San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

For 1,340 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 I Love Dick: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Fear Factor: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 735
  2. Negative: 0 out of 735
735 tv reviews
  1. What Judd Apatow failed to accomplish in "Freaks and Geeks," his critically praised but short-lived NBC series about high school, he more than makes up for in Undeclared, a dead-on look at college life that manages to be both hilarious and sweet.
  2. David Simon’s extraordinary miniseries does live up to the complete meaning of Fitzgerald’s observation. It is ultimately a tragic story, with an enormously moving emotional payoff at the end. The finale will move you, perhaps to tears.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. What makes Aisling Walsh’s film must-watch, however, is Tom Hollander’s performance as the great Welsh poet.
  6. Four seasons in and O’Malley, his writers, directors and cast, are keeping things fresh, new and required viewing for anyone who likes comedy with brains.
  7. This series is one of a kind.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Courage or crazy, or maybe both, everyone involved is following the same directive: to blow up the traditional sitcom. It’s just crazy funny.
  11. 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
  12. The animation, overseen by art director James McDermott, is fresh, colorful and as wacky as the script.
  13. The entire cast is outstanding, and Simien’s script is masterful. On the one hand, he is dealing with very complicated identity issues with intelligence and directness. On another level, though, he’s writing exceptionally funny comedy, crackling with credible wit that often packs a not-so-secret weapon: thought-provoking points of view about how we deal with issues of race and identity. Or, in some cases, how we don’t deal with them.
  14. The performances are superb at every level, with each actor rising to the challenge of revealing previously unrealized aspects of his or her character. Fortunately, the cast is blessed with a beautifully nuanced script from the Williams brothers.
  15. The film is surprisingly revealing, given the fact that its two subjects, in both similar and individual ways, are playing for the audience.
  16. The emotional authenticity of Downton Abbey continues to make it a classic.
  17. It is emotionally raw, harrowing, and a thing of such singular horrific beauty, it will move you, exhaust you and, almost paradoxically, thrill you at the heights television drama can attain.
  18. 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.
  19. The writing, by Weiner, direction by Scott Hornbacher and performances are, of course, top notch.
  20. It's a strong cast, and Byrne and Wiest continue to deliver incredibly mannered and minutely shaded performances.
  21. Iit’s one of the best-written shows on TV.... This is a solid ensemble cast, with equally fine, and often very funny, performances from Ash, Arnold, Lee, Epps and Bauer. Any way you look at it, Survivor’s Remorse offers the complete package.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. The performances are extraordinary, especially those of Colman, Tennant, Whittaker and Buchan, as they have always been since the first season, and the amazing Hesmondhalgh as the woman who struggles but finds the strength after the attack to stop being a victim in her own life. Chibnall may stumble a bit in plotting, but not on characterization.
  25. While these character traits represent the real heart of the story, there are times you feel that Ridley is making an instructional film for a corporate HR department. On paper, it’s good for him to break away from stereotyping, but he does it with such obviousness, he almost undermines the power of his story and of the show’s extraordinary performances.
  26. The supporting characters are written with as much attention to detail as the main characters, and the performances are just as winning, especially those of Borges and Donohue. You’re the Worst may feel like another example of snappy, snarky “new” sitcoms like “Difficult People” and “Casual,” but beneath its crisp dialogue beats the indefatigable heart of an old-fashioned romantic comedy.
  27. As credible as the film is, what isn’t always clear is why we should care if people want to believe in the Hubbard gospel, or give the church wads of cash each time they want to reach a new clarity level.
  28. If the relatively simple parallel of the man and his role were all there was to The Dresser, it would be mildly interesting. But what makes it far more than that are the shades of longing, resentment, spite and indifference displayed by members of Sir’s circle.
  29. The first three episodes of Season 2 that AMC sent out continue that level of achievement with no evident missteps.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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
  33. In the case of Sunny, it comes out of the gate as brilliantly twisted as ever.
  34. It’s a funny, well-written and well-acted series about appealing young men and women at a point in their lives between carefree youth and accepting adult responsibilities.
  35. Mozart is hilarity in harmony with terrific writing and performances.
  36. It means there's finally something good (and funny) on Tuesday nights.
  37. 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.
