San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

For 1,108 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 1.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Weeds: Season 4
Lowest review score: 0 Z Nation: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 596
  2. Negative: 0 out of 596
596 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. Maron is his own acerbic, sad-sack self, and his new show is worth a look.
  3. It's a strong cast, and Byrne and Wiest continue to deliver incredibly mannered and minutely shaded performances.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. The heart of “Kareem” is, of course, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He sits down for an interview and tells his story, openly and without any of the trademark reticence.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. In the end, the very droll and compelling Billy & Billie is much more than just a case of sibling revelry.
  19. Don't try too hard to make sense of it: Covert Affairs is simply--and simple--fun.
  20. "Vanished" is indeed compelling. And it is without question Fox's best fall offering (though, having seen all its shows, that praise is not as high as you might expect).
  21. The strength of the show is that it reflects the truth that the justice system was created and is administered by men and women, who have complicated thoughts and points of view, and who may mean well, or be blinded by their own frailty and ambition.
  22. There is much more to the story than the graphic details of the invasion and whether the police could have intervened earlier. The case became a pivotal issue in the debate over the death penalty in Connecticut and that's a big part of the film.
  23. Sometimes formula done entertainingly is just what the country wants to eat.
  24. It may not have the production values of those shows [The Tudors or The Borgias], but it does have an Irons, who, along with the rest of the cast, makes The White Queen an entertaining romp through a complicated and fascinating period of English history.
  25. Both "The Godfather" and Tyrant are, at heart, about family dynamics. As the Al-Fayeed story evolves beyond Tuesday's pilot, that fact becomes clearer.
  26. Two things are clear from the Mindy pilot: First, that the writers need to do some work to make the secondary characters less of a cliche, and, second, that Kaling has the stuff to go the distance.
  27. The show has enough originality and sheer wackiness to maintain viewer interest, not to mention ridiculous effects that are anything but special.
  28. In a world that has exploded with instantaneously accessible information, television news is hard-pressed to figure out how to keep up. It takes a show like Vice to make other news magazine shows seem like they belong in a TV antiques shop.
  29. "Ugly Betty" is worth checking out. It retains a charm that far outstrips expectations. And Ferrera's performances are small wonders to behold.
  30. The music is effective without being especially memorable. You may not leave your living room humming any of it, but you’ll still be chuckling over some of the jokes in the lyrics, many centered on puns, childish humor and groan-inducing obviousness.
  31. As promising as the early episodes in Season 2 are, the over-the-top nature of "Tara" remains.
  32. One of the many smart things about Covert Affairs is that the writers have always dangled Annie and Auggie's romantic possibilities before us, but without detracting from the international intrigue that remains the show's primary focus.
  33. The Americans benefits from convincing performances by the cast, but Weisberg's concept and writing in the first two episodes make the show much more than "just" a spy thriller.
  34. "Andy Barker, P.I." is a joyous, ridiculous, warm, affecting and silly comedy that is tone specific (read: Not everybody is going to get the vibe, and thus the jokes).
  35. Even a TV take on the classic Victorian-era penny dreadful has to work to suspend our disbelief, and Showtime's series does that through solid performances by most of the cast, appropriately lurid special effects and a competent, albeit humorless, script.
  36. A fairly promising new show with a lot of humor, solid performances, a snappily written script.
  37. For now, though, the credibility issues don't matter that much because we're more interested in the characters, who may not be all that credibly created themselves, but who are informed by Hitchcock's 1960 masterpiece.
  38. Who knew that the mom in "Spy Kids" would get one of the best female character roles on TV and helm one of the season's biggest dramatic surprises.
  39. Grantchester is a period piece, but it’s fascinating to view it through a contemporary lens. Daisy Coulam’s adaptation is superb: She fleshes out the main characters with a deft hand, to be sure, but takes her time, enabling us to get to know Chambers as we would a new acquaintance.
  40. Being Human works better than it should because of skillful writing, often laced with wry humor, and the very deep well of plot possibilities in the idea that three "monsters," as they call themselves, can pass for "human."
  41. It feels like a detective movie or TV show from another era.
  42. The show is funny enough, although you might wonder where it would go in a second season, but here's the dirty little secret of Mixology: It's intelligent and poignant as well as being entertaining.
