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 Togetherness: Season 1
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. A single film about three young people won't, by itself, make a universal happy ending for every troubled LGBT kid in the United States. But it's doing its job if it reaches just one of them.
  2. Almost Royal has enough silliness for both American and British tastes.
  3. The series, created by Mara Brock Akil, works for a number of reasons, including Union's performance as a very credible contemporary woman.
  4. Gordon-Levitt has unshakable cred among the 18-to-34-year-old demo targeted by Pivot, but the cool thing about HitRecord on TV is that it's just great TV for anyone.
  5. "How to Make It in America" is, like "Entourage," more entertaining than actually funny. You're not going to burst out laughing at anything, but there are plenty of comic moments.
  6. The changes enhance the comic balance between the reality-based humor of a young couple coping with their new baby and their evaporating youth, and the "SNL"-sketch-like satire of a powerful and powerfully self-involved talk show hostess.
  7. Television simply doesn't get warmer or fuzzier than Last Tango in Halifax, but the reason the six-part series works so well is that its sweetness is not unalloyed.
  8. Overall, the emotional honesty of Kieran's character and his all too human craving for acceptance and happiness make In the Flesh oddly moving.
  9. The cast is appealing and the story line is not only compelling but also deals with fascinating moral complexities.
  10. Hurricane is a whirling impressionistic painting of the band, beautifully conveying the energy, drive and genius of the Stones, more or less chronologically within the basic flashback structure.
  11. Deschanel, who's believable either serious or perplexed -- and adorable in her quirkiness -- immediately becomes this series' most important ingredient.
  12. Though future episodes don't quite measure up to the brilliant pilot, Archer nurtures a collection of recurring themes that pile up and become funnier the more they are referenced through the episodes.
  13. [Berg gives] us a richly detailed look behind the scenes of the boxing world, and, in the process, showing us a battle-scarred warrior determined to live to fight another day.
  14. The films work individually, of course, but gain even greater meaning and emotional strength in context with each other.
  15. Just when it seemed that "Curb Your Enthusiasm," the crotchety, disdain-filled embarrassment of absurdities, was going to lose its way, Larry David seems to have found a new batch of wince-inducing scenarios to mine his comedy. [7 Sep 2007]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  16. The makers of Sharknado 3, including director Anthony C. Ferrante, were aiming to make a terrible movie and have succeeded brilliantly.
  17. With all the intrigue of a Shakespearean drama and all the coiled intensity of youthful power-brokering and rampant sexuality, it's hard to not like this version of Henry VIII.
  18. What separates it from "Veep" is that Alpha House almost seems possible, and it's not just because of similarities between the characters and real pols. It's about the mind-set, the dealing, arrogance and boorishness of our shaky legislative branch.
  19. As exhausting as the list may seem, it’s not complete. But the quality of the film isn’t about quantity: Rather, it’s about how well chosen the content is and, even more important, how it is arranged.
  20. Friday Night Lights, like "Battlestar Galactica," also proved initial assumptions wildly wrong and deserves credit for being vastly better than either a show about high school football or an irksome teen drama.
  21. Once they buy into the richly charactered story, it'll be an even bigger challenge to let go.
  22. Elementary will probably infuriate Sherlock Holmes purists, but other viewers are likely to find it gripping and well cast.
  23. Lie to Me comes out of the box strong, and it's especially encouraging that the cases at hand and the science used in the first hour is compelling enough that Roth's character (based on Paul Ekman, a real-life expert on lying and microexpressions, among other things) can evolve more slowly.
  24. At times, there are actual punch lines in the script and the show veers into "writerly" territory.... But make no mistake: You should overlook the shortcomings and enjoy the series on its own otherwise considerable merits, chief among them, of course, Billy Bob Thornton.
  25. This is a family show in the best meaning of the term.
  26. The second of the new Lewis mysteries is even better plotted than "Soul of Genius."
  27. The promise of grown up storytelling is alluring. This is a series to watch to see if it grows.
  28. The performances are all first-rate, so much so that they help the audience overcome very minor skepticism when events in Tony Basgallop's script feel a bit too convenient to be entirely credible.
  29. Interviews with Eddie Murphy, Joan Rivers, Sidney Poitier, Kathy Griffin, Harry Belafonte, Anne Meara, Bill Cosby and others provide ample evidence of Moms' enduring influence. Yet, even if you remember how great she was, you may find yourself wishing there were fewer testimonials and more footage of Moms performing.
  30. For the most part, Weird Loners is done well enough to merit your attention.
  31. It does the near impossible for any extended-family drama: It manages to be poignant and funny without becoming ridiculously soapy and larded with cliches.
  32. The series is not for the squeamish. But, as with “Game of Thrones,” the violence is not gratuitous but rather a necessary tool in telling the story. The Bastard Executioner not only hits the mark, it sets the bar very high for the rest of the fall season.
  33. 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.
