PopMatters' Scores

For 473 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 7.1 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 171
  2. Negative: 0 out of 171
171 tv reviews
  1. The rest of the show goes on to prize sweetness over superficiality.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
    • 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.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    How interested will viewers be in its fictional scandals when real life offers much more sensational examples of bad behavior?
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The Newsroom is timely, well acted, and big-hearted, but offers few surprises.
  4. The girls, though, look promising. Granted, the initial Sarah-Jamie fight scene occasions the series’ first spectacular special-effectsy scene.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  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. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Yet another medical-mystery-forensics drama set in a large American city.
  12. 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.
    • 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
    • 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.
  18. To ensure you understand the magnitude of all this emotional mayhem, Maddux helpfully narrates in generically navel-gazing voiceover.
  19. 1600 Penn's tone may be apolitical, but it is also very funny.
  20. 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.
  21. The dynamic here is already tired.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. The show piles on plot and cliché. You know too much already. And yet, watching her, you realize you can never know enough.
  26. Hood’s methods are unconventional, Eleventh Hour insists, but still, he’s strangely bland.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. If you strip away the designer shoes and drinks, the show is left with all the hallmarks of a typical teen melodrama.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. The "medical drama" is far too paltry to sustain the series without ramping up the relevance of the war context.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. [The show has] married the procedural to melodrama, with occasionally intriguing results.
  36. 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.
  37. Sure, this has all been done before, but familiarity doesn't make Just Legal any less fun.
  38. This sort of banter takes up a good portion of the Castle premiere episode, each instance of it reinforcing the always-already familiar premise.
  39. This unchallenging adaptation of Chris Bohjalian's bestseller wishes it could be American Beauty. Or maybe Desperate Housewives.
  40. 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.
  41. It’s as if quarterlife comes with a prefab drinking game: take one shot when the waterworks start, another if the word “scared” follows.
  42. Happy Town‘s rhythm is like that, pitching between the obvious and the obscure. It’s not yet clear where it’s “snap sharp.”
  43. Why is Charlie here? He doesn’t get involved in the action, only generates equations that are truly unexciting.
  44. 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.
    • 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.
  45. 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.
  46. Once freed from the scaffolding and backstory constraints of a series premiere, Journeyman may find itself.
  47. [Perception is an] inept, and sometimes offensive, drivel, turning serious mental illness into a chic tic and woefully underestimating the intelligence of its audience.
  48. These cases don't come together so much as they suggest a formula.
  49. 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.
  50. These initial 23 minutes offer a promising mix of rapid banter, smart cultural references, and delightful absurdity.
  51. A little tedious for the rest of us, who have seen such exploration before.
  52. It offers largely pedestrian observations of the difficulties of celebrity.
  53. 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.
    • 50 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.
  54. The standard pieces are all here, just fit into the hour in a different order.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. The trouble is, they don't surprise you. Their routes to redemption are laid out early and often.
  58. With its stilted scenes, canned laughter, and handwringing about marriage, Whitney feels more like a step backward.
  59. 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.
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.”
  64. Despite these obvious missteps and in between the blatant attempts to appease original fans, Night Stalker shows promise.
  65. 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?
  66. 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.
  67. Animal Practice seems to know exactly what it wants to do, it just isn't any good at it.
  68. For starters, they need to offer intriguing characters and meticulous plotting. The first episode of Chase provides neither.
  69. 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.
  70. 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.
  71. Feels strangely empty and hamstrung.... If you like your soaps without novelty, nuance, or bite, Related has four girls for you.
    • 47 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.
    • 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.
    • 47 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.
  72. 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.
  73. This is the central duality of the show: half fish-out-of-water tale about Todd, half underdogs-come-from-behind-to-triumph story about his staff. The problem is that neither plot has a sound foundation. For the first, it's hard to identify with Todd because he's not very likable.
  74. The jokes fly furiously during the first episode, and the delivery is impeccable all around.
  75. 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.
  76. Unsupervised appears content to amble along, reiterating what we've seen before.
  77. While options during the era were surely limited, the show's broad strokes don't do justice to the choices women were making, or their self-awareness while making them.
  78. Bruckner takes on the role with gusto, and she and Harron together create someone whose unthinking commitment to the pursuit of “F-U-N” (in Anna’s phrasing) achieves something close to sublimity.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 10 Critic Score
    A relentlessly unfunny mid-season replacement comedy from ABC that sucks all the fun out of dysfunction, the show could have been pitched to network execs as "Arrested Development meets Ordinary People." But it shows none of the former's wit or latter's intelligence.
  79. Ironside is an exercise in cynicism, a safety-first raid on the vaults with not a shred of respect for either the its prospective audience.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 10 Critic Score
    While Life is Wild is structured as a sort of fishes-out-of-water tale, it is more accurately described as a neocolonial masturbatory fantasy.
  80. Conviction is an awkward show.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    The network has risked its own reputation for cutting-edge, genre-busting shows by churning out a sitcom whose main joke is how derivative, unfunny, and unconvincing it is.
  81. The Practice should have been this much fun.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Hart of Dixie doesn't look to be much more than what you'd unfortunately expect.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    By the end of The Breakfast Club, the kids have learned that each of them is not solely a Brain, a Princess, a Criminal, a Basket Case, or an Athlete, but individuals who defy categorization. If only the characters in My Generation--and its dwindling viewers--were afforded the same opportunity.
  82. 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.
  83. Even as you’re hoping that she won’t have to conjure up variations on this explication theme every week, she does it a few more times in this episode alone.
  84. 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.
  85. At once schematic and preachy, it never indicates the stakes--either for its “diverse” players or for you.

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