Salon's Scores

  • TV
For 414 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Zero Hour: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 236
  2. Negative: 0 out of 236
236 tv reviews
  1. The process of self-discovery is right upfront in Taking on Tyson, and it's fascinating.
  2. The confident, acerbic new sitcom The Mindy Project is easily the best freshman comedy of the season.
  3. Mildred Pierce is a masterpiece.
  4. A good ABC Family show is like a good beach read: great plot, great character, compelling without being too heavy. Its newest show certainly fits the bill.
  5. My guess is that lots of people are going to rave about how deliciously dark and weird this drama is, but before you believe them, take a minute and imagine Minnie Driver with a fake Southern accent. Now imagine Eddie Izzard with an American accent that's so bad, it makes his voice sound almost computerized. Next, throw in some demonic rednecks straight out of "Deliverance." Are you getting hot yet?
  6. It remains to be seen if the strength of the performances from the rest of the cast (which includes another Academy Award nominee, Gabourey Sidibe--it might be hard to find work as a black actor, hm?) will balance out the show’s pulpy premise.... Empire is notable for doing something different, in a landscape populated by dramas of an entirely different stripe. For that, and that alone, it’s worth checking out.
  7. Somehow, this ridiculous show manages to entertain us without any semblance of character development or the remotest whiff of a familiar, relatable scenario.
  8. The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore isn’t perfect, and it might not find its stride for a few weeks yet. But with this first episode, Wilmore and his team are demonstrating that they are not afraid of asking hard questions, whether those questions are about police brutality, representation in film, biracial identity, or how and when women feel safe in public. It takes a lot of skill to boil a complicated issue down to a single question; it takes even more to make that question funny.
  9. It's not nearly as highbrow and well-constructed as it needs to be, and it's far too serious and plodding to be a zippy break from reality.
  10. On a scene-by-scene basis, this is a truly great show. Great actors working with a great script and bringing these really beautiful, thoughtful exchanges alive....But the big picture of Big Love, the overarching narrative, is weaker than these scenes would suggest.
  11. Creator Kurt Sutter, a longtime writer for "The Shield," has said that he wanted to create a West coast version of "The Sopranos," but the world he created sometimes feels like "The Sopranos" without any discernible moral compass.
  12. It's got law and lawlessness duking it out against a backdrop of grime, guts and gravelly voices, but this is all served up humorlessly and laden with self-seriousness.
  13. While the show's portrayals of King Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey and Lady Anne Boleyn feel reasonably vivid, there's a flatness to them, as if it's enough to merely tell the story convincingly and make everyone look damn good in corsets and puffy sleeves along the way.
  14. An absurdity that is disturbing real, funny at times, and depressing at others.
  15. A Very Murray Christmas is ruminating over its own mingled loneliness and disillusionment and occasional flights of whimsy; mostly, it’s busy laughing at its own jokes.
  16. 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.
  17. The second season of "Rome" feels more than a little claustrophobic, and operates on a much smaller scale than might be anticipated for such an epic production.
  18. Pan Am is nostalgic bonbons for the mind, made with the finest ingredients.
  19. Vegas is not embarrassing. But it is just a gussied-up procedural, which would be fine, if it weren't so blatantly aiming to be something more.
  20. The improvised dialogue is sometimes smart, but it often leads to scenes where the main characters repeat their intentions over and over again -- you know, like in a really bad improv class.
  21. CW's Nikita remake isn't nearly as awful as you'd imagine. In fact, it's remarkably good.
  22. Aside from being a vehicle for a fascinating performance, Nightingale doesn’t quite satisfy as more than a very well-executed student film--a one-trick pony whose trick we’ve seen before.
  23. Abrams, the quintessential American dreamer and overindulger, the ultimate boyish idiot-savant imaginator, just can't control himself. He can't exercise a little self-restraint.
