San Francisco Chronicle's Scores

For 898 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 Pushing Daisies: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Til Death: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 478
  2. Negative: 0 out of 478
478 tv reviews
  1. The show isn't funny, but worse, it's not interesting. The characters are dull, the performances off the mark at virtually every level, and the writing is flatter than a deflated implant.
  2. It's really sad to see such a great show dumbed down to this extent, and with the apparent cooperation of the original show's creators, Damon Beesley and Iain Morris, who serve as executive producers for the American travesty.
  3. Some of it works, much of it doesn't.
  4. More emotional, equally gripping, "CSI: N.Y." proves that with care you can successfully copy yourself across the TV schedule. [21 Sep 2004]
  5. 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.
  6. The focus of Weed Wars is sometimes frustratingly narrow.
  7. 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.
  8. The characters are charming and likable, but the show is strangely humor-challenged.
  9. A fairly promising new show with a lot of humor, solid performances, a snappily written script.
  10. It's hard to judge a show by a single episode (although, in some cases--NBC's "Perfect Couples," for example--the stench is instantly convincing), but Mad Love has at least the seeds of eventual success.
  11. It could spark discussion or debate. But it's mostly just a reality series. And that means manufactured scenarios, big drama, tears, tattoos, drinking, sex, swearing and lots of arguing and playing to the camera. Straight people have been making fools of themselves on TV like this for ages.
  12. This is what USA does best, and Suits has a good shot of staying on the team. The only real danger is whether viewers will reach the saturation point for this kind of show. That's possible, even if the premise for Suits isn't.
  13. This is a paint-by-numbers legal series that's as predictable as they come.
  14. It's a nice gimmick, actually. Too bad the results seem so childishly undeveloped.
  15. At some point, your head will explode.
  16. Sinbad is uncomplicated and unpretentious fun.
  17. 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]
  18. The Awesomes is charming, but your enjoyment of it may depend on how much you may already feel over-saturated with animation.
  19. Mamet is very much on his game in Phil Spector, but so is every member of his cast, including Al Pacino as Spector and Helen Mirren as attorney Linda Kenny Baden: Watching these two titans of acting work is half the fun.
  20. 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.
  21. Nothing could bring this show life.
  22. Setting up the first big heist takes all of the first episode, so our introduction to Smith and crew is too quick, more than a little forced and ultimately not compelling enough.
  23. No matter the casting changes, Spartacus remains good, dirty fun.
  24. 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.
  25. Applegate is charming, adorable and funny. But she's going to need that plus a car battery or a purposeful dip in the bathtub with a hair dryer to get much spark into this series.
  26. 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.
  27. What NCIS: Los Angeles does well is what all CBS procedurals do well--bring mostly believable, semi-pulse-pounding justice to bad guys by the end of the hour with some action, a dose of humor and the weekly, methodical unpeeling of each character's private onion skin.
  28. "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?
  29. Fairly Legal is adequately entertaining, thanks in large part to Shahi, an engaging actress who looks like Anne Hathaway.
  30. The plot is a little overstuffed, but the special effects, crisp direction and high-octane performances keep us interested enough to follow Alice down the rabbit hole.
  31. Being Human works better than it should because of skillful writing, often laced with wry humor, and the very deep well of plot possibilities in the idea that three "monsters," as they call themselves, can pass for "human."
  32. It has a zest, from the voice-over to the sharp writing and sexy cast, that was completely unexpected. Duhamel has star appeal, and Caan is can't-miss.
  33. 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.
  34. The best that "The Class" can muster is a kind of cookie-cutter familiarity (also known as lameness) that gets prodded by the laugh track to make everyone at home feel like a good time is being had. It's not.
  35. The show is pleasant without being as good as it could be.
  36. 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.
  37. The production details and Stewart Harcourt's script are quite effective, but the film's pacing is too drawn out.
  38. 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.
  39. The show is great fun, and clearly the star herself is having fun in the lead roles.
  40. "How to Make It in America" is, like "Entourage," more entertaining than actually funny. You're not going to burst out laughing at anything, but there are plenty of comic moments.
  41. Ackles and Padalecki are good-looking, yes, get to drive a '67 Chevy and will undoubtedly run into a lot of really hot women in peril, but "Supernatural" works. It's just serious enough, just hip enough and, as advertised, more scary than imagined.
  42. The pilot is not especially funny. But it has potential.
  43. Isaacs makes an attractively moody hero, and both the supporting and guest casts are superb. That said, the episodes tend to meander slowly from plot point to plot point.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. [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?
  47. What makes the show at least mildly interesting is that it's not always easy to predict who will make it to the next round and who will be cut.
  48. Now, whether or not you believe in all this stuff is unimportant. "Medium," as a TV series, just isn't very good. [3 Jan 2005]
  49. It makes for a mildly enjoyable story and it's probably best not to overthink things.
  50. Pieces of the familiar Arthurian epic are preserved in the script, but that doesn't mean the characters fit our images of them.
  51. 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.
