San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

For 1,065 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 Orange is the New Black: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Women's Murder Club: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 570
  2. Negative: 0 out of 570
570 tv reviews
  1. The art of war takes on new meaning in Rick Beyer's mesmerizing documentary.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The writing and acting are hit out of the ballpark on this one, and that's not a vibe you pick up out of nowhere.
  5. 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.
  6. The new documentary is one of the best and most far-reaching films about the modern women's movement.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. There are a couple of bush-league moments in the show....[But]those are minor quibbles, made even more insignificant by the extraordinary performances of Danes, Lewis, Patinkin and Baccarin.
  10. The episode is about making Clara, and the audience, feel at home with the new Doctor. She does, and we do.
  11. This series has always handled the duality of his character with masterful strokes. And it has done viewers a favor by quickly setting up the seasonlong scenario.
  12. Quite possibly the finest closing chapter ever for a TV series.
  13. American Odyssey is rooted in current events, which provides immediate credibility to the series. But like “Homeland,” “Person of Interest” and other shows, it also makes effective use of the post-9/11 air of wariness that wafts through American society. Conspiracy buffs will be in heaven watching American Odyssey, but the rest of us will just be completely hooked.
  14. All of this would be so much Hollywood melodrama were it not for a superb script and stunning performances by West and Carter.
  15. 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.
  16. "Friday Night Lights" is not good. It's great.
  17. A very original, extremely well-acted and complexly written drama.
  18. 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.
  19. A winning, extremely funny new sitcom.
  20. If you're thinking that "TV Funhouse" makes "South Park" look like "Masterpiece Theatre," well, you're pretty close. The laughs here often are scatological, sexual or just plain childish and silly. Which, of course, is the whole reason for watching.
  21. A superb little series. ... The acting and writing is top-notch. There's a witty undertone that's much appreciated and enough pop culture asides to keep you going through the arcane structure.
  22. Whitechapel may not reinvent the police procedural, but it's great fun, and the third episode is a heart-stopping race against time.
  23. It was a very funny show, and while there are expected similarities with “The Daily Show,” Oliver’s personality sets the HBO show apart.
  24. 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.
  25. Right now it's an action-packed drama that entertains with ease. That's plenty good enough.
  26. The film's staccato pace and abbreviation-heavy dialogue follow live webcam chats from screen to screen, cutting back and forth from one character to another and only minimally showing us their lives when the webcam is shut off.
  27. The second season is to explore Ryan's character and the vulnerabilities that enable him to see Wilfred as a biped.
  28. Most of the performances are very good and some are thrilling, particularly Kline's Jacques, whom he imbues with great world-weary nobility.
  29. An argument could be made that so much attention to the history-making World Series runs of both of their favorite teams - which happened after the original documentary aired - is excessive, particularly with the Yankees. But that's a minor quibble in an otherwise superb, informative account.
  30. Fans were rightly worried when Harmon was canned, but at least the first two shows of the new season follow his crazy-quilt template.
  31. It’s pretty smart and doubly engaging.
  32. The truth is, it takes a very big man to laugh at himself, and a very good actor to get us laughing along with him as well.
  33. The film is both dramatically viable and instructive. Yes, we learn about science, but perhaps more important, we also learn about standing your ground no matter what challenges you face.
  34. The first two episodes of Dallas 2.0, the TNT reboot of the classic nighttime soap, have all the fixin's for a juicy second season.
  35. The critical success of the original “Returned,” as well as brainier zombie shows such as BBC America’s “In the Flesh,” has spawned other American knockoffs, such as ABC’s “Resurrection,” the kind of series that reminds us that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but only if it’s done as well as A&E’s The Returned.
  36. It takes special skill to write and enact a character like Eliot, someone with psychological tics.... Mr. Robot and Malek get it more than right. Let’s hope Eliot doesn’t get lost in a cliched crowd beyond Wednesday’s premiere.
  37. Rhys and Whittaker are terrific and the two big reasons to watch the series.... Speaking of assets, credibility of the story is nicely enhanced by muted cinematography and art direction, emphasizing that catching spies is done by nondescript men and women who lead seemingly normal lives and work in under-decorated offices deciphering codes and other information.
  38. Although there were rough patches, The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore planted its own flag with Monday night’s premiere and is a solid addition to the late-night stew.
  39. ABC’s new series, The Astronaut Wives Club, can’t make up its mind if it wants to be a serious, nuanced fact-based drama about the wives of the Mercury Seven astronauts, or “The Real Housewives of Cape Canaveral.” Fortunately, there’s enough legitimate drama in the show, premiering Thursday, to counterbalance its cheaper moments.
