San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

For 1,023 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 Deadwood: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Modern Men: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 547
  2. Negative: 0 out of 547
547 tv reviews
  1. Louie is the gold standard of contemporary TV comedy.
  2. The new season is not only as smart and absurdly funny as ever, but also reflects the rapid changes in how we watch television.
  3. 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.
  4. In the case of Sunny, it comes out of the gate as brilliantly twisted as ever.
  5. Every performance is terrific.... While these characters are written and performed as over the top, the show also celebrates the subtle underplaying that goes into making Big Head and Gilfoyle so memorable. That variety of tone is another way in which Silicon Valley sets itself apart from most other half-hour comedies.
  6. The entire constellation of impetuous, ambitious, determined and insecure young urbanites in Girls is realigning in the new season, but at no point in the four episodes sent to critics for review do you feel that any of it is artificial.
  7. Self-delusion can grow fairly tiresome, in life and on TV, but what makes Amy sympathetic is that even though she almost convinces us at times that her personal fairy tale actually makes sense, we are always aware of her basic decency and, more important, her vulnerability.
  8. The writing, by Weiner, direction by Scott Hornbacher and performances are, of course, top notch.
  9. Lost is a different genre, one that may infuriate even the loyalists, but there's something impressive and rewarding in its density.
  10. In the Flesh is of course a complex and thought-provoking allegory.
  11. It's great to see Steinberg performing again at the La Jolla Playhouse as a kind of framing device for Barry Avrich's skillfully directed documentary.
  12. A genuinely funny and immediately likable sitcom.
  13. America in Prime Time is a thoughtful and thought-provoking keeper.
  14. The dialogue in the first two episodes of the new season crackles with brilliance.
  15. Graham Yost, who wrote HBO's "Band of Brothers," creates deeply drawn characters who are revealed slowly over the course of an episode (and season). He's the kind of writer whose vision and touch you can trust over the long haul.
  16. Mann's stamp is all over this. Robbery Homicide Division has a distinct "film" look and a more languid pace than other TV dramas.
  17. There is a brilliant mix of poignancy and hilarity in Getting On, which is why it all works so well.
  18. Laden with laugh-out-loud moments. ... Just as "Curb Your Enthusiasm" so boldly and brilliantly attacks taboo subjects, so does "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," though the humor is spread from one clueless, self-centered ass to four, clueless, self-centered slackers. [4 Aug 2005]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  19. "Weeds" is colossally great... a series far better than its premise and utterly essential for devotees of smart, entertaining television.
  20. 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]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  21. The first two episodes of the second Silicon Valley season are more than satisfying.
  22. The series is so good that it isn't seriously harmed by its few minor flaws. Much of the dialogue is brilliantly written, revelatory and credible.
  23. The Emmy-winning show is still as funny as ever, if not moreso, but it also merits our attention for the care with which it is managing a long run on television.
  24. The Pacific is a superb, viscerally moving and harrowing depiction of World War II and a worthy complement to "Band of Brothers" (2001).
  25. But this is what a great TV series does -- it mines difficult emotional ground. It's willfully complex, putting popularity at risk. It avoids convention and takes irregular dramatic steps. With that in mind, watch Rescue Me at your own risk.
  26. It never shrinks from the task of surpassing its own brilliance. Even when it fails in its attempt to knock you out, Rescue Me keeps swinging, and that engenders a whole lot of admiration in a medium choking on its own safety.
  27. The performances, nurtured by such A-list directors as Michael Apted and John Madden, are extraordinary. There isn't a clinker in the bunch.
  28. "The Riches" is both unique and intoxicating -- and plenty more.
  29. 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.
  30. The TV epic that will be remembered for its depiction of the implosion of the postwar American dream in the 1960s.
  31. Making a film is kind of a nightmare, but a riveting one. And Project Greenlight is in itself a riveting documentary. It's got a hero, it's got stars, it's got drama. In 12 parts, we'll find out if there's a happy ending.
  32. Kohan and her writers deserve perhaps more credit than they're getting for forcing change and making it artistically compelling.
  33. The dialogue is rich, colorful and provocative, adding to the gothic sensibilities of the series. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga makes great use of the Louisiana location, giving it as much importance to the story as the characters of Cohle and Hart. All the performances are superb, but those of McConaughey and Harrelson are in a class by themselves.
  34. "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" has lost none of its giddy sharp edges. [28 Jun 2006]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  35. "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.
  36. 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.
  37. As good as it was last year, it's off to an even better start in its sophomore year.
  38. As much as the script, Reiner’s direction makes both stories seem oxymoronically unique and distinct at the same time. The performances are extraordinary, as they must be to complete the process of retelling a seemingly similar story.
  39. But this much is true: Deadwood is cocksure brilliant. David Milch, who put the glory into "NYPD Blue," is clearly and defiantly uninterested in political correctness. He just wants to make a great Western for TV. In that, he's succeeded. [4 Mar 2005, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  40. Game of Thrones isn't afraid of change: It's the lifeblood of the series, and just one of the reasons we keep watching.
  41. 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.
