Salon's Scores

  • TV
For 354 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 45% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Homeland: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 So You Think You Can Dance: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 200
  2. Negative: 0 out of 200
200 tv reviews
  1. The FX comedy’s fifth season reveals a show that is as confident and distinctive as ever, a sitcom that is not quite like anything else on television.
  2. Archer is the next generation version of "Get Smart," with a similarly thickheaded, overconfident, horny hero whose petulant deadpan lines are funnier than they have any right to be.
  3. Game of Thrones is as complete a universe as exists on television, whatever its rhythm. More drama and more bloodshed are certainly forthcoming, and I have every confidence they will be served up as delicious and sopping as a rare steak.
  4. Mildred Pierce is a masterpiece.
  5. From its breathtaking cinematography to its meticulous period costumes to its smart, snappy dialogue to its talented cast, Boardwalk Empire presents a TV program that's so polished and beautifully executed, each episode feels as rich and memorable as its own little Scorsese film.
  6. Treme is a true gift, a way to finally appreciate and embrace one of our most beloved but neglected cities.
  7. The series' thriller engine turns on, turns over and begins to purr.
  8. Game is a genuinely mind-boggling piece of adaptation, cast more or less perfectly (except for Kit Harington's Jon Snow, who relies too much on the soap opera actors handbook of serious faces), with expert control of the story lines, gorgeous and diverse settings, and such seriousness of purpose and consistent internal logic that I find the least realistic thing about it to be that the men of [N]ights Watch don't wear hats.
  9. [Homeland] sounds as though it could have been pitched as "The Manchurian Candidate: The Series." But set that aside, if you can, and look at what's on-screen, because it'll reward your attention.
  10. Yes, it's tough to trace the relationships between various ranks within the police department and the city and state governments, but that doesn't mean this is an incredibly serious drama it takes a degree in literature to understand. "The Wire" is funny and odd and sad and, above all, engrossing.
  11. A film-quality drama series about zombies? Somebody pinch me!
  12. It wants to entertain you, to draw you in with exciting, exacting plotting, and precisely drawn characters.
  13. The first time you watch the show, you really don’t believe what you’re seeing. Each moment feels so real, it’s hard to tell if the actors are improvising brilliantly or just delivering their lines with incredible conviction. Like the best moments of 'This Is Spinal Tap' or 'Waiting for Guffman,' 'The Office' offers up breathtaking slices of deadpan humor and amazing comic timing.
  14. Even though Party Down features a steady flow of absurd jokes and funny situations, it still offers more of a consistent, realistic, lively story than dramedies like "Weeds," "The United States of Tara" or "Glee."
  15. Top of the Lake [is] gorgeous and ambiguous and gripping like a hallucination.
  16. LeBlanc is brilliant; the writing and direction are brilliant; the show is brilliant.
  17. Girls is smart, bracing, funny, accurately absurd, confessional yet self-aware, but it is also undeniably about four white chicks with, relatively speaking, no worries in the world.
  18. The confident, acerbic new sitcom The Mindy Project is easily the best freshman comedy of the season.
  19. The kid is funny, the mom is funny, the dad is funny, the stories are funny, and Rock's voice-over is fantastic.
  20. In the fifth season, the story has been distilled to just the moments of pathos and characterization and gorgeous direction that make the story work.
  21. This is damn fertile soil for a comedy, and creator Jenji Kohan and the writers of "Weeds" farm it for all it's worth in the show's second season, cultivating vivid, surprising stories that naturally transcend the typical limitations of the half-hour format.
  22. The acting on this show is so incredible that it's hard to remember that there's any acting going on at all.
  23. Orange Is the New Black [is] Netflix’s hilarious, addictive, fantastic new series about the goings-on at a low-security women’s prison.
  24. Not only does Colbert maintain his persona without skipping a beat throughout the entire show, but he's got great comic timing, the show's writers are brilliant, and the whole thing is pure foolish, bizarre, idiotic fun at Bill O'Reilly's expense.
  25. Gervais' timing remains impeccable, and Ashley Jensen is wonderful as his shallow, lazy friend Maggie.
  26. Instead of the usual family sitcom curse of clichés and bad "Full House" jokes, Modern Family captures the absurdities, quirks and freakish flaws of today's extended family in ways that feel lively, unique and just dark and mean-spirited enough to be...well, accurate.