  24. This excursion into the far reaches of space, brought to you by "Battlestar Galactica" producers Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor, proves far more compelling than most made-for-TV movies--and most TV pilots, for that matter--up until its abrupt, hair-pullingly inconclusive ending.
  25. The high-caliber storytelling is what separates United States of Tara from just another kooky romp of a dramedy, teetering precariously on a superficial premise.
  26. Despite showing some very gruesome imagery--a real decapitated head, for example--and having a swaggy, “we’re so hip we send our reporters into dangerous places looking like they just rolled out of bed” self-aggrandizement, Vice is fundamentally earnest.
  27. 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    I really want to love Linney in this role, because she's a great actress and she does pull off about half of her scenes in The Big C. But there's just something leaden and unnatural about the way her role is written and performed, as if someone is standing on the sidelines yelling "Smiles, everyone! Smiles!" the whole time.
  28. Dates is a tad precious--a little too smart for its own good.
  29. Everyone involved with this production obviously meant well--this TV movie doesn't have a cruel or ignorant moment--but good intentions aren't enough.
  30. In short, after watching the first four hours, I can tell you that the eighth season of 24 does not look good. You know how much I adore this stupid show, but please, don't waste your time.
  31. Ben & Kate seems poised to be to the "20 to 30-somethings get their lives together" sub-genre what "Parks & Rec" is to workplace comedies: something willfully, wonderfully kind.
  32. This show could've worked.
  33. The suspenseful, unpredictable pilot suggests one of the most intriguing serial dramas of the fall season. [But] We once wrote the same thing about "Flashforward."
  34. The only bad thing about Summer Heights High is that it makes a lot of American comedies look pathetically unoriginal and lackluster by comparison.
  35. Intriguing but unsatisfying.... The sketches aren’t thought out well enough; the lead, Jay Baruchel, lacks presence on-screen; and the drama lacks stakes. But above all, what struck me is that it’s a story that we’ve seen a thousand times.
  36. Suddenly this might as well be "Fringe" or "Warehouse 13" or "The X-Files" or "Eureka" or any one of hundreds of shows that involve FBI agents and international espionage and terrorist thugs and secret plots to take over the universe. Come on, now. Isn't there a new way to handle the alien invasion story?
  37. Her persona combines Whitney Cummings’ bawdiness and Mindy Kaling’s entitlement with a self-proclaimed slutty streak (“I am sluttier than your average bear,” she proclaims), a familiar combination that feels original only in flashes. Schumer is sharper than her material.
  38. I expected it to be yet another R-rated historical soap with an overqualified cast. It's that. (The series is co-executive produced by ... wait a second ... Michael Hirst? Not him again!) But it's also good. And addictive--not just because of the blood-and-boobs aspects, but because it takes you inside an unfamiliar world and shows you how it works.
  39. Needless to say, Kevin Spacey and Denis Leary are both lively and funny in their roles as members of Al Gore's team, but it's Laura Dern who really steals the movie with her hysterically self-involved portrait of Katherine Harris.
  40. Now and then Shameless sloughs off its mostly self-imposed constraints and fires on all cylinders, observing economic hardship, drunken tomfoolery and sexual shenanigans with a keen eye for class specifics.
  41. Revenge might sound enjoyably soapy in the abstract, but its execution is problematic.
  42. Unfortunately, when you take Canterbury's admirable vim and vigor out of the picture for a second, this is just another courtroom drama, limited to the same old overdramatic courtroom scenes that we've seen a hundred million times before
  43. Hung is much more subtle and charming and odd than its name or its concept imply.
  44. Wayward Pines is a splashy, melodramatic thriller: smart enough to stay ahead of itself, well-made enough to keep the audience engaged; creepy enough to be delightful.
  45. The whole show is so repetitive and plotless and gutless and beside the point, it's hardly worth your time.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The pilot delivers some hearty laughs, but it also has a couple of painfully tired bits that come close to deflating the entire proceedings.
