San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

For 1,192 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: 64
Highest review score: 100 The Normal Heart
Lowest review score: 0 Modern Men: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 649
  2. Negative: 0 out of 649
649 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. The forecast for America’s Next Weatherman is decidedly funny, with a only a slight chance of showers.
  3. The performances are very good at every level, in part because the script is good enough to bring out the best in this cast.
  4. Ferrell may never make Cooperstown, he’s a shoo-in for funniest guy in the US.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. It is honest, funny, heartfelt and compelling. And necessary.
  10. 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.
  11. Overstuffed though the pilot is, the show works because of the performances.
  12. The Goldbergs is funnier because the jokes are better but also because it is more credible [than "Mom"].
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Although topicality trips up some of the jokes, others are spot-on.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. It is filled with adventure on the high seas and sex and intrigue on dry land. And, yes, above all, it's fun.
  23. The show makes good use of its New Orleans setting and the script hits all the right, albeit familiar, notes.
  24. The show is generally well written, expertly directed (Thomas Schlamme of "West Wing" directs the pilot) and most of the performances are solid.
  25. The show’s structure is smart in many ways, giving us more immediate satisfaction as individual stories play out, while piling on layers of mystery about many of the characters. Kirkman does it so well that we almost miss the fact that several subplots are pretty timeworn.
  26. A few missteps notwithstanding, The Bridge crackles with intelligence and great acting at every turn.
  27. 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.
  28. Unexpectedly, it's funny. And it gets funnier and sharper in future episodes.
  29. What's partly holding "CSI: Miami" back from being great is that, as in the original "CSI," the whole premise is too pat.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. Key and Peele are sufficiently talented and versatile to carry off a half-hour show on their own.
  35. It has a goofy charm and outsize ridiculousness that wins you over -- even if you'd prefer more snark.
  36. The film is cleverly structured as a time-travel flashback, beginning in 1966, at the end of Hartnell's tenancy of the lead role.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. "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.
  40. Tacky, vulgar, politically incorrect and mocks others. And those are its good points.
  41. The dialogue is sharply creative, and the jokes are fresh and funny, even if the characters border on the insufferable.
  42. "Help Me Help You" has a few more surprises and comedic heft to it than expected.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. The first two hours are decent.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. Bunheads will take some work and it could just as easily become either annoying or likable.
  49. 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.
  50. In the long run, our interest in the show will directly correspond to our interest in whatever celebrity is featured from week to week.
  51. 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.
  52. 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.
  53. 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
  54. 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.
  55. It may be “Wet, Lukewarm American Summer,” but it’s perfect mindless entertainment to warm up your own American summer.
  56. 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.
  57. The series is not crowded with laughter, but things begin to look up by the third episode.
  58. The show is moderately entertaining, albeit somewhat predictable.
  59. Although you never lose interest in the story, Hudgins begins to pile it on too much the series continues, with too many plot-enhancing coincidences added to too many predictable story twists.
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. The three episodes represent what was good and maybe not so good about the original series. They also remind us that, somehow, even when Carter and company went off the rails, The X-Files was usually worth watching.
  65. Braga is terrific in the lead role, and the supporting cast is equally capable, which helps counterbalance the unnaturally hurried pacing of the pilot. In short, a lot of stuff happens in the first episode, too much to be believed, but the character of Teresa and Braga’s performance are enough to pique our interest. And if the rest doesn’t really hit the basic credibility bar, no one’s likely to complain much.
  66. 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.
  67. Brilliant as so much of Sense8 is, it’s also at brief times inexplicably lame.
  68. 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
  69. It's not a gratuitous failure and makes enough sense to see to the end.
  70. 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
  71. 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."
  72. The characters are charming and likable, but the show is strangely humor-challenged.
  73. 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.
  74. What was once a unique, feisty, ambitious series has become just another middling show whose creators seem to be in way over their heads.
  75. The cast is charming, and no one has to work very hard.
  76. 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.
  77. The Royals is entertaining but disappointingly toothless.
  78. 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.
  79. 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.
  80. The pilot looks dangerously flawed and seriously underwhelming.
  81. 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.
  82. 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.
  83. As the silly questions, the sillier answers and Norton's ever-burbling laughter continue, we raise the white flag and start laughing.
  84. Reckless isn't anything close to being great TV, but it's diverting, especially as a summer replacement.
  85. 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?
  86. The character complexities, special effects and attention to detail position The 100 well on the CW food chain.
  87. HBO’s Confirmation isn’t the first TV project to play it safe, but in this case, playing it safe results in a missed opportunity that has as much to do with what’s happening in the real world as it does with timid filmmaking.
  88. 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.
  89. Intriguing--but not especially enjoyable.
  90. 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.
  91. The script is workmanlike rather than inspired or in any way profound.
  92. The problem is that Berlanti and Co. just seem to be falling back on a template at this point, and not paying enough attention to the kind of details that have made “Arrow” and “The Flash” so good. If they want or need to fix the show, casting should be at the top of their to-do list. Most of the actors are acceptable; a couple are not.
  93. At first, Ralph seems a little old for the part of Quentin, but he skillfully personifies a postgraduate man-child. The show’s special effects are deftly executed and the script is nicely crafted with twists, turns and surprises to hold our attention
  94. Baskets is bold, it is courageous, but it doesn’t really work. It’s not that a TV comedy has to offer wall-to-wall belly laughs, but unrelenting bleakness with the minor relief of a few scattered bits of dry humor--no matter how much it may aspire to a neo-Beckettian level--ends up being more bemusing than amusing.
  95. It makes sex seem boring.
  96. 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.
  97. 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.
  98. 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.
  99. 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
  100. Ryan seems too inert, not nearly aggressive enough for the role.

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