  40. CBS’ Zoo has more than enough edge-of-your-seat drama to make it feel like the television equivalent of great summer beach reading.
  41. Most of the performances are superb, beginning with Tennant, of course. He is so well cast and skilled that he's able to sustain credibility despite some of the gaps in the script.
  42. It’s great writing with a savvy juxtaposition of comedy and sometimes ugly everyday real life.
  43. The workaday mysteries of Jackie and the phenomenal performance of Falco are more than enough to hold down the series while the rest of the characters find their niche.
  44. Nothing gets lost in translation in Deutschland 83, especially the timeless human drama.
  45. Kaufman's film, despite some flaws, captures the intensity of their story and pulls us in with the irresistible force of a great, doomed love story.
  46. There are moments when events become too pat or get too cute. Occasionally the show mysteriously falls into a rut of old cop-show cliches. But those times are few, fading from memory because there's enough potential and quality elsewhere to make you forgive and forget.
  47. Some may criticize Jarecki’s rigidly amoral documentary style, but even if he and co-producer Smerling don’t skew their filmmaking to underscore the guilt of their subjects, the facts, as they say, speak for themselves. When the facts are as extraordinary as they are in The Jinx, it’s impossible not to listen.
  48. One thing is certain -- Kathryn Morris is going to be a star. Whether her starring vehicle ever catches up to or captures her potential is another thing.
  49. It's all light, good fun. Yes, there's a heavy dose of syrup, but Cannavale should be able to cut that to satisfactory levels. Paulson is perfect as the love guru who believes in rationality while Cupid believes in passion.
  50. Screenwriter Amanda Coe is to be credited not only for developing such rich characterizations, but also for the delicacy of the show's satiric point of view.
  51. Schwartz's workmanlike film nonetheless gives us a detailed portrait of the man as well as the activist.
  52. Look, he's got a good heart, and with a few more comic moments this show could fly.
  53. The documentary look is engaging, and Lilley's wildly over-the-top performance as three distinct characters is made all the more funny as it clashes against the reserved nature of the nonactors.
  54. Fans can read into it whatever they want, but the series' greatest strength is the vampire quality of accepting fate and reveling in it.
  55. The inevitable and believable intersection of "old" and "new" musical theater adds real life and renewed potential to Smash.
  56. At least the ambitious pilot makes it clear that the show has a vitality and passion sadly lacking in a lot of other fall offerings.
  57. The writing is sharp, funny, surprising and also very true to the characters Star has created. As funny as it is, it’s actually more mature than the writing on “Sex and the City.”
  58. Despite the title, Cougar Town seems more female centric, which is key to ABC's audience, and it's a little more formulaic than "Modern Family," but both are welcome new sitcoms.
  59. Loss is the birthright of every life, and no one can refuse it. Yet we go on, buoyed by hope and love. Not exactly an original message, but it is one that Midwife delivers convincingly.
  60. The series, created by Soo Hugh and premiering Monday, has all the right pieces working together to make a decent show. It becomes slightly over-plotted by the third episode, but nothing that significantly diminishes its power to hold our interest.
  61. Hit & Miss doesn't take long to convince us that its characters and plot are not only possible, but credible and, dare I say, touching.
  62. The Fighting Season, a six-part documentary produced by Ricky Schroder is as gripping as a very good feature film, but better because it’s all very real.
  63. What NBC has managed to do with The Office is make something true to the original while expanding on the vision and completely avoiding the dour stupidity of the current American sitcom. That, in case you haven't figured it out yet, is nearly miraculous.
  64. Like "Sex and the City" - oh, no, not that comparison - the half hour flies by and you realize that the human relationships depicted here are interesting and worth mining and Belle's life choices are entertaining.
  65. The show is great fun, and clearly the star herself is having fun in the lead roles.
  66. It's a big soapy epic that allows you to turn off your brain late at night, but it ultimately carries no gravitas, minority hiring or not. As long as we're clear on that, there's nothing wrong for applauding what the series gets right, given the constraints of the genre.
  67. "Heroes" may be the dark horse among this year's serialized dramas. It also might be a dud down the road. Because after two episodes, it's not even remotely clear what these "special" ordinary people are capable of.
  68. Season 6 proves that the best part of "24" is its ability to make your pulse race as you sit slack jawed in front of the bastard machine mumbling, "They didn't just do that, did they?"
  69. Although Wolf Hall does require an unusual amount of work on the viewer’s part, as well as the patience of, well, a saint, the performances and how they eventually elucidate the theme of what power can do to a man and a nation when it becomes too personal, make it mostly but belatedly worthwhile.
  70. Even if it isn't the scariest series ever, Horror Story still has tasty performances by several characters, chief among them Lange and Conroy.
