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. In a world that has exploded with instantaneously accessible information, television news is hard-pressed to figure out how to keep up. It takes a show like Vice to make other news magazine shows seem like they belong in a TV antiques shop.
  2. The critical success of the original “Returned,” as well as brainier zombie shows such as BBC America’s “In the Flesh,” has spawned other American knockoffs, such as ABC’s “Resurrection,” the kind of series that reminds us that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but only if it’s done as well as A&E’s The Returned.
  3. 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."
  4. It definitely has its moments.
  5. Wilfred works on many levels, something that may not become apparent until after you stop laughing.
  6. The series, created by Mara Brock Akil, works for a number of reasons, including Union's performance as a very credible contemporary woman.
  7. The show is funny, warm and bloody irresistible because of the care taken with creating characters who are multidimensional, vulnerable and credible.
  8. To its credit, next week's second episode is better than tonight's revamped pilot: tighter, funnier and more expansive to other cast members.
  9. Kohan and her writers deserve perhaps more credit than they're getting for forcing change and making it artistically compelling.
  10. 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.
  11. Despite the complexity of the subject, it's impossible not to get the gist of what went on in 2008, thanks to the focus on the players and the actors who do the playing.
  12. 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.
  13. The series' historic recreations are convincing, for the most part, although at times, the History Channel can't help itself and falls back into some of it cheesier bad habits.
  14. 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
  15. It's great to have such important talking heads, but after a while, they don't really contribute much new to the discussion.
  16. The spy story, wartime bullets and intrigue carry The Company, though the writing and story are unnecessarily obvious.
  17. There's no laugh track, the humor is gently sophisticated and the main characters wounded but appealing.
  18. Longmire has the look and feel of a show cooked up by a bunch of bored TV industry types while they were waiting for the valet to bring their car to them at the Beverly Hills Chuck E. Cheese.
  19. The series reflects the youth and intelligence of its writer and succeeds by quickly getting viewers past what would seem an insurmountable obstacle -- caring about what happens to rich white kids in Orange County.
  20. The good news is that State of Mind is surprisingly engaging and Taylor continues to be wonderful in just about any role she plays. This is a series that bears watching.
  21. Copper has much to recommend it: action, passion and great performances arising from an exploration of classic American themes.
  22. In what must be considered something of a stunner on several levels, Two and a Half Men, a new sitcom, is actually funny.
  23. There's always a need for a pulse-pounding mystery with a little paranormal thrown in. If The Event proves it can let out the story while reeling viewers back each week, it could be something special.
  24. O'Brien's debut was pretty much what one would expect from these kind of pre-hyped events. It was both funny and forced and the expectations of - what, exactly?--never seemed to materialize, even though Will Ferrell as the sole guest tried to drum something up and Pearl Jam, as the musical guest, at least kick-started an aural ruckus.
  25. The documentary look is engaging, and Lilley's wildly over-the-top performance as three distinct characters is made all the more funny as it clashes against the reserved nature of the nonactors.
  26. "Heroes" may be the dark horse among this year's serialized dramas. It also might be a dud down the road. Because after two episodes, it's not even remotely clear what these "special" ordinary people are capable of.
  27. Better Off Ted is more funny than not, rushing into absurdity with abandon and playing at stylized comedy in a completely fearless way. The pacing doesn't allow for regret.
  28. One thing is certain -- Kathryn Morris is going to be a star. Whether her starring vehicle ever catches up to or captures her potential is another thing.
  29. Once you surrender to the surrealism, the comedy works, but in the long run, what makes the show itself work is the cast, especially Baruchel and Andre.
  30. V doesn't have an original premise - the humans versus aliens thing is as old as moving pictures. But the special effects are better, and if ABC can get you to buy into the storytelling then it might have another genre hit on its hands.
  31. It creeps and creeps in a very petty pace until it puts itself out of its misery, and ours.
  32. Hawaii Five-O is nothing but entertainment. It's eye candy.
  33. Her ability to outwit a power-mongering bulldog like Jackson notwithstanding, she is, so far, a paragon of political virtue. That may make her a welcome presence at first, but a TV version of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” aired 50 years ago and lasted just a year. As for Madam Secretary, a few warts may be needed to hold our attention in the long run.
  34. The Borgias, created by filmmaker Neil Jordan ("The Crying Game"), is the better of the two [The other is "Camelot"], thanks largely to Irons, a strong supporting cast and sophisticated production values.
  35. The characters on Go On are engaging and varied.
  36. Pelosi's film may not tell "the other side of the story" directly, but if it does nudge us to consider these issues, viewing the film becomes more rewarding.
  37. 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.
  38. Ben Queen’s sitcom is irresistible.
  39. Recount pays due diligence to history while at the same time fictionalizing the interactions of the participants.
  40. Broke is rich with laughs, warmth and credibility. The performances by the two lead actresses are instantly winning, both individually and as they play off each other.
  41. Abbott makes sure the quirkiness of the Gallaghers is firmly rooted in three-dimensional, credible characterization. You never feel a bit of inauthenticity here.
  42. Revenge has enough meaty characters and plot possibilities to keep it going for years. And it just may last long enough to explore them all.
  43. 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.
  44. For now, though, the credibility issues don't matter that much because we're more interested in the characters, who may not be all that credibly created themselves, but who are informed by Hitchcock's 1960 masterpiece.
  45. For all the effort that was put into making Canterbury complicated, not nearly enough quality control was put into the writing.
  46. Where everything comes together beautifully in "Broke," New Girl tries too hard and falls short for doing so.
  47. The pilot, directed by Alexander Payne ("Sideways"), is superb, and the first handful of episodes (there are 10 in the season), prove that the writing is consistently strong, the characters multidimensional and the tone assured and surprising in its depth.