  42. Three more words: Oh. My. God.
  43. A brilliantly conceived and relentlessly entertaining new drama. [1 Oct 2004]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  44. With grit, guts and some of the best performances you’ll see on TV this year, American Crime aims for truth and pulls no punches getting there.
  45. 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.
  46. There is more than enough to captivate us, and perhaps disturb us as well, in these eight stunningly provocative episodes.
  47. They [Rayna and Juliette], and the other characters, are anything but [one-dimensional cliches], thanks not only to the writing but also to the performances of the colorful and capable cast.
  48. Welcome back, 30 Rock. Even in a season of wonderful sitcoms--trend story alert!--you get it done.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. Don Draper's journey has been and remains maddening, in a very good way as far as what makes a great TV show.
  52. The highlights of Wednesday's season premiere are the return of the anger translator and an insanely brilliant take-off on the film version of "Les Miserables," which is so beautifully detailed, it may actually take you a second to realize it is a satire and the song lyrics aren't what you think they are.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. The characterizations are carefully nuanced in Southland, and the performances are equal to the quality of writing.
  56. A stunning piece of television about a rogue cop and that dangerous line between effective police work and ethical transgressions. This series is brutal and frank, with little wasted energy or misdirection.
  57. 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.
  58. It's as great as ever.
  59. "Weeds" may indeed be the best-written new show of the year so far, but the performances are superb as well.
  60. Rescue Me races out of the gate as confidently brilliant as ever before, wildly mixing emotions along the way.
  61. Like "Justified," it's impossible to point to one element as the primary reason it works so well.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. In every case, there is an abiding feeling for character and authenticity that helps elevate Orange Is the New Black to a new definition of television excellence.
  65. Lapine's direction is almost the star of Six by Sondheim. Not only has he used the six songs to illuminate the composer's life, he organizes years and years of interviews as if they are an ongoing conversation--which, in many ways, they are. They are the monograph of the life and art of a singular man, perfectly assembled, bit by bit, piece by piece.
  66. 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.
  67. Few series have exploded onto the scene with such a rich array of potential stories and inherently interesting characters.
  68. Rescue Me may ask a lot of its viewers, but it's always a leap worth taking, and well rewarded. [13 June 2007, p.E1]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  69. [Montage of Heck is] shattering, unpredictable and tells you more about Cobain than any previous film.
  70. This series is one of a kind.
  71. Abbott makes sure the quirkiness of the Gallaghers is firmly rooted in three-dimensional, credible characterization. You never feel a bit of inauthenticity here.
  72. 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.
  73. The humor is tasteless and irresistible, an unlikely mix of juvenile jokes about sex and bodily functions, with time-honored elements of screwball comedy.
  74. None of its quirky charm and tone-shifting mix of comedy and drama has lagged since we last witnessed Nancy's precarious situation.
  75. Parade's End is a television masterpiece.
  76. Copper has much to recommend it: action, passion and great performances arising from an exploration of classic American themes.
  77. Still a wondrous thing to watch.
  78. Just like "The Wire," Simon has again delivered a series unlike anything you've seen on television before.
  79. Broadchurch is a stunning achievement in great writing and powerful acting.
  80. There are moments in Arrested Development, Fox's new sitcom, that are pants-wettingly funny. There are jokes and scenarios that bend you over in gleeful agony. All of a sudden, with this last new fall series offering -- hope having been beaten out of all of us -- we get one of the most hysterically ridiculous half hours on television.
  81. The film is loaded with useful and accurately scary information about what sleep deprivation is doing to us. It’s an eye-opener, but if you pay attention, it may not keep you up at night.
  82. 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.
  83. It is a triumph of superb storytelling.
  84. 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.
  85. In addition to electrifying footage from a number of live concerts, including the famous “T.A.M.I. Show” in which Brown upstaged the Rolling Stones (the film’s producer denies that was the case), Mr. Dynamite gives us fascinating insight into the evolution of Brown’s music.
  86. 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.
  87. 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
  88. Daring and original.
  89. Every enlightening, poignant or funny word is true in the documentary airing Monday on HBO. The fact that it is so funny eventually becomes strangely sad, which makes the film thoroughly enjoyable but also irresistibly provocative.
  90. The series commands our attention because of how it was conceived by Neil Cross, who continues to write masterful scripts.
  91. The good news is that after a creatively weak and shortened Season 5... it appears that one of television's finest series has regained its momentum and sure footing and will -- barring a misstep -- walk out of the spotlight at the height of its emotional resonance.
  92. It's Close who makes "Damages" a series to contend with.
  93. [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.
  94. At every turn in this heart-wrenching series of films, we are reminded that these men and women are human, no matter how robotic they may seem as they rapidly snap off shots of death and tears.
  95. Top of the Lake is Jane Campion and her cast at the top of their game.
  96. It's a serialized mystery that pays off your devotion.
  97. 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.
  98. 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.
  99. It's the best series on television, end of story.
  100. Has the kind of verve and wit that's the hallmark of shows where the writers aren't thinking about audience reaction or how the network bigs will view it -- it's a story that just pours out, with the audacity to say, "Take me or leave me."

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