San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times' Scores

  • TV
For 422 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 69% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 29% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 5.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 The Tick: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 In Case of Emergency: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 319
  2. Negative: 0 out of 319
319 tv reviews
  1. It is an extremely challenging bit of filmmaking, since almost nothing is initially what it seems and you have to pay very close attention to the complex storytelling.
  2. The Riches is not a perfect show (the story's twists stretch the rules of plausibility every week), but it has something to say about such concepts as freedom and what constitutes a normal life. In addition, you won't find any better lead performances on television than those offered by Driver and Izzard.
  3. Definitely worth your time.
  4. Though Nikita is certainly dark, it's not as unbearably so as the USA cable version, which was too slick and soulless for its own good. The new version feels much more like a rollicking popcorn thrill ride.
  5. One of the best-written and well-acted pilots of the fall, this spunky dramedy is full of small surprises. [29 Sept 2000, p.T034]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  6. The boys are at their best when mocking the absurdities of what they find on television.
  7. Some viewers will delight in the edgy humor, while others undoubtedly will want to slap an extra-tight muzzle on Wilfred.
  8. When he gets a lot of air time and his worst excesses are not reined in, Morgan is the human equivalent of fingernails on a blackboard.... As a result, what could have been a rather savory dish ends up with a rather unpleasant aftertaste.
  9. [It] is a bit too slavish in its imitation of the "Runway'' formula, but in its opening episode, it shows signs of real promise.
  10. Viewers turned off by the bitterly boisterous, superficial and often one-sided confrontations on the cable news channels might find The Sunset Limited to be refreshing in some ways.
  11. For some, it has become a mostly predictable, tired pattern that causes eyes to roll. But for those who can still check their critical capacities at the door--even after seven seasons--24 continues to make for pulse-pounding, nail-biting comfort food.
  12. It evokes an era worth revisiting, reconsiders a time that was an important chapter in our history and gives us a monumental performance by Keaton.
  13. Brody's portrayal of the wise but nerdy Seth energizes The O.C. He's comical without being cartoonish, and the humorous touches he brings to the story help to lighten up a show that at times feels overly heavy. Here's hoping the script writers don't leave his character in the dust in favor of chasing more glamorous story lines. [5 Aug 2003, p.D01]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  14. There is certainly enough right about the first hour of State of Mind that I'll be back for at least one more session with Ann Bellowes.
  15. The rather trite concept is freshened up by some colorful writing that actually happens to be funny, and by engaging "Odd Couple"-like performances from Sheen and Cryer, who play well off each other. The series is also a prime-time rarity - a sweet domestic comedy that isn't overly sappy. [22 Sept 2003, p.D01]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  16. Fresh and fascinating.
  17. Has a solid premise and a lavish look. The show's signature visual gimmick features characters morphing into their younger selves. Then there's the appealing Rush, who makes a very strong first impression. [27 Sept 2003, p.D01]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  18. CBS has presented viewers with an exciting gift this fall. Their "Five-0" update not only doesn't stink, it's an action-packed, easy-on-the-eyes thrill ride that is slicker and sexier than the original series that aired from 1968 to '80.
  19. Hamming it up big time, William H. Macy plays a booze-addled father of six kids in this uneven drama that seems more intent on taking its pay-cable liberties (nudity, profanity, etc.) to the extreme than weaving an engaging story.
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  20. While The Red Road is not quite in the same league as "True Detective" or "Broadchurch," it is better than most, and it succeeds at drawing dramatic tension not from lots of plot-twist fireworks, but from the long-simmering resentments, private shames and historical injustices embedded in a community few viewers are familiar with.
  21. A compelling thriller.
  22. The series gets off to a reasonably strong start, propelled nicely by some decent (and, for network TV, hard-edged) writing and engaging performances by an above-average cast.
  23. The bottom line on Season 2 of The Newsroom is that it's unlikely to sway viewers one way or another. Devotees will continue to embrace it, and the haters will continue to hate.... As for this critic, let's just say that I'd rather watch an energetic, well-acted, provocative show that aims high and sometimes falls short, than one that doesn't aim high at all.
  24. So far, though, it has mostly kept its ambition in check, preferring to follow the playbook of a typical crime procedural, with a little more darkness and a little less energy.
