The New York Times' Scores

For 1,177 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 43% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 53% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 5.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Band of Brothers: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Notes from the Underbelly: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 547
  2. Negative: 0 out of 547
547 tv reviews
  1. There are very few series for young adults that deal with race as brazenly and defiantly as "The Boondocks."
  2. "Entourage" is as good as ever in its third season, yet somehow different.
  3. The show is bold, quite good and gets better as it goes on. But Huff is never truly great the way ''The Sopranos'' or ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' have been on HBO. Like other Showtime fare, ''Dead Like Me'' and ''The L Word,'' the series is enjoyable without being vital.
  4. The premiere is a bit stiff, but the episodes improve over time, mostly thanks to two mesmerizing actresses in the lead roles.
  5. [A] beautiful, intelligent, imperfect show.
  6. "Prison Break"... is more intriguing than most of the new network series, and it certainly is one of the most original.
  7. Offbeat and utterly charming.
  8. "Everybody Hates Chris" is the first show in a long time centered on a teenager whose main problem is not adolescent angst, but real life. And Mr. Rock makes it funny, not maudlin or mean.
  9. It's King done right.
  10. It is unusually good: a harsh public-service message built into a clever, suspenseful thriller.
  11. The remake has everything that those earlier versions had and something more: Tracey Ullman and Carol Burnett together and at each other's throats.
  12. Life on Mars is a smarter, gloomier "Journeyman."
  13. Like Bravo's fashion winner "Project Runway," the channel's promising "Top Chef" flaunts terms of art and insiderism to give it authority.
  14. Top Chef promises more than a clash of personalities; it inspires patriotism.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The closest American popular television has ever come to this kind of close-up realism is probably the drug-dealing scenes in "The Wire" on HBO, and even they seem a little tame and stagey compared with what takes place in Dona Marta.
  15. “Big Day” is marvelously cast, and the actors, especially Wendie Malick, manage, like the cast of “24,” to convey a sense of urgency that almost belongs on the stage.
  16. Friday Night Lights (which begins Wednesday on DirecTV, the satellite subscription service that is helping finance it, and moves to NBC in February) is delivered with the precision and manner of ethnography--it never condescends.
  17. There is nothing else quite like it on television, and that is actually saying a lot.
  18. The series is a clever update, not to say rip-off, of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” set behind the scenes at an NBC comedy show rather than in a television newsroom, and it is very funny.
  19. Damages borrows heavily from the front page, and that keeps it interesting.
  20. There is nothing supernatural behind the mystery, and there is no deep-rooted government conspiracy lurking behind seemingly mundane events. But suspense builds, personalities strengthen and change, and “The Nine” takes on a life of its own.
  21. The next-best thing to "The Wire."
  22. Had it arrived 10 or 15 years earlier, when long-form narrative was not the dominant form on cable television, it would have been felt, arguably, more as an explosion than a trickle. The series has at least so far failed to find a large audience, indicating perhaps how much we have come to take good serial drama for granted.
  23. Violence, like deficit spending, is a very American vice. “Dexter” is yet another temptation that is almost impossible to resist.
  24. The nature-nurture question has always been central to the show: had his upbringing been different, would his genetic makeup still have led him onto the same path? Now the stakes have been raised compellingly in that debate.
  25. State of Mind owes most of its appeal to Ms. Taylor, an accomplished indie actress with unusual jolie-laide looks who brings a wry charm and dignity to the inauspicious role of a wronged wife who is also burdened with an overbearing mother.
  26. Five Days, made by the BBC and HBO, is riveting because it weaves the most familiar milestones of a major homicide investigation--the news conferences, police interrogations and family meltdowns--into a less predictable and intricately layered narrative that averts clichés without diluting the suspense.
  27. There’s a cynicism balancing the upbeat goofiness of Eli Stone.
  28. The show works because Ms. Applegate is the kind of comic actress who could never be completely believable as a goody-two-shoes. She puts a healthy ironic distance between herself and that dreaded entity, the better person her character must become. You look in her eyes, and, happily, you see a recidivist.
  29. Dirty Sexy Money lives up to its name.
  30. Guided by an ambient lunacy, the show resists forced restlessness, settling in and fleshing out its characters’ idiosyncrasies instead.
  31. The story of Ned (Lee Pace), a young man who can bring the dead back to life, is sweetly odd, but also oddly charming.
  32. One of the more humanizing adventures in science fiction to arrive in quite a while, the series is taut, haunting, relevant and an exploration of adolescent exceptionalism rendered without the cheerleading uniforms and parody of “Heroes.”
  33. This show is smart and rigorous, with a concentration that bores deep without growing dull.
  34. In many ways the second season is richer. The stories are again lifted from “Be’ Tipul,” but set in New York, the epicenter of post-Freudian civilization and its discontents.
