San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

For 961 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 45% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Smash: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 The Night Shift: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 507
  2. Negative: 0 out of 507
507 tv reviews
  1. Sunday's season premiere sustains the quality of the first season, continues the story line in a completely credible way, and then opens up even more possibilities for future plot developments.
  2. They [Rayna and Juliette], and the other characters, are anything but [one-dimensional cliches], thanks not only to the writing but also to the performances of the colorful and capable cast.
  3. At every turn in this heart-wrenching series of films, we are reminded that these men and women are human, no matter how robotic they may seem as they rapidly snap off shots of death and tears.
  4. The performances, the writing, the intelligence that goes into the script and the characters--all reasons for welcoming the start of a new season of The Hour.
  5. The dialogue in the first two episodes of the new season crackles with brilliance.
  6. The entire constellation of impetuous, ambitious, determined and insecure young urbanites in Girls is realigning in the new season, but at no point in the four episodes sent to critics for review do you feel that any of it is artificial.
  7. Self-delusion can grow fairly tiresome, in life and on TV, but what makes Amy sympathetic is that even though she almost convinces us at times that her personal fairy tale actually makes sense, we are always aware of her basic decency and, more important, her vulnerability.
  8. There isn't a better cop show on TV right now than Southland.
  9. Lost has a stellar, varied cast, it is shot beautifully and it surprises more often than it makes you wince or wheeze, which, in the math of action-adventure-sci-fi-thrillers, is a good thing. [22 Sept 2004, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  10. Parade's End is a television masterpiece.
  11. The joy of this series really comes down to two things: lots of action and some babelicious butt-kicking. Not something to be proud of for enjoying it, but true. Pass the chips and ale -- and down in front!
  12. Top of the Lake is Jane Campion and her cast at the top of their game.
  13. Graham Yost, who wrote HBO's "Band of Brothers," creates deeply drawn characters who are revealed slowly over the course of an episode (and season). He's the kind of writer whose vision and touch you can trust over the long haul.
  14. A stunning piece of television about a rogue cop and that dangerous line between effective police work and ethical transgressions. This series is brutal and frank, with little wasted energy or misdirection.
  15. Mamet is very much on his game in Phil Spector, but so is every member of his cast, including Al Pacino as Spector and Helen Mirren as attorney Linda Kenny Baden: Watching these two titans of acting work is half the fun.
  16. The series is so good that it isn't seriously harmed by its few minor flaws. Much of the dialogue is brilliantly written, revelatory and credible.
  17. Don Draper's journey has been and remains maddening, in a very good way as far as what makes a great TV show.
  18. Stunningly great execution.
  19. The art of war takes on new meaning in Rick Beyer's mesmerizing documentary.
  20. Michael Douglas is astonishing.... Damon is just as good, somehow convincing us that he's far younger than he is in real life and artfully keeping us guessing about Thorson's true motivation as he worms his way into Liberace's life.
  21. There are moments in Arrested Development, Fox's new sitcom, that are pants-wettingly funny. There are jokes and scenarios that bend you over in gleeful agony. All of a sudden, with this last new fall series offering -- hope having been beaten out of all of us -- we get one of the most hysterically ridiculous half hours on television.
  22. This is one of maybe six or so elite series on all of television that you should absolutely be watching. Pitch-perfect acting (ensemble stars Jason Bateman and Jessica Walter were robbed of Emmys) and nuanced writing that staggers you with its cleverness and lunacy makes this more than a typical dysfunctional-family sitcom. [3 Nov 2004, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  23. The new season is not only as smart and absurdly funny as ever, but also reflects the rapid changes in how we watch television.
  24. What Judd Apatow failed to accomplish in "Freaks and Geeks," his critically praised but short-lived NBC series about high school, he more than makes up for in Undeclared, a dead-on look at college life that manages to be both hilarious and sweet.