  43. In what must be considered something of a stunner on several levels, Two and a Half Men, a new sitcom, is actually funny.
  44. Like "The Cosby Show," to which it inevitably will be compared, Black-ish balances credible family situations with universally appealing comedy.
  45. Mullally is certainly another reason to watch the show, but her presence also works to solve another problem: cast dynamics.
  46. The casting on Southland is a plus and so is Biderman's intent not to make it easy for viewers to succumb to "pilotitis."
  47. Dirty Sexy Money is compelling even when it's not, funny when you're not quite sure it should be, ridiculous in the strangest spots and ultimately addictive if, for no other reason, you want to watch more episodes to find out what kind of beast it is.
  48. The pilot, directed by Alexander Payne ("Sideways"), is superb, and the first handful of episodes (there are 10 in the season), prove that the writing is consistently strong, the characters multidimensional and the tone assured and surprising in its depth.
  49. 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?
  50. Missing may be 2 percent inspiration and 98 percent perspiration with all of its action scenes, but it's fun to watch. Judd classes up the joint nicely.
  51. The Borgias, created by filmmaker Neil Jordan ("The Crying Game"), is the better of the two [The other is "Camelot"], thanks largely to Irons, a strong supporting cast and sophisticated production values.
  52. The writing is juvenile, hormonal and often pretty dang funny.
  53. Their unwavering obliviousness to what may be happening in the world actually makes their accidental commentary on current events even funnier.
  54. The Riches is gloriously inventive, daring and provocative, with excellent performances.
  55. The humor is one reason the show works, and the cast, especially Kemper, is the other.
  56. If you can get past the shortcuts that series like this have to take (everything happens too effortlessly, there's excessive exposition, etc.), there's an enormous likability factor in play, and it makes you want to watch it (without much mental effort) the following 13 weeks.
  57. Once you surrender to the surrealism, the comedy works, but in the long run, what makes the show itself work is the cast, especially Baruchel and Andre.
  58. Kinnear is great in the role because he doesn’t look like a loser--quite the opposite--and that’s important.... Perhaps because this is the pilot, most of the episode is devoted to showing Keegan screwing up and only a few afterthought scenes focus on Torrant’s case. In order to succeed from week to week, the series needs more than just a lot of figurative pratfalls.
  59. It opens into a fairly entertaining ensemble show about beautiful, bright people.
  60. Adams and Macht are terrific, with the former loosening up quite considerably this year as Mike....Torres is cool, sexy and commanding as Jessica, and Markle, Hoffman and Rafferty contribute greatly to the energy of the show's core ensemble.
  61. The two episodes sent to critics aren’t perfect, but their flaws (pompous introductory narration, a weak performance by Thurman, a handful of telegraphed cliches in the plot) are easily overlooked. Other performances, especially those of Quinto and Sarsgaard, are stunning in this provocative and surprisingly literate character-driven drama.
  62. Manhunt may not have the thrills and chills of a Hollywood feature film about the raid on bin Laden's compound, but you'll come away from a viewing of the film knowing that there is much more to covert operations than midnight raids and state-of-the-art electronic surveillance.
  63. The plot is intricate and compelling, the characters magnetic and mysterious at the same time.
  64. If you're a viewer into quick and easy answers and seek resolution at the 59-minute mark, this is probably not your show. But if you're interested in the notion that post-9/11 paranoia is justified in ways we haven't even realized (and perhaps it would be too chilling if we did), and you have a fundamental distrust of government doings, Rubicon could be your new mental puzzle.
  65. McKellen and Jacobi, who are, of course, giants of their profession, are clearly having a lark with Vicious, and you'd be foolish not to want in on the fun.
  66. A nicely layered new 10-episode dramedy.
  67. The performance quality of the show is matched only by the sharpness of the writing.
  68. "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.
  69. Project Runway is entertaining and likable on so many levels that it's hard to resist.
  70. The series' historic recreations are convincing, for the most part, although at times, the History Channel can't help itself and falls back into some of it cheesier bad habits.