  25. As messy as it sounds, the cast is good, the show looks great and the executive producer is Greg Berlanti, a writer whose recent track record ("Everwood," "Jack & Bobby," "Brother & Sisters") is unmatched.
  26. It's this sense of wonder that sets "Enterprise" apart from the more stodgy Star Trek offerings and injects some much-needed fresh energy into the 35-year-old franchise. [26 Sep 2001]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  27. Although the pilot is hampered by a few cliches and acting that feels forced at times, the main leads are likable, the relationships involving and the storylines provocative. Consider it a promising start. [14 Apr 2003]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  28. The writing... is sharp and rich. The production -- from the design of the carnival to the evocative cinematography -- is dazzling. The direction from the likes of "Sopranos" veteran Rodrigo Garcia is first-rate. And the acting is sensational. [14 Sep 2003]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  29. It is a gripping and explosively acted piece that involves the New York Yankees, the Son of Sam killer and the infamous 25-hour blackout that darkened all of New York City.
  30. While the show does contain a few obvious penis punch lines, it is so much more than its gimmicky name suggests, offering plenty of heart, along with worthwhile riffs on the national economy, American resourcefulness and, yes, gender dynamics.
  31. Certainly, Dominic Purcell creates quite a presence as this man of mystery. [20 Sept 2002, p.1]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  32. Within the first 15 minutes, you realize you have jumped onto what could be one hell of a thrill ride.
  33. Johnson is such a multi-layered character, and Sedgwick plays her so beautifully that you can forgive the weaknesses of the opening episode and hope they get smoothed out in what could be a very long run for this show. [13 Jun 2005]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  34. The pilot managed to hold my interest for the most part, and I'll credit Hall for bringing a moody allure to the role...Who knows? The show could still flatline over its 13-episode run, but for now it seems to be alive and kicking. [16 June 2002, p.C4]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  35. While it is more intriguing than gripping, the drama has considerable power in its best moments, many of which will come in the last episodes.
  36. Dockery’s rousing chameleonic performance, along with the tension-filled interplay she has with Botto, are enough to have us hoping that Good Behavior will ultimately be as good as it can be.
  37. What we're left with in The Leftovers is a show that, at least early on, is nothing but chaos and dread and bleakness and chill, as it relentlessly delves into the most troubling aspects of human nature.
  38. While lacking the satirical humor of "Housewives" and the edge of "Unit," the show is serviceable in its storytelling, quite well-done in its production and better than well-done in its acting.
  39. Fortunately, as the saga unfolds, it delves into fresher territory, and Political Animals becomes an intriguing, even occasionally humorous, family soap opera.
  40. Though "Christy" has predictable turns ... it's always involving and the characters are so appealing that you'll surely want to see them again. [3 Apr 1994]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  41. The best new network sitcom this season.
  42. An underlying warmth and a certain charm to the characters mitigate some of the childish jokes and give the series real appeal. [5 Aug 2005]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  43. The writing is sharp and sophisticated, avoiding the predictable sitcom cliches.
  44. What Up All Night has over other baby-rearing shows is a refreshing irreverence.
  45. The Michael J. Fox Show tries really hard to be as warm as a cup of cocoa yet hilariously irreverent. Maybe too hard.... On the plus side, Fox still oozes self-deprecating charm, and I love the sweet and playful chemistry he has with Brandt. Also, Pierce is a hoot as the smooth con man of a boss. More of that, please.
  46. The series has a familiar format, but the opening episode suggests it may have some real spark to it.
  47. Grace has a world of promise with thoughtful writing by Nancy Miller ("The Closer," "Any Day Now"), an intriguing take on the nature of faith and a sheer force-of-nature performance by Hunter.
  48. Sunday's explosive two-hour opener boldly delivers on the promise by TNT producers to rev up both the pace and the firepower in Season 2.
  49. "Threshold" seems to have a lot going for it. A good bunch of writers. Classy production. One of the season's quirkiest and most appealing casts,... Whether all these high-quality ingredients result in an intoxicating sci-fi stew remains to be seen.
  50. Generally funny, sharply observant and smart in its use of the star and a good supporting cast.
  51. You get sort of an odd, been-there-done-that feeling when watching the pilot, which contains, to varying degrees, traces of "The Hunger Games," "The Walking Dead," "FlashForward," "Jericho," "Lost" (Elizabeth Mitchell is in the cast) and other dystopian fare.
