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 Alias: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 The Bedford Diaries: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 596
  2. Negative: 0 out of 596
596 tv reviews
  1. S&D&R&R has several things going for it that make it passably enjoyable, including some funny dialogue, good performances and, of course, Leary’s trademark grumpy charm.
  2. It may be “Wet, Lukewarm American Summer,” but it’s perfect mindless entertainment to warm up your own American summer.
  3. The show's special effects are relatively decent, especially when Gabriel activates his chip and can re-create events as his own personal hologram. But the stock prickly relationship between Gabriel and Riley, which will undoubtedly lead to trust and maybe something more, is tiresome as soon as it begins.
  4. The show is moderately entertaining, albeit somewhat predictable.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. The set-up is forced and not entirely believable, but it can work well enough. Savage and Lowe may not convince anyone that they share a single gene, but as actors, they play well off each other. The writing needs a huge jolt, though.
  10. Brilliant as so much of Sense8 is, it’s also at brief times inexplicably lame.
  11. A faux documentary on actors who are not famous but who are struggling to be isn't inherently interesting to nonactors. ... 'Unscripted' isn't a complete flop. It's just rare that HBO fails like this. [9 Jan 2005]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  12. It's not a gratuitous failure and makes enough sense to see to the end.
  13. 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
  14. CBS can turn a lot of tired fluff into sitcom hits, so who knows about Accidentally on Purpose? There are laughs here and there, but mostly it's all so very familiar and not remotely as funny as "Modern Family" or "Cougar Town."
  15. The characters are charming and likable, but the show is strangely humor-challenged.
  16. Despite frequent predictability and other issues, though, we do get pulled into the story. Even if we don’t always believe the characters, or huge swaths of dialogue, we do want answers, to the crimes, yes, but also to whether the judge is a nutcase or the only sane person in San Vicente.
  17. What was once a unique, feisty, ambitious series has become just another middling show whose creators seem to be in way over their heads.
  18. The cast is charming, and no one has to work very hard.
  19. 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.
  20. The Royals is entertaining but disappointingly toothless.
  21. It's about several friends at various relationship stages--long married, single and looking, single and finding, on the verge of divorcing--who envy each other for reasons that will probably elude most viewers because the characters are too self-involved and uninteresting.
  22. The comedy is gentle, a bit musty here and there, but the show grows on you. One reason is that everyone is so gosh darn likable.
  23. The pilot looks dangerously flawed and seriously underwhelming.
  24. Though there are plenty of hard-earned (some might say forced) laughs here and Bornheimer is a real find, you can't help but wonder how they'll keep up the pace.
  25. 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.
  26. As the silly questions, the sillier answers and Norton's ever-burbling laughter continue, we raise the white flag and start laughing.
  27. Reckless isn't anything close to being great TV, but it's diverting, especially as a summer replacement.
  28. But this is an epic drama on HBO, correct? So is it Giamatti or Adams himself who will make viewers wish for a swifter and less pedantic version on the History Channel?
  29. The character complexities, special effects and attention to detail position The 100 well on the CW food chain.
  30. Unfortunately, Life Unexpected took all of the schmaltz of "Gilmore Girls" and expanded it several hundred times over, forgetting to insert any of the quirk and only a smidge of the smart banter.
  31. Intriguing--but not especially enjoyable.
  32. The problem with "Criminal Minds" -- other than there are 48 series in a similar vein, 39 of them on CBS -- is that every person in this cast has an area of expertise, and they spend the hour telling you about it in the most unrealistic workplace conversations you'll ever hear.
  33. The script is workmanlike rather than inspired or in any way profound.
  34. It makes sex seem boring.
  35. The actors make Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight seem better than it is, but the real Ali, with all his youth, vigor, bravado and passion, convinces us that he and his case deserved much better.
  36. Though Berlanti doesn't always get the balance right and there's no telling whether people will glom onto Eli the way they did Ally, having seen three episodes and been entertained through most of them is saying something, at least.
  37. 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.
  38. Feels forced.... What "American Dad" really resembles most is the less-funny outtakes from "Family Guy," done in a way that doesn't even pretend to be original. [4 Feb 2005]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  39. Ryan seems too inert, not nearly aggressive enough for the role.