  38. Maggio employs the now-standard historical documentary technique employed most visibly by Ken Burns, but the real strength of his film rests in the care with which he builds his case about the epic struggles Italian Americans have had over the years, and their invaluable contributions to a culture that took a long time to accept them.
  39. 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.
  40. Rescue Me races out of the gate as confidently brilliant as ever before, wildly mixing emotions along the way.
  41. Again, it's back to the writing and the look. Both are superb.
  42. Interviews with Eddie Murphy, Joan Rivers, Sidney Poitier, Kathy Griffin, Harry Belafonte, Anne Meara, Bill Cosby and others provide ample evidence of Moms' enduring influence. Yet, even if you remember how great she was, you may find yourself wishing there were fewer testimonials and more footage of Moms performing.
  43. On the one hand, our love of the characters makes it more than possible to overlook the sloppiness of the scripts. On the other, though, it's because we do know these characters so well that we notice the inconsistencies in the first place. Again, none of this detracts significantly from our enjoyment of the series.
  44. The performances continue to be winning on every level, and O’Malley’s scripts are works of tragicomic beauty.
  45. '24' keeps you on edge like no other series. [28 Oct 2002]
    • San Francisco Chronicle
  46. The miniseries may veer into obvious melodrama from time to time, especially in the latter two nights, but the fact that it never loses credibility owes to the care with which the moral bases of the characters are created. ... The performances are staggering throughout the entire miniseries.
  47. Friday Night Lights, like "Battlestar Galactica," also proved initial assumptions wildly wrong and deserves credit for being vastly better than either a show about high school football or an irksome teen drama.
  48. The TV epic that will be remembered for its depiction of the implosion of the postwar American dream in the 1960s.
  49. Difficult People is proudly absurd and wallows in our hope that people as hilariously obnoxious as Julie Kessler and Billy Epstein couldn’t possibly exist in the real world.
  50. At least the first episode of the new Cosmos is terrific. And if the other 12 episodes are as good, the series will serve as a valuable continuation of Sagan's legacy.
  51. The film has all the hallmarks of a Ken Burns production, including period music (arranged by Wynton Marsalis), a utilitarian narration (by Keith David this time) and a lot of vintage still photos and film footage, some of which aren’t specific to the story of Jackie Robinson but set the scene, perhaps so much so that at times the film feels padded.
  52. It’s great writing with a savvy juxtaposition of comedy and sometimes ugly everyday real life.
  53. Michael Douglas is astonishing.... Damon is just as good, somehow convincing us that he's far younger than he is in real life and artfully keeping us guessing about Thorson's true motivation as he worms his way into Liberace's life.
  54. The Netflix episodes aren’t quite as cheeky as the notorious British episode in which the prime minister is forced to copulate with a pig on live TV, but overall, the third season honors the sensibilities of the British originals.
  55. There is an abundance of quality in Legion at every level, making it a show you can’t stop watching and, oh yeah, the best show of the new year.
  56. All of this may seem complicated but is not only easy to follow, but impossible to ignore because of the care with which Gobert, Fabien Adda and other writers weave the stories and characters together. You come away from each episode of The Returned more deeply involved in the story and characters than you may be used to with other TV shows. It’s a series that will haunt you, in the best possible way.
  57. Directed by Jon Alpert and Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Wartorn is convincing on a number of levels.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. The best advice for those seeking something completely different and utterly refreshing on television is to spark up the VCR and create your own library, because it would be a shame to miss this potentially frail, possibly misunderstood work of genius.
  61. Although Blick's structural concept skirts close to mannered gimmickry, it also makes artistic sense. We are slowly but unavoidably drawn into the ever thickening mire of secrets, lies and shifting allegiances in both the lives of the characters and, of course, in the constant strife in the Middle East.
  62. Not only are the first two episodes of the new season smart, edgy and funny as hell, but Falk also has moved the story forward in a way that makes logical sense and keeps things delightfully fresh and sassy.
  63. None of its quirky charm and tone-shifting mix of comedy and drama has lagged since we last witnessed Nancy's precarious situation.
  64. Along the way, Louis C.K. toggles between grouchy and apologetic, his two most oft-used standup comedy gears. He does this to such perfection that even the few moments when the content is weak or a tad forced, he still has his audience on the floor.
