San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

For 852 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 1.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 The Loop: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 455
  2. Negative: 0 out of 455
455 tv reviews
  1. The fall's funniest sitcom.
  2. With elements of "Wonder Years," "Cosby" and the "The Jeffersons," but also a spirit all its own, "Chris" is a sitcom that finally makes the family funny again.
  3. Right out of the gate, "The Boondocks" is a water-cooler series that lives up to the hype. It is funny, fearless and continues the vibe of the strip.
  4. Having seen the first four episodes, you need to be a part of this. You need to doff the skepticism and get on the ride.
  5. It's the best series on television, end of story.
  6. "City of Men" pulses with the kind of energy you don't get often on American television, and the realness of the shot-on-location scene really makes each episode feel like a minimovie.
  7. This series is one of a kind.
  8. "Weeds" is colossally great... a series far better than its premise and utterly essential for devotees of smart, entertaining television.
  9. The breadth and ambition of "The Wire" are unrivaled and that taken cumulatively over the course of a season -- any season -- it's an astonishing display of writing, acting and storytelling that must be considered alongside the best literature and filmmaking in the modern era.
  10. "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" lives up to the advance hype, easily qualifying as one of the best new broadcast series of the fall.
  11. Daring and original.
  12. "Battlestar Galactica" not only lives up to its sci-fi gold-standard reputation but also should be considered straight up as one of television's most appealing dramas, no matter the genre.
  13. It's not very often that a TV show bursting with imagination, audacity, rude charm and a relentlessly funny worldview gets on the air, much less appears fully formed. But Sarah Silverman... has delivered an offbeat gem.
  14. A cleverly crafted, ingenious thriller with only scant moments of implausibility. Most of it has the unmistakable imprint of a smart premise beautifully executed.
  15. "The Riches" is both unique and intoxicating -- and plenty more.
  16. "Flight of the Conchords" may well be the funniest thing you've seen in ages and -- at least for a half hour -- answers the question of whether HBO has any good shows left.
  17. The acting (from a mostly unknown cast), cinematography (you can just stare at this series) and especially Weiner's writing carry the series to exceptional heights.
  18. It's Close who makes "Damages" a series to contend with.
  19. There's a lot to love in Californication, from the blowtorch-keen dialogue of creator and writer Tom Kapinos to the way that Duchovny's ever-so-slightly-fading good looks perfectly encapsulate the character's downturn in Hollywood, to a multitude of standout performances in the ensemble cast.
  20. The writing and acting are hit out of the ballpark on this one, and that's not a vibe you pick up out of nowhere.
  21. It's a gloriously visual fairy tale full of saturated colors and whimsical stories, the kind of romantic comedy/whodunit that should, by rights, captivate a nation starved for quirkiness and delight.
  22. This series has always handled the duality of his character with masterful strokes. And it has done viewers a favor by quickly setting up the seasonlong scenario.
  23. In the end, there will likely be a lot of unhappiness, dead bodies, same-as-it-ever-was institutional failure, lack of responsibility and the triumph of self-interest over the greater good. Not exactly a Hallmark card, but one hell of an artistic achievement.
  24. Three more words: Oh. My. God.
  25. Hirst, Rhys Meyers and the rest of the cast (and Bergin's costumes) make it all somehow meatier but no less entertaining in Season 2.
  26. There are many small and wonderful dramatic accomplishments in the underappreciated gem that is Battlestar Galactica, but perhaps the most enduring is that what was conceived of as an epic space adventure has turned into a finely detailed, intimate drama.
  27. Kohan and her writers deserve perhaps more credit than they're getting for forcing change and making it artistically compelling.
  28. Generation Kill is rewarding in its complexity. It feels real - and that realness is bracing, sad and funny in equal measures.
  29. The writing is a real thing of beauty - from the aforementioned nuance to searing workplace witticisms and pitch-perfect tone from a multitude of characters.
  30. What remains compelling about The Shield as it heads into its last hurrah are the gray areas and ethical gradations of the characters that have defined it.
  31. Few series have exploded onto the scene with such a rich array of potential stories and inherently interesting characters.
  32. When Season 3 kicks off spectacularly, there's a slight exhale in the first 59 minutes--then a twist. And not a small one, either. By the second episode, the writers give you roughly 40 minutes to digest that twist, then drop a real stunner. Which is--just to cut to the chase here--truly and incredibly exciting television.
  33. Again, it's back to the writing and the look. Both are superb.
  34. It's a serialized mystery that pays off your devotion.
  35. The level of cleverness of Flight of the Conchords is off the charts.
  36. Lost is a different genre, one that may infuriate even the loyalists, but there's something impressive and rewarding in its density.
