The Hollywood Reporter's Scores

For 1,006 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 57% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 40% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Mad Men: Season 7
Lowest review score: 0 Mixology: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 547
  2. Negative: 0 out of 547
547 tv reviews
  1. Incisive, fearless and laugh-out-loud funny, "Extras" will appeal to anyone who liked "The Larry Sanders Show" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
  2. A heart-pounding, mesmerizing adventure unlike anything else up or down the dial.
  3. The first four installments supplied for review have moments of artsy overindulgence, to be sure, but largely remain true to the show's roots in darkness and absurdity while carving out fresh story arcs that are as compelling as any the writers have ever crafted. It's like peering at a series of train wrecks as rendered by da Vinci.
  4. Let's get it out the way right now, the blurb that will be quoted after this review is run: "If you see nothing else this summer, watch 'Brotherhood.' "
  5. It is a gem of a production and would be a highlight of any TV season. Pacific, in its totality, conveys a sense of the combat experience that is as complete and realistic as any work of film could be.
  6. One surefire sign of a television series in its prime comes when an episode's plot and subplots dovetail so stylishly that it's difficult to tell which is which.
  7. Shameless is excellent, compelling television from the first moment. As long as it stays true to the roots of the original, it's going to be essential viewing.
  8. Like any episode of Archer, telling the jokes does them no justice. You need to find out for yourself why this series is such a politically incorrect gem.
  9. There's a real allure to costume-dramas that pair dense mythology with all of the crowd-pleasing elements of war, honor, pride, lust, power and, yes, even humor. Thrones has all of those in spades and supports them with exceptional storytelling, strong writing, superb acting and some stunning visual effects.
  10. In Cinema Verite, 90 minutes might not do justice to the historical impact of An American Family. But it makes you wish there were 90 more minutes to the story, which is saying something.
  11. Ambitious? As always. And if the first few episodes are any indication, tighter, even more evocative and as lush and lovingly constructed as possible when conveying the plight of the forgotten.
  12. Now entering another wince-inducing season, Larry David proves again that he can mine gold over and over from the same idea.
  13. Breaking Bad is unquestionably one of the greatest dramas in TV history. What it should be rewarded and applauded for is the wanton willingness to throw the concomitant success of all that away in the service of the story.
  14. It's essential viewing. All of the promise of last season looks to be realized with impressively deft storytelling, beautiful cinematography and impeccable acting.
  15. Starz has its channel-defining series in Boss, a wholly impressive new drama that comes out of the gate with gravitas, swagger, originality and intrigue.
  16. Frozen Planet is one of those instantly riveting series where you marvel at the beauty and majesty of it all but also spare more than a passing thought for the effort involved.
  17. Game of Thrones is so much more than a genre series, a fantasy epic. It's a series that doesn't need to feel dramatically inferior up against the likes of Mad Men or Breaking Bad, Justified or anything else.
  18. The new HBO series from Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture) is one of the most original, spot-on, no-missed-steps series in recent memory.
  19. This Holmes update's second season continues to be both clever and classic.
  20. It's not a matter of wondering if Breaking Bad will be great, but where in the pantheon it will ultimately reside.
  21. Homeland is as riveting and addictive as when we last saw it, kicking off with no lull in the pulse-pounding action.
  22. Girls kicks off its second season even more assured of itself, able to deftly work strands of hard-earned drama into the free-flowing comedic moments of four postcollege girls trying to find their way in life.
  23. Top of the Lake presents a dire portrait of the human condition, very much in line with many of the other most popular crime-and-family-driven television series of recent years. It’s also right up there with the best of them.
  24. Here’s to a dense, layered, enterprising and fascinating journey through Season 3--and as many more seasons as need be to complete this incomparable fantasy.
  25. A compelling, intelligent and wonderfully engaging drama. [22 Sept 1999]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  26. A wonderfully engaging combination of comedy and drama that could succeed simply on the passion of its characters and the strength of the performances. But the show also boasts intelligent dialogue and a willingness to grapple with thorny issues, both personal and professional. [21 Sept 1998]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  27. A quirky and hilarious gem.