  35. The series is part spy spoof, part workplace comedy, and it is a genuinely engaging homage to the nerd hero.
  36. The narrative structure of the show is incredibly satisfying: During each hour a crime is committed and solved, as Charlie’s search for who might have framed him provides the overriding arch, satisfying our short attention spans and taste for long-form narrative at once.
  37. It’s a premise that in the wrong hands could be boorish and not at all amusing, so it is to the writers’ credit that Aliens is instead fresh, funny and charming in a tart, sardonic way, one of the best sendups of adolescent angst since "The Wonder Years" and "Malcolm in the Middle" (and perhaps even "My So-Called Life").
  38. Reaper is not at all grim; it’s actually quite rewarding.
  39. Basically it’s a knock-off of TLC’s "What Not to Wear." But the Bravo version is watchable, mostly thanks to its host.
  40. The premiere episode of Life on Mars, by contrast [to "Kath & Kim"], is strange and exhilarating.
  41. [Broadbent] is unrecognizable and remarkable in the role of Longford, capturing both the man’s dotty hauteur and his awkward, absent-minded chivalry.
  42. Durham County, in short, is very, very creepy and unsettling, and entirely addictive, a modern murder mystery with a touch of Patricia Highsmith misanthropy.
  43. The most endearing comedy about love to come to television since the Manolos were packed up and put away.
  44. This spy drama is not as dense and psychologically intricate, but it has compensations, most notably the placement of fictional characters like McAuliffe and Torriti alongside real-life figures like Angleton and Philby, and inside real-life crises like the 1956 Hungarian uprising.
  45. Mad Men is both a drama and a comedy and all the better for it, a series that breaks new ground by luxuriating in the not-so-distant past.
  46. Those first fugues into Don's hidden past are not the most inviting way into a new season, however. Mad Men is essentially one long flashback, an artfully imagined historic re-enactment of an era when America was a soaring superpower feeling its first shivers of mortality.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Mr. Brown has bought into something real: our childlike joy in being fooled.
  47. There is a genuine suspense and thrill to the show now, but it succeeds largely as a treatise not on the tragedy of cancer but on the sheer monotony of it, the relentless waiting around.
  48. Britain in the 1980s is arguably a lot more interesting than Britain in the ’70s, and Ashes to Ashes sharply engages the factionalism of the day: the mounting antipathies of the working class, the growth of privatization and development, the fury over nuclear armament.
  49. There are no mediocre performances here.
  50. Her comic style is familiar, but much of Ms. Ullman’s material is fresh and up-to-date.
  51. Recount, an astute and deliciously engrossing film on HBO this Sunday night, retells the tale of Florida in all its bizarre and inglorious moments, from haggling over the “hanging chad” and “butterfly ballots” to the ruckus between the Florida secretary of state, Katherine Harris, and the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board.
  52. Generation Kill, which has a superb cast and script, provides a searingly intense, clear-eyed look at the first stage of the war, and it is often gripping. But like a beautiful woman who swathes herself in concealing clothes and distracting hats, the series fights its own intrinsic allure.
  53. Fringe invokes some of the sillier forms of television devices-- teleportation, psychokinesis, transmogrification and even bionic prostheses--but still manages to seem smart and stylish.
  54. All three characters are highly appealing, but the charm of the show lies in the delicate balance of engrossing drama and disarming humor; the series is not campy or self-conscious, it’s witty in an offhand, understated way.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Middleman skillfully incorporates real-life details into its fantastic scenarios. Its characters aren’t just Manichaean warriors; they also live the kinds of lives that people read comic books to escape from.
  55. There is a slow-growth, artisanal quality to the franchise, and the series, which stars an excellent Jill Scott as Precious, remains true to it. Anyone impatient with languorous pacing on television is at orange-alert risk of feeling fidgety.
  56. The pilot was shot on location in southern Africa and is dazzlingly filmed; the cinematography alone stands out. But it’s the hero’s duality--he’s a good Samaritan with a flawed personality--that helps make The Philanthropist an unusual and exhilarating network series.
  57. Trust Me, a TNT series set in a Chicago advertising agency, is clever and likeable.
  58. It is a believable, sharply observed portrait of ordinary men who, through all-too-common bad breaks and missteps, feel that they are backsliding.
  59. The series has humor and charm beneath its facile message, in large part (no disrespect intended) to a subtle, winning performance by Ms. Elliott.
  60. Little is off limits in terms of subject matter either; in two of the first three episodes people with disabilities are the focus of pivotal jokes. But it’s a mark of the show’s intelligence that in both cases it is Will who ends up humiliated.
  61. The script, by Amanda Coe, has a dexterous sense of fun.
  62. Made jointly by the BBC and HBO, House of Saddam is well told and often lurid, a saga that blends the dirty work of despotism with the rituals of family gatherings, sibling rivalries and marital discontents.
  63. On balance it plays like a well-made and increasingly grim horror picture, with a crispness of execution and a graphic level of intestine-pulling, throat-ripping violence that are both beyond the American norm.
  64. In the fog of war movies, some events are hard to follow, a few characters are easily confused, but the series is never less than spellbinding.
