The Hollywood Reporter's Scores

For 1,124 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 56% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 41% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Band of Brothers: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Do No Harm: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 603
  2. Negative: 0 out of 603
603 tv reviews
  1. Homeland is as riveting and addictive as when we last saw it, kicking off with no lull in the pulse-pounding action.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. It remains as riveting and unique as ever.
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. Veep enters its fourth season, firmly established as one of television’s best comedies, and then immediately does what seems impossible--it delivers its most thoroughly assured, hilarious and brilliantly written and acted episodes.
  10. 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.
  11. Silicon Valley comes out of the gates as strong as its remarkable freshman season, skewering people, places, ideas and the pomposity of the entire tech world.
  12. 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
  13. It's not a matter of wondering if Breaking Bad will be great, but where in the pantheon it will ultimately reside.
  14. The pilot is flat-out brilliant ... It’s the best, most wide-appeal show that HBO has had in ages.
  15. 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.
  16. Defying expectations while rewiring what a “zombie” series can be, The Returned is one of the most intriguing, utterly original offerings of the year.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. The miniseries weaves a spectacularly well-constructed story--intricate, dense, demanding and rewarding--about loyalty, deception, forgiveness and revenge.
  22. [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.
  23. Now entering another wince-inducing season, Larry David proves again that he can mine gold over and over from the same idea.
  24. 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.
    • 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
  25. 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.
  26. Watching Fox’s wonderfully creative and ridiculously entertaining new series, The Last Man On Earth, you can’t help but laugh (it’s a comedy--duh), but also be truly and utterly impressed.
  27. 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.
  28. The Americans not only built on its impressive first season when the second came around, but the first four episodes of season three find it rising to new creative heights yet again.
  29. 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.
  30. A show that ceased to be something easily identifiable and thus easily understood the very first minute it was on.
  31. 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
  32. Incisive, fearless and laugh-out-loud funny, "Extras" will appeal to anyone who liked "The Larry Sanders Show" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
  33. A compelling, intelligent and wonderfully engaging drama. [22 Sept 1999]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  34. The new HBO series from Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture) is one of the most original, spot-on, no-missed-steps series in recent memory.
  35. 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).
  36. A heart-pounding, mesmerizing adventure unlike anything else up or down the dial.
  37. A quirky and hilarious gem.
  38. This Holmes update's second season continues to be both clever and classic.
  39. It remains, as ever, a wholly original concoction that’s a thing of odd beauty.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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
  43. 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.
  44. It's essential viewing. All of the promise of last season looks to be realized with impressively deft storytelling, beautiful cinematography and impeccable acting.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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
  49. 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.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    While it might look like a serious show, it's played strictly for laughs, and it has in fact become one of the funniest -- and most inventive -- shows in primetime... Northern Exposure is refreshing in the way it breaks all the rules of format and comes out on top. As it proves week after week, it remains the most charming, witty and rewarding show on television. [23 Sept 1991]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  50. 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.
  51. 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.' "
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. This mini holds you in its thrall from beginning to end, and the twists along the way are seemingly endless. A riveting ride, indeed.
  56. "Heroes" is one of TV's most imaginative creations and might, with luck, become this year's "Lost."
    • 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
  57. 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
  58. 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).
  59. It seems to be shifting into a higher gear, when no one thought that option was even available.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The new production is more polished, the casting is so spot-on and the spirit so out of control that whether it's quick-hitting bits at the opening or an extended examination of movie studio rights, the invention rarely gets run over by the execution. [15 Nov 1996]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. Bringing [Saul and Carrie] to the forefront and giving them a lot of scenes in the first two episodes has strengthened the series. The writing and acting in the first two episodes are exceptional. Let’s hope this continues, because it’s once again thrilling to watch this show.
  64. 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.
  65. Unhurried but amply rewarding, Olive Kitteridge is an all-around class act and a credit to everyone concerned.
  66. It’s a pleasure to watch, and the weaving of the narrative thread is a thing of beauty.
  67. 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
  68. 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.
  69. Mad Men stays relevant and exciting by moving forward.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    If anything, "Home Improvement" promises to be even more impressive in this, its sophomore year. ... Across the board, the show's stars have found greater comfort in their characters and are able to give them an easy, believable air and friendliness. [16 Sep 1992]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  70. 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.
  71. 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.
  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. 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.
  74. There are moments in Togetherness where it's extremely impressive witnessing the layered nuances that Zissis and the Duplasses create. Though Peet and especially Zissis get the funnier lines and situations, there's a very palpable element of sadness to their characters as well.
