The Detroit News' Scores

  • TV
For 122 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 57% higher than the average critic
  • 8% same as the average critic
  • 35% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 Olive Kitteridge
Lowest review score: 20 George Lopez: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 92 out of 92
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 92
  3. Negative: 0 out of 92
92 tv reviews
  1. As always, this is a scattered story with multiple moving parts.... Fargo revels in presenting ordinary folk with extraordinary problems, in stripping away their everyday guises and peering long and hard at their dark potential. That it can do this through adaptations of true stories makes it all the more jaw-dropping.
  2. This show--which mixes hints of “Lost,” “Twin Peaks” and “The X-Files”--is one of the best things to hit our airwaves this season.
  3. Thrones exults in the unexpected.
  4. Massive, cruelly dense, absurdly complicated and absolutely thrilling.
  5. Turturro bites into the role with bitter humor and wounded idealism. Still, it’s Ahmed, at times resembling a young Andy Garcia, who is at the heart of this series, with his innocence being stripped away as the slow wheels of justice threaten to grind his soul. It’s powerful, and timely, stuff.
  6. You already know the outcome. Yet you can’t stop watching, thanks to Murphy’s flashy dramatization, which is just the approach the “Trial of the Century” richly deserves.
  7. Although the first episodes of the new season lack the snap and sizzle of the first season’s sexual discoveries, the air of indecision that haunts the show feels both accurate and unique.
  8. Near flawless in execution while filled with rarely seen intelligence and complexity, the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge plumbs the depths of the seemingly mundane and finds cruelty, resentment, dogged insecurity and finally, if not hope, then some level of honesty about life’s attraction.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    The suits are louder, the sideburns are longer; aside from that, the season-six premiere proves to be classic Mad Men with plenty of vice (maybe more than before, at least more pot), long hours at work and lots of questions.
  9. Relentlessly dark and slow boiling, True Detective may promise more than it can deliver. But it still delivers quite a bit.
  10. There’s a lot of humor here, but it’s more innocent than leering. And there’s also a great deal of understandable awkwardness that seems as pertinent to 2013 to the ’50s. You may not want to watch this with Aunt Tildy, but it is certainly worth watching.
  11. The tone wavers here and there--a pair of teen brothers are too broadly drawn--but holds true for the most part.
  12. The eight-part miniseries, a BBC co-production that begins Saturday on Starz, is handicapped a bit by its overly hotheaded protagonist, played by James Nesbitt. But if his access as a grieving father to crime scenes and witnesses often seems a bit preposterous, the story's many side alleys and turnabouts serve as ample distraction.
  13. Morally and historically significant, emotionally wrenching and politically terrifying, The Normal Heart is more important than artful, and that’s just fine.
  14. Girls continues to delight and provoke in a way too few shows can.
  15. Raylan, despite his tendency to shoot people, is something of an old-fashioned hero, complete with white cowboy hat. Here’s to the simple but effective balance, and to the complications that threaten to topple it.
  16. Moms Mabley is a fine appreciation of a remarkable life.
  17. Usher slowly but surely emerges as a major contributor on this underrated series filled with genuinely funny and touching moments.
  18. Behind the Candelabra doesn't really get behind anything; it just rolls around in tacky history.
  19. It’s all very complicated, but at the same time easy to follow and terribly mesmerizing and haunting.
  20. Relentlessly silly from beginning to end, if this show doesn't make you laugh out loud, or at least shake your head in constant bemusement, you're a member of the wrong species. [8 Nov 2001, p.5C]
    • The Detroit News
  21. The Middle East lends itself to intrigues, backstabbings, frontstabbings and long-term vendettas like few other places, and writer-director Hugo Blick lets his puzzle pieces assemble with slow, deliberate power and more than a few surprises.
  22. Mr. Robot remains one of the most dizzying, intoxicating, challenging shows on television, a gripping look at mental illness and brilliance run amok, tied to an essentially sweet, if damaged, character. It’s a show that poses Big Questions and dares to leave them hanging.
  23. As the season progresses, Mapleton re-emerges and it becomes a tale of two deeply weird cities. It may all be a tease, but give The Leftovers this: It is the strangest show on television.