  71. Several recent documentaries have tried to help the rest of the world understand the realities of being transgender, but, ironically, one of the better efforts does it well in spite of the fact that it focuses on the offspring of one of the most famous couples in pop culture.
  72. Once Upon a Time is both family-friendly and smart enough to win viewers of any age and level of sophistication.
  73. The cast is mostly terrific, of course, including Mare Winningham as an unhinged hotel maid. The exception, unfortunately, is Lady Gaga.
  74. Just enough geeky insider stuff to keep the fan-boys from grousing too much, but an even bigger portion of well-written action, drama, humor and intricate plot details to hook viewers who gave up comic books before Steve Canyon was grounded.
  75. New characters, new rivalry, same old high quality.
  76. Media Rights Capital, an independent production company, took an offbeat idea and made it work surprisingly well.
  77. Sinbad is uncomplicated and unpretentious fun.
  78. Bell is likely to smooth over the minor bumps in coming shows, but make no mistake: Totally Biased isn't likely to look much like "The Colbert Report" or "The Daily Show."
  79. Finding Carter stands out by avoiding the obvious.... The cast is uniformly good and the younger actors are notably credible as real teenagers--a rarity in many TV shows. Prescott is terrific.
  80. This is an everyman series, and James knows just how to sell that to the masses. The writing is sharp, and the oddball fringe characters (particularly Patton Oswalt) flesh out the show.
  81. The entire cast is superb, and the actors seem comfortable in the groove the show has cut for itself. The writing is consistently sharp and focused. Most important, however, it has just the right sprinkling of obnoxiousness and cuteness.
  82. All in all, it's astounding how many plot elements can be packed into 90 or so minutes and how well all of them can be resolved in the hands of a competent writer like Stephen Churchett.
  83. You know exactly what you’ll get from creator Barbara Adler within five minutes, and that’s not bad at all.
  84. As difficult as some of the imagery in the film is, it's impossible to look away and maybe just as impossible not to learn something about elephants and about ourselves.
  85. With a cast this big, though, and plots this complicated, it can be a challenge to keep up. Then again, if you're willing to do the work, it more than pays off.
  86. Funny, fearless, down to earth and informative, Monaghan makes a great host and guide and gives us a new respect and appreciation for nature's wild things--from a very safe distance.
  87. [Looking was] filmed entirely in the Bay Area, which is a big part of why the story rings so true. The other parts are the delicately detailed direction by Haigh and the pitch-perfect performances of the cast. All of these elements work together to present a convincing, multidimensional portrayal not only of contemporary gay life but also of contemporary life in general.
  88. It's funny and oddly touching.
  89. The result is not only that the show is funny, but that we also actually like both June and Chloe.
  90. If the first half of the film seems slightly more engaging than the second, it’s because it has more music. Queen Latifah should be a slam dunk for an Emmy nomination for playing Bessie, but she deserves even more praise for helping contemporary audiences understand the power of Bessie’s blues.
  91. BFF takes a less than inventive situation and turns it into something close to sitcom gold, thanks to the fact that creators Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham have taken the time to write believable characters saying legitimately funny things.
  92. The 13-episode series, created by Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris, is simply irresistible, mostly because Fonda and Tomlin are irresistible.
  93. Unlike other documentaries, Gettysburg is short on archival still photography from the battlefield, but that's because, for once, it isn't needed. The re-enactments are dramatic and horrifically convincing all by themselves.
  94. As in "Sunny," they are almost-lovable losers, and that's a formula FX is now perfecting.
  95. Both individually and when they play off each other, Braugher and Samberg are reason enough to tune in to Brooklyn Nine Nine.
  96. Skies has enough going for it to appeal even to those who don't think they like sci-fi.
  97. "Crank Yankers" is far better than expected. Not everything works -- remember, there's a lot of juvenile stuff here and bits where you'll roll your eyes -- but sometimes even the stupidest setup becomes hilarious merely by the graciousness of the person being duped on the other end of the line.
  98. The humor is sly and more thoroughly integrated into the plot and characterizations than we’re used to in most sitcoms.... Six episodes just don’t seem enough.
  99. It definitely has its moments.
  100. Logue and Raymond-James are, straight out of the gate, the two most believable and funny buddies you'll see on the screen.

Top Trailers