San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

For 1,273 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 1.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Casual: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Killer Instinct: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 696
  2. Negative: 0 out of 696
696 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. Hawley’s writing is vivid, sardonic, smart, and brilliantly deadpan, in keeping with the tone of the original “Fargo” movie. His characterizations are deft, nicely nuanced and compelling, offering more than enough for the actors to work with. Danson feels a little out of place, but he may grow into his role. Culkin, Garrett, Smart, Plemons, Dunst and Donovan are outstanding.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Schwartz's workmanlike film nonetheless gives us a detailed portrait of the man as well as the activist.
  6. Look, he's got a good heart, and with a few more comic moments this show could fly.
  7. 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.
  8. Fans can read into it whatever they want, but the series' greatest strength is the vampire quality of accepting fate and reveling in it.
  9. The inevitable and believable intersection of "old" and "new" musical theater adds real life and renewed potential to Smash.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.”
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. The deadpan approach only enhances the delicious off the wall comedy of Animals. The series is batty and brilliant as it turns the whole notion of anthropomorphic cartoon animals on its fuzzy ear.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. The show is great fun, and clearly the star herself is having fun in the lead roles.
  21. 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.
  22. "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.
  23. 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?"
  24. 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.
  25. Even if it isn't the scariest series ever, Horror Story still has tasty performances by several characters, chief among them Lange and Conroy.
  26. History aside, Reign, created by Laurie McCarthy and Stephanie SenGupta, is not only engaging but also pretty classy for a CW production.
  27. The mysteries at the respective centers of the two episodes made available to critics are engaging enough, but it’s the interplay among Doyle, Houdini and Stratton that holds our interest.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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
  32. Ben Queen’s sitcom is irresistible.
  33. The 13-episode series may be imitative, but it’s well plotted, acted and directed. Bew is solid in the title role as is Speleers who, despite his odd Ed Grimley haircut, is every bit the petty, envious and devious villain you’d want Beowulf to face.
  34. Right out of the gate, the series is surprisingly solid. What it ultimately becomes bears watching.
  35. There’s little doubt that Shades of Blue would not stand out from the other TV cop shows were it not for Lopez. She’s so good, you can’t help wishing someone would write her a better show.
  36. 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.
  37. The gore and the laughs begin almost at once as the series begins and never let up.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. It has real possibilities, but since the “My Fair Lady” climax is repurposed in the pilot, it’s unclear where the relationship will go.
  41. The show’s first episode sets the scene, but only hints at the richness of detail that informs future episodes. It’s not just that we learn things about the various characters we probably didn’t suspect at the outset: The genius of the series is how Spotnitz and his creative team carefully advance the thought-provoking thematic elements through stunning attention to detail.
  42. The pilot episode efficiently sets Minority Report up as a promising episodic drama that should pair well with the network’s other Monday drama, “Gotham.” Only a pre-cog can say for sure whether the show will have legs, but signs point to yes.
  43. 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.
  44. The multiple sub-stories would feel gimmicky if it weren’t for the solidly crisp and sprightly writing and winning performances by the entire cast.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. Maron is his own acerbic, sad-sack self, and his new show is worth a look.
  48. It's a strong cast, and Byrne and Wiest continue to deliver incredibly mannered and minutely shaded performances.
  49. The first episode doesn’t begin to suggest how far Vice Principals will go and how funny it will become. However, you can readily appreciate the chemistry between McBride and Goggins.
  50. Victoria is a lesser offering [than Netflix's The Crown], but not without its charms, and it is certainly entertaining enough.
  51. The film has all the hallmarks of a Ken Burns production, including period music (arranged by Wynton Marsalis), a utilitarian narration (by Keith David this time) and a lot of vintage still photos and film footage, some of which aren’t specific to the story of Jackie Robinson but set the scene, perhaps so much so that at times the film feels padded.
  52. 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
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. Allen brings the whole TV-series self-consciousness bit home in the final minutes of the last episode, but he needn’t have worried. The fact that he hasn’t spent the past half-century trying to remake “My Mother the Car” enables him to simply adapt what he does best for the so-called small screen. And it’s a good fit. The performances are winning, with wonderful cameo contributions.
  59. 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.
  60. It’s clearly a challenge to keep the story from being entirely mawkish, but Stewart Harcourt manages to invest it with authentic sentiment throughout. Charles Sturridge’s direction is attentive and well paced. ... Gambon is magnificent, making us feel every second of Churchill’s frustration and fear as the stroke robs him of his ability to speak, and the metaphorical weight of aging.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. The script is nicely detailed as it builds on the theme of a corrupt system fed by corrupt players. The one obstacle you’ll encounter, especially in early episodes, is that the biz-speak--most likely evidence of Sorkin’s participation in the writing--is almost impenetrable unless you work for the Financial Times.
  67. 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.
  68. 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.
  69. In the end, the very droll and compelling Billy & Billie is much more than just a case of sibling revelry.
  70. Don't try too hard to make sense of it: Covert Affairs is simply--and simple--fun.
  71. "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).
  72. On the basis of the first episode, you’re likely to come to the same conclusion I did: Eight is not enough.
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. Sometimes formula done entertainingly is just what the country wants to eat.
  76. 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.
  77. The writing is nicely peppered with contemporary references, but, more to the point, effective character-based humor. In other words, this show is funny.
  78. The performances continue to be winning on every level, and O’Malley’s scripts are works of tragicomic beauty.
  79. 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.
  80. The script by Evan Wright, Seth Fisher and Nick Schenk bristles with appealing gee-whiz energy, and the performances by Huisman, Aramayo and Hall, as well as those of the supporting cast, are perfectly in tune with the retro sensibility of the film.
  81. 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.
  82. The show has enough originality and sheer wackiness to maintain viewer interest, not to mention ridiculous effects that are anything but special.
  83. 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.
  84. The performances are nicely detailed and fully credible, contributing to the level of credibility necessary to keep the conceit of the show from seeming gimmicky.
  85. The pilot’s finale asks more questions than it answers, including who’s good and who’s up to no good in the scheme of things. The show probably would work better an hour earlier, but wherever NBC puts it, it’s worth finding.
  86. "Ugly Betty" is worth checking out. It retains a charm that far outstrips expectations. And Ferrera's performances are small wonders to behold.
  87. 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.
  88. As promising as the early episodes in Season 2 are, the over-the-top nature of "Tara" remains.
  89. Containment may not be the CW’s answer to “Downton Abbey,” but it’s a very well-made, well-written and well-acted thriller that will keep you guessing about everything except for the quality of the series.
  90. 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.
  91. 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.
  92. "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).
  93. 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.
  94. A fairly promising new show with a lot of humor, solid performances, a snappily written script.
  95. 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.
  96. 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.
  97. As good as the cast is, the music is even better, with many of the group’s most memorable hits, such as “Mr. Telephone Man,” “Candy Girl” and, most of all, “Can You Stand the Rain” are celebrated in exquisitely choreographed and costumed performances.
  98. The scripts are solid, and the performances are spot on, especially the two leads, as well as Gisondo and Hewson as Eric and Abby. The only real question is whether the show can sustain itself beyond a first season.
  99. 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.

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