  34. It's one of those series with overabundant potential and early hints of provocative brilliance, but it may take a while to truly arrive.
  35. The life of an everyday American high school girl has rarely been rendered with such sly and funny precision as it is in MTV's aptly named Awkward.
  36. This may not be Martin Scorsese's most sophisticated film, but it actually takes a smart filmmaker to understand that, with a subject like Fran Lebowitz, the best thing you can do is let her talk.
  37. The series gets better with each episode, and the characters become funnier and more interesting when you come to know (or pity) them along the way.
  38. Despite the pluses and minuses of the script, the cast generally delivers the goods, especially Phyllis Logan as housekeeper Mrs. Hughes, Joanne Froggatt as lady's maid Anna Bates, and Jim Carter as Carson, the overseer of the household staff.
  39. '24' keeps you on edge like no other series. [28 Oct 2002]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  40. Virtually every performance is equal to the quality of the script, but Moura is especially compelling as he manipulates the seeming incongruities of Escobar’s character to heighten his aura of unpredictable menace.... Brancato does make one significant misstep by having the entire series heavily narrated by Murphy.
  41. American Horror Story: Coven ramps the silliness up an enjoyable notch with a story set in a New Orleans school for young witches.
  42. Just as "A Mighty Wind" and "Waiting for Guffman" aren't like traditional movies, "Family Tree" isn't like traditional sitcoms, in that there isn't a traditional setup-punch-line structure to it. It does evoke comedies such as "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Arrested Development," though, where the humor is more incremental, character-based and cumulative.
  43. Big Love just doesn't induce love. And yet, the series crafts compelling stories.
  44. Save for one far-fetched incident, the two hours provided enough clues as to where the season will head--and how much conflict from secrets and lies will be coming down the pike - to hook fans of the show who might have been waffling on the commitment.
  45. If Amy really was enlightened, there'd be no show, but the fact that she's wearing her enlightenment like an ill-fitting coat gives the show both its comedic and plot trajectories.
  46. For the most part, [Haynes] succeeds because he embraces the story's excesses instead of feeling they need to be swept under a metaphorical rug.
  47. Rodriguez is a charmer and as intentionally preposterous as it is, Jane has more than enough plot string to keep it going for a long time.
  48. The trick to Archer is that you have to listen--and watch--carefully. What can be seen and heard on the surface is outlandish, but the real genius of the show is to be found in its seemingly offhand sight gags and throwaway lines.
  49. Breaking Bad promises seven compelling and unique hours of drama.
  50. There isn't a bad performance in the bunch.... Veterans Molina and Irwin stand out for especially complex and nuanced performances.
  51. Sometimes the writing is very good. At other times, it comes off better than it really is because the dialogue is delivered by four accomplished actresses.
  52. The forecast for America’s Next Weatherman is decidedly funny, with a only a slight chance of showers.
  53. The performances are very good at every level, in part because the script is good enough to bring out the best in this cast.
  54. Ferrell may never make Cooperstown, he’s a shoo-in for funniest guy in the US.
  55. At times slight--the trick of talking into the camera was never novel, and the absence of an erotic backbone made it feel partly contrived--Secret Diary of a Call Girl nevertheless ends up at an unexpected place: smartly satisfying.
  56. The series isn’t perfect. To be honest, it drags a bit and seems repetitive, as though Rosenberg is stretching things out to increase audience tension. In fact, you’re likely to feel the opposite from time to time, a desire to say, “oh, get on with it.” But stick with it.
  57. 1600 Penn may not be as sophisticated as the hysterical HBO series "Veep," but it's still pretty funny when all the cylinders are firing.
  58. Despite the complexity of the subject, it's impossible not to get the gist of what went on in 2008, thanks to the focus on the players and the actors who do the playing.
  59. It is honest, funny, heartfelt and compelling. And necessary.
  60. Because Rash speaks the same lingo as his subjects, The Writers' Room has the potential to provide real insight into the process of making great TV.
  61. Overstuffed though the pilot is, the show works because of the performances.
  62. The Goldbergs is funnier because the jokes are better but also because it is more credible [than "Mom"].
  63. The acting here is exceptional and the writing strong and honest. Though "Brotherhood" may not be in the rarefied air of "The Sopranos" or "The Wire," it's still a major achievement for Showtime's original-series development and yet another top-notch cable drama.
  64. It's unlikely that any TV drama filmed in Toronto could ever come close to the bloody reality of war, but ABC's new series, Combat Hospital, makes a pretty compelling attempt at doing so.
  65. Whether you see the seams or not, though, what matters is that it all works, and we'll keep watching, if only to see Quaid and Chiklis square off against each other week after week.
  66. Although topicality trips up some of the jokes, others are spot-on.
  67. This is not sophisticated, drawing-room humor. It's closest to what they used to call college humor, and what is now considered stoned humor. But beneath the silliness is gentle but still dead-on satire that makes The Birthday Boys worth a look and a laugh.
