San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

For 1,026 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 1.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Arrested Development: Season 4
Lowest review score: 0 Killer Instinct: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 548
  2. Negative: 0 out of 548
548 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Where everything comes together beautifully in "Broke," New Girl tries too hard and falls short for doing so.
  8. Joss Whedon is one of television's most talented visionaries, but his latest series--the highly anticipated midseason drama Dollhouse--is a major disappointment.
  9. 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.
  10. It's all pretty average and watchable largely because of the cast.
  11. 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.
  12. Raydor is cut from different cloth that her predecessor and that's going to take some getting used to.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. There are some funny lines here and there, but overall, the show lacks satirical teeth.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.”
  24. USA’s new international thriller is fun to watch and makes almost no sense whatsoever.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. The series is kind of a mess, but one you can't really look away from.
  30. This is a series that throws so much lunacy into the plotlines that even the writers on "Dynasty" must be hissing.
  31. The trouble with Welcome to the Captain, outside of the title and romantic emphasis, is that two episodes haven't revealed any clear direction.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. At some point, your head will explode.
  36. 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).
  37. The show is moderately entertaining, mostly because of the appeal of the three leads.
  38. Regardless of the memories and anecdotes, what these films lack are commentators who can provide cultural context.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. "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.
  42. Pieces of the familiar Arthurian epic are preserved in the script, but that doesn't mean the characters fit our images of them.
  43. It's painfully derivative on so many fronts that it sometimes seems you're watching five reality shows at once.
  44. It's hard to think of anyone likable among the main characters, except for Jeremy. And that's the sly point of the show.
  45. In truth, it's the bountiful hamminess of McShane and the other evildoers that makes Pillars great fun, even if it's never going to be a candidate for "Masterpiece Theatre."
  46. 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.
  47. Ironside might be a better show if it didn't follow the "rules" of standard police procedurals quite so faithfully.
  48. Although the script isn't quite as memorable as Tarantino's film script, it is faithful to the events of the film as well as the signature mix of over-the-top violence, cartoonish dialogue and just a hint, so far, of the vampires who will form a welcoming party when the brothers get across the border to Mexico.
  49. The performances are over the top and enjoyable enough.
  50. The show was created by Courtney Kemp Agboh and has so much going for it--on the surface, anyway--that it's almost criminal that a powerful, attractive cast and high-end production values are hobbled by such a stupefying absence of originality.
  51. The pilot is not especially funny. But it has potential.
  52. The show itself is slight, the conceit perhaps worthy of an extended sketch, but after two episodes, it begins to feel stretched.
  53. It's light but predictable fun.
  54. Even in the first episode, it's clear that "Desperate Housewives" is a vastly improved series from a year ago. The passing is better; the tone is more focused. It's funnier and more focused. But it's also still "Desperate Housewives," and there's that malodorous whiff of the whole thing being past its sell-by date. [22 Sep 2006]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  55. Actually, "Emily's Reasons Why Not" does have its funny moments. The problem is twofold. The show tweaks and contorts itself so hard to get those laughs that the whole thing feels forced and unmanageable for two consecutive episodes, much less a season. And secondly, the premise is unlikely to hold up for any length of time.
  56. The Whole Truth, which airs opposite "The Defenders" on ABC, is less lousy.
  57. Sometimes the suburban jokes work -- every little girl seems to be named Caitlin -- but Hidden Hills is mostly still foraging for the hidden jokes that will make it more original.
  58. It's a rote cop show, but in the last five minutes or so, it hints at something deeper.
  59. The real problem with "Justice" is that the series is very average.
  60. Depending on your POV and perhaps your age, the show is either rather bland or exactly what you’d expect from the CW.
  61. There's nothing terribly memorable about it other than the appeal of the cast members. And that was earned from previous films and shows.
  62. Funny in places, but after three viewings of Sunday's debut episode, I'm still trying to figure out if and how the series will advance the original film.
  63. Oddly enough, although the dialogue is rarely funny, the show is rife with background details suggesting how much potential is wasted here.