  52. The cast around Washington is also quite solid, and the show looks and is refreshingly different from a typical procedural. But it also feels a little too slick and superficial, and those gaps in logic may be a problem for some viewers.
  53. The humor in the pilot is anything but razor-sharp: The writers too often confuse coarse language for jokes, and a subplot in which Calvin coaches a Nigerian co-worker on the finer points of the booty call sputters badly. Still, there is promise here, thanks mainly to a collection of intriguing characters. [14 Aug 2005, p.F4]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  54. Not everything worked, of course, and anyone expecting Conan to reinvent the wheel or drastically shake up the genre is probably disappointed. But if you were simply glad to see his brand of quirky comedy back in late night--and free of the network guardrails--it was cause for celebration.
  55. There's not a lot of depth to the proceedings, and the series is at its weakest when it tries to make some Important Point. But it's a good deal of fun watching Meyers and the rest of the ensemble smartly bringing to life the deceit and internal politics of this royal chess match. "The Tudors" is a spicy soap opera, decked out in really fancy trappings.
  56. The pilot episode isn't a total knockout, coming off as a tad bland and safe. Although Abrams does enough to hold our interest, it feels like he's let up on the gas pedal.
  57. The dialogue is often sharp, well-observed and very funny. It is sexy and, occasionally, raunchy in both language and love-making. The cast members make the lead characters warm and interesting. [16 Jan 2004, p.7G]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  58. It has enough kooky class warfare, sexual shenanigans and whodunit intrigue to make for some escapist summer fun.
  59. Based on tonight's premiere, this mix of "Star Wars" and "Stagecoach" could prove to be visually ambitious, thematically provocative and full of crackling dialogue. [20 Sept 2002, p.1]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  60. Based on Sunday's pilot episode, Crisis has the potential to be one of the spring season's most addictive network offerings. It's intense and suspenseful.
  61. New Amsterdam is worth keeping an eye on as it develops. It could become consistently engaging television.
  62. In desperately straining to be so uncommonly edgy, so explicit and so provocative in its sexual candor, the show all but tramples its dramatic structure in the process. [3 Dec 2000, p.C05]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  63. [Ricky Jerret, played by John David Washington (Denzel Washington's son) is] the show's secret weapon--a handsome, energetic live-wire who expertly conveys the brash ego and subtle insecurities of a player whose career may be fading into the sunset at the age of 30. But make no mistake, this is Johnson's baby. With that all-glowing smile, he brings his A-game to Ballers while always managing to look good in a suit.
  64. While Mob City does have its weaknesses, including patches of starchy dialogue, it offsets them with some magnetic performances.
  65. Dallas is teeming with the soapy plots, delectable eye candy and bad blood we crave in our TV guilty pleasures. It also maintains the general tone of the original without devolving into camp.
  66. A veritable treasure trove of frat-house humor. [1 May 2005]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  67. The various parts don't quite hold together, and there are too many rough patches to make Miss Guided an unqualified success. It could get better, although it has just a handful of episodes in which to make that happen.
  68. Most TV shows, after all, quickly fade from memory. This one will haunt your dreams.
  69. The good news is that it doesn't stink. The even better news is that it's clever and sophisticated and immediately outclasses most of the comedies currently on network television -- not that the bar is set to breathtaking heights. [24 Mar 2005, p.D01]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  70. What I've seen suggests an intriguing show, although there's something so contrived about the series that it makes me more than a bit uneasy.
  71. The Slap, a provocative new NBC drama, is a saga that gets under your skin. That doesn't mean it's a great show, but I imagine the issues it raises will spark plenty of spirited dinner-table chatter among those who see it.
  72. All of the lead actors dig deeply into their roles, with Farrell playing the wary, weary burnout to perfection, and Vaughn shifting into full-throttle intensity. The story is dark and atmospheric--just the way fans like it. Meanwhile, the first three episodes hint at enough buried secrets and fresh angles to indicate that the story still has a lot to give.
  73. Side Order has the most problems. While there are enough appealing moments in Sunday's opening episode to leave viewers with an initial warm and fuzzy feeling, the show simply doesn't stand up to much scrutiny.
  74. Effortlessly mixing drama and wit, mysticism and biting social commentary, there is a real glow to Eli Stone that will brighten your day and lift your spirits. That is a very rare thing on television.
