Salon's Scores

  • TV
For 351 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 2.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Boardwalk Empire: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 199
  2. Negative: 0 out of 199
199 tv reviews
  1. 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
  2. Hung is much more subtle and charming and odd than its name or its concept imply.
  3. 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.
  4. The results are satisfying, and suspenseful, yes, but also a little bit stupid and predictable, too.
  5. 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.
  6. Not great, but good, and promising.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. The best thing about "Prison Break" is that we've never seen anything like it before.
  11. 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.
  12. Political Animals may be super-fun, but it is also superficial.
  13. Asylum dives right in on racism, homophobia and sexism, and wrings something emotional out of them.
  14. Unfortunately it's more of a survey or omnibus, so it covers many programs somewhat glancingly.
  15. 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.
  16. Unfortunately, there's an excess of kooky cuteness here.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. "The Sarah Silverman Program" has all of the charms of a joke with an audible fart as the punch line.
  20. 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.
  21. May be the most riveting and the most haunting drama to air this fall.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Surprisingly clever dialogue, great characters and an excellent cast will make you enjoy this very typical sitcom in spite of yourself.
  25. "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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Golden Boy’s half-bakedness--part totally competent TV show, part lazily executed one--permeates throughout.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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?
  36. 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.
  37. Galavant is extremely silly--but at least it knows it’s silly.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. 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!
  47. 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.
  48. Hell on Wheels is a perfectly adequate piece of television with above adequate production values.
  49. The second and third episodes mostly felt like a retread of the pilot, with the same alluring but dangerous heist to execute, the same planning session between key players, the same conflicted feelings and suspicions.
  50. You'd have to have ice water flowing through your veins not to enjoy this elaborate P.R. experiment in spite of yourself.
  51. 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.
  52. If this were a show about creative passion, then maybe Ben and Cam would be a little more interesting than the glossy professional yuppies on every other channel, straining to make that promotion and bag that babe. Unfortunately, as Ben and Cam demonstrate, more often than not the desire to "make it" is exactly as vague and empty as those two words imply.
  53. As flat and robotic as the show may be, a teen "X-Files" meets "Red Eye" is likely to pull in high ratings.
  54. It's an oxymoron: a show about identity theft with no personality.
  55. Camelot teeters on the edge of camp, but it doesn't have the nerve to pitch itself into the abyss and just be trashy.
  56. Yes, [the sex is] all very realistic, but not very hot, thanks to the fact that these are grouchy, humorless people whom we'd rather see hitting each other in the head with two-by-fours.
  57. ABC's Shark Tank is easily the best new reality TV show to air this summer (which, admittedly, isn't saying much).
  58. Unlike the teenagers on the show it replaces on the CW schedule, "Gossip Girl," the characters on The Carrie Diaries are neither disturbingly precocious nor voracious, instead working a welcome John Hughes vibe.
  59. Even more so than in season’s past, the non-vampire storylines seem irrelevant and extraneous.
  60. The dialogue is just so artful and poetic, the characters are so appealing, the whole damn package is so original and daring and lovely, that after watching the first four hours, it's impossible not to feel inspired and cheered by the fact that a drama this ambitious and unique could make it onto network TV.
  61. Really, though, you don't have to know anything about the British Skins to get into the remake.
  62. Allegiance does not demonstrate any of that careful planning; indeed, it is almost exactly the same thing as “The Americans,” except executed less well, with the complexities sanded off.
  63. 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.
  64. The first episode isn’t riotous (truly hilarious pilots are rarer than... even truly hilarious sitcoms), but it’s confident and charming and the characters seem fully formed.
  65. The Life & Times of Tim isn't even as well written as that show, and it's far more amateurish and deeply, alarmingly stupid to boot.
  66. I also really enjoyed NBC's Bionic Woman. There's lots of super-powered action, I like regular-girl Michelle Ryan as Jaime Sommers, and best of all, Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck from "Battlestar Galactica") plays the eeeeevil former bionic woman, Sarah Corvus.
  67. The best parts of Life Is But a Dream are not the confessionals, but watching Beyoncé become Beyoncé. It’s a transformation we see only bits of.... But mostly, there’s no sweat. We hear about her angst, and then we see the finished product.
  68. The results are a captivating, riveting, rousing, condescending, smug, infuriating mixture, a potent potion that advertises itself as intelligence-enhancing but is actually just crazy-making.
  69. What's really disappointing about Magic City is that if it weren't so desperate to be "Mad Men" in Miami Beach or The Jewish Godfather it could be an energetic, escapist hour of television.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    An old-fashioned talent show with the new-fashioned feature of value-added public humiliation, 'American Idol' is a 'Gong Show' the Marquis de Sade would love.