  65. Little Dorrit is as rich at the margins as at the center with strange, and strangely believable, characters from almost all levels of society, rendered in quick, firm strokes.
  66. The pacing is occasionally so slow and deliberate that it may test some viewers’ patience, but the series takes its time because the real mystery is Wallander and his uneasy inner life.
  67. Today’s children will certainly find it watchable and will have better language skills after spending time with it. They just aren’t likely to still be holding it in their hearts 35 years from now.
  68. Housewives of New Jersey is more farcical, less phony and a lot more fun.
  69. A winsome, quick-paced caper that is part “Catch Me if You Can,” part “Shampoo.”
  70. There is an appealing cheekiness to the show’s insistence on dressing up hunch work as the purview of serious science.
  71. Bored to Death is as idiosyncratic and delightful in its own way as “Curb Your Enthusiasm."
  72. Tough-minded, suspenseful and shot in an unnerving bleached light, Southland is by far the better drama--Thursday’s pilot is one of the most gripping opening episodes of any network crime series.
  73. Its a clever and engaging reinterpretation by Bill Gallagher, who shaped the script to contemporary tastes and sensibilities--notably, a postmodern fatigue with ideology and big thoughts.
  74. Like so many contemporary television thrillers, FlashForward works just as powerfully as a domestic drama as it does as a mechanism of apocalyptic intrigue.
  75. There’s an engrossing moodiness to Mr. Williamson’s latest venture, but one he conveys without annulling the pact he long ago made with himself never to let his cheekiness go undetected.
  76. Alicia’s shock and her sense of surreal detachment, is as vivid a depiction of personal crisis as any on television. But after this cleverly written series deconstructs the exact moment when everything falls apart, it imaginatively explores how one scorned spouse struggles to get past a life-shattering scandal.
  77. What could have easily become a pandering hybrid is in fact intelligent, emotionally resonant television.
  78. This is an elliptically told tale, and it takes a few episodes for the plot and the characters to pick up steam.
  79. Covert Affairs is fun and clever and Ms. Perabo has panache in the role.
  80. While it is quite silly, it's silly in a clever and engaging way, which is the signature style of its creator, Matt Nix.
  81. Huge imparts lessons while avoiding the tenor of an instructional, and in many ways it feels like a hybrid of two distinct eras of adolescent television, one marked by a heartfelt languor and the other by a media-fluent sarcasm.
  82. Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), whose braininess extends to an expertise in physics and an acute ability to help Luther unravel the most advanced criminal minds. The two circle each other dangerously, their chemistry both bizarre and addicting.
  83. The appeal is elementary: good, unpretentious fun, something that's in short supply around here.
  84. In its astonishingly raunchy way, The League is pretty funny whether or not you’re a fantasy geek, assuming you’re a TV-MA kind of person.
  85. The latest incarnation, Nikita, which begins on the CW network on Thursday, is a surprisingly sophisticated and satisfying adaptation.
  86. By using a celebrity as a Trojan horse, Teach offers an engaging and intimate look at just how complicated and difficult teaching can be at a large, urban public high school.
  87. The mockumentary conceit has been done to death, especially in sitcoms inspired by "Arrested Development" and "The Office." But it's effective in this drama, lending the characters' monologues both poignancy and also a light layer of satire.
  88. Terriers hangs rich people out to dry, makes fun of yuppie affectation and seeks as much to position itself on the right side of the class war as it does to amuse us. It succeeds amiably on both fronts.
  89. Lone Star offers an amusing and novel television conceit, but in an age of Enron and Bernard Madoff, it takes a very persuasive actor to keep viewers rooting for a swindler. Mr. Wolk is well cast.
  90. Detroit 1-8-7 is a lovingly updated tribute to shows that were on the air so long ago that almost none of the detectives were black.
  91. The television adaptation is surprisingly scary and remarkably good, a show that visually echoes the stylized comic-book aesthetic of the original and combines elegant suspense with gratifyingly crude and gruesome slasher-film gore.
  92. The fact that it's neither embarrassing nor deeply offensive--once it gets rolling, the show is actually quite charming--is a credit to the cast and the writers.
  93. Questions of innocence are established fairly early in the far more appealing of the legal dramas beginning on Wednesday: The Defenders on CBS. Here the love connection is unambiguously platonic and winning.
  94. The Big C works because most of the writing is strong and believable, and so is Ms. Linney, who rarely sounds a false note and here has perfect pitch.
  95. Now it's a compliment to say that Season 3 does: Paul's relationships with his new patients are as finely etched as before. The writing may seem a little less sophisticated--each session offers incremental insights about the patient that can seem a bit pat or forced--but over all In Treatment is still an absorbing dramatization of psychotherapy.
  96. This quietly addictive program isn't really about what goes on inside the Big Apple's single ring. It's about the people, both under the lights and behind them, who make those performances possible.
  97. It's impossible not to root for the Bruce family. But it's just as hard not to dread the series's success.