  64. Three sitcom veterans can elevate comfortable mediocrity only so high. There's probably not one setup, premise or joke that you haven't seen before (or will see coming) in the entirety of your sitcom-watching life.
  65. Not nearly as ambitious as "Life on Mars" but entertaining nonetheless.
  66. A slightly older version of "Charmed"? Um, yes. Into all of this potential mediocrity (fully realized, by the way), comes the masterstroke of casting the phenomenal Paul Gross as the devil.
  67. Hodges has done a good job weaving new plot twists and characters into the familiar story. The Musketeers may not be either the greatest treatment of the Dumas tale or the most revolutionary, but it is fun for all, and all for fun.
  68. "Raines" is one of those shows that are enjoyable time wasters if you don't know what else is available.
  69. No matter the casting changes, Spartacus remains good, dirty fun.
  70. Although hyperthymesia is a gimmick, it works.
  71. [The balance between love and sex in the gay world] is a valuable and promising theme, more than worthy as a foundation for a show about contemporary gay life, but it needs to be explored through better writing and deeper character development, and without the predictable cliches that rattle like Muni’s F line through the six episodes of Looking that were sent to critics.
  72. 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.
  73. The show is more noisy than funny.
  74. Most of all, DirecTV seems to have a serious case of “Ray Donovan” envy. But the series remains watchable because of otherwise competent scripts, convincing verisimilitude in character and setting, a lot of throbbing, rippling, sweaty eye candy, crackling action scenes and frequently strong, nuanced performances.
  75. 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.
  76. Preposterous ideas know no bounds on "Prison Break."
  77. There seems to be little here in the way of memorable characters outside of Danson's angry doctor, and even his misanthropic outlook (leavened, of course, by a heart, which is mandatory in formulaic comedy) gets tiring. Still, when he's on, Danson is good.
  78. "Watching Ellie" is like trying to solve a puzzle: What, besides a megalomaniacal mess, is this thing all about? ... Whatever happened to just being funny?
  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. 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.
  81. The show is passable when its writers remember it is an ensemble piece.
  82. Ultimately, there's nothing new about the bones of Grey's Anatomy. Somebody needs to reinvent the hospital drama, stat.
  83. It has some promise at first but quickly becomes predictable.
  84. The show's primary appeal is its "Bay Watch"-like eye candy, but the performances are decent and the scripts occasionally poke their little heads above mediocrity with clever dialogue.
  85. 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.
  86. By no means is "Just Legal" a top-notch drama as yet, but it certainly has potential to be agreeable lighter fare.
  87. 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.
  88. A bloated mess. ... "Carnivale" is a little too full of itself. Believing that it has a fascinating story to tell with all the complex themes you could imagine, the series nevertheless fails the first test of television: Move forward.
  89. What’s really irritating about the show is that it’s not entirely bad and you want there to be more of the good parts.
  90. 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.
  91. The Strain is watchable, but honestly, that isn't good enough when you're talking Guillermo del Toro and FX. In both cases, we expect more.
  92. In FX's Testees, viewers get a good premise gone sophomorically sideways.
  93. Except for the fact that Lauper is rock 'n' roll royalty, she's pretty much like any working parent realizing her child is going to be off on his own all too soon. That may make it easy for viewers to identify with her, but it also sets her apart from most reality show stars.
  94. Camp essentially needs to calm down and narrow its central focus on maybe half the characters and storylines it bombards us with.
  95. It's a nice gimmick, actually. Too bad the results seem so childishly undeveloped.
  96. While the miniseries is sometimes compelling and belatedly rises closer to its potential in the final third of the second night, it’s a sad case of great talent being wasted on badly handled material.
  97. Can we negotiate for a better premise if we release some hostages?
  98. 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.
  99. Hawaii Five-O is nothing but entertainment. It's eye candy.
  100. Fleming has its moments, but they are too few and even farther between. The last of the four episodes is the best, but you have to slog through the other three to get there.

Top Trailers