  25. A brilliantly conceived and relentlessly entertaining new drama. [1 Oct 2004]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  26. This is a series that was completely unexpected, and Hall has hard-and-fast rules about what Joan and God can do. She's not making up the story arcs on the fly, which gives confidence that this unusual creation is in good hands. [25 Sept 2003, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  27. At heart, this is a show about good and evil, but sometimes the catch--for both the characters and the audience--is knowing which is which. You won't be able to stop watching.
  28. David's ability to hone in and magnify the most socially awkward moments in life is almost frightening. If this series didn't make you double over in laughter every couple of minutes, it would be a whole other kind of torture.
  29. In every case, there is an abiding feeling for character and authenticity that helps elevate Orange Is the New Black to a new definition of television excellence.
  30. "Weeds" may indeed be the best-written new show of the year so far, but the performances are superb as well.
  31. None of its quirky charm and tone-shifting mix of comedy and drama has lagged since we last witnessed Nancy's precarious situation.
  32. Laden with laugh-out-loud moments. ... Just as "Curb Your Enthusiasm" so boldly and brilliantly attacks taboo subjects, so does "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," though the humor is spread from one clueless, self-centered ass to four, clueless, self-centered slackers. [4 Aug 2005]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  33. "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" has lost none of its giddy sharp edges. [28 Jun 2006]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  34. The most ambitious storytelling series on television. ... "The Wire" is the best show on HBO, which means it's the best show on television, period. If you want in on it, even if you missed the first go-around, you'll find a way to make sense of it all.
  35. This is a series that goes beyond critical darling. "The Wire" is better than its own hype. If you don't watch the show, it's your fault, your loss.
  36. For those unbowed by the lack of formula, this second season of "The Office" has rewards even greater than the first. The series is both funnier and darker -- much darker -- than last season.
  37. The funniest thing you're likely to see all year.
  38. Quite possibly the finest closing chapter ever for a TV series.
  39. The show succeeds by spreading out the story lines. By the second episode, everyone is surprisingly well developed.
  40. Broadchurch is a stunning achievement in great writing and powerful acting.
  41. The PBS film gives us greater perspective and insight, probing the conflicted attitudes toward civil rights in the Kennedy administration, and detailing the last-minute panic over Lewis' speech.
  42. The highlights of Wednesday's season premiere are the return of the anger translator and an insanely brilliant take-off on the film version of "Les Miserables," which is so beautifully detailed, it may actually take you a second to realize it is a satire and the song lyrics aren't what you think they are.
  43. You think you know this situation and how it will turn out, but there are surprise, yet entirely credible, twists throughout Monday's episode.
  44. [The Crazy Ones and The Michael J. Fox Show] have great, always likable stars heading up solid ensemble casts in well-written and mostly plausible shows. Who could ask for anything more?
  45. [The Crazy Ones and The Michael J. Fox Show] have great, always likable stars heading up solid ensemble casts in well-written and mostly plausible shows. Who could ask for anything more?
  46. The performances, nurtured by such A-list directors as Michael Apted and John Madden, are extraordinary. There isn't a clinker in the bunch.
  47. But this much is true: Deadwood is cocksure brilliant. David Milch, who put the glory into "NYPD Blue," is clearly and defiantly uninterested in political correctness. He just wants to make a great Western for TV. In that, he's succeeded. [4 Mar 2005, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  48. While some critics have nearly thrown themselves in front of a train to get people to watch Friday Night Lights, bending and bruising the language in praise of it, the truth is that a good argument could be made for FNL being perhaps the best drama on broadcast television. [5 Oct 2007]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  49. All of this would be so much Hollywood melodrama were it not for a superb script and stunning performances by West and Carter.
  50. Every enlightening, poignant or funny word is true in the documentary airing Monday on HBO. The fact that it is so funny eventually becomes strangely sad, which makes the film thoroughly enjoyable but also irresistibly provocative.
  51. There is more than enough to captivate us, and perhaps disturb us as well, in these eight stunningly provocative episodes.