  27. FX's Justified translates the intense interactions of author Elmore Leonard's characters into dialogue that's unpredictable, dynamic and positively riveting.
  28. The drama is not perfect, but the ambition behind it is breathtaking.... As if the scope of the show weren’t enough, American Crime ups the ante with surprisingly affecting directorial choices.
  29. Happily, Nashville, with its unexpected intelligence and surprisingly low-key attitude, not only met all my cockamamie expectations, it exceeded them.
  30. Sherlock is an elegant updating of Conan Doyle's stories, not an overhaul.
  31. There are elements of this new series that have a quirkiness that might seem deliberate or overly clever against a different backdrop, but that feels natural in its own gracefully odd environment.
  32. Even at its worst, Boss radiates intelligence and toughness, and an appreciation of politics as a nonstop performance in an unscripted drama.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    David is thoroughly disagreeable. And that’s what makes 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' so deliciously perverse, and so true to the impeccable nastiness of 'Seinfeld.' For those of us who’ve been making do with syndicated 'Seinfeld' reruns, 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' is the treat of the new season.
  33. Unlike anything else you've ever seen on TV.
  34. Every single scene of The Wire is meticulously scripted and dramatically riveting.
  35. The uninitiated may continue to write off "Battlestar Galactica" as the remake of a mediocre show, or as the domain of science fiction fans alone, but those who've watched the show more than once or twice know better.
  36. There's a sense of gathering gloom as this exceptional drama gains steam in its second season, a feeling that the individual and his or her high-minded goals and values will be dragged under by the wheels of industry and the restrictive norms of the culture, all in the name of modernity and progress.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Emotionally, the pilot of “Freaks and Geeks” feels just about right — touching, but not sappy, amusingly off-kilter but not crude. Sure it’s nostalgic — former freaks and geeks are notorious wound lickers, the better to savor their post-high school triumphs. And this affectionate nostalgia, this assumption that viewers have been through what the characters are enduring and come out OK, is the show’s greatest strength and weakness. Freaks and Geeks depicts its ancient bygone era so well, it’s hard to imagine actual teenagers — freaks or geeks — tuning in.
  37. It believes in the story it's telling and expects everyone watching the series not just to have a good time, but to commit. If every drama series had a tenth as much passion, TV would be a far more interesting place.
  38. The stately new season unfolds as though it has never heard the phrase “hurry up,” closely tracking a serial killer who is no longer killing, a police department that makes no mistakes, and a narrative that contains no red herrings.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    What grabs you about Roswell is its lyrical depiction of being 16 and in love and feeling like everything you thought you knew about yourself has become alien to you. [4 Oct 1999]
    • Salon
  39. Surprisingly clever dialogue, great characters and an excellent cast will make you enjoy this very typical sitcom in spite of yourself.
  40. As odd and fast-paced as you'd expect from a show created by "Arrested Development" creator Mitch Hurwitz.
  41. What keeps these threads tight and advances the action is the input of Michael Mann, who directed the pilot and set the tone for the rest of the nine-episode first season.
  42. There's great energy and real laughs, and with any support at all from the network, this could mint as many new catchphrases as Chappelle.
  43. As charismatic and unfamiliar as Ramotswe is, after the first hour, it's hard to imagine becoming addicted to this series the way so many readers are addicted to McCall Smith's novels. But then, by the beginning of the second episode, we start to understand: This series is a dramedy, really, a more exotic, more absurd, more original version of "Grey's Anatomy," if you will.
  44. What Rescue Me has shined and polished to a high gloss, though, is those scenes of aggressive camaraderie between men. They're smart, funny and utterly realistic in terms of the ways that men relate to each other.
  45. Each week the show is both intriguing and satisfying, as we watch Alicia piece together little victories while comforting her kids and confronting lurking demons from her old life. Despite the usual familiar courtroom shenanigans, the show's full, multilayered episodes keep us interested.
  46. The Hour's charms are many, but chief among them is its celebration of intelligence and diligence as cardinal, animating virtues.