  37. From spot-on casting and one extraordinary performance after another, to a bold adaptation by Sarah Phelps, to Coky Giedroyc's energizing direction, to a toe-tapping musical score (that probably doesn't belong here, but fie on that - it's fun), this Oliver Twist is a thrill ride for anyone who still believes that TV can be entertaining.
  38. The first three episodes of Season 2 that AMC sent out continue that level of achievement with no evident missteps.
  39. Rescue Me races out of the gate as confidently brilliant as ever before, wildly mixing emotions along the way.
  40. People who watched the Maysleses' documentary when it came out probably found the women strange, to say the least, but may have also felt sympathy for them in the end. That's the feeling that director and co-screenwriter Michael Sucsy is going for in the HBO film, and he achieves it in spades.
  41. All the elements Mad Men does well - the humor, the note-perfect clothing and sets, the creeping cultural change - are still there to be savored.
  42. As Sutter proved in the intriguing and original first season, there's plenty more riveting storytelling to tap into as Sons of Anarchy boldly comes of age.
  43. All your favorites are back in force, with a few twists, but the allure of the series always has been and always will be Hall, who manages to make a killer (who kills only people who deserve it, mostly) likable, believable, engaging and funny, as he works his job as a blood splatter expert at Miami Metro Homicide.
  44. Welcome back, 30 Rock. Even in a season of wonderful sitcoms--trend story alert!--you get it done.
  45. The new offering, from executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick (the team behind "BSG"), stands on its own and in many ways might be more inviting to viewers who are not hard-core sci-fi fans.
  46. The Pacific is a superb, viscerally moving and harrowing depiction of World War II and a worthy complement to "Band of Brothers" (2001).
  47. Soak in the visuals, listen to the mesmerizing use of sound. The writing and acting will lure you in, but have appreciation for all the details that go into making this series so great.
  48. What is not surprising at all about the fourth season of one of television's elite series is that Weiner continues to explore what it means to be human.
  49. The Life & Times of Tim--is flat-out brilliant and easily one of the funniest newcomers to television.
  50. Little Dorrit is anchored by an extraordinary performance by one of England's best actors. And like "Twist," that central performance is only one of many elements that make Dorrit not only terrific entertainment, but, in some ways, perhaps even better than its source material.
  51. Glee, one of the season's best and most anticipated new series, delivers on both counts - and more. It's a quirky, sweet, humorous, nonpartisan funfest.
  52. In a fall season surprisingly flush with good sitcoms, the best new comedy by far--and it's not that close of a race - is Modern Family on ABC.
  53. If you like big-screen-level thrills and complicated plot structures, you'll opt-in to FlashForward. And you'll be rewarded. Here's hoping it stays strong and compelling as it heads to April 29.
  54. It means there's finally something good (and funny) on Tuesday nights.
  55. The best news of all is that Olyphant backs it up with an incredibly riveting performance. Better yet, Justified as a whole really delivers, from the explosive pilot to a couple of other, less adrenaline-filled but no less superb episodes that add humor and nuanced storytelling to the mix.
  56. Just like "The Wire," Simon has again delivered a series unlike anything you've seen on television before.
  57. Sons of Anarchy remains as bare-knuckled and, almost inconceivably, as funny and crass as ever. And it doesn't take Season 3 very long to ratchet up the twists
  58. In the case of Sunny, it comes out of the gate as brilliantly twisted as ever.
  59. There's a vibrancy to the stories in each Boardwalk Empire episode. With echoes of the gangland mentality of "The Sopranos" and the frontier recklessness of "Deadwood," HBO seems to have found in Boardwalk Empire a fertile, sprawling new franchise series.
  60. There have been many great "Masterpiece" offerings over the decades, but I can't think of a single one that is as much out-and-out fun as Sherlock, a modern-dress Conan Doyle that crackles with superb writing, brilliant performances and snappy direction, and does it all while somehow managing to be oddly faithful to the original source material.
  61. The reason the show feels so real at every turn is that it is a perfect balance of dramatic realism and gentle humor.
  62. The characterizations are carefully nuanced in Southland, and the performances are equal to the quality of writing.
  63. Abbott makes sure the quirkiness of the Gallaghers is firmly rooted in three-dimensional, credible characterization. You never feel a bit of inauthenticity here.
  64. Fellowes does know how to write some tasty dialogue, especially for Maggie Smith....The other performances are equally winning, but beyond that, you can't help feeling these actors are having a jolly good time with all this overblown fluff. And so will you.
  65. The ensemble cast is terrific and the direction lean and perfectly pitched at every turn.
  66. Well, subject matter doesn't get more profound than life and death, but, thanks to McCarthy's writing and the two veteran actors, we're completely drawn into the discussion, so much so that we're taken by surprise as McCarthy careful injects another possible interpretation of the play's set-up.