  24. The first four episodes contain more solid laughs than most sitcoms manage in a year. [13 Oct 2000]
    • The Detroit News
  25. Yes, there are a few stereotypes--a guard nicknamed Pornstache is exactly the sleazeball you expect in a women’s prison series. But, for the most part, the show strikes a fresh tone, allowing for real tenderness, social commentary and lots of anxiety in a classic fish-out-of-water scenario.
  26. Braugher is the rare actor who banks on control instead of pyrotechnics. And Ruben Blades gives him strong support as the hospital's administrator, Dr. Max Cabranes. [10 Oct 2000]
    • The Detroit News
  27. The show's two opening episodes, showing Sunday and Monday night, are really a small movie cut in half--Sunday is the somewhat puzzling set-up, Monday puts Jimmy in motion and opens his eyes.
  28. There are some fine supporting performances here--most notably from Bradley Whitford as a loyal-if-appalled Hubert Humphrey, Melissa Leo as the beleaguered Ladybird Johnson and Stephen Root as J. Edgar Hoover. But, beginning to end, this is a tour de force for Cranston. Great stuff.
  29. The Americans has potential. The way it uses recent history as a reflector of modern deceits while bouncing the concept of patriotism around mixes nicely with the hang-by-your-fingertips story turns.
  30. It’s hard to say where The Bridge is going, but so far it looks like a trip worth taking.
  31. Fincher's unemotional style comes through in the first two episodes, and the show could use more heat. But Spacey makes it worth watching.
  32. There are few serious undertones, but lots of lively excitement, despite all the lingering questions, which will assumedly be answered. Have faith.
  33. None of which is new, all of which is interesting. But looking at any one aspect of his life--his marriages, a single concert, his childhood, one incident--in depth might have provided more insight than this typical overview.
  34. Simply put, Smallville is super. A new spin on the modern myth of Superman, it's part action series, part teen romance and part high school drama, done with superior production values and featuring an array of new faces that could quickly become familiar. [16 Oct 2001]
    • The Detroit News
  35. A period piece with serious punch, The Knick isn’t for the faint of heart.
  36. The Walking Dead may be starting to walk in circles, but the scenery is still spectacular and spooky.
  37. The potential for cop burnout exists with all the new crime shows this season, but "Trace" is among the most promising entries. [26 Sep 2002]
    • The Detroit News
  38. There’s just enough crazy in Ray Donovan to keep things interesting.
  39. Raimi shows he hasn’t lost his horror chops in directing the first episode, particularly with a spinning flashlight tension-builder. And the bloody roots of “Evil Dead” are fully honored as well.
  40. Underground lingers on the slave experience, and that experience is appropriately awful and inhumane and certainly dramatic. But it’s also a show that wanders a bit too freely, undercutting its important subject matter and forward momentum by interfering with itself. As a show, it needs to learn how to keep it together.
  41. Family Tree is addictively silly stuff.
  42. Occasionally gory and suffused with black humor, there’s still a sunny sincerity to the show. Simply put, iZombie is death done cute.
  43. Smart without being smug, Nip/Tuck is surgically altered television perfection. [5 Sept 2006, p.5D]
    • The Detroit News
  44. The disconnect between propriety and reality keeps the miniseries on constant edge. The entire cast is fine, but Hall steals the show.
  45. This show fits perfectly into the network's mystery/cop-heavy schedule and audiences should be able to blur right through it comfortably. As comfortable blurs go, Battle Creek is indeed a success.
  46. There are knocks in Seduced and Abandoned, but none of them seem that hard.
  47. Like the tremendously successful “American Crime Story: The People v O.J. Simpson,” HBO’s new film, the ultra-sharp Confirmation, is a look back at the muddled ’90s, when racism and sexism were shockingly overt, and one could be used to undercut or confuse the other on the public stage.
  48. The series looks promising, if puzzling.
  49. At times the somewhat corny diversions distract from the slow-moving main attraction. Still, true-believer horror fans will likely bite into The Strain, even if nonconverts find themselves able to resist.
  50. It doesn’t follow the usual rhythms of television--Apatow puts the long in longform storytelling--but there are times when you want to tell him to just get on with it already.
