San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

For 1,141 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 1.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Wonderfalls: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Watching Ellie: Season 2
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 614
  2. Negative: 0 out of 614
614 tv reviews
  1. Evans does a fine job of keeping all these metaphysical plates spinning on their sticks, eliciting superb performances from the entire cast.
  2. The performances and characterizations are all top-notch, and the action sequences, especially in the first episode, are crisply directed.
  3. It's slightly unpolished in some areas but funny and charming and a perfect companion series to "Chris."
  4. If you want a history lesson, stay in school. Otherwise, there are enough facts in Sons of Liberty to add some ballast to a ripping good saga.
  5. Hatfields & McCoys does a good job of explaining the roots of the feud and helping us see that, regardless of whatever legitimacy there may have been in one family's hatred of the other, none of it was worth the lives lost over those six blood-soaked years.
  6. If Kingdom were only about mixed martial arts, it would be boring and one-dimensional. But Belasco does a superb job of creating credible, compelling characters for his talented cast to run with. Grillo, Tucker and Sanchez deliver beautifully detailed performances.
  7. It's about characters, and both "Chicago Fire" and Chicago PD are filled with them.
  8. Angry Boys is an equal-opportunity offender, but its infectiously juvenile humor, not to mention its secret heart and, of course, the appeal of Chris Lilley's multiple impersonations, make it very hard to stay angry for long.
  9. Though the pilot has some flaws in it--mostly from a clash of tones--it still overdelivers on creativity, creepiness, fine acting and burgeoning character development.
  10. The action is hot, fast and believable, achieved through quick-cut editing and spot-on direction.
  11. It's a whole lot better than the premise on paper, and though initially it takes a bit to warm to Davis.
  12. It's full to overflowing with clever and sometimes very funny geek-speak.
  13. It's rare to hate a series so thoroughly in the first five minutes and then have your mind changed (and stunned) by the creative comeback it mounts in the remaining hour. ... In fact, there's enormous potential to this series if the storytelling and writing stay strong.
  14. Pelosi's film may not tell "the other side of the story" directly, but if it does nudge us to consider these issues, viewing the film becomes more rewarding.
  15. Recount pays due diligence to history while at the same time fictionalizing the interactions of the participants.
  16. 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.
  17. Almost Royal has enough silliness for both American and British tastes.
  18. The series, created by Mara Brock Akil, works for a number of reasons, including Union's performance as a very credible contemporary woman.
  19. 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.
  20. "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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Overall, the emotional honesty of Kieran's character and his all too human craving for acceptance and happiness make In the Flesh oddly moving.
  24. The cast is appealing and the story line is not only compelling but also deals with fascinating moral complexities.
  25. 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.
  26. Deschanel, who's believable either serious or perplexed -- and adorable in her quirkiness -- immediately becomes this series' most important ingredient.
  27. 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.
  28. [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.
  29. The films work individually, of course, but gain even greater meaning and emotional strength in context with each other.
  30. The first eight episodes of the sixth and final season, although not flawless, remind us of why we care about the show.
  31. 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
  32. The makers of Sharknado 3, including director Anthony C. Ferrante, were aiming to make a terrible movie and have succeeded brilliantly.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. Once they buy into the richly charactered story, it'll be an even bigger challenge to let go.
  38. Elementary will probably infuriate Sherlock Holmes purists, but other viewers are likely to find it gripping and well cast.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. This is a family show in the best meaning of the term.
  42. The second of the new Lewis mysteries is even better plotted than "Soul of Genius."
  43. The promise of grown up storytelling is alluring. This is a series to watch to see if it grows.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. For the most part, Weird Loners is done well enough to merit your attention.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. It's one of those series with overabundant potential and early hints of provocative brilliance, but it may take a while to truly arrive.
  51. 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.
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. '24' keeps you on edge like no other series. [28 Oct 2002]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  56. 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.
  57. American Horror Story: Coven ramps the silliness up an enjoyable notch with a story set in a New Orleans school for young witches.
  58. 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.
  59. Big Love just doesn't induce love. And yet, the series crafts compelling stories.
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. 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.
  65. Breaking Bad promises seven compelling and unique hours of drama.
  66. There isn't a bad performance in the bunch.... Veterans Molina and Irwin stand out for especially complex and nuanced performances.
  67. 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.
  68. The forecast for America’s Next Weatherman is decidedly funny, with a only a slight chance of showers.
  69. The performances are very good at every level, in part because the script is good enough to bring out the best in this cast.
  70. Ferrell may never make Cooperstown, he’s a shoo-in for funniest guy in the US.
  71. 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.
  72. 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.
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. It is honest, funny, heartfelt and compelling. And necessary.
  76. 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.
  77. Overstuffed though the pilot is, the show works because of the performances.
  78. The Goldbergs is funnier because the jokes are better but also because it is more credible [than "Mom"].
  79. 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.
  80. Although the story moves slowly and much of the content consists of recorded phone calls, we want to know if Steven Avery was set up, if Brendan Dassey was involved in Teresa Halbach’s murder. We may think we know the answers, but by the end of the fourth episode, we’ve also witnessed enough out of nowhere surprises to accept that real life doesn’t follow a script.
  81. 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.
  82. 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.
  83. Although topicality trips up some of the jokes, others are spot-on.
  84. 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.
  85. 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.
  86. 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.
  87. 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.
  88. It is filled with adventure on the high seas and sex and intrigue on dry land. And, yes, above all, it's fun.
  89. The show makes good use of its New Orleans setting and the script hits all the right, albeit familiar, notes.
  90. The show is generally well written, expertly directed (Thomas Schlamme of "West Wing" directs the pilot) and most of the performances are solid.
  91. A few missteps notwithstanding, The Bridge crackles with intelligence and great acting at every turn.
  92. 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.
  93. Unexpectedly, it's funny. And it gets funnier and sharper in future episodes.
  94. What's partly holding "CSI: Miami" back from being great is that, as in the original "CSI," the whole premise is too pat.
  95. 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.
  96. 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.
  97. 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.
  98. 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.
  99. Key and Peele are sufficiently talented and versatile to carry off a half-hour show on their own.
  100. It has a goofy charm and outsize ridiculousness that wins you over -- even if you'd prefer more snark.

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