  40. The premise is intriguing, but the execution fizzles, for the most part.
  41. The Gaytons have created declamatory cartoons. What they needed was a lot more John Ford and a lot less Cotton Mather.
  42. It never finds a compelling vision while inside those heads to suggest it will be anything more than a good, but not great, hospital drama.
  43. 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.
  44. Tipton is the big reason we might keep watching. The voice-over self-narration is annoying and a poor substitute, as usual, for dramatizing the story.
  45. While the film's tone may fit the kind of fuzzy warmth of most Hallmark Channel fare, it doesn't fit the tension and brutality of what African Americans experienced in Alabama in 1963.
  46. The more we get to see each concept, the more interesting The Chair could become. But strap yourself in for long, detailed meetings, mostly populated by people wearing knit caps, about stuff that either will make no sense to you or that you don't care about.
  47. There's an old-school feel to the storytelling (shades of "Columbo") that makes it feel comfortable--perhaps too comfortable, or at least too easy.
  48. The show has a certain sunny Miami gloss, but that doesn’t blind us to the generally perfunctory script, the flat pacing and the useful but unremarkable dialog. Everyone involved really deserves better, including the audience.
  49. Limitless is the more preposterous of the two shows ["Rosewood" is the other show], but despite its shaky premise, ends up being just a scosh more engaging.
  50. 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.
  51. With The Leftovers, we know very little and care less and less as the story slouches along.
  52. While other comic book shows try to replicate the fantasy of the source material at every level, Gotham tries to walk a thin line between realism and fantasy. It seems to work--for now, at least. But you have to wonder about the challenges the series will face once those larvae become full-fledged, whackadoodle villains. Trying to have it both ways is courageous, but courage doesn’t guarantee success.
  53. Still, even in the first episode, it’s clear that better writing--make that funnier writing--is needed if whatever nascent chemistry Perry and Lennon have is going to amount to much.
  54. 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.
  55. The 10-part limited series is a serviceable mystery-slash-melodrama about small-town life, small-town minds and small-town secrets, but nothing really to write home about.
  56. Although the cases in Raising the Bar are apparently influenced by real-life cases, they tend to be either predictable or predictably unpredictable, however you want to look at it. In combination with the characters, this makes Raising the Bar about an average law series. That's pretty good for TNT, but less than expected from Bochco - fair or not.
  57. The show has promise, but the one thing it doesn't yet have that has made "Bones" such a survivor is chemistry.
  58. What NCIS: Los Angeles does well is what all CBS procedurals do well--bring mostly believable, semi-pulse-pounding justice to bad guys by the end of the hour with some action, a dose of humor and the weekly, methodical unpeeling of each character's private onion skin.
  59. Leverage is far from great TV and not even close to really good TV, but when the bad-turned-good guys team up to do their thing, it's a passably entertaining way to spend an hour.
  60. A few of the others could have easily painted themselves toward the exit, except that some of the lesser talents are also some of the bigger personalities. And when it comes right down to it, that's what will keep "Work of Art" on the air.
  61. Kelli Garner plays Monroe well enough at certain points in the star’s life, and really well at others, but the performance doesn’t work at critical times because it lacks sufficient nuance.
  62. 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.
  63. The pilot episode, airing Thursday, is less than promising, but once you get used to the cliches, the loudly telegraphed plot developments and the unrelentingly phony look of the set, the show becomes watchable in subsequent episodes, thanks to a few of the key performances and some well-directed action scenes.
  64. Where everything comes together beautifully in "Broke," New Girl tries too hard and falls short for doing so.
  65. Joss Whedon is one of television's most talented visionaries, but his latest series--the highly anticipated midseason drama Dollhouse--is a major disappointment.
  66. As ham-fisted as the filmmaking is, the anticipated finale is gritty, convincing and moving. We feel the wrenching pain Jesus experiences on the cross. His final words are spoken like a man about to die after hours and hours of unimaginable agony, with resolution and perhaps a bit of relief. It isn’t enough to rescue the rest of the feeble effort, though.