  68. As has been the case in so many films and TV shows, Sevigny is the most compelling reason to watch Those Who Kill, but if the scripts remain as carefully crafted as that of Monday's pilot, Sevigny will have found a vehicle worthy of her singular skills.
  69. Of course it's childish, but in a good way as it effectively taps into the kid in everyone, much as "South Park" does. It both celebrates and gently spoofs the traditions of superhero comics.
  70. Undateable still doesn't quite capture the zany entirety of D'Elia's comic style, but it comes closer than anything he's done so far. The rest of the cast is solid; the writing works; the familiar situation is at least freshened by snappy direction and appealing characters.
  71. It is filled with adventure on the high seas and sex and intrigue on dry land. And, yes, above all, it's fun.
  72. The show makes good use of its New Orleans setting and the script hits all the right, albeit familiar, notes.
  73. The show is generally well written, expertly directed (Thomas Schlamme of "West Wing" directs the pilot) and most of the performances are solid.
  74. A few missteps notwithstanding, The Bridge crackles with intelligence and great acting at every turn.
  75. The show's humor is subtle, the plot lines somewhat predictable, but both the individual character development and the interaction among those characters make Sweden more than welcome.
  76. Unexpectedly, it's funny. And it gets funnier and sharper in future episodes.
  77. What's partly holding "CSI: Miami" back from being great is that, as in the original "CSI," the whole premise is too pat.
  78. The plot is a little overstuffed, but the special effects, crisp direction and high-octane performances keep us interested enough to follow Alice down the rabbit hole.
  79. Welcome to the Family may have the most potential of the new Thursday comedies, for the simple reason that it depends largely on careful character development as the grounding for its humor.
  80. It stars Elizabeth Reaser ("Grey's Anatomy"), as Bella, who strikes the right balance of snide, seasoned relationship survivor and romantic hopeful. There's a winning cast, particularly Rachel Boston who plays Bella's sister and Amir Talai ("Campus Ladies") as one of Bella's male buddies.
  81. To its credit, there are a few extra twists along the way that make the show more intriguing and which hint at a slightly darker feel (but not too bleak) and a chance to have a more complicated story than simply one family with super powers.
  82. Key and Peele are sufficiently talented and versatile to carry off a half-hour show on their own.
  83. It has a goofy charm and outsize ridiculousness that wins you over -- even if you'd prefer more snark.
  84. The film is cleverly structured as a time-travel flashback, beginning in 1966, at the end of Hartnell's tenancy of the lead role.
  85. The performances are spot-on, of course, but Enos and Kinnaman were never the show's problem. Quite the opposite, in fact. Retooling the show with the murders solved at the end makes The Killing deserving of a new lease on TV life.
  86. A cool video-meets-soap concept that looks as fresh as anything in years. ... [But] the dialogue falters and the acting is, in spots, forced.
  87. "The West Wing" needs changes, and it needs them now. Without a revamping of the show in some significant fashion, it runs the risk of losing its importance, dropping its political cachet and looking for all the world like a fine, if not sterling, bit of Hollywood fictional fluffery.
  88. Tacky, vulgar, politically incorrect and mocks others. And those are its good points.
  89. "Help Me Help You" has a few more surprises and comedic heft to it than expected.
  90. Setting up the first big heist takes all of the first episode, so our introduction to Smith and crew is too quick, more than a little forced and ultimately not compelling enough.
  91. Discerning viewers -- and anyone who's hooked on "Lost" -- will realize that "Jericho" is doling out hints to a very large mystery at a very slow pace, which is never a good combination.
  92. The first two hours are decent.
  93. O'Brien's debut was pretty much what one would expect from these kind of pre-hyped events. It was both funny and forced and the expectations of - what, exactly?--never seemed to materialize, even though Will Ferrell as the sole guest tried to drum something up and Pearl Jam, as the musical guest, at least kick-started an aural ruckus.
  94. Needs improvement, but it’ll make it. The goal should be to fit the show to Meyers’ obvious strengths, not try to fit Meyers to the show’s template.
  95. Bunheads will take some work and it could just as easily become either annoying or likable.
  96. This is all fairly predictable stuff and makes for a show that you'd watch because of the cast but would never put in the top tier of TV shows or talk about the next day at the office.
  97. In the long run, our interest in the show will directly correspond to our interest in whatever celebrity is featured from week to week.
  98. Downton Abbey is not the best show on television, or even as good as it was in the first season. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to watch.
  99. There's nothing inherently wrong with The Good Wife other than it's a legal series with too many close-up shots of knowing glances and "attagirl Alicia" moments of empowerment that you saw coming 20 minutes prior.
  100. It's not that '24' is desperate for ideas in Season 4. No, it was desperate in Season 2. It's that the humor is more blithely predictable now, less forehead-slapping in its preposterousness. As the adrenaline ramps up, the logic falls down. Again. [7 Jan 2003]
    • San Francisco Chronicle

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