  46. It’s a lot of unwieldy plot points--borrowing indiscriminately from “Alias,” “National Treasure,” and “John Doe.” What keeps it together is Alexander’s performance.
  47. Johnson himself is the best part of Ballers, a charismatic, mostly responsive force that is our window to the precarious world of retirement from football. His perspective on the life of the partying ball player is one of nostalgia. But in the absence of forward momentum, the camera turns to looking for shock value anywhere it can.
  48. The results are satisfying, and suspenseful, yes, but also a little bit stupid and predictable, too.
  49. 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.
  50. Not great, but good, and promising.
  51. Although at times Hung unravels and feels as lost as Ray Drecker himself, its individual scenes present as darkly funny and disturbing a parable of the disheartening state of American culture as you'll find on the small screen.
  52. 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.
  53. Who doesn't want to see Vic Mackey catch bullets with his bare hands? [But] You might be longing for Vic Mackey to crush skulls with his bare hands after a few minutes of this happy-go-lucky, discovering-the-importance-of-family romp.
  54. The best thing about "Prison Break" is that we've never seen anything like it before.
  55. But where “Battlestar Galactica’s” story engine ran almost entirely on mystery, The Expanse is a little more like “Game of Thrones,” with its intensely detailed and ever-broadening world inhabited by very recognizable characters.
  56. 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.
  57. Political Animals may be super-fun, but it is also superficial.
  58. Asylum dives right in on racism, homophobia and sexism, and wrings something emotional out of them.
  59. Unfortunately it's more of a survey or omnibus, so it covers many programs somewhat glancingly.
  60. OK, fine, so maybe the pilot does wrap up with your typical teary-eyed confession. Otherwise, though, Lie to Me is as thoroughly entertaining and charming as its fine-looking cast of characters.
  61. Unfortunately, there's an excess of kooky cuteness here.
  62. He neither excelled nor failed; it wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t flawed, either.
  63. Nothing in this pilot is as compelling as the idea for the show, which begs philosophical and ethical questions that Spielberg and company (for now, at least) aren't interested in addressing.
  64. Yes, Bored To Death may be a parody of noir, or maybe it's a dramedy that dips into detective novel tomfoolery, but most of all, it's a story that revels in the realm of those strange overgrown children who use artistic pursuits to justify their weak little whimpering selves.
  65. "The Sarah Silverman Program" has all of the charms of a joke with an audible fart as the punch line.
  66. 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.
  67. May be the most riveting and the most haunting drama to air this fall.
  68. Revolution takes a high-stakes, specific premise--the end of the world through a total collapse of technology--and makes it as dull and generic as possible.
  69. The banging-the-president plot may outdo "Grey's" and "Private Practice's" in sheer headline-grabbing, gonzo boldness, but it's still ill-advised. The chief executive needs to button up, and even Shonda Rhimes can't make a TV show escapist and over the top enough to obviate that--though, it sure should be interesting to watch her try.
  70. Surprisingly clever dialogue, great characters and an excellent cast will make you enjoy this very typical sitcom in spite of yourself.
  71. "The Tudors" takes all of the intrigue and power struggles and tomfoolery of the House of Tudor and gives it six-pack abs and a rock-star swagger
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Sadly, the second episode of "Nip/Tuck" has none of the laughs and excitement of the first, but the eerie, uncomfortable, dumb-teenager darkness of the previous five seasons is back.
  72. Even though the second episode of the season isn't structured very well, with lots of rambling talk about nothing, even though the show lacks the tightness and the natural momentum of "Six Feet Under" (and the weight and the intensity, for that matter), True Blood is still odd, unpredictable and off-kilter.
  73. House is more solidly built [than "Dirt"], thanks mostly to the bracing quality of Cheadle, who scarcely has time in the mayhem to reconsider what he does.
  74. Golden Boy’s half-bakedness--part totally competent TV show, part lazily executed one--permeates throughout.
  75. For now, the bias towards boring is definitely at work. Cherry should look at “Scandal,” a show in which everyone of every color gets to be troubled and naughty and still expect our sympathy, to see how to improve.