  52. There is a brilliant mix of poignancy and hilarity in Getting On, which is why it all works so well.
  53. The animation, overseen by art director James McDermott, is fresh, colorful and as wacky as the script.
  54. The period details are exquisite, aside from a couple of stray modernisms that wander into the dialogue here and there.... But the brilliance of the series is the balancing act of the scripts, by Darabont and Buntin, executed with astonishing precision between the past and the modern version of the past.
  55. Lapine's direction is almost the star of Six by Sondheim. Not only has he used the six songs to illuminate the composer's life, he organizes years and years of interviews as if they are an ongoing conversation--which, in many ways, they are. They are the monograph of the life and art of a singular man, perfectly assembled, bit by bit, piece by piece.
  56. The dialogue is rich, colorful and provocative, adding to the gothic sensibilities of the series. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga makes great use of the Louisiana location, giving it as much importance to the story as the characters of Cohle and Hart. All the performances are superb, but those of McConaughey and Harrelson are in a class by themselves.
  57. Klondike grabs you with terrific performances, an unusually rich script, magnificently sweeping visuals of jagged mountains overlooking valleys of ice and snow, and such a convincing attention to period detail, you'll believe you're back in Dawson City at the end of the 19th century.
  58. The performances are even better than in previous years, with brand new but fully credible sides of Holmes’ and Watson’s characters. And the writing, by Moffat and Gatiss, is in a league by itself.
  59. The sweep of Rescue Me is far-reaching, and it's fearless in trying to break new ground in an old genre.
  60. But this is what a great TV series does -- it mines difficult emotional ground. It's willfully complex, putting popularity at risk. It avoids convention and takes irregular dramatic steps. With that in mind, watch Rescue Me at your own risk.
  61. It never shrinks from the task of surpassing its own brilliance. Even when it fails in its attempt to knock you out, Rescue Me keeps swinging, and that engenders a whole lot of admiration in a medium choking on its own safety.
  62. Rescue Me may ask a lot of its viewers, but it's always a leap worth taking, and well rewarded. [13 June 2007, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  63. As good as Rome is -- and it's an epic, multilayered thing of beauty -- it's still not on the level of "The Sopranos" or "The Wire" or "Deadwood." That's almost an unfair comparison, but it's also true. On the other hand, "Rome" unfolds like a marvelously shot big-screen movie, each scene (filmed on location in Italy) dripping with money well spent and a meticulous grandeur that rewards you for paying extra for HBO.
  64. All of the elements that made it must-see last year are working at full throttle in season two, which kicks off Wednesday night: intrigue, deception, sex, duplicity, spy vs. spy stuff and, most of all, irony.
  65. At least the first episode of the new Cosmos is terrific. And if the other 12 episodes are as good, the series will serve as a valuable continuation of Sagan's legacy.
  66. Every performance is terrific.... While these characters are written and performed as over the top, the show also celebrates the subtle underplaying that goes into making Big Head and Gilfoyle so memorable. That variety of tone is another way in which Silicon Valley sets itself apart from most other half-hour comedies.
  67. Game of Thrones isn't afraid of change: It's the lifeblood of the series, and just one of the reasons we keep watching.
  68. The writing, by Weiner, direction by Scott Hornbacher and performances are, of course, top notch.
  69. As good as it was last year, it's off to an even better start in its sophomore year.
  70. Yes, the show benefits from superb performances, from series regulars, as well as guest stars like Sarah Silverman and Victor Garber. But it's the writing that puts Louie on the highest possible level of comedy. There simply is no better-written comedy on TV today.
  71. Making a film is kind of a nightmare, but a riveting one. And Project Greenlight is in itself a riveting documentary. It's got a hero, it's got stars, it's got drama. In 12 parts, we'll find out if there's a happy ending.
  72. In the Flesh is of course a complex and thought-provoking allegory.
  73. It is emotionally raw, harrowing, and a thing of such singular horrific beauty, it will move you, exhaust you and, almost paradoxically, thrill you at the heights television drama can attain.
  74. Through the six episodes of the second season made available to critics, it's clear that Orange is not only as great as it was the first season, but arguably even better.... It's terrific.
  75. The writing is superb and painfully funny, while the cast is terrific.
  76. The episode is about making Clara, and the audience, feel at home with the new Doctor. She does, and we do.
  77. The three Roosevelts come back to memorable life in Burns' epic through archival footage, some of which has been seen before in other Burns' films, and insightful commentary from historians and writers such as Jon Meacham, Doris Kearns Goodwin, David McCullough, Blanche Wiesen Cook, William Leuchtenberg, and others.
  78. The 10-episode series, available for streaming on Amazon Prime on Friday, is irresistibly bingeable and even more than “Alpha House,” signals Amazon’s intention to be a player in the streaming content game.
  79. As much as the script, Reiner’s direction makes both stories seem oxymoronically unique and distinct at the same time. The performances are extraordinary, as they must be to complete the process of retelling a seemingly similar story.
  80. In addition to electrifying footage from a number of live concerts, including the famous “T.A.M.I. Show” in which Brown upstaged the Rolling Stones (the film’s producer denies that was the case), Mr. Dynamite gives us fascinating insight into the evolution of Brown’s music.
  81. What makes Aisling Walsh’s film must-watch, however, is Tom Hollander’s performance as the great Welsh poet.
  82. Olive Kitteridge explores Tolstoy’s notion that every family is unhappy in its own way, making the particular unhappiness of the Kitteridges universal through a magical combination of great direction, writing and performances. You’ll not soon forget Olive Kitteridge, the woman or the mini-series.
  83. The performances are superb at every level, with each actor rising to the challenge of revealing previously unrealized aspects of his or her character. Fortunately, the cast is blessed with a beautifully nuanced script from the Williams brothers.
  84. The film is loaded with useful and accurately scary information about what sleep deprivation is doing to us. It’s an eye-opener, but if you pay attention, it may not keep you up at night.
  85. With cinematographer Sophia Constantinou, and a haunting musical score by Laura Karpman and Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum, Kates has created a fact-based profile, but with boldly evocative impressionist strokes that mirror the complexity of Sontag’s life and career.
  86. The series reflects the youth and intelligence of its writer and succeeds by quickly getting viewers past what would seem an insurmountable obstacle -- caring about what happens to rich white kids in Orange County.
  87. A very original, extremely well-acted and complexly written drama.
  88. A winning, extremely funny new sitcom.
  89. "Friday Night Lights" is not good. It's great.
  90. What helps separate "The Nine" from others in this season's crowded field are stellar performances throughout and a steady, sure hand in the pilot.
  91. Whitechapel may not reinvent the police procedural, but it's great fun, and the third episode is a heart-stopping race against time.
  92. While [Will] Smith is an easy interview because of his star wattage and engaging personality, the conversation between the two men was just that. A conversation. The kind of conversational interview Johnny Carson used to do, where the host in genuinely interested in listening to his guest as well as being funny.
  93. It was a very funny show, and while there are expected similarities with “The Daily Show,” Oliver’s personality sets the HBO show apart.
  94. Deschanel, who's believable either serious or perplexed -- and adorable in her quirkiness -- immediately becomes this series' most important ingredient.
  95. Ackles and Padalecki are good-looking, yes, get to drive a '67 Chevy and will undoubtedly run into a lot of really hot women in peril, but "Supernatural" works. It's just serious enough, just hip enough and, as advertised, more scary than imagined.
  96. Dinklage is particularly good here and the whole idea of trying to hide from the public the fact we've been invaded is intriguing fare.
  97. The jaded will have a field day, but so what? In the end, if lives are changed like they are on "Three Wishes" and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," then who cares what corporate names are flashed or how many manufactured "reveals" there are?
  98. It's a whole lot better than the premise on paper, and though initially it takes a bit to warm to Davis.
  99. Sometimes formula done entertainingly is just what the country wants to eat.
  100. "Thief" doesn't levitate with genre-busting genius, but it is very FX, which means it's very real and well executed, a series that doesn't pander.

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