. This is pretty much how it goes on Chicagoland: Emmanuel against everyone else.
  69. It’s not new or challenging or even very strange. It is, however, plenty quirky.
  70. The lack of cynicism is at least a bit unusual in the current sitcom universe, conferring novelty and a genuine, rather than confected, sweetness.
  71. My Own Worst Enemy looks like it’s been assembled from the leftovers of other pop-culture heavyweights.
  72. The Good Guys, true to its genre, presents an opposition between order and anarchy and asks the audience to embrace the apparently crazy cop who, in the tradition of American pragmatism, cuts through the red tape to get things done.
  73. Even though Parenthood‘s parents are all making completely misguided choices, the series doesn’t consider these as a means to education, through which the adults might reach that kind of self-awareness. That lack of consideration is the series’ most unfortunate waste of a promising storyline, one that could have imbued this second version with something refreshing or even revelatory.
  74. 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).
  75. Entourage underscores how tenuous hegemonic masculinity is--and how much it depends on everyone playing his part.
    • 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.
  76. 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
  77. 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.
  78. 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.
  79. The performance and the script's stretches (stick around for Peterson's climactic strip search) are less convincing than campy.
  80. On the evidence of the first two episodes, Resurrection seems just one more twist on an American obsession with investigating what lies beneath the surfaces of rural or suburban idylls. As a device to tell the same old stories about illicit love affairs, family estrangement, hidden crimes, and the secrets parents keep from children and visa versa, the arbitrary resurrection of the dead seems pretty extreme, and, frankly, a wasted opportunity.
  81. In another series on another network, Kate might have stood out. Stuck on USA, though, she's an extraordinary woman on an ordinary show.
  82. 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.
  83. Fittingly--and disappointingly--his fame-hungry characters don’t raise questions concerning politics or inhabit any realm of social interest; they are as vapid as their environment.
  84. 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.
  85. 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Weird Loners is not so fresh as its title might presume. Its protagonists are more familiar than strange, and their stories are clichéd.
  86. One could watch NCIS: Los Angeles. But one could also watch paint dry with far less pain and no less gain.
  87. The film offers a version of the real Mitt, performative and authentic, charming and awkward, occasionally at the same time.
  88. 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.
  89. The rest of the show goes on to prize sweetness over superficiality.
  90. While you want to love the mere existence of Octavia Spencer on TV every week, the show works awfully hard to make this hard.
    • 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.

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