  48. Once Upon a Time is both family-friendly and smart enough to win viewers of any age and level of sophistication.
  49. The show is more noisy than funny.
  50. 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.
  51. As the silly questions, the sillier answers and Norton's ever-burbling laughter continue, we raise the white flag and start laughing.
  52. Dirty Sexy Money is compelling even when it's not, funny when you're not quite sure it should be, ridiculous in the strangest spots and ultimately addictive if, for no other reason, you want to watch more episodes to find out what kind of beast it is.
  53. The main characters are not that interesting as people, but acceptably valid because of their situation of being stuck in a small town. Some of the secondary characters may not be drawn in too much detail but are more interesting.
  54. The adaptation is superb as it explores the Austen-James characterization, but Towhidi is ably abetted by Daniel Percival’s exquisite character-focused direction and, of course, first-rate performances from the entire cast.
  55. A cool video-meets-soap concept that looks as fresh as anything in years. ... [But] the dialogue falters and the acting is, in spots, forced.
  56. If you want a history lesson, stay in school. Otherwise, there are enough facts in Sons of Liberty to add some ballast to a ripping good saga.
  57. 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.
  58. Mom is hard-edged, snark-dependent and brittle.
  59. Belushi and O'Connell are two jokers who love the law and practice in Las Vegas and ... oh, forget it. The show is lousy.
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. The performances are adequate, but in many cases, the cast deserves credit for having to enliven trite, stock situations.
  63. 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
  64. There's an old-school feel to the storytelling (shades of "Columbo") that makes it feel comfortable--perhaps too comfortable, or at least too easy.
  65. Worst, created by Stephen Falk ("Weeds"), takes that well-worn conceit and forces it through the cold sieve of contemporary antiromanticism, and the result is often very funny.
  66. The show has to get beyond plot predictability and one-dimensional characterization if it's going to survive.
  67. What truly makes the miniseries, though, are the performances in general and that of Garai in particular. The entire story and theme turn not only on contrasts but also on character evolution, which demands precision and nuance from the cast.
  68. To its credit, there are a few extra twists along the way that make the show more intriguing and which hint at a slightly darker feel (but not too bleak) and a chance to have a more complicated story than simply one family with super powers.
  69. Preposterous ideas know no bounds on "Prison Break."
  70. 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.
  71. 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.
  72. The cast is likable, until they open their mouths to deliver the fourth-rate dialogue.
  73. With The Leftovers, we know very little and care less and less as the story slouches along.
  74. Raydor is cut from different cloth that her predecessor and that's going to take some getting used to.
  75. While [Will] Smith is an easy interview because of his star wattage and engaging personality, the conversation between the two men was just that. A conversation. The kind of conversational interview Johnny Carson used to do, where the host in genuinely interested in listening to his guest as well as being funny.
  76. Wanting soap and dirt--a lot of dirt--he [creator Greg Berlanti] has fashioned something that's watchable only if you completely divorce it from the realm of credibility.
  77. Right out of the gate, the series is surprisingly solid. What it ultimately becomes bears watching.
  78. Occasional PSA breaks aside, Asylum is all in great and occasionally gory fun, and the cast members deliver the over-the-top dialogue with a heaping topping of relish.
  79. Regardless of the memories and anecdotes, what these films lack are commentators who can provide cultural context.
  80. 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"].
  81. This is a family show in the best meaning of the term.
  82. Most of the performances are superb, beginning with Tennant, of course. He is so well cast and skilled that he's able to sustain credibility despite some of the gaps in the script.
  83. Lie to Me comes out of the box strong, and it's especially encouraging that the cases at hand and the science used in the first hour is compelling enough that Roth's character (based on Paul Ekman, a real-life expert on lying and microexpressions, among other things) can evolve more slowly.
  84. It may be the nicest show you'll ever see.
  85. It has a goofy charm and outsize ridiculousness that wins you over -- even if you'd prefer more snark.
  86. 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
  87. The slowdown of the show's pace is one thing, but the real issue here is that the family element often feels inauthentic and just isn't up to the quality of the CGI-fueled action sequences.
  88. The series gets better with each episode, and the characters become funnier and more interesting when you come to know (or pity) them along the way.
  89. The changes enhance the comic balance between the reality-based humor of a young couple coping with their new baby and their evaporating youth, and the "SNL"-sketch-like satire of a powerful and powerfully self-involved talk show hostess.
  90. "Love Monkey" manages in one hour to be both funny and endearing, a more option-rich version of "Ed."
  91. 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.
  92. [The Crazy Ones and The Michael J. Fox Show] have great, always likable stars heading up solid ensemble casts in well-written and mostly plausible shows. Who could ask for anything more?
  93. Just dreadful enough to want to shoot yourself and end up in the tender loving arms of the people at "Private Practice."
  94. All told, this series is pleasantly unexpected, taking chances on TNT when it seemed the channel's DNA wouldn't permit that level of risk. If the writing continues to hold up, viewers could be in for a better ride than the one Hunter is already taking them on by herself.
  95. The writers have calmed down a bit this season, but they still can't seem to resist the urge for over-the-top plot strings.
  96. The truth is, it takes a very big man to laugh at himself, and a very good actor to get us laughing along with him as well.
  97. The show obviously has a great cast, but they’re badly used.... These are not people you want to spend 22 minutes with every Tuesday night.
  98. Suspend disbelief, not to mention your knowledge of Washington Irving's classic tale, because the illogical hodgepodge of myth premiering Monday night is great fun.
  99. Dinklage is particularly good here and the whole idea of trying to hide from the public the fact we've been invaded is intriguing fare.
  100. A winning, extremely funny new sitcom.

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