  52. Three sitcom veterans can elevate comfortable mediocrity only so high. There's probably not one setup, premise or joke that you haven't seen before (or will see coming) in the entirety of your sitcom-watching life.
  53. Intriguing--but not especially enjoyable.
  54. Rhys and Whittaker are terrific and the two big reasons to watch the series.... Speaking of assets, credibility of the story is nicely enhanced by muted cinematography and art direction, emphasizing that catching spies is done by nondescript men and women who lead seemingly normal lives and work in under-decorated offices deciphering codes and other information.
  55. The writing is juvenile, hormonal and often pretty dang funny.
  56. Seems a gigantic miss for HBO. Although King has tried to write a B-story for Cherish -- her home life -- it doesn't ring true.
  57. It's visually engrossing. Then it goes oddly flat in parts, only to kick-start itself with another clash of tones.
  58. The show has promise, but the one thing it doesn't yet have that has made "Bones" such a survivor is chemistry.
  59. One of the benefits of watching LeBlanc keep his character afloat is that it's all comfortable. Not always funny, mind you, but an easy 22 minutes.
  60. Created by David Caspe, Happy Endings needs better writing and characters who don't look like characters in other forgettable sitcoms. Otherwise, this show's ending may be anything but happy.
  61. While some plot elements and characters have been imported intact from the United Kingdom, the American show makes its own statement and will move away from its British roots in future episodes.
  62. [The] moderately appealing cast is wasted in a show about three children of a recently deceased rich guy who have to compete among themselves to become the sole heir to his $23 million estate.
  63. [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.
  64. Joss Whedon is one of television's most talented visionaries, but his latest series--the highly anticipated midseason drama Dollhouse--is a major disappointment.
  65. Although hyperthymesia is a gimmick, it works.
  66. 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.
  67. The real problem with "Justice" is that the series is very average.
  68. 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.
  69. NYC 22 (for the 22nd Precinct in Harlem) is pretty average, which is to say: Nothing to write home about and probably nothing that you'll stick with very long.
  70. It is filled with adventure on the high seas and sex and intrigue on dry land. And, yes, above all, it's fun.
  71. It's a big soapy epic that allows you to turn off your brain late at night, but it ultimately carries no gravitas, minority hiring or not. As long as we're clear on that, there's nothing wrong for applauding what the series gets right, given the constraints of the genre.
  72. 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.
  73. If you're a fan of "Family Guy," this is an easy sell....The guess here is that if you don't know anything about "Family Guy," you'll be watching another network anyway.
  74. 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.
  75. Luckily, the writing here is so moronic and the situations so forced and mundane, it's easier to dismiss what is, all told, pretty fantastic work on behalf of Galecki and Parsons.
  76. 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.
  77. "Raines" is one of those shows that are enjoyable time wasters if you don't know what else is available.
  78. It's all soapy nonsense with emotional entanglements underscored by catchy and moving pop songs.
  79. The series is kind of a mess, but one you can't really look away from.
  80. The promise that Trump will be Trump is fulfilled on "The Apprentice" -- he is funny bossing these 16 people around. And there are worse things on television than watching a guy with two advanced degrees -- an M.D. and an MBA -- make a complete ass of himself trying to sell lemonade to tourists. [7 Jan 2004]
  81. The Life & Times of Tim--is flat-out brilliant and easily one of the funniest newcomers to television.
  82. Ryan seems too inert, not nearly aggressive enough for the role.
  83. Oddly enough, the business of making duck calls becomes more interesting than you might think.
  84. The Whole Truth, which airs opposite "The Defenders" on ABC, is less lousy.
  85. The second season is to explore Ryan's character and the vulnerabilities that enable him to see Wilfred as a biped.
  86. F&B will rise or fall almost entirely on the basis of how likable you find Gosselaar and Meyer, not to mention the wisecrack-stuffed dialogue.
  87. The scary parts of the show really are scary and the actors are all appealing.
  88. 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.
  89. In Plain Sight, in addition to some of the worst character names you'll ever see, has deeper problems in the writing.
  90. A puffy documentary by Jeffrey Roth about President George H.W. Bush that ends up being a boring and uninformative disservice to the former president.
  91. 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.
  92. 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.
  93. The plot is one telegraphed event after another, so that the only enjoyment to be found in sitting through this thing is timing when a blatantly preordained event will actually occur.
  94. It's a whole lot better than the premise on paper, and though initially it takes a bit to warm to Davis.
  95. Missing may be 2 percent inspiration and 98 percent perspiration with all of its action scenes, but it's fun to watch. Judd classes up the joint nicely.
  96. There are some funny lines here and there, but overall, the show lacks satirical teeth.
  97. "The Dresden Files" is currently mediocre, a series searching for the right tone, seemingly unsure of itself and all the while not quite selling itself to the non sci-fi crowd.
  98. 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.
  99. 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.
  100. Oddly enough, many viewers may not need to know DC Comics' Issue No. 1 chapter, verse and thought bubble to find Comic Book Men mildly amusing.

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