  51. [A] captivating and undeniable classic. [26 Aug 2005, p.2E]
    • The Detroit News
  52. To be sure, there are some fine performances, notably by Olivia Wilde as Richie’s former Warhol girl wife; Juno Temple as an ambitious gofer who wants to work her way up; and Ray Romano as Richie’s beleaguered right-hand man. But they’re mostly drowned in the confusion as the show veers from drama to farce to mostly poor musical interludes.
  53. Showtime’s favorite psychopath is watching his life unravel. Again. Which is tough for Dexter but probably good for the audience.... Last year, the ship was righted as Deb disintegrated and Dexter found true love. Will this season bring justice, cheap thrills or a violent conclusion? Hopefully, all of the above.
  54. For those who crave monsters and gore at any cost, this may do. All others beware.
  55. The show is mostly a slow-burn look at Kyle as he tries to make sense of all the damage that seems to follow--and grow--around him. He may yet turn to prayer.
  56. No matter what, the show returns with the same sense of modern-day paranoia and urgency that fueled its best seasons, and however over-the-top it goes, its real-world geopolitical concerns are real-world geopolitical concerns.
  57. Not strange enough to be scary, but probably strange enough to be fun. [17 Sept 2002]
    • The Detroit News
  58. The show isn't perfect--the female characters are weak, Graham can get a bit wild-eyed and the killings get progressively more bizarre. But creator Bryan Fuller has a good grip on the material and Mikkelsen sets a tone that's both chilling and intriguing.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Nip/Tuck isn't perfect, but with its flawed, fumbling and very human cast of characters, it's a cut above the usual TV drama. [22 July 2003, p.5E]
    • The Detroit News
  59. Smarter and more creative than ABC's "Desperate Housewives," that other show about superficial suburbia, "Weeds" has edgier and wittier writing. [6 Aug 2005]
    • The Detroit News
  60. Halt is wise enough to play this out against Gordon’s stress over providing for his family, Joe’s mysterious background and Cameron’s cute pixie haircut. The ad men in “Mad Men” changed a great deal; the people who put a computer in every home changed everything. And that keeps Halt and Catch Fire interesting.
  61. While it's certainly not the most innovative new show this season, it knows exactly what it wants to be, which isn't a full-on copy of "CSI" but close enough to seem familiar. And it delivers the same slick, well-produced, well-acted sort of analytical whodunit as the original. [23 Sep 2002]
    • The Detroit News
  62. It’s all a bit fuzzy, but then it’s all in good fun. Television has plenty of room for strong female characters.
  63. The show certainly has plenty of diverse star power--Chris Rock, Amy Poehler and Michael Cera also appear along the way--but its shaggy approach wears thin until Cyrus shows up. Then again, save the best gift for last.
  64. Murder in the First” isn’t outright bad. It’s just an extremely derivative police procedural.
  65. There are a lot of characters and talent involved here--Mary Elizabeth Winstead notably plays the bride who was left behind--but The Returned is very much a show propelled forward by its story and the questions it raises.
  66. As a six-episode project, you’d expect precision, compactness and speed; instead it basically, at least for the first four episodes, wanders toward the inevitable.
  67. The slow burn approach actually works nicely, assuming you can calm your appetite for immediate destruction.
  68. Things go bad quickly, which is to be expected. The challenge with this show will be to keep it appropriately Crazy Town without letting it get Loony Bin bad.
  69. What The Newsroom lacks in vampires, serial killers and terrorist love affairs, it makes up for with topicality, intelligence and messy romances.
  70. It’s not going anywhere you’d likely suspect, and the big reveal episodes have a lot of explaining to do, but this hyper-paranoid, time-twisting and addictive show is actually laying a foundation for something. How that something eventually plays out remains a question, but the ride there is an undeniable kick.
  71. As gritty, dysfunctional family, crime-fueled dramas go, Animal Kingdom roars with dark promise.
  72. Truth is, Johnny's predicament has a mix of emotional trauma, supernatural hoodoo and old-fashioned conniving that just might work. Or not, depending on how often the writers beat the same drum -- saving a small kid every week will get old quick. For now, let's give the show the benefit of the doubt. [14 June 2002]
    • The Detroit News
  73. For now, though, The Leftovers is properly mesmerizing.
  74. At first, it seems like your typical show from the CW, overstuffed with bushy-haired teens in a sci-fi situation. But after a while the series, based on a book by Kass Morgan, reveals influences ranging from “Lord of the Flies” to “Battlestar Galactica,” with more than a few hints of “The Hunger Games,” “Lost” and “1984” tossed in.