  65. The first two episodes of Dallas 2.0, the TNT reboot of the classic nighttime soap, have all the fixin's for a juicy second season.
  66. Hollander more than succeeds in making Corkoran completely repulsive, despite the fact that the character is unwaveringly loyal and smart enough to realize Pine isn’t who he seems to be. That said, the role is offensively homophobic. ... Otherwise, The Night Manager is a class act, not only because of the care that has gone into the writing, direction and performances, but in the great respect the creators show to the quality of le Carré’s novel.
  67. Lange is always interesting, but she’s only occasionally convincing here as Crawford. The voice is too high, for one thing. Sarandon fares better, as much good as that does with such a lousy script.
  68. 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.
  69. Despite what we know about his troubled childhood, Fischer remains enigmatic.
  70. An eye-opener that’s also funny, real and compelling, the series is a heartwarming reminder that no matter who we are, we’re all born this way.
  71. 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.
  72. All of this would be so much Hollywood melodrama were it not for a superb script and stunning performances by West and Carter.
  73. What helps separate "The Nine" from others in this season's crowded field are stellar performances throughout and a steady, sure hand in the pilot.
  74. 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.
  75. Unfortunate Events is not only binge-worthy, it’s binge-demanding.
  76. 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.
  77. 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.
  78. The performances are superb, especially those of Maron, Young, Brie and Gilpin, all of whom do justice to mostly exceptional scripts. That said, the show doesn’t really find its footing until the third episode. It also falls back on a number of threadbare cliches to wrap things up in the last episode.
  79. Schwartz's workmanlike film nonetheless gives us a detailed portrait of the man as well as the activist.
  80. Save for one far-fetched incident, the two hours provided enough clues as to where the season will head--and how much conflict from secrets and lies will be coming down the pike - to hook fans of the show who might have been waffling on the commitment.
  81. With a cast this big, though, and plots this complicated, it can be a challenge to keep up. Then again, if you're willing to do the work, it more than pays off.
  82. 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.
  83. It's a serialized mystery that pays off your devotion.
  84. The humor is sly and more thoroughly integrated into the plot and characterizations than we’re used to in most sitcoms.... Six episodes just don’t seem enough.
  85. The real connection, as it were, among the six episodes is that they are all beautifully written, directed and performed. Taken either individually or together, they reflect aspects of contemporary life with care and attention to detail.
  86. Loss is the birthright of every life, and no one can refuse it. Yet we go on, buoyed by hope and love. Not exactly an original message, but it is one that Midwife delivers convincingly.
  87. 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.
  88. Generation Kill is rewarding in its complexity. It feels real - and that realness is bracing, sad and funny in equal measures.
  89. It's a wonderful series that gets better every hour you watch it. ... But there's the catch. "Deadwood" is a slow starter.
  90. The characterizations are carefully nuanced in Southland, and the performances are equal to the quality of writing.
  91. Nothing Left Unsaid offers great insight into the lives of its subjects, but its even greater achievement as a film is unanswered questions it provokes in its viewers.
  92. In spite of how familiar the setup seems to be, the series is much better than that.
  93. He holds forth telling wonderful stories about his childhood, about working as a "tummler" at Grossinger's, what it was like working with Sid Caesar and his enduring love for Gene Wilder, whose role in "Blazing Saddles" initially went to Gig Young, in between clips from too few of his many great films and TV work.
  94. Rodriguez is a charmer and as intentionally preposterous as it is, Jane has more than enough plot string to keep it going for a long time.
  95. The series is agreeable enough, in that it captures some of the spirit of the earlier show, but it’s hard not to hope Julianna Margulies will walk through the door to bring the moral conflicts that made “The Good Wife” so good.
  96. Endeavour is wonderfully entertaining on its own, but what puts it over the top is its loving respect for John Thaw.
  97. The art of war takes on new meaning in Rick Beyer's mesmerizing documentary.
  98. 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.
  99. The film is both dramatically viable and instructive. Yes, we learn about science, but perhaps more important, we also learn about standing your ground no matter what challenges you face.
  100. The episode is about making Clara, and the audience, feel at home with the new Doctor. She does, and we do.

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