  28. Superbly scripted, brilliantly directed, smart but never smarmy and led by a lead performance by Michael Douglas so good you often forget you’re watching an actor rather than the famous character he’s playing, this is a rarity, a fully realized biographical drama shot through with real feeling and an abundance of sly humor.
  29. Gilmore Girls is a genuine gem in the making, a family-friendly hour burdened by neither trite cliche nor precocious pablum. It is as fresh and real as "Dawson's Creek" is stale and contrived. In the process, it re-energizes the 8 o'clock hour with a bracing burst of heart. [5 Oct 2000]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  30. [Creator and writer Ann Biderman has] created the most testosterone, rough and intelligent drama in ages.... Early sneaks of Ray Donovan hinted that Showtime might have a real gem on its hands, but four episodes provides an absolute exclamation point.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    They'd better set up a separate category for HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show" when Emmy time comes around. [13 Aug 1992]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  31. Vital, vigorous television that results in considerably more than Brooklyn abridged. As is true of Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" or Woody Allen's "Radio Days," "Brooklyn Bridge" is a radiant recollection of the boisterous borough, a sweet, affecting ode to a piece of New York real estate and its durable inhabitants. [20 Sep 1991]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  32. The series became an instant TV landmark because of its riveting stories, wonderfully drawn characters, superb acting and intelligent direction. If anything, the new season emphasizes these traits even more, as it probes the fascinating and usually emotionally charged relationships inside and outside the Soprano family. [2 Mar 2001]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  33. In an embarrassment of riches, this series is littered with numerous quality acting performances. It's just a thing of beauty all the way around.
  34. It is doubtful that any war movie on the large or small screen has captured the varied experiences of ordinary soldiers better than Band of Brothers. Whether it's the sheer terror of facing an unseen enemy or the momentary joy following a successful mission, the mini eschews the typical movie cliches while revealing and reveling in the humanity within each member of Easy Company. It explains in large measure why this group of regular guys and others like them have come to be called the Greatest Generation. [5 Sept 2001]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  35. Elba has been fantastic at every step, taking Cross' wonderful writing it and giving it even more dimensions. Pretty much every character that walks into this miniseries has given a virtuoso performance.... Season three never disappoints even when you kind of recoil, as a viewer, at the evil that has landed in Luther’s already complicated life.
  36. Defying expectations while rewiring what a “zombie” series can be, The Returned is one of the most intriguing, utterly original offerings of the year.
  37. The acting--by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson--is off the charts. The writing and the concept, by series creator and novelist Nic Pizzolatto, undulates from effectively brash soliloquies to penetratingly nuanced moments carried by sparse prose. Lastly, director Cary Joji Fukunaga has created a beautiful, sprawling sense of place (the series is shot and set in Louisiana).
  38. Sherlock is back as brilliant as ever and there’s joy and entertainment and superb craftsmanship abounding in this first episode (you might feel like clapping in appreciation when it ends), but there’s also the promise of more goodness ahead.
  39. Going into its third season, Girls is as refreshing and audacious as ever and one of the few half-hour dramedies where you can feel its heart pounding and see its belly ripple with laughter.
  40. Sometimes watching greatness expand and realizing that a foundation is in place for the future (excellent writing, superb acting, a clear conceptual vision) is just the kind of assurance you need to cement your allegiance.
  41. The pilot is flat-out brilliant ... It’s the best, most wide-appeal show that HBO has had in ages.
  42. The consistency of excellence in Game of Thrones is truly something to behold. Even in three episodes, viewers will sense things tightening up-- that winter and war are coming and they are coming at a full run.
  43. Evaluated merely as one episode competing against all the previous episodes in the series, this one is pretty spectacular.... Mad Men is back, looking as vibrant as ever.
  44. The casting on Fargo is superb, but none more so than Thornton, who is absolutely magnetic as the calm killer with a penchant for wry observation.... The four episodes that FX sent are a testament to Hawley’s bold belief that he could tackle such an original piece of cinema and make it work on the small screen.
  45. Early returns from season two suggest that Orphan Black will be more compelling than ever, as it becomes more confident in its ability, buoyed by the acclaim, and its laudable understanding that a good story is just that--it doesn't matter that it be a straight, familiar drama.