  47. Girls has matured leaps and bounds, comedically and structurally, but it has jettisoned some of its ambiguity, its sweetness, its own affection for its characters. It's more coherent, but it's also safer.
  48. Although "The Good Guys" might sound like the sort of cliché-heavy dramedy unlikely to hold our attention for more than a few milliseconds, the show pushes its formula just past zany and lands in the far more appealing territory of downright absurd.
  49. McBride celebrates the Southern-fried dirtball culture of flyover America like some "Red State Diaries"; it's a veritable HBO "Hee-Haw."
  50. Corden and bandleader Reggie Watts make a fantastic team, but they bear eerie resemblance to Fallon and his bandleader Questlove.... The total randomness of the stars made for some of the show’s alchemical appeal.... So, so often, these pre-recorded videos or rehearsed segments look and feel excruciatingly awkward or boring. It bodes very well for Corden, and for CBS, that he made these excursions into the absurd look like a lot of fun, both to be in and to watch.
  51. Asylum dives right in on racism, homophobia and sexism, and wrings something emotional out of them.
  52. May be the most riveting and the most haunting drama to air this fall.
  53. While I realize my entire description makes the show sound hopelessly shallow and unrealistic (which it is), it's also smart and well acted and at times, funny.
  54. The only bad thing about Summer Heights High is that it makes a lot of American comedies look pathetically unoriginal and lackluster by comparison.
  55. Skilled chefs, great dishes, a few doomed nervous Nellies and lots of petty squabbles ahead? What more could a loyal Top Chef fan ask for?
  56. Rather than break down each episode into sketches, each episode is its own, contained sketch, focusing on one particular set of characters and their stories. It makes Portlandia a lot easier to watch--and a bit more profound, too.
  57. Adam Reed--creator, showrunner, voice actor, and writer--seems to have composed Archer both as a love letter to douchebags and as a set of instructions for destroying them. Having a baby might be the final nail in the coffin. Then again, maybe not; Sterling’s the resilient type.
  58. Metatextual commentary aside, the third and final season of Kroll Show starts off strong.
  59. Although Banks has a bad habit of tooting her own horn endlessly while the cameras roll, she may be justified in doing so, since, from the opening graphics to the hip-hop soundtrack, her show has been undeniably imaginative and engrossing.
  60. Watching Dexter endure the bubbly, enforced cheer of family life may make this the best season of the drama series to date.
  61. Veep remains one of the most rapid-fire and linguistically playful shows on TV— neologisms created in just the first episodes include “exhuastipated,” “procrasturbate” and “gestictionary.” But in the new season, the physical comedy is just as strong.
  62. One of the major strengths of "The Unit" is its ability to tackle the blurry ethical lines and confusing behavioral codes of the military during a time of war.
  63. The Americans is delightfully cunning, exactly the quality, along with fight scenes and ridiculous disguises, one desires in a spy show.
  64. This is a sumptuously produced, beautifully executed show, and if the story doesn’t always make sense, the metaphysics always does.
  65. You'll find an important (and rare) thing: an off-kilter show that's at once smart, outlandish and very funny.
  66. Although every second of this comedy is far from genius, the disturbed mood and unique mean-spirited flavor of it all points to what the network comedies are so often lacking: bold choices that border on the absurd.
  67. Even if it slices and dices art into something consumable and therefore disposable, I love the audacity of Bravo's Work of Art: The Search for the Next Great Artist. This show takes all of the petulance and nastiness and passion of "Project Runway" or "Top Chef" and applies it to the rarefied realm of fine art.
  68. Combining intelligent layers of mystery with sly dialogue and a steady flow of action, Whedon has crafted a provocative, bubbly new drama that looks as promising as anything to hit the small screen over the course of the past year.
  69. The premiere does feel a tad stretched at times. But next week’s episode gets deeper into the girls’ money troubles with the help of guests Rachel Dratch and Janeane Garofalo as oddball yet oddly authentic employers. By then, the humor is humming along nicely and--what do you know--Broad City” has found its rhythm.
  70. Bunheads pilot is largely a a showcase for Sherman-Palladino's best stylistic and thematic trademarks.
  71. Combining the breakneck comedy and sly farce of "Arrested Development" with the pop-savvy wit of "Ugly Betty" and the twisted humor, odd soundtrack and deadpan voice-overs of one of the greatest movies about high school of all time, "Election," Glee is bold, silly, demonic and addictive--one full hour of very good (but not very clean) fun.
