The New York Times' Scores

For 1,850 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 4.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 O.J.: Made in America
Lowest review score: 0 Notes from the Underbelly: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 882
  2. Negative: 0 out of 882
882 tv reviews
  1. Awkward is a wry show about longing--for love, certainly, but also for consistency, that great intangible in the ever-morphing world of high school life.
  2. Guided by an ambient lunacy, the show resists forced restlessness, settling in and fleshing out its characters’ idiosyncrasies instead.
  3. Though these people may not resemble any job seekers you know, the portraits feel about as honest as reality TV gets.
  4. The events and characters of David’s summer are familiar from a half-century of stories of the Jewish suburban experience, but for the most part, they feel fresh, or at least lovingly recreated.
  5. Happy Valley, in addition to being a smart and absorbing thriller, is a morality play, one in which the mystery is secondary (we know who did what all along).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. What sets the show apart isn’t the surface quality of its humor but its restless, almost feral energy and its slap-in-the-face attitude.
  9. [A] beautiful, intelligent, imperfect show.
  10. 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.
  11. It’s like watching old episodes of “Served” or “Keeping Up Appearances” or “Allo Allo”: slightly horrifying, like a slow-motion train wreck, but also, every few minutes, convulsingly funny. This has everything to do with Mr. Jacobi and Mr. McKellen.
  12. The new “One Day at a Time,” arriving on Friday, is lively and full of voice, a rare reboot that’s better than the original. It’s a throwback in the best sense, to an era of mainstream, socially engaged kitchen-sink sitcoms.
  13. 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.
  14. [David Attenborough] has eschewed the soapbox in favor of subtlety. This program (the series producer is Tom Hugh-Jones) does, too, for the most part.
  15. An inventive, likable comedy. [7 Jan 2000]
    • The New York Times
  16. 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.
  17. It’s the expertly rendered combat scenes and vivid depictions of danger that provide excitement and suspense in this action-adventure tale.
  18. A winsome, quick-paced caper that is part “Catch Me if You Can,” part “Shampoo.”
  19. The Cape is far more economical in its storytelling, far less weighted by its own mythologies and a much better time. Someone in network land as learned a lesson [from "Heroes"].
  20. At times, it feels like a smarter, less melodramatic version of a backstage series like “Smash” (or a less over-the-top version of a superior backstage story like “Slings and Arrows”)
  21. The premiere is a bit stiff, but the episodes improve over time, mostly thanks to two mesmerizing actresses in the lead roles.
  22. Its collection of carefully contrasted types and personalities promises to be the best yet. [22 Jun 1994]
    • The New York Times
  23. It’s polished, manic, funny and a bit thin; visually, it’s like a toned-down version of the comic-book expressionism of Terry Gilliam.... The two actors are wonderful in their scenes together.
  24. We’ve come to expect an eclectic mix from the American Horror Story anthology, and the formula works particularly well in this installment, thanks to uninhibited work by the big-name cast.
  25. It is unusually good: a harsh public-service message built into a clever, suspenseful thriller.
  26. House of Cards is “Scandal” for naysayers and misanthropes, and that’s actually quite cheering.
  27. [The] zone of ambiguity is what sets Key & Peele apart--it leaves us to read the cultural cues ourselves, and isn’t that concerned if we can’t keep up.
  28. This is the same wry, peripatetic series at heart, a vision of urban life as a web of stories connected by wisps of smoke.
  29. There’s a tricky balancing act going on--crossing a moody detective show with both a comic action thriller and a woman-in-peril psychological drama--but Ms. Rosenberg proves to be mostly up to the task.
  30. What is implied elsewhere is confronted aggressively in the terrifically restive FX drama Rescue Me.
  31. The series has something to offer besides sexual imagery and sophistry -- it is a well-written, entertaining show, with or without the L word.
  32. The main reason to watch is for its signature gimmick, a set tilted at 22 degrees, where, several times per episode, performers are imprisoned and told to improvise a scene.... There’s no describing how hysterical this is; you have to see it.
  33. A tender, occasionally funny, often moving entertainment about the grieving process.
  34. As it lurches to its conclusion, the politics of "Deadwood" keep growing more dense and colorful, and that magnificent obsession crowds out other primal forces.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The appeal of this new sitcom, which Fox is unveiling tomorrow night, is its universal heart.
  35. The new season is a more straightforward affair over all, reminiscent in tone and structure of the show’s brilliantly mordant first three years.... As Louis C.K. reinvents the classic sitcom in his own elliptical, cerebral style, he seems to be in his absurdist theater phase, or his surrealist short-story phase--Kafka on the Hudson. (Louis C.K. still writes, directs and edits every episode.) At that level of ambition, some things work and some don’t.
  36. In Homeland (as in “24,” also from the executive producer Howard Gordon), we look forward to the questions almost as much as to the answers. In the meantime, there’s more than enough pleasure to be had from the cast to keep us interested.
  37. 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.
  38. The real stars are the designers, and it's an eclectic bunch, some already working in the industry, others who dream to.
  39. It would make an interesting documentary even without Mr. Tyson. With him, it becomes a personal test for the viewer.
  40. Covert Affairs is fun and clever and Ms. Perabo has panache in the role.
  41. It features lots of erections, absurd couplings and R-rated language. But it’s also smart and deliriously unpredictable. Even the throwaway lines are gems.
  42. Like Bravo's fashion winner "Project Runway," the channel's promising "Top Chef" flaunts terms of art and insiderism to give it authority.
  43. A ridiculously enjoyable but mighty raunchy stop-motion animated series.
  44. The program finds the human moments in the big-picture timeline.
  45. Humans, a British product based on a Swedish series, feels fresh nonetheless, thanks to a multiple-plotline approach, a deft cast and its refusal to be simplistic.
  46. Unusual choices can be found throughout Aquarius, and they are part of what makes this drama so good.
  47. The program consists of just clips and still images with an occasional caption. No academics in office-chair interviews interpret things for you. No survivors grow weepy while dredging up their decades-old memories. No narration intrudes. The idea is to come closer to putting you in the historical moment, to give you a sense of what people experienced and felt at the time. It works quite well for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
  48. Mr. Burns and Ms. Novick, commendably, don't beat you over the head with the obvious lessons for those today who would legislate personal behavior; they largely let the story of Prohibition speak for itself.
  49. "Entourage" is as good as ever in its third season, yet somehow different.
  50. Call Me Fitz doesn't tax its thinking mechanisms, a fact for which we are not ungrateful. Instead it deftly draws a world in which sin and sexual charisma come at full new-model cost.
  51. Gervais serves as a bullying sidekick to Mr. Pilkington and steps out of the way, letting his strange and funny collaborator take the lead. The series is not a full-blown comedy show; it's a collection of Web-styled sketches and proof that big laughs can come in small doses.
    • The New York Times
  52. The Bluth heirs are eccentric and warped, but they are not hothouse child prodigies like the Tenenbaum siblings. They are nouveau riche misfits, the Ewings of "Dallas" as seen by Bunuel. And they are quite amusing.
  53. 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.
  54. The first hour works its way efficiently through an economy-size box of tissues with cleverly turned dialogue and well-inhabited performances.
  55. The plotting and pacing are what draw you in. The series works like a good page-turner.
  56. Grace and Frankie is funny and even touching.
  57. A documentary on PBS that has little to do with the war but is quietly revelatory, just as that earlier work was.
  58. The