  67. The performances are precise and beautifully detailed, as are the characterizations in Thomas' script. Fans of the original series will see certain echoes in some of the characters in the sequel, but the echoes are faint enough to allow us our memories of, among so many others, Rachel Gurney and David Langton as the Bellamys, Angela Baddeley as the cook and Gordon Jackson as Hudson, who was so much more than just the butler.
  68. Even without the original source material, Cinema Verite offers provocative insight into how far we've become lost in the reality-TV wilderness in the past 40 years.
  69. Wilfred works on many levels, something that may not become apparent until after you stop laughing.
  70. The performances are superb, especially that of Sewell in the title role. He underplays the part to sublime perfection, making Aurelio Zen one of the most attractive and fascinating TV cops in years.
  71. The Hour stands perfectly well on its own merits. It's so good that other shows should start looking to it as something to emulate.
  72. Person of Interest separates itself from the gimmick pack, not only because of superbly nuanced characterization and writing but also because of how it engages a post-9/11 sense of paranoia in its viewers.
  73. A genuinely funny and immediately likable sitcom.
  74. The series commands our attention because of how it was conceived by Neil Cross, who continues to write masterful scripts.
  75. There are a couple of bush-league moments in the show....[But]those are minor quibbles, made even more insignificant by the extraordinary performances of Danes, Lewis, Patinkin and Baccarin.
  76. Great historical documentaries not only enlighten us about the past, but tell us things about our own times as well, either directly or implicitly. Prohibition, the latest project by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, states the implicit links between the passage of the 18th Amendment and contemporary politics so loudly, you'd have to be drunk on bathtub gin not to get the message.
  77. If Kirkman, writer/show runner Glen Mazzara ("The Shield") and the rest of the team continue doing what they're doing--and following the template Darabont created--The Walking Dead can have a bloody long life.
  78. The portrait of Belafonte that emerges from the film is also the portrait of the times of his life, the times of the nation's life in the past 60 years.
  79. When you have a story as thoroughly involving as this one, evoking both "King Lear" and "Citizen Kane," and when the performances are this good, Boss almost directs itself.
  80. State of Play is one of those series where a moment's brilliance is rivaled by the very next scene, a careening thriller that gives credence to the idea that there may not be any better format for telling an impact story than over the course of four or six hours. [16 Apr 2004, p.E1]
  81. The series is so pervasively cynical--and, by the way, brilliantly funny--it has the potential of making any viewer feel his or her life isn't so bad after all.
  82. The emotional authenticity of Downton Abbey continues to make it a classic.
  83. It's as great as ever.
  84. Like "Justified," it's impossible to point to one element as the primary reason it works so well.
  85. "Deadwood" fans already know that Milch doesn't make it easy for viewers to get a purchase on his series, but for those willing to do the work, Luck, pays off.
  86. [It's so] good you can't help wondering why no one thought of it before, a compelling mix of credible real-life melodrama with a fictionalized approximation of what it takes to get a Broadway show from the idea stage to opening night.
  87. One of the many virtues of Buirski's film is that it doesn't hit viewers over the head with the parallel between the Lovings' case and the debate over same-sex marriage. The parallel is simply there, to be identified and considered by the viewer.
  88. Awake grabs you, unnerves you, breaks your heart and even makes you work a little.
  89. Game Change is graced by three extraordinary performances in the leading roles, beginning with Moore's portrayal of Palin, which is both complex and entirely credible.
  90. A gorgeous new documentary series on the Discovery Channel.
  91. Based on the premiere, the season may wind up being the show's best so far, but even if it doesn't, Mad Men beats almost everything else on TV.
  92. The characters bring us into the action and, once there, we want to follow every development.
  93. Girls represents an exciting moment in television history because, like a handful of other shows (MTV's "Awkward," most notably) it not only makes great use of the medium but has the creative guts to realign it for a new century and a new generation.
  94. Everything you fear might be true about how our government works--or doesn't--becomes hilarious fodder for Veep's biting satire.
  95. Sherlock is an electric marriage of great writing with great performances.
  96. Weight pulls no punches, spares neither the multibillion-dollar food and advertising industries nor public officials for not only failing to fix the problem but actually making it worse, and essentially writes a prescription for the nation's health and economic future that we ignore to our peril.
  97. What's remarkable about this quartet, and why Push Girls proves that reality shows can actually be intelligent and engaging, is that in most ways the women's lives are in fact not all that remarkable.
  98. Louie is the gold standard of contemporary TV comedy.
  99. From the two new episodes made available to critics for review, it's clear that the quality of Breaking Bad will continue undiminished.
  100. Copper has much to recommend it: action, passion and great performances arising from an exploration of classic American themes.