  76. It is less accidentally ridiculous, and more knowingly, willfully campy, less pretentious, but also, for better and worse, less likely to include a Bollywood dance number.
  77. It's a straight down the line uninspired, dull, humorless soap opera that mimics the original without taking any of the interesting things from it.
  78. The experience looks very difficult, but also a little boring, which explains the need for the in-your-face title: “Filthy and Exhausted” just doesn’t have the same ring.
  79. There are times when you have to question the writers' urge to pack in everything but the kitchen sink...Fortunately, Kelly and McClintock pull off their roles in this precarious high-flying adventure, teetering between heaviness and humor in each scene.
  80. Witnessing every ugly twist in Hussein's long and arduous path to self-destruction is more grueling than you'd expect, in part because this script doesn't paint Hussein in very many shades other than the pitch black of pure evil.
  81. Desperate, self-involved losers who are aging badly? I can't think of anything I'd rather see on TV. But sweaty, half-dressed couples snorting drugs and mumbling "Wanna fuck?" at each other?
  82. They can barely speak, or formulate a cohesive thought. They can't see clearly. They plod forward at an excruciating pace, stumbling clumsily over each other to get closer to the camera. They are easily distracted by bright lights, and shiny things. But they are so hungry, so ravenous! And that makes them vicious. Yes, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills are just as terrifying as the others of their kind.
  83. Galavant is extremely silly--but at least it knows it’s silly.
  84. The Ex List tries to pull off an impossible balancing act: We're supposed to believe that Bella is at once pathetic and admirable, hapless and perkily resilient. As a result, this scrounging-single fable is an unrealistic, clumsy, cringe-inducing mess.
  85. Sadly, no matter how spunky and weird Eli Stone might be at times, at its heart it's Slick Yuppie Lawyer Makes Good, for the millionth time over.
  86. An ultimately very well-produced after-school special--important and honest, yes, but unlikely to meaningfully reach its target audience.
  87. 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.
  88. Like the millions of other emotionally unstable imbeciles who tuned in, I found myself strangely drawn to the idiotic flair of the whole thing. Watching this show is like traveling back in time, to a simpler era, when most of our pop culture was considered foolish and sad.
  89. 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.
  90. While you do have to wonder where the show will go from here, since it has the plot of a two-hour movie, not a 20-hour series, it has the benefit of being far more original and unpredictable than 90 percent of the new shows to hit the airwaves this fall.
  91. Just as "King of the Hill" started out as a show about middle-class Texans and slowly evolved into a twisted take on mainstream suburbia and family life at large, The Goode Family should eventually transcend the boundaries of its original premise.
  92. Madoff is a miss, quite unable to measure up either on the outrage/explanation quotient (“The Big Short,” “Too Big to Fail”) or the reveling in billions quotient (“Billions,” naturally, as well as “Wolf of Wall Street”). As a piece of history, the miniseries is hard to follow and a bit too sordid; as a piece of fiction, Madoff feels rushed-off and incomplete.
  93. 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.
  94. Like some of the CW's less captivating offerings, this show is a cheese pizza with cheese-stuffed crust. But if that sounds tasty, by all means, enjoy!
  95. The Magicians tries to create three different worlds simultaneously--Quentin’s New York City, Fillory, and Brakebills, complete with different casts of characters and different sets of rules. It’s not as sloppy as it could be, but it’s hard to not feel rushed through the pilot.
  96. Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll merely has the dramatic backdrop of loud guitars and middling lyrics. The show is so abrasive I had to stop watching partway through the second episode; even though I individually appreciate Corbett, Leary, Gillies, and rock music, the combination in the show offered nothing for me.
  97. Phil Spector is missing dramatic tension. It’s staged as a movie but it’s constructed more like a play, with plenty of scenes of two people exchanging Mametian dialogue in claustrophobic spaces.

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