  75. "The Book of Daniel" turns out to be something rare to network television these days. It is a rich family drama that isn't afraid of dealing with real issues in a real way and with humor, falling somewhere between "Six Feet Under" and the late, lamented "Once and Again."
  76. It just oozes potential with sharp dialogue and a strong cast.
  77. The stars (Trista Sutter, John O'Hurley and Joey McIntyre, et al.) are strictly marginal. The host (Tom Bergeron) is excruciatingly lame. And the dancing is only sporadically scintillating. [26 Jun 2005]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  78. It is a relentlessly grim (and rather gruesome) episode with none of the bits of humor that mark the other "CSI" shows. [22 Sep 2004]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  79. There are some bumpy spots in the first two episodes, but "Life" is worth sampling. [7 Oct 2004]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  80. The story piques your curiosity, but it takes too long to gain traction. The characters are certainly functional, but they lack compelling quirks. The subject matter is worthy, but it just doesn't crackle.
  81. Fortunately, the series has enough edge and action and compelling conflict to keep it from getting mired in sap. Berlanti, in fact, has humorously referred to Everwood as "'Our Town' on crack" and he may have something there. [16 Sept 2002, p.D1]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  82. A gripping show.
  83. What it lacks thus far are the laugh-out-loud oments that made the movie such a joy....That's not to say Parenthood isn't worth a look. Graham, the adorable "Gilmore Girls" alum, rocks the heck out of every scene she's in.
  84. Entourage is showing its age, but still offers a reliable dose of frat-boy humor and Hollywood-style hilarity. It also continues to be a show where men ride high (in more ways than one).
  85. [Dinosaur-rock] cliches still pack a comedic punch because, well, they're just so outlandish and evocative. The key is to bring some fresh twists to them, and for the most part, Leary's bunch succeeds in doing so.
  86. From Spector's verbal bluster, to all the chatter about ballistics and forensics, it's a very talkie 90 minutes, occasionally punctuated by a haunting soundtrack. But the high-caliber performers, as well as Mamet's sparkling dialogue, keep things compelling.
  87. The upside to the series is that Diggs is good enough and the production slick enough that, for a while, you might be willing to play along the don't-think-too-hard-about-it premise.... [But] Hopper's day becomes pretty boring after a while.
  88. Although the first episode runs for a bloated 90 minutes, it provides only scant hints of a main plot thread.... So once again, I'm confronted with an AHS season that appears to be more gross than engrossing. Alas, I may not be able to check out of the Hotel Cortez, but at least I can change the channel.
  89. Though tonight's two-hour premiere episode is fat with special effects and looks far richer than most TV shows, the concept is already red with rust. ... [The] sense of humor is about as subtle as a whoopee cushion. [18 Mar 1994]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  90. It's not as atmospheric and artful, nor does it exude the same visceral sense of place [as French series "Les Revenants"]. But taken on its own, it is an absorbing, well-paced, thoughtfully rendered production with a quality cast that ranks as one of the better new winter shows.
  91. With the help of her stellar cast, creator Sharon Horgan (“Catastrophe”) manages to find plenty of humor in domestic turmoil.
  92. At least "Watching Ellie" takes some risks and tries something different -- even if the risks don't translate to laughs and the concept doesn't really work. [26 Feb 2002]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  93. The Catch contains all the ingredients we've come to expect from the folks at Shondaland: glossy production values, a diverse cast, hyper-articulate dialogue, hairpin plot twists and lots of eye candy and writhing hips. If you've been a fan, you'll surely want to take another ride on the roller coaster. If that stuff makes you want to spit at your TV, it's best that you keep your distance.
  94. Created by Gary Scott Thompson ("The Fast and the Furious"), Las Vegas appears to have all the ingredients of a compulsively watchable guilty pleasure. [22 Sept 2003, p.D01]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  95. A contrived, yet effective, piece of feel-good television.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    All the weird, impulsive jokes are as outrageously funny as they aspire to be. [22 Sept 1994, p.1C]
    • San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
  96. The writing has picked up considerably since the pilot. But the real reason to try this show is the cast.
  97. As is the case of "Monk'' at its best, ["Psych"] isn't as much about the crime mysteries as it is a vehicle for lighthearted fun.
  98. The patter is more what you'd hear from reasonably clever people in real life, not a bunch of lines thought up in the comedy's writers' room.

Top Trailers