  67. It's all pretty average and watchable largely because of the cast.
  68. The first episode focuses far too much on these stereotypes. On top of that, it’s not even funny. But what a difference a second episode makes.... The real difference between the first and second episodes, though, is not just that the stereotypes are eventually turned upside down but that the characters are no longer just those stereotypes.
  69. Raydor is cut from different cloth that her predecessor and that's going to take some getting used to.
  70. Allegiance is a competent thriller. But bushwablocking is easier said than done as the labyrinthine family dynamic dominates each of the three episodes sent to critics for review.
  71. The filmmakers mostly do an adequate job of sticking to known facts, but can't help giving in to somewhat hamfisted telegraphing throughout the film.
  72. Right now, outside of Anderson struggling to make something from the limited ingredients he's been given, New Orleans itself is the only interesting element.
  73. 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.
  74. The writing is ham-fisted and occasionally just howlingly bad, and the performances are OK for the most part, but Famke Janssen is godawful. The weird thing is that Hemlock Grove is almost watchable, at least for the three episodes Netflix sent to critics.
  75. The pilot of Miss Guided suffers a bit from being too cute with a device where the actors talk into the camera for narration and expository purposes.
  76. There are some funny lines here and there, but overall, the show lacks satirical teeth.
  77. 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.
  78. Applegate is charming, adorable and funny. But she's going to need that plus a car battery or a purposeful dip in the bathtub with a hair dryer to get much spark into this series.
  79. There's nothing all that original about Helix, but it works well enough. The script gets bogged down in soap opera suds from time to time, especially when it involves the love triangle.
  80. Aquarius is watchable, but oddly bland, given its subject matter. It’s not so much “Helter Skelter” as it is “The Long and Winding Road.”
  81. USA’s new international thriller is fun to watch and makes almost no sense whatsoever.
  82. You won't come away from it with any new answers, but it's a useful reminder of why the drama of that day has transfixed Americans for half a century.
  83. Things don't really start heating up until the second and third shows of the new season. It's difficult to imagine where the series can go in the future, though.
  84. There are bits of "8 Simple Rules..." that are genuinely funny and hint at better things to come. But the full 22 minutes doesn't stick together well and ends up feeling like a comedy that's been overdone.
  85. 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.
  86. The series is kind of a mess, but one you can't really look away from.
  87. This is a series that throws so much lunacy into the plotlines that even the writers on "Dynasty" must be hissing.
  88. The trouble with Welcome to the Captain, outside of the title and romantic emphasis, is that two episodes haven't revealed any clear direction.
  89. The performances really are good, almost good enough to make the hokey dialogue believable, but not quite good enough to make Low Winter Sun a must-see when there are so many other shows--about cops and otherwise--that do this moral ambiguity thing much better.
  90. The writing is loaded with cheap sentimentality, and dripping with saline poignancy, as you might expect. The likability of the young cast members almost counterbalances the schmaltz.
  91. It seems the writers got the initial idea in their heads -- Kyra Sedgwick raises hell -- then faltered in stacking the bricks around her. The accent is distracting, though the writers must have chosen Atlanta for a reason. The sweet tooth is gimmicky. And the fact she doesn't exactly close the trunk with force in the pilot is of some concern.
  92. At some point, your head will explode.
  93. There are funny moments here, mostly coming from Mohr's agitated rantings. But the laugh track is mighty intrusive, which detracts from the average jokes by throwing them in your face (or down your ear, as it were).
  94. The show is moderately entertaining, mostly because of the appeal of the three leads.
  95. Regardless of the memories and anecdotes, what these films lack are commentators who can provide cultural context.
  96. 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.
  97. Rainn Wilson can carry a series, just not this one, as written. That doesn’t mean it’s a complete mess, but there are significant credibility problems on several levels that need to be addressed to build effectively on Wilson’s likability.
  98. On paper, the set-up and the plot may seem workable, but in reality, the characters are both over-written and under-thought. The writers seem to have gone overboard finding layers and layers of trumped up psychology to make the characters more interesting. In so doing, they’ve also made them less credible.
  99. "The Dresden Files" is currently mediocre, a series searching for the right tone, seemingly unsure of itself and all the while not quite selling itself to the non sci-fi crowd.
  100. Pieces of the familiar Arthurian epic are preserved in the script, but that doesn't mean the characters fit our images of them.

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