San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

For 851 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 63
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 455
  2. Negative: 0 out of 455
455 tv reviews
  1. The Whole Truth, which airs opposite "The Defenders" on ABC, is less lousy.
  2. It's a rote cop show, but in the last five minutes or so, it hints at something deeper.
  3. Despite the fact that the film focuses on just a few critical years of Lennon's life, the pacing is plodding and scattershot at the same time.
  4. Morgan is appealing and brilliant in many ways, but as a stand-up comic, he needs better material. Or at least a few different positions.
  5. The performances are actually good in the series, if only the actors had credible or remotely likable or, dare we ask, funny characters to play.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Show creator Tom Wheeler goes a little heavy with the overwrought dialogue (sample line: "It's not all corrupt! One man can still make a difference!"), but he has a sense of humor that emerges more in the second episode.
  6. The real challenge for the writers is to use the show's formula without becoming so enslaved to it that they fail to allow the characters to move beyond being cliches.
  7. Regardless of the memories and anecdotes, what these films lack are commentators who can provide cultural context.
  8. When the balance is off, as it is too frequently in Harry's Law, it undermines credibility. Bates is almost capable of making us overlook some of the show's problems.
  9. Fairly Legal is adequately entertaining, thanks in large part to Shahi, an engaging actress who looks like Anne Hathaway.
  10. Despite the fact that Portlandia features different sketches in each episode, the show already begins to feel like a stretch by the second show.
  11. The Chicago Code may stick to police-procedural formula, but it does have most of the elements needed to make the show at least a moderate success. With better writing and a bit more imagination, it could do even better.
  12. It's hard to judge a show by a single episode (although, in some cases--NBC's "Perfect Couples," for example--the stench is instantly convincing), but Mad Love has at least the seeds of eventual success.
  13. It's all pretty average and watchable largely because of the cast.
  14. It probably works better onstage, but Stevens should know that what you do to achieve suspension of disbelief in a theater is not what you do to convince an audience that what it is seeing in a film is real.
  15. What makes the show at least mildly interesting is that it's not always easy to predict who will make it to the next round and who will be cut.
  16. While it seems apparent that seeing the show live would be a hoot, it doesn't translate to television all that well--it just feels shrunken and confined by the medium.
  17. Pieces of the familiar Arthurian epic are preserved in the script, but that doesn't mean the characters fit our images of them.
  18. Created by David Caspe, Happy Endings needs better writing and characters who don't look like characters in other forgettable sitcoms. Otherwise, this show's ending may be anything but happy.
  19. And, in most cases, he has a concept for how the food will look, then has to figure out how to make it work. Taste is important, but seems to be somewhat of an afterthought.
  20. F&B will rise or fall almost entirely on the basis of how likable you find Gosselaar and Meyer, not to mention the wisecrack-stuffed dialogue.
  21. It is billed as scarier and sexier than the lighthearted film series. It is that, but still plays it safer than, say, "Vampire Diaries" or the "Twilight" films.
  22. Drescher is almost as appealing as ever, but the vehicle barely passes inspection.
  23. This is what USA does best, and Suits has a good shot of staying on the team. The only real danger is whether viewers will reach the saturation point for this kind of show. That's possible, even if the premise for Suits isn't.
  24. The writers have calmed down a bit this season, but they still can't seem to resist the urge for over-the-top plot strings.
  25. Of course, it's a coup for SyFy to snag Strathairn for the new series, but this is very much an ensemble piece. The other performers are all great at being unlikely and, at times, downright cranky heroes. Still, while their crankiness is initially appealing, it could wear thin pretty quickly unless they are given really smart crimes to solve.
  26. She's foulmouthed, abrasive and suffers absolutely nothing gladly. Yet, as always, her own foibles crack her up as much as they do her boyfriend or visiting eldest son. The fact that she's completely unafraid to hold herself up to ridicule endears her to her audience.
  27. In the long run, our interest in the show will directly correspond to our interest in whatever celebrity is featured from week to week.
  28. Where everything comes together beautifully in "Broke," New Girl tries too hard and falls short for doing so.
  29. Although hyperthymesia is a gimmick, it works.
  30. The sitcom, premiering Thursday night, is perfectly adequate, but only that, and it doesn't compare well to the show Cummings co-created, "2 Broke Girls," which premiered Monday on CBS.
  31. The show has to get beyond plot predictability and one-dimensional characterization if it's going to survive.
  32. The show is cozy, predictable, comfortable and, like a good ole' huntin' dog, not in need of serious housebreaking.
  33. Beneath all the visual dazzle of the premiere episode, a bit of the groundwork is there, but Schlamme and Orman need to build on it very soon.
