San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

For 912 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
Highest review score: 100 Boomtown: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 The Winner: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 485
  2. Negative: 0 out of 485
485 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The show, co-created by Shawn Ryan of "The Shield," is weirdly watchable, the way a hamster spinning a treadmill is watchable.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Ripper Street is a decent but not especially remarkable thriller about crime solving in Whitechapel immediately following Jack's reign of terror.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Ultimately, there's nothing new about the bones of Grey's Anatomy. Somebody needs to reinvent the hospital drama, stat.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. The performances are superb and make Bletchley Circle more than the sum of its pedantic parts.
  33. The show is more noisy than funny.
  34. Instead of being a whodunit, Motive is a "whydunit," which, except for the appeal of the show's star, amounts to a "whocares."
  35. There are definite comic possibilities in a character who has God on internal speed-dial, but the premiere episode is too overstuffed to give us a sense of whether the writers are going to be able to make the setup work beyond the few funny but obvious lines in the first show.
  36. 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.
  37. King and Maxwell banter like a fourth-rate Nick and Nora Charles.... This stuff is much more credible, and interesting, in series like "Castle" and "Bones," but, again, those shows have better actors than Romijn as well as better writers.
  38. Devious Maids has the potential to be better than "Desperate Housewives," but it can realize that potential only if it finds its own substantive identity instead of being just a recycling of the "Housewives" template.
  39. The decline of '24' is almost as harrowing as one of its patented pulse-pounding dramatic moments. ... Maybe '24' won't be so head-slappingly ludicrous this time around, but the first two episodes do little to give cynics reason for hope. [27 Oct 2003]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  40. The pilot is fast-paced and gripping, as the team closes in on the killer. After the fact, it's all fairly preposterous, but there's enough going on through the show to maintain our interest.
  41. 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
  42. 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
  43. Yes, Arias (Tania Raymonde), comes off as a narcissistic, sexually manipulative psycho, but because we never get a convincing take on Alexander (Jesse Lee Soffer), the film is confusing.
  44. 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
  45. Like so many reality shows, Below Deck takes the idea of disparate types thrown together in a controlled environment and capitalizes on two seemingly inevitable results: Friction and sexual tension.
  46. Camp essentially needs to calm down and narrow its central focus on maybe half the characters and storylines it bombards us with.
  47. 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.
  48. 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
  49. It's painfully derivative on so many fronts that it sometimes seems you're watching five reality shows at once.
  50. Parts of it are funny, but it feels more like an adult's creation.
  51. "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?
  52. 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.
  53. It's a nice gimmick, actually. Too bad the results seem so childishly undeveloped.
  54. 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.
  55. What's missing from the show are the very things that make so many reality shows intolerable and, sadly, make them hits as well. No one's nuts, no one is a raging alcoholic or a jealous maniac, the dads don't get into fistfights, and the only misbehaving you'll see on the show can be fixed with a simple diaper change.
  56. You may think the whole idea of adults dressing up as fantasy characters is silly, but the dedication and craftsmanship of the cosplayers easily convinces you otherwise. What's unclear is whether competitive cosplaying is too rarefied to sustain multiple episodes. But as a one-off, it's, well, fantastic enough.
  57. There's a little "Everybody Loves Raymond" here, and that's not a bad thing.
  58. 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.
  59. Mom is hard-edged, snark-dependent and brittle.
  60. The odd episode of Hello Ladies has its moments, but it's difficult to imagine where the show can go. Merchant has painted himself into a corner with an unlikeable central character wandering through a shopworn stereotype of Los Angeles.
  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. Ironside might be a better show if it didn't follow the "rules" of standard police procedurals quite so faithfully.
  63. The performances are over the top and enjoyable enough.
  64. There is something here for sure but the show has yet to find its footing.
  65. The show has its moments, but almost all of them belong to Martindale.
  66. The good thing about Sean Saves the World is that it's an ensemble show. The bad thing about that for the show is that we're often happier to see the supporting characters onscreen than we are Sean, who is funny from time to time but whose constant state of frenzy gets tiresome.
  67. The Witches of East End may not win a Peabody anytime soon, but to its mildly enjoyable credit, it doesn't take itself too seriously.
  68. 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.
  69. No one comes off as very likable in the four episodes sent to critics, but all the characters are fascinating, often as much for what we suspect about their inner nature as for what they say aloud.
  70. The script, by director Stephen Poliakoff, who also directs, has its good parts, but every few minutes, the quality is undone by characters announcing things to advance the plot, as opposed to dramatizing events.
  71. 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.
  72. The cast is charming, and no one has to work very hard.
  73. The comedy is predictable on every level, which is part of the TV Land formula.
  74. The script is workmanlike rather than inspired or in any way profound.
  75. 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.
  76. After the pilot, the next three episodes become a little desperate, to the point of straining character credibility in several cases. The best thing Enlisted has going for it is the chemistry between the actors playing the three brothers.
  77. 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.
  78. The pilot is so packed with nauseating moments meant for shock value that only the most desperate of viewers will get to the second episode in search of something, well, a little less wince-inducing.
  79. [Viewers] figure there will be sex and nudity, blood and violence. Black Sails has most of that, but there isn't enough action in the first four episodes. If you give us a pirate series, we want to see ships going at it on the high seas.
  80. 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.
  81. The show seems a pale imitation of "The Goldbergs," the much funnier ABC show created by Adam F. Goldberg based on his own childhood.
  82. Instead of thinking so much about complicated moral themes and Shakespearean redos, the show's creator and writers would have been better off trying to make the story credible and the characters three-dimensional and realistic.
  83. The characters are charming and likable, but the show is strangely humor-challenged.
  84. The chase scenes are great, a special-effects scene toward the end of the episode is great, but the mix of action-suspense, supernatural and schmaltz doesn't quite blend well.
  85. 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.
  86. Do cliches abound? Do they ever. But Crisis is moderately entertaining thanks to well-paced direction, some competent character development, and the presence of Gillian Anderson in the pivotal role as a take-no-prisoners corporate CEO.
  87. The character complexities, special effects and attention to detail position The 100 well on the CW food chain.
  88. It has some promise at first but quickly becomes predictable.
  89. 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.
  90. Turn is a fairly standard spy story. That doesn't mean it's bad, just not up there with what we've come to see as the gold standard for AMC: "Breaking Bad," "Mad Men" and "The Walking Dead."
  91. 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.
  92. The show has its funny moments, and the cast is pretty good, especially the younger actors.
  93. Parham and St. Clair continue to play well off each other, but the writing is tighter this time around and the ensemble cast is better [than "Best Friends Forever"].
  94. The cast is very good, perhaps showing just how competent they are as they maintain a tenuous hold on our interest long after the film has dropped the credibility ball.
  95. 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.
  96. At least in the one episode sent to critics--Halt doesn't offer up complicated, three-dimensional characters. Instead, we get versions of familiar types pulled from the character storage room by the writers.
  97. Despite the well-drawn characters, there's a forced hokiness to the entire affair, and the laugh track is an unkind addition.
  98. 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.
  99. It may take a bit of work to suspend disbelief enough to move you forward in your seat, but once there, you'll remain on the edge long enough to make The Escape Artist worth it.
  100. People don't actually talk with each other in The Last Ship: Instead, they announce, pronounce and recycle cliches. We get a sense of character through the performances, though, and many of them are very good.

Top Trailers