  46. A show that ceased to be something easily identifiable and thus easily understood the very first minute it was on.
  47. Season two of Orange Is the New Black delivers immediately, stays relevant and entertaining, and gives the impression that it has learned a lot of life lessons inside the system.
  48. It remains as riveting and unique as ever.
  49. The miniseries weaves a spectacularly well-constructed story--intricate, dense, demanding and rewarding--about loyalty, deception, forgiveness and revenge.
  50. The buzz is that "My Name Is Earl" is good, and the truth is that it's better than the buzz.
  51. Much of the charm in this show, as well as the humor, comes from Rock's ability to vanquish political correctness in favor of a candid but affectionate look at the past.
  52. The show gets back to where it belongs: under Larry's expansive roof and inside his incessantly neurotic, disgracefully tactless and unerringly heartless skin.
  53. It's simply a great idea that, if early indications are accurate, could stand as a horror classic for a television genre that's been inconsistent at best over the years.
  54. Creator-writer Norman Morrill's drama is so taut and his approach to the genre so sharp that the only significant complaint is that the first "season" is only six episodes.
  55. Think of "The Office," "Larry Sanders," "Spin City" and "Yes Minister" rolled into one delirious stew.
  56. There are more than a few well-made dramas this season, but "Studio 60" -- with its intelligent dialogue, ironic humor, brilliant acting and Schlamme's inspired direction -- lays claim to being the most exciting new show of the season.
  57. "Heroes" is one of TV's most imaginative creations and might, with luck, become this year's "Lost."
  58. Whether or not "The Nine" succeeds -- and, personally, I'm pulling for it -- it deserves credit for advancing the art of TV storytelling to new heights, both complex and rewarding.
  59. In lesser hands, Longford might have come off as dogmatic or, worse, pathetic. Broadbent endows him with a cocktail of emotions that makes Longford simultaneously heroic and vulnerable. It is a performance that will likely not be forgotten later this year when Emmy nominations are announced.
  60. A rip-roaring thriller... that pulls off the rare trick of being both massively intelligent and unbearably intense.
  61. Brilliantly original but wise and low-key.
  62. This mini holds you in its thrall from beginning to end, and the twists along the way are seemingly endless. A riveting ride, indeed.
  63. This handsome miniseries is praiseworthy on many levels--as history, as entertainment and as a way to bring to life for new generations a sense of the sacrifice and heroism needed to establish the U.S.
  64. Bolstered by superb acting and first-rate direction and cinematography, Kill delivers the goods in ways both unexpected and rewarding.
  65. Far from devolving into soapy Madison Avenue pablum, Mad Men is painstakingly building its way to genuine greatness.
  66. Forget everything I ever wrote about "Mad Men." This is the best drama series on television.
  67. Breaking Bad is indeed so flat-out superb it appears to be operating at a different level than just about everybody else save AMC's own "Mad Men" and maybe a couple of shows over at FX.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Perhaps the only predictable element of Mad Men is that the premiere is a return to form, the series is as spellbinding and elusive as Draper himself.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    If there is any criticism to be made, it is that the opening half-hour plunges the unsuspecting viewer into an unfamiliar foreign world of soot and grime and foul deeds and motives. Once settled in, however, this is very addictive television, indeed.
  68. Scene after scene transports viewers across time and space to a place made vivid and real. By doing all this, the robust, two-part, four-hour "Masterpiece Theatre" program raises the bar for future "Jane Eyre" productions to a level that will not be easily hurdled.
  69. Long on heart, brimming with great characters, smartly cast, expertly written and funny from start to finish, Family is the obvious choice for best new fall comedy--and possibly best series.
  70. This latest production from Terence Wrong and ABC News is as ambitious as it is thrilling, a beautiful collage of life-and-death drama, raw courage, medical miracles and human foibles.
  71. UK remakes the script in its own, veddy British image and comes up with a vibrant, layered, insightful look at how the system breaks down no matter what the metropolis.
  72. Episodes, which got uproarious laughter in cut-down form at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in July, does not disappoint an ounce as it rolls through a seven-episode season. It also signals a savvy return to television for LeBlanc, who manages to be the butt of the joke one moment then hilariously likable the next.