  75. It's a heavyweight new contender in the drama category, just as Netflix now is as a content provider.
  76. A series with grit, charm, warmth and wit about another woman who defies convention to make her own way. And if Heather Paige Kent ("Stark Raving Mad"), who plays Lydia, doesn't steal your heart, it's time for a transplant. [29 Sept 2000]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  77. It’s a lusciously shot and brilliantly written and acted account of how the British aristocracy and progressives in high society fell in love with what can best be described as the tantalizing edginess of jazz music and the sense of exploration and wonder it brought to those who heard it even though society at the time was not ready to accept what it all implied.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    "Weeds" is a blast, a wry, well-written look at the life of the pot dealer next door in small-screen suburbia. [1 Aug 2005]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  78. 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.
  79. 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.
  80. Its sharp, wily wit will be immediately appreciable. Here is a comedy construct that hits like "The Brothers Karamazov" and plays like the brothers Marx. [25 Sep 1992]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  81. 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.
  82. Smash is excellent, a bar-raiser for broadcast networks.
  83. 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.
  84. The Walking Dead hasn't lost the most important ingredient in its strangely successful recipe: it's thrilling.
  85. Credit the writers and the director--and the various wonderful acting performances you’ll see sprinkled about--for making The Missing something more than just a whodunit.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A dramatic series that is steamy, provocative and filled with smart dialogue and richly drawn characters, none of whom are entirely predictable. [15 Jan 2004]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Although the subject matter is familiar, the stories from exec producer Ron Hutchinson are fresh and packed with excitement and stylistic turns. [26 Jan 2004]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  86. Brilliantly original but wise and low-key.
  87. The characters are so beautifully and thoroughly rendered that we, as viewers, are caught up in their lives.
  88. It will be interesting to see how Rylance’s superb performance evolves as Cromwell gets within spitting distance of the throne. For the moment, he’s a perfect model of stoicism, and the few flickers of feeling that cross his face (a smattering of tears after the death of his wife and children) hint that when Cromwell’s downfall comes--as history says it must--it won’t be pretty. The supporting actors are equally excellent.
  89. Chalk up another forceful punch with Bloodline, a riveting, superbly cast slow-burn family drama set between the oceanfront paradise and the murky mangrove swamps of the Florida Keys.
  90. Forget everything I ever wrote about "Mad Men." This is the best drama series on television.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It commands attention without being heavy-handed and serves up characters who seamlessly and effectively blend into the hour's compelling framework. [26 Sep 2002]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  91. The show gets back to where it belongs: under Larry's expansive roof and inside his incessantly neurotic, disgracefully tactless and unerringly heartless skin.
  92. Bolstered by superb acting and first-rate direction and cinematography, Kill delivers the goods in ways both unexpected and rewarding.
  93. 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.
  94. The buzz is that "My Name Is Earl" is good, and the truth is that it's better than the buzz.
    • 68 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
  95. 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.
    • 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.
  96. 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.
  97. 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.
  98. A rip-roaring thriller... that pulls off the rare trick of being both massively intelligent and unbearably intense.
  99. Funny, spooky and wonderfully entertaining. [7 Oct 1998]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  100. 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.
  101. 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.
  102. 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.
  103. All told, Transparent is a surprisingly poignant, funny and mature piece of work.
    • 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.
    • 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
  104. It constantly offers more than you expect, and even when it delivers something either predictable or straight from the “women’s prison drama” handbook, it then counters with something fresh or unexpected.
  105. 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.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's a wonderful, subversive concept, and by failing to romanticize the players, "Office" remains true to its ghastly, funny self. [23 Jan 2003]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  106. Far from devolving into soapy Madison Avenue pablum, Mad Men is painstakingly building its way to genuine greatness.
  107. Purists might balk, but for the rest of us, the latest retelling of the Superman tale is a brilliant blend of tradition and contemporary sensibility. Not only is it a Superman for a new generation, it's a Superman for every generation. [15 Oct 2001]
    • The Hollywood Reporter
  108. 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.
  109. 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.
  110. The series is excellent, absorbing and addictive. When each episode ends, you long for the next--a hallmark of great dramas.
  111. The dialogue remains as pin-prick sharp as usual, with that clever mix of directness and humor.
  112. It’s certainly an intriguing pilot--you can’t take your eyes off of Spader and the writers have thrown in a couple of other interesting twists.
  113. While a miniseries might have truly been something to behold--allowing the slow helplessness to really penetrate viewers, there’s something to be said about making a big, loud noise and getting the message out--again. In that sense, both Murphy and Kramer do the play justice (as you would expect) and have created a powerful modern history reminder for those too young to understand the all-too-recent past.
  114. 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.
  115. Think of "The Office," "Larry Sanders," "Spin City" and "Yes Minister" rolled into one delirious stew.

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