The New York Times' Scores

For 1,414 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 52% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 The Wire: Season 4
Lowest review score: 0 Notes from the Underbelly: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 663
  2. Negative: 0 out of 663
663 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. A sophisticated, suspenseful comedy of ill manners that seems much more like a Showtime or Netflix drama than a broadcast network offering.
  3. It helps that Mr. Winters and Mr. Duhamel give performances that add some glints of complexity to their surface charm, and that the writers avoid many of the usual clichés. This is an engaging series about a likable bunch of co-workers that isn’t too sweet or predictable.
  4. The pilot is terrific, and it was directed by Phillip Noyce, whose credits include the Harrison Ford movie “Clear and Present Danger” and the pilot of ABC’s “Revenge.”
  5. 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.
  6. As gripping as Steven Soderbergh's 2000 movie or the 1989 British mini-series. [26 Jan 2004]
    • The New York Times
  7. The Challenger investigation story doesn’t have quite the level of malfeasance or the cloak-and-dagger undertones of other movies about real-life government or business debacles. But it still makes for an absorbing tale, one that seems well timed for our current moment of bungled websites, unrestrained eavesdropping and public skepticism.
  8. The series has humor and charm beneath its facile message, in large part (no disrespect intended) to a subtle, winning performance by Ms. Elliott.
  9. Purists may be irritated by the pilfering of James Dean's classic film "Rebel Without a Cause," including, in the show's second episode, an entire plot line in which Ryan (Benjamin McKenzie) runs away and plays house with Marissa and another young friend in the unfinished model house of a new development. Yet the empty swimming pool, used by the boys as a skateboarding rink, is a rather amusing homage to that 1955 movie by Nicholas Ray.
  10. The series leavens wacky absurdity with acid wit and is very funny.
  11. This is an elliptically told tale, and it takes a few episodes for the plot and the characters to pick up steam.
  12. If Mr. Spielberg’s "Lincoln" achieves greatness largely through the detailed performances of Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and others, Killing Lincoln also has details to recommend it--historical details, the kind of tidbits that (along with Mr. Hanks’s assured narration) can hold your attention, even though the tale is familiar.
  13. The 50 Year Argument, which Mr. Scorsese directed with David Tedeschi, is textured and smart but thoroughly celebratory, a paean to the magazine and the amazingly durable Mr. Silvers, now 84.
  14. As it starts Season 3 on Monday night, it has evolved into a deftly acted story of small-town dysfunction, creepy when it needs to be yet far more wide ranging than the movie that inspired it.
  15. It is a believable, sharply observed portrait of ordinary men who, through all-too-common bad breaks and missteps, feel that they are backsliding.
  16. Beyond the elaborate production design and the stately but genuinely gory and frightening Gothic bloodletting, Penny Dreadful is a fairly typical story of troubled people--all the main characters are hiding something, in their pasts or in their bodies--who manage to do the right thing. That it’s the best of its kind on TV right now, along with “The Strain” on FX, has to do with Mr. Logan’s ability to render over-the-top action and emotions in human terms and to choose actors who can see what he’s trying to do.
  17. There are no mediocre performances here.
  18. It is a smart, intense thriller inspired by the Innocence Project.
  19. [A] sleekly made, absorbing series.
    • The New York Times
  20. A memorable comedy about a man trying to be forgotten.
  21. The multitude of exegeses and theories devoted to major plot twists and minor details attest to the series’s enduring egghead appeal.
  22. Deadwood is not easy to watch. There is no musical score; the settings are relentlessly dull and depressing; and it is shot almost entirely in shades of sepia and gray. The series takes its own time establishing the characters, and the dialogue is muffled and indistinct. But once the story takes hold, it is hard to turn away. Like laudanum, a good western can be habit-forming.
  23. 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.
  24. There's a shrewd madness in this straight-faced satire. [2 Jun 1993]
    • The New York Times
  25. HBO does an expert job of turning Ms. Fisher's 2 hour and 20 minute monologue into a documentary, with only a few, artfully chosen embellishments.
  26. An absorbing and beautifully made film in its own right, whose 208 minutes mostly fly by.
  27. It takes things nice and easy, ending with a lot still to be conveyed as to who is who and what is what in this lush show about the police and the mob in 1947 Los Angeles. But your patience is likely to be rewarded. Episode 2, also being shown on Wednesday, brings things nicely into focus, and prospects seem good that this six-episode series will be a satisfying trip back in time.
  28. Like so many contemporary television thrillers, FlashForward works just as powerfully as a domestic drama as it does as a mechanism of apocalyptic intrigue.
  29. Presumably the producers’ realization of what they had in Maria and her bright, gorgeous, unfettered children led to the bifurcated structure of the series, and it’s the ups but mostly downs of her last eight months on earth that make Time of Death worth watching.
  30. The engineering of the plot is pretty obvious, and the sentimentality that’s part of the Harmon package goes overboard toward the end of the episode.... Everything is back on track, though, in Thursday night’s second episode, a sterling example of Mr. Harmon’s ability to deploy fanboy obsessiveness in the service of funny and affectionate storytelling.
  31. In other words, even the soapier subplots of Lights Out are sparingly written and tautly filmed, and the story never strays too far from the violence that is at its core.
  32. One weakness in the show is that each character has a showoff story line that splinters the narrative rather than unites it. And sometimes the hyper-arch tone gets a little tiresome. But only sometimes. Mostly, a talented cast and funny, imaginative writing make each episode a pleasure. Arrested Development is watched by critics, but it deserves a bigger, perhaps better audience.
  33. The story of the Dust Bowl is complicated, twisting together ecology, economics and politics, as well as divisions of class and region, and Mr. Burns and his writer, Dayton Duncan, have done as careful and admirable a job as you would expect in laying it out.
  34. 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.
  35. The series is acted with razorlike timing. [21 Sept 1998, p.E5]
    • The New York Times
  36. There are very few series for young adults that deal with race as brazenly and defiantly as "The Boondocks."
  37. It's impossible not to root for the Bruce family. But it's just as hard not to dread the series's success.
  38. In the first two episodes, Scrubs quickly achieves a breezy comic rhythm. Like ''Spin City'' this show operates with deliberate artifice but enough warmth to bring humanity to the characters.
  39. Life on Mars is a smarter, gloomier "Journeyman."
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Mr. Brown has bought into something real: our childlike joy in being fooled.
  40. Season 2 is, from the start, an entirely messier, more contingent affair, enjoyable in a different and, to me, more appealing way.
  41. Quibbles aside, Game of Thrones is still remarkable for both the scrupulousness and the lavishness of its production, beautiful to look at and mostly engaging to follow, though there is something of the accountant’s method in Mr. Martin’s fantasy--progress through constant addition--that transfers into the television show.
  42. 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.
  43. Each slight, breezy half-hour is fresh and funny.
  44. 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.
  45. These four women are amusing, at times poignant, but not easily likable. The show is caustic and hard to watch, but harder to turn off. In Season 3, their solipsism and callousness are even more pointed, all the more shocking, and still quite funny.
  46. Las Vegas is as flattering to companies like the MGM Mirage Inc. as "The Love Boat" once was to Princess Cruises. Yet the show still manages to be slick, fast-paced and engaging, a remake of the remake of "Ocean's Eleven," in which all the good-looking people work for the casino, not against it.
  47. 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.
  48. New Girl is charming and quite funny, but especially when compared with the other two shows, it seems quite old-school.
  49. It’s sophisticated, well-acted television for a warm-weather series.
  50. Manh(a)ttan provides a cleverly imagined portrait of the men and women who were at the epicenter of that peculiar sovereignty.
  51. [Broadbent] is unrecognizable and remarkable in the role of Longford, capturing both the man’s dotty hauteur and his awkward, absent-minded chivalry.
  52. Jane the Virgin isn’t exactly sui generis: it has traces of past series that blended whimsy and wile, including “Ugly Betty” and “Pushing Daisies,” but this show has a delightful heroine and its own sweetly wicked inflection.
  53. It’s an exceedingly watchable history lesson.
  54. 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.
  55. The appeal is elementary: good, unpretentious fun, something that's in short supply around here.
  56. The hero of Awake has a psychiatric problem; there are no aliens or ghosts to explain away the more improbable turns, and this adventure is far more compelling.
    • 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.
  57. It is an odd and intriguing look at crime scenes, forensic labs and interrogation rooms as a backdrop to the family crises and growing pains of an unhappy teenage girl.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. There is little resistance to cliche in all this, but the cliche is so visually appealing that you'll feel like a spoiled child if you complain. And you're given such a treat that you'll also feel like one, begging for more.
  61. What Broadchurch has to offer, beyond its central performances and its intelligent but not particularly original plot, is mood: a tasty icing of gloom and foreboding that leans heavily on the music of Olafur Arnalds and the cinematography of Matt Gray, whose shots from every possible angle of the dramatic cliffs behind the Broadchurch beach are essential to the show’s ambience.
  62. Offbeat and utterly charming.
  63. 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.
  64. The final season of The Wire is committed to proving him wrong; by leaving nothing out it offers viewers as close a chance as anyone can get to everything.
  65. 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.
  66. Wartorn sometimes starts to feel prim and preachy. But it also has its share of quietly devastating, haunting scenes, echoes of the nightmares that veterans are bringing home with them from Iraq and Afghanistan.
  67. 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").
  68. 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.
  69. With her clear-eyed gaze and Pre-Raphaelite hair, Felicity (Keri Russell) is immensely likable yet down to earth as she struggles to stand up for herself. Ms. Russell's sincerity and naturalness take the curse off the series' calculated, prepackaged feel.
  70. 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.
  71. Sons of Liberty isn’t history exactly, but it’s a well-made dramatization that brings history to life.
  72. 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.
  73. A surprising element of the series--making it both compelling and perversely enjoyable--is that Mr. Herzog loosens up, getting more argumentative in the interviews and presenting moments of mordant humor.
  74. On the evidence of Friday's season opener, Fringe will continue to be the best show of its kind since "The X-Files" at the grace notes, intimate or humorous instances like Olivia's Crate & Barrel moment (which won't be further spoiled here). When you get the small things right, it's less crucial that your universes and time shifts exactly line up.
  75. 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.
  76. Mostly, though, The Wrong Mans coasts along on the strength of Mr. Corden, Mr. Baynton and Tom Basden’s sneaky-funny writing (“You know what danger doesn’t do? Call ahead. Unless it’s the I.R.A.”) and the pleasure of watching Mr. Corden timidly but delightedly snorting drugs at a mobster’s party or trying to blend in with a group of svelte dancers.
  77. It can be shamelessly sentimental and, at least in this sensitively crafted introduction written and directed by Mr. Goldberg, thoroughly captivating. [20 Sep 1991]
    • The New York Times
  78. Now they are the last blinkered women in the bunker, hoarding designer shoes and awaiting an Evite back to the glamorous life. They don't belong there, and that's what makes them so welcome.
  79. 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.
  80. It's the Lovings, not Loving v. Virginia, that hold our attention. Their reticence, even under such close camera scrutiny, is intriguing and even charming.
  81. What could have easily become a pandering hybrid is in fact intelligent, emotionally resonant television.
  82. Storage Wars is an especially entertaining addition to the genre. Who doesn't love the sound of an auctioneer's voice? Beyond that, the four buyers on whom the show focuses are well chosen, and the "reveals"--the moments when the buyers see what they've acquired and get estimates of its value--are great fun.
  83. If the longstanding "SNL" segment is a sort of introductory course in wringing humor from headlines, and Mr. Stewart's "Daily Show" is the advance-level class, Onion News Network is graduate school, requiring much quicker thinking and a greater tolerance for comfort-zone invasion.
  84. Because everyone in the Duck dynasty has a well-defined role and sticks to it, the bit works. So does the show.
  85. Valentine Road, directed by Marta Cunningham, is clear in its sympathy for Mr. King, but it is also bracingly willing to explore other sides of this disturbing case and complex subject.
  86. The strange little documentary Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words is engrossing despite itself.
  87. Though the setting has shifted from New York to Los Angeles, the look and feel of the show are essentially unchanged, with Heidi Klum and her Valkyrie manner still doing the hosting and Tim Gunn continuing to bring an Oxford don’s comportment to his sartorial mentoring.
  88. It's King done right.
  89. More polished than their sketch series “Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!,” Bedtime Stories mimics the sort of dark tales of human nature that fill the schedule of reality channels like A&E and Investigation Discovery, turning them into absurd and creepy yet unsettlingly ordinary vignettes.
  90. Housewives of New Jersey is more farcical, less phony and a lot more fun.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Superman purists won't like it. People abnormally devoted to established teenage shows from which it borrows won't like it. But anyone with a flexible streak should find plenty to admire in Smallville.
  91. The series is part spy spoof, part workplace comedy, and it is a genuinely engaging homage to the nerd hero.
  92. 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.
  93. 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.
  94. Masters of Sex does an elegant job of reframing their [Masters and Johnson's] strange, complicated and at times deeply cynical partnership into a twisted but intriguing love story.
  95. It’s hard to imagine even the haters not enjoying Annie: It’s the Hard-Knock Life, From Script to Stage, a delightful documentary.
  96. 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.
  97. It’s not loud or frenetic. It’s not particularly cutting-edge. It’s just funny, in a relaxed way that’s welcome somehow in a television spectrum full of pushiness and intensity.

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