PopMatters' Scores

For 492 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 34% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 61% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 7.1 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 184
  2. Negative: 0 out of 184
184 tv reviews
  1. One could watch NCIS: Los Angeles. But one could also watch paint dry with far less pain and no less gain.
  2. The film offers a version of the real Mitt, performative and authentic, charming and awkward, occasionally at the same time.
  3. 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.
  4. The rest of the show goes on to prize sweetness over superficiality.
  5. 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.
  6. Once it gets past the cumbersome background exposition, The Finder begins to find its specific groove.
  7. Combing broad strokes and detailed color on an extensive canvas, Kings makes the rewards and costs of ambition plain for all to see.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Unforgettable is a show cobbled together from the once good bits of once good shows.
  11. The first episode is not a courageous start, despite good acting from the ensemble cast, generous location shooting, and a quirkily realized context.
  12. Even as Dollhouse sounds like other TV shows and movies, it is also utterly strange, its premise literally ridiculous and intriguingly metaphorical.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
    • 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.
  15. 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.
  16. The soap operatic set-up is both efficient and florid, laying out both familial continuity and class distinctions.
  17. The girls, though, look promising. Granted, the initial Sarah-Jamie fight scene occasions the series’ first spectacular special-effectsy scene.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The Newsroom is timely, well acted, and big-hearted, but offers few surprises.
  22. 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.
  23. The result is disappointing, sensationalistic and silly.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Set against Reaper‘s slackers and the largely limited actors who portray them, Wise will having you rooting for the Devil.
  24. 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.
  25. Yet another medical-mystery-forensics drama set in a large American city.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    In their certitude, the villains are more compelling than their wishy-washy heroic counterparts. The real excitement of “Villains” is its promise to expand the series’ assortment of baddies: their unabashed queerness and freakery make for more fun.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 1600 Penn's tone may be apolitical, but it is also very funny.
  31. 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.
  32. The dynamic here is already tired.
  33. 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.
    • 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?
    • 55 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    Bones is a very poor cross between the X-Files and CSI with characters stolen from NCIS, plot devices from Veronica Mars, and topicality from Law & Order.
  34. These couple of episodes give hope that Kaling the writer means to continue to skewer her character’s fantasies with the same combination of intelligence and acid wit as before.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. Everything in the first episode suggests that Forever has a better shot at successfully combining procedural conventions and a high-concept than, say, Intelligence or Almost Human.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. Hood’s methods are unconventional, Eleventh Hour insists, but still, he’s strangely bland.
  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. 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.
  43. Like King of the Hill, Bob's Burgers makes comedy of daily frustrations, without resorting to cheap gags or surreal asides. With the Belchers, Fox may have found another great family to move in next door to the Simpsons, Hills, and Griffins.
  44. The "medical drama" is far too paltry to sustain the series without ramping up the relevance of the war context.
  45. To ensure you understand the magnitude of all this emotional mayhem, Maddux helpfully narrates in generically navel-gazing voiceover.
  46. This sort of banter takes up a good portion of the Castle premiere episode, each instance of it reinforcing the always-already familiar premise.
  47. [The show has] married the procedural to melodrama, with occasionally intriguing results.
  48. Sure, this has all been done before, but familiarity doesn't make Just Legal any less fun.
  49. 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.
  50. It’s as if quarterlife comes with a prefab drinking game: take one shot when the waterworks start, another if the word “scared” follows.
  51. 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.
  52. If you strip away the designer shoes and drinks, the show is left with all the hallmarks of a typical teen melodrama.
  53. Why is Charlie here? He doesn’t get involved in the action, only generates equations that are truly unexciting.
  54. This unchallenging adaptation of Chris Bohjalian's bestseller wishes it could be American Beauty. Or maybe Desperate Housewives.
  55. 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.
  56. His being stuck there no matter who shows up, in addition to his out-of-joint flashbacks, makes Crusoe seem something like a proto-Survivor contestant or, weirder, a proto-cast member on Lost. None of this bodes especially well for the series, in terms of repetition and limitation.
    • 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.
  57. The Taste is a confusing show with humorless banter that does not inspire the audience to become invested in the contestants. It's doubtful that viewers will be coming back for seconds.
  58. For now, the Bowers and Joanna provide enough mystery to maintain our interest, but we're left wondering whether the show's compelling start is actually taking us somewhere, or if instead this, too, is only a deception.
  59. [Perception is an] inept, and sometimes offensive, drivel, turning serious mental illness into a chic tic and woefully underestimating the intelligence of its audience.
  60. These cases don't come together so much as they suggest a formula.
  61. Happy Town‘s rhythm is like that, pitching between the obvious and the obscure. It’s not yet clear where it’s “snap sharp.”
  62. Once freed from the scaffolding and backstory constraints of a series premiere, Journeyman may find itself.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    Sadly, this program fails to be either compelling or diverting. Instead, it is a bloated and filler-stuffed waste of time.
  63. A little tedious for the rest of us, who have seen such exploration before.
  64. The standard pieces are all here, just fit into the hour in a different order.
  65. 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.
  66. These initial 23 minutes offer a promising mix of rapid banter, smart cultural references, and delightful absurdity.
  67. It offers largely pedestrian observations of the difficulties of celebrity.
  68. 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.
  69. 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.
  70. The show's acting offers no respite. Scenes unfold very slowly, as characters talk quickly but pause at the end of each speech, often holding a self-satisfied smirk as if listening to an inaudible laugh track.
  71. The trouble is, they don't surprise you. Their routes to redemption are laid out early and often.
  72. Like the Osbournes, Whitney and Bobby, the Simmons, the Kardashians, and the Hammers, they perform themselves: they talk to the camera, they act out, they make complain and look to score points.
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. With its stilted scenes, canned laughter, and handwringing about marriage, Whitney feels more like a step backward.
  76. Most viewers will recognize the South Park-like humor, critiquing the problem by critiquing the mainstream response to it. But unlike South Park, which usually offers something like “hope”(however sarcastically rendered), High School USA! is mostly just bleak.
  77. Despite these obvious missteps and in between the blatant attempts to appease original fans, Night Stalker shows promise.
  78. Animal Practice seems to know exactly what it wants to do, it just isn't any good at it.
  79. 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.”
  80. 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.
  81. 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.
  82. 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?
  83. 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.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    While some subplots are trite (a nurse turns down a paramedic’s romantic overtures, saying she’s “damaged goods"), the premiere hums along whenever Hawthorne is driving it.
  84. Feels strangely empty and hamstrung.... If you like your soaps without novelty, nuance, or bite, Related has four girls for you.
  85. 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.
  86. For starters, they need to offer intriguing characters and meticulous plotting. The first episode of Chase provides neither.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Not at all intelligent, the show is pretty much immune to any form of legitimate criticism, and further, it will likely be gone within the first few weeks of this television season.
    • 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.
  87. The jokes fly furiously during the first episode, and the delivery is impeccable all around.
  88. 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.

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