  34. The slowdown of the show's pace is one thing, but the real issue here is that the family element often feels inauthentic and just isn't up to the quality of the CGI-fueled action sequences.
  35. The only differences between Last Man Standing and the old "Home Improvement" are that Allen's name is Mike this time, his job is working for a sporting goods company as opposed to a hardware manufacturer, and his three kids are teenage daughters.
  36. Isaacs makes an attractively moody hero, and both the supporting and guest casts are superb. That said, the episodes tend to meander slowly from plot point to plot point.
  37. Chasing and catching boars may be all well and good, but is it enough to keep us coming back for more every week? Well, if people can watch people fight over storage bins and seeing their cars towed away in South Beach, anything is possible.
  38. The show is moderately entertaining, albeit somewhat predictable.
  39. It's hard to think of anyone likable among the main characters, except for Jeremy. And that's the sly point of the show.
  40. The Gaytons have created declamatory cartoons. What they needed was a lot more John Ford and a lot less Cotton Mather.
  41. The show is passable when its writers remember it is an ensemble piece.
  42. Nothing terribly inventive here, but it's fairly easy to like the three guys, especially Faison.
  43. The focus of Weed Wars is sometimes frustratingly narrow.
  44. It makes for a mildly enjoyable story and it's probably best not to overthink things.
  45. As the silly questions, the sillier answers and Norton's ever-burbling laughter continue, we raise the white flag and start laughing.
  46. The humor in Rob is broad, occasionally rollicking, not very clever or sophisticated, but some of it works well enough to keep the show going.
  47. The show's just not as funny as Chelsea Handler is when she's playing Chelsea Handler.
  48. The show has promise, but the one thing it doesn't yet have that has made "Bones" such a survivor is chemistry.
  49. Obviously, it's necessary to give viewers the backstory on the returning thug of the week, but let's hope that if the show finds its legs, it won't need quite as many reminders of its fundamental concept.
  50. It's not clear from one episode whether the show's warm and fuzzy message can successfully counterbalance implausibility.
  51. No matter the casting changes, Spartacus remains good, dirty fun.
  52. The performances are adequate, but in many cases, the cast deserves credit for having to enliven trite, stock situations.
  53. Oddly enough, many viewers may not need to know DC Comics' Issue No. 1 chapter, verse and thought bubble to find Comic Book Men mildly amusing.
  54. There are some funny lines here and there, but overall, the show lacks satirical teeth.
  55. Maybe Fairly Legal will become a kind of "Good Wife-Lite," with Kate and Lauren doing a whole Alicia and Diane thing, but that's not necessarily bad.
  56. Oddly enough, the business of making duck calls becomes more interesting than you might think.
  57. To enjoy the show, though, you really have to suspend disbelief at many points, just as you do with "Grey's." There are moments when the frenetic drive for cleverness prompts some rather silly decisions about plot points.
  58. NYC 22 (for the 22nd Precinct in Harlem) is pretty average, which is to say: Nothing to write home about and probably nothing that you'll stick with very long.
  59. It makes sex seem boring.
  60. The production details and Stewart Harcourt's script are quite effective, but the film's pacing is too drawn out.
  61. The writing is light and somewhat predictable, without quite hitting the level of sassy repartee of the "grand old men" of the USA stable, Dulé Hill and James Rodale of the deservedly long-running "Psych."
  62. Bunheads will take some work and it could just as easily become either annoying or likable.
  63. Except for Hagman, the performances are adequate without ever standing out, which may be one of the reasons it does take so long to care much about the younger Ewings.
  64. Both shows [Bunheads and Baby Daddy] are agreeable additions to the ABC Family stable, even if they don't really break any new ground.
  65. The series is not very interesting, and you probably wouldn't watch if she wasn't who she is.
  66. The series is kind of a mess, but one you can't really look away from.
  67. 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.
  68. Sullivan & Son doesn't break any new ground, and you'll probably have a sense of deja vu all over again as it evokes "Cheers" and, more subtly, "Everybody Loves Raymond."
  69. Raydor is cut from different cloth that her predecessor and that's going to take some getting used to.
  70. The bigger mistake is seeing the story as just a gussied-up whodunit. That may make Coma passably enjoyable, but it doesn't make it very scary.
  71. Future episodes may exploit the whole hick-in-the-big-city thing, but one hopes that doesn't happen to the point where we forget the courage these young men and women demonstrate to spread their wings.
  72. There are some funny lines in the pilot, but it takes until the second episode for some promising chemistry to emerge between Urie and Krumholtz.
  73. The show, co-created by Shawn Ryan of "The Shield," is weirdly watchable, the way a hamster spinning a treadmill is watchable.