  72. While the orgiastic madness of Season 2 might be hard to top, the first three episodes of Season 3 look promising indeed, serving up one juicy twist after another, plus a steady flow of great dialogue, intense conversations, brutality, blackmail, mystery, suspense and, best of all, some wickedly funny moments that are beyond compare.
  73. Mad Men is smart, funny, eye-opening, and probably 10 times better than anything you'll see this fall, so don't miss it.
  74. In its fourth season, Friday Night Lights is just as thoughtful and restrained as it's ever been, with its focus firmly planted on the small-town disappointments of ordinary people.
  75. With its patient pace and restrained style, Rubicon may take a while to get to the truth, but at least as viewers we suspect that there will be something weighty to discover once it does.
  76. Look a little closer, though, and what you'll find is a truly strange cop dramedy with lots of sharp dialogue, jocular banter and offbeat scenarios.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The characters are more finely drawn than on most cop dramas, and the dialogue is refreshingly digressive and true-to-life.
  77. Armisen and Browstein's masterstroke is showing how certain flavors of modern leftist sensitivity/engagement can seem (to outsiders) like passive-aggressive self-absorption laced with contempt for the unenlightened.
  78. Hung is much more subtle and charming and odd than its name or its concept imply.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Not only does Angel make sense as an extension of the "Buffy" mythology, it makes Angel seem more alive than he's been in about, oh, 240 years
  79. From scene to scene, Treme is novelistic in the best sense--a long, complex, involving story that takes a while to settle into, but that you can't put down and don't want to end.
  80. Pan Am is nostalgic bonbons for the mind, made with the finest ingredients.
  81. The cast is stellar, you can almost feel the Georgia heat; a show that explores the consequences of violence, rather than serving up a gruesome pile of it, could hardly be more welcome at this moment, but the going is methodical and slow and sometimes painful.
  82. You can't just watch this series. You have to commit to it, the way you had to commit to "The Wire" or "Deadwood" to appreciate them as something other than impenetrable fetish objects. Bear in mind I'm not saying that Game of Thrones is a creative achievement on the same level as those other masterful HBO series, which looked, moved and felt like nothing that had come before.
  83. Wootton dips as far into darkness as even Baron Cohen, but instead of merely relying on cursing and butt thongs to create comic gold, Wootton crafts a well-thought-out narrative and puts a few props in place before he meets his real-life characters.
  84. Some of these moments are memorable and stark. More are soporific. Both lend themselves to The Fall’s tone: these days, slow is what passes for serious. Anderson’s performance is what makes The Fall worth watching.
  85. CW's Nikita remake isn't nearly as awful as you'd imagine. In fact, it's remarkably good.
  86. It only takes two episodes to demonstrate that this season is going to be another wild ride, maybe even one that's a little more nuanced and unpredictable than the first.
  87. As adapted, produced and written for the screen by Veena Sud (creator of "Cold Case"), it's a subtle piece of work.
  88. The result is a show that is lushly intimate, the second season building on the foundation of the previous.
  89. Only one thing is for certain: Even if you're skeptical of science fiction, Battlestar Galactica will make a true believer out of you.
  90. If anything, the depth of the show is enhanced by the humor, and vice versa.
  91. The process of self-discovery is right upfront in Taking on Tyson, and it's fascinating.
  92. The Starter Wife is fun and clever, but it’s witty dialogue and a great cast, not thoughtful storytelling, that keep this rich-divorcée gaffe-fest rolling along.
  93. These three new episodes, which premiered in Britain last year, are engaging, tasteful and very well-made.
  94. Saving Grace is my second-favorite cable drama this summer ("Mad Men" being the obvious front-runner), thanks to the excellent cast (Kenny Johnson and Laura San Giacomo, among others), and the fact that Hunter plays Grace with so much authenticity and scratchy sweetness.
  95. The first episode of Community features alarmingly smart writing, and the cast is fantastic, from Chase, who can make us laugh with just a look, to McHale, who's believably slippery but not too adorably caddish or cloying (Zach Braff, anyone?) as the antihero.

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