  75. Maybe this will all become coherent. But then maybe it shouldn't. Sometimes messy is better.
  76. Kinnear, as always, is a likable presence, and he and Summers seem like they’ll have good chemistry if the show ever calms down.
  77. [A] somewhat overheated but still fairly effective new thriller.
  78. Just about everything that made the first season of True Detective entrancing is missing from the second, wholly re-imagined second season. In truth, only the worst, most clichéd parts remain. And yet.... If you make it to the third episode, chances are you'll keep going.
  79. Turn becomes more tense with each episode, at least through the first three, and that’s a very good sign.
  80. The Last Ship would be better off developing its own new society tensions, medical nightmares and primal-survival adventures than leaning on black-hat stereotypes. Maybe it will end up heading in that direction, maybe it will succumb to more common cliches and become lost at sea. It could float either way.
  81. Mamet is known for tight, pointed dramas, and he holds true to his rep here, creating a mystery, procedural and character study all in one.
  82. [A] promising mix of urban decay, moral corruption and brutal betrayal that’s likely to fuel Sun.
  83. Handled correctly, this has “Lost” potential.
  84. One Child spends too much time running in place--which may reflect China’s inert bureaucracy, but falls short of riveting viewing.
  85. Whether viewers will feel too challenged by Ellie to smile along remains to be seen. Hopefully they won't; TV needs crazy-vain-brave risk-takers badly. [26 Feb 2002]
    • The Detroit News
  86. Instead of being seriously macabre, it goes for broad satire, although it certainly has its gory moments. It’s an odd mash-up that leaves little room for real connection to the characters, having faith instead in laughs and blood. Then again, laughs and blood have a good track record.
  87. What starts off as a lusty and dewy-eyed dance between lovers quickly turns into a taut game of cat and mouse more titillating than the pair’s pending nuptials. Enos and Krause have palpable chemistry.
  88. As well-engineered, demographically balanced and ethnically diverse as this show is, it’s still pretty daffy how it cuts back and forth between sun and fun and drug wastoids and gangstas.
  89. Cliches bounce off one another in a slick combination of gallows humor, inspirational bonding, deep thoughts and maudlin moments.
  90. What next? An unholy alliance between Aquaman's niece and the Thing's second cousin? "Birds of Prey" is for the birds. [9 Oct 2002, p.1D]
    • The Detroit News
  91. Alliances are made and broken, power shifts go this way and that, blood is spilled, and wenches keep wenching. It’s oddly addictive, and the cast--made up mostly of British, Australian and Canadian actors--is as sharp as you’d expect from pay cable.
  92. So, basically, this is a drug-fueled Sherlock Holmes situation, although Brian does something so monumentally stupid while supposedly in his smart state at the show’s beginning that it comes close to undermining the show’s premise. Luckily McDorman, who appeared in “American Sniper” with Cooper, has an easygoing charm that helps right the boat.
  93. The pitch here can be shrill. The warden makes Satan look like a nice guy, and Gil has a temper that can be wearying. But the essential tension--who will finally tell the truth? everybody is lying to somebody--makes for compelling, if exhausting, drama.
  94. As actors, Stanford and Schull have to convince TV audiences that they are not dishing out reheated versions of the performances Bruce Willis and Madeleine Stowe did in the original. Thankfully, that's not the case and these two actors are quite compelling as a couple of lost souls trying desperately to make things right.
  95. The level of profanity here would likely give any real life vice principal a heart attack, and Gamby’s stupidity is world class. Eventually you realize he’s just a lonely, sad jerk in need of validation. Comedy, you’ll recall, is just tragedy upside down.
  96. The Messengers seems far-fetched, even by [The CW's] standards.
  97. As harrowing, dark and bloody as the premiere episodes are, and as open as the show’s direction seems to be, the comparisons [to Game of Thrones,” “Sons,” “Deadwood,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Sopranos,” and “The Walking Dead”] seem apt. This Bastard rocks.
  98. But Nicky Fallin is about as unlikable and uncomfortable a character as television audiences have ever been asked to care for. Maybe he would unfold splendidly over time. But it's doubtful he'll get that time. [25 Sept 2001, p.5B]
    • The Detroit News

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