  74. The performances are all fine, as far as they go, but the script is filled with heavily telegraphed developments, inept character development and direction so scattershot, you're advised to have a supply of Dramamine at the ready to quell the motion sickness brought on by all the quick cuts.3907328.php#ixzz284ZLgzlk
  75. It has some winning moments, and clearly the cast members are having fun with their roles. In the end, though, it just doesn't connect the way it really should have.
  76. The rest of the cast is fine, but without Gummer, they couldn't begin to rescue the series from its enormous burden of predictability and cliche.
  77. Fuller needs to sharpen the writing by throwing even more double entendres in for the grown-ups. All the parts are here- they just need to be put together correctly.
  78. The comedy--anything but edgy--is one cee-ment pond and half a fancy eatin' table away from "The Beverly Hillbillies," and is rooted in the inevitable culture clash of a Tennessee family adjusting to life in Southern California.
  79. Ably abetted by the superb editing work by Alex Marquez, Untold Story shows how the nation's international policies were shaped, refracted and, at times, undermined by internal politics. That said, Stone's predictably narrow intensity sometimes works against him, frequently throwing the overall balance of each film off by leaving us with unanswered questions on some topics, and, in a way, too much information on others.
  80. It's in dire need of tighter editing, most of all. Yes, the images from the '30s are powerful, but after a while, their power is diminished by repetition.
  81. It's possible that Washington Heights will devolve into "Jersey Shore-North," and become unwatchable. But it's hard to imagine young people like JP, Frankie and Ludwin going off the rails to that extent. As long as they don't, Washington Heights may be an exception to the apparent rule for this kind of show by keeping it legitimately real.
  82. Writer Amy B. Harris has crafted a clever, credible script, carefully adding a few veiled life lessons within the witty dialogue: One of the girls will learn that hooking up with a boy you think you love may not always end in happily ever after.
  83. Ripper Street is a decent but not especially remarkable thriller about crime solving in Whitechapel immediately following Jack's reign of terror.
  84. Even within the fantasy context of the show, there are a few elements that don't ring completely true, but it's easy to overlook them, if only because you're not given much time to think about things before Scheuring hurls another engaging plot twist in your direction.
  85. Life Is But a Dream, co-directed by Ed Burke and billed by HBO as "an intimate, revealing documentary," isn't really, but there are enough moments that pass for authenticity to make it a benignly informative glimpse into a rarefied existence.
  86. Nothing new is revealed in the National Geographic Channel's first scripted special, Killing Lincoln. But that doesn't mean the decently written and adequately performed docudrama is unwelcome.
  87. Beyond the gimmick, will there be enough to maintain our interest? If not, Cult could easily wind up as one TV show in search of an audience.
  88. Ultimately, there's nothing new about the bones of Grey's Anatomy. Somebody needs to reinvent the hospital drama, stat.
  89. Despite some funny moments and undercurrents of real potential, Greetings From Tucson has nothing special going for it other than being part of an emerging trend. For it to survive, the writing will have to be snappier and the situations more original.
  90. Golden Boy is a passable new cop show from CBS that relies on a flash-forward gimmick to set it apart from other TV cop shows.
  91. Mostly, though, Vikings is disappointing because so much of the component parts are good but are ill served by flabby direction and a gassy script.
  92. House had enough going against it, but if you strip it of its boldness in favor of rote (and predictable) drama, then you might as well bring in the priest.
  93. The strength of the documentary is that although it is grounded in an extensive interview with its subject, it is not hagiography. Writers like Woodward and Gellman weigh in with considered and not always flattering opinions about Cheney. That said, noticeable by their absence as interview subjects in the film are Rice and, in particular, Bush.
  94. Told mainly from the perspective of the criminal, L&O:CI has a superb cast (Vincent D'Onofrio, Courtney B. Vance, Jamey Sheridan). But you can't get past the fact that you've seen this all before, just assembled differently.
  95. The problem is the lovely-to-look-at pilot, which unfortunately has a heavy dose of saccharine and corn mixed in. There's a voice-over that makes you think you're about to watch some heartwarming Christmas special, and there's dialogue that strains so much to be moving that it falls flat and stiff.
  96. It's modestly entertaining, but because Davies and his writers and directors have employed a kind of wink-wink artificiality to the performances and style of Mr. Selfridge, you never quite believe much of it and you may find yourself caring only in passing.
  97. Aside from the performances by Maslany, especially, and Gavaris, who gets some of the show's best lines, it takes until the third and fourth episodes for Orphan Black to start growing on you.
  98. Historical accuracy is only hit-and-miss in Da Vinci's Demons. And that describes how entertaining it is too: More miss than hit, but it does grow on you.
  99. There are only fleeting moments when you feel you're seeing something brand new in Defiance, but in its imitative way, it's fun to watch, thanks to some competent CGI effects and decent performances.