  70. The source of the show's downfall is more basic: It rushes through everything, pulverizing potentially engaging characters and story until the whole production starts to feel like a long trailer for itself.
  71. How funny you find all this basically depends on how funny you find drunk people. And not fake-movie drunk people, but realistically drunk people: a little confused, no longer so good with words, and very sleepy.
  72. A disastrous two-and-a-half-hour Cliffs Notes on the passionate, dysfunctional love affair between Ernest Hemingway (Clive Owen) and his third wife, the war correspondent Martha Gellhorn (Nicole Kidman).
  73. [A] mediocre, plastic, utterly false new comedy premiering on Fox tonight--a series that just happens to be built around an all-powerful alpha male jerkwad-type of character.
  74. Not a bad start, until the show's editors get their sticky fingers into this pie, and then all we get is one clip after another of a big-boned lady weeping over her inability to find love, thanks to her size.
  75. I’d like to say that this crappy show is sure to bomb, but my faith in the intelligence of the American people is hanging in the balance right now, and since there seems to be enough dumbassery afoot to cheer on almost any half-witted scheme, I don’t want to make any assumptions.
  76. SEAL Team Six, a shallow TV movie about the raid to kill Osama Bin Laden, stars a bevy of beefcakes in Navy SEAL costumes--and Barack Obama.
  77. While I can understand why Parriott and Co. might be tempted to simply swap out the high-pressure hospital setting with a high-pressure intergalactic setting, the stupidity of Defying Gravity really knows no bounds.
  78. I'd like to fall for Castle, but ultimately there's not that much there to love.
  79. Games of make-believe might be useful, but otherwise, playtime is just a dangerous fantasy that gives children the illusion that their lives won't be a living hell when they grow up. Is that really fair? That's why it's so satisfying to watch as the kids realize that they have to work, and work is hard.
  80. 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.
  81. Gossip Girl should be a good ride, at least until all the characters become more and more likable and there's no conflict or tension anymore, and then you have to kill off the weakest one just to get people to pay any attention.
  82. Smart writing, fine cast, cool setting and story, but so far Crusoe can't help feeling a little dorky and dated.
  83. If you are looking for some upscale junk-food--beautifully packaged, nicely performed, delectably plotted, but shot through with hot air and likely to make you queasy by the time you reach the end of the bag--look no further than NBC's soap-mystery Deception, which starts tonight, and is, at least for now, scrumptious.
  84. Did I mention that The League is occasionally pretty funny? Forget that it's basically a Bud Light commercial stretched out to fit a half-hour of broadcast time.
  85. The six-hour film plays like a 9/11 version of "Syriana" or "Traffic," replete with ultra-close-ups and so much shaky, hand-held footage it can feel like being led around the world, half-drunk and half-blind.
  86. These are production issues that will fix themselves in time. Olbermann was back. He jumped right back into the thick of things. And he was very, very good.
  87. Piven seems perfect for the role of Cupid: Sweet, manic and slightly slippery. Cannavale and Paulson, on the other hand, don't come close to having Piven's comic timing, and that's a serious impediment.
  88. This spot-on parody of a procedural drama will have viewers rolling on the floor laughing in no time, from its wildly unrealistic plotlines to the self-serious, melodramatic dialogue that spews forth from the stars' mouths at every turn.
  89. When grenade launchers, automatic weapons and war games substitute for salsa and swing dancing, the results are less wholesome entertainment and more armed-forces propaganda.
  90. Camp is wildly inferior to any number of delightful extant fictions about summer camp,”Wet Hot American Summer,” “Huge,” “Camp Nowhere,” “Salute Your Shorts” and Meg Wolitzer’s new novel “The Interestings” among them, but it has a certain high energy.
  91. The meandering pace of this show feels a little tedious... Still, "Random 1" does offer a more inspiring aftertaste than the saccharine "Scooby-Doo" endings of "Three Wishes."
  92. The main problem here is that the show's producers aren't sure what the dogs and the people should really do together, so they have them put on dorky little skits that even dog people can't appreciate, or they make them participate in obedience challenges like "jump over this" or "sit here very quickly," which many dog lovers would regard with the disdain reserved for toddlers who blurt out random phrases in French.
  93. Pretty, sensible teenage vampires who talk like depressed extras on "Hannah Montana"? Why, Diary? Why?
  94. This show needs a miracle even more than the damaged inhabitants of Imperial Beach do.
  95. Refreshingly, they try to convey their likability by being...likable.
  96. Chicago Fire a predictable but pleasantly familiar throwback that could have been on TV a decade and a half ago.
  97. Basically, the whole thing is stylish and '70s-sexy but also shallow enough to feel like a less funny, hollowed-out combination of "The Wonder Years" and "Boogie Nights."

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