  73. Beyond the superb pilot, Lights Out begins to get wonderfully nuanced and more interesting with each episode. And though the series avoids most boxing cliches while keeping true to the inescapable elements of "the sweet science," the real key to its success is McCallan.
  74. The series, which had a string of stand-alone episodes before becoming more serialized, gets the balance a little better in Season 2 (though there are still some stand-alones to welcome newbies).
  75. The series is excellent, absorbing and addictive. When each episode ends, you long for the next--a hallmark of great dramas.
  76. The entertainment value and suspense of Falling Skies is paced just right. You get the sense that we'll get those answers eventually. And yet, you want to devour the next episode immediately.
  77. The Walking Dead hasn't lost the most important ingredient in its strangely successful recipe: it's thrilling.
  78. The characters are so beautifully and thoroughly rendered that we, as viewers, are caught up in their lives.
  79. The first three episodes of Season 3 indicate there has been no slippage at all, but rather a digging in of the philosophy at hand.
  80. Archer proves exactly why it's been so great since the beginning: Smart writing, great voice cast, cool animation and, just so you understand, still more smart writing.
  81. Smash is excellent, a bar-raiser for broadcast networks.
  82. Mad Men stays relevant and exciting by moving forward.
  83. Every actor nails their lines, which keeps Veep moving at a brisk pace. In fact, the episodes seem to end so quickly, you'll wish they lasted an hour.
  84. It seems to be shifting into a higher gear, when no one thought that option was even available.
  85. Not only is the pilot a wonderful mix of hilarious moments (pretty much any time Faxon is in the picture) and subtle sentiment, but it's one of those shows where the acumen of the off-camera talent (Fox) is impressive and clear, which gives hope for long-term success.
  86. The dialogue remains as pin-prick sharp as usual, with that clever mix of directness and humor.
  87. It's too early to really judge Americans against Homeland, but if the latter is getting away from what hooked you in the first place, then you might find what you're missing on Americans.
  88. It's a heavyweight new contender in the drama category, just as Netflix now is as a content provider.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    In a new season largely bereft of innovative ideas or daring concepts, Firefly stands out like a supermodel at a bus stop... The end result is a new and different form for storytelling and characters with engaging stories to tell. [19 Sept 2002]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This supernatural series has fast, raucous music, attractive heroes and heroines, and nifty morphing effects for the vampires.
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  89. A series that constructs its characters and situations with care and skill from the start rather than relying on seeking to confirm expectations. [16 Sept 1993]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  90. It is, flat out, one of the most intriguingly entertaining new series of the year, and it’s so much more than pure entertainment. For a sci-fi series, there’s some real heft to it.
  91. What’s intriguing and partly amazing about the two hour "movie” called “The Doorway” that opens the season April 7 is that Weiner has not lost his touch at writing a beautifully crafted script--jammed with the sadness and humor and personal revelations we’ve all come to appreciate. But in addition to that, he’s decided to really hit home Mad Men’s key theme in the first two hours with a kind of ferocity of intent we’ve rarely seen from him.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It shows us that comedy isn't really dead, it's merely been snoozing, and this savvy shot of character-driven adrenaline serves as the wake-up call. Packed with brutal showbiz truths and snappy dialogue, the half-hour is revelatory in the clever way it spotlights the empty shell of celebrityhood and the party-hearty superficiality of those caught up in its reflected glow... And watch for this to be Piven's breakout role. His agent Ari is a creation of slimeball wonder. [16 July 2004]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  92. What makes Rectify so rich and compelling are the choices it makes to avoid predictability--not just in its bold choice of immersive pacing, but because it puts characters (and complicated ones) into what feels like a familiar story and makes it seem new.
  93. It isn't as groundbreaking as it would have itself taken. However, in terms of presenting a strong portrayal of cop work out on the urban landscape, the project (inspired by David Simon's "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets") hits with compelling conviction. [29 Jan 1993]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  94. The Rashomon-style storytelling takes a bit to get used to, and the sometimes feverish flow of the jokes (which fans may remember from the hall-of-fame first three seasons) struggle to unleash themselves in the first couple of episodes, but then it snowballs into seven-and-a-half hours of hilarity just waiting for a movie to follow it up.

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