  71. History aside, Reign, created by Laurie McCarthy and Stephanie SenGupta, is not only engaging but also pretty classy for a CW production.
  72. Hannibal moves at a snail's pace to build tension. At the same time, there's an obvious attempt to counter its inertia with a lot of very intrusive soundtrack music.... Fortunately, Dancy's performance is terrific and more than enough to maintain our interest, with or without elks.
  73. While I liked Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD well enough when it began, I got tired of it after a while because it became repetitive. I have a feeling I’ll stick around longer with Carter, largely because of the nifty period details, the character development and the performances.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Composed of extraordinary source footage, most entirely unseen before, that combines newsreels, U.S. and British television shows, home movies and hundreds of rare photographs blended with the requisite talking-head interviews.
  74. 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.
  75. More emotional, equally gripping, "CSI: N.Y." proves that with care you can successfully copy yourself across the TV schedule. [21 Sep 2004]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  76. Ben Queen’s sitcom is irresistible.
  77. Right out of the gate, the series is surprisingly solid. What it ultimately becomes bears watching.
  78. The good news is that State of Mind is surprisingly engaging and Taylor continues to be wonderful in just about any role she plays. This is a series that bears watching.
  79. The strength of his film is that he leaves it to us to make our own decisions about Barnes and the other death row inmates.
  80. The show is nicely packaged and every performance is a knockout, including Troy Garity as Jason, Spencer’s former agent who still makes dreams real for current NFL players. In another context, he’d be named Mephistopheles.
  81. It has real possibilities, but since the “My Fair Lady” climax is repurposed in the pilot, it’s unclear where the relationship will go.
  82. They bring David himself on as a kind of nudge to the ribs, as if to say, "Of course we know we're ripping off Larry's show." But what the hey? David's clearly in on the joke and is well paired with Reiser as the two of them riff off each other over lunch.
  83. If the series were just about Breeanna looking for her biological father, it would be passably interesting. But her search also sheds light on a variety of issues that speak eloquently about the nature of a modern family.
  84. If the ambition of the pilot continues, American television may get another remake right. We'll have our first hint this next week. In the meantime, enjoy the pilot.
  85. Maron is his own acerbic, sad-sack self, and his new show is worth a look.
  86. It's a strong cast, and Byrne and Wiest continue to deliver incredibly mannered and minutely shaded performances.
  87. The promise that Trump will be Trump is fulfilled on "The Apprentice" -- he is funny bossing these 16 people around. And there are worse things on television than watching a guy with two advanced degrees -- an M.D. and an MBA -- make a complete ass of himself trying to sell lemonade to tourists. [7 Jan 2004]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  88. There are more questions than answers in the pilot of Extant, which, in this case, is a good thing. The seeds of dramatic conflict have been planted, and we're going to come back the next week to see how all of this plays out.
  89. What was true about the first season holds for the second: Regardless of the links between characters and their stories, Full Circle never feels claustrophobic or insular. Instead, the experience of watching the series becomes counterintuitively universal, the more we get to know these flawed and complicated characters.
  90. There's a slight but perceptible stylistic change that makes it less funny, even though it's still insane and inspired and original. [12 Sep 2007]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  91. Occasional PSA breaks aside, Asylum is all in great and occasionally gory fun, and the cast members deliver the over-the-top dialogue with a heaping topping of relish.
  92. Lights Out may not reach the level of "The Sopranos," but it has enough going for it to at least earn a shot at the title.
  93. Broke is rich with laughs, warmth and credibility. The performances by the two lead actresses are instantly winning, both individually and as they play off each other.
  94. He holds forth telling wonderful stories about his childhood, about working as a "tummler" at Grossinger's, what it was like working with Sid Caesar and his enduring love for Gene Wilder, whose role in "Blazing Saddles" initially went to Gig Young, in between clips from too few of his many great films and TV work.
  95. This is pure comedy, with no hidden social agendas, no thinly disguised commentary on human behavior--nothing at all of much importance, except a whole lot of laughs.
  96. As credible as the film is, what isn’t always clear is why we should care if people want to believe in the Hubbard gospel, or give the church wads of cash each time they want to reach a new clarity level.
  97. The filmmakers do a very good job keeping all the separate plates spinning for six hours, although, to be honest, the show virtually cries out for a sequel focusing more thoroughly on modern times.
  98. Other episodes seem fairly standard fare, entertaining and involving enough on their own, but lacking the offbeat quirkiness of maple syrup drownings. If the “straightforward” episodes weren’t so well written and directed, this could be a problem of consistency, but as it is, the series is fun and only slightly flawed.
  99. Clear History single-handedly rehabilitates the word "derivative," as long as the source material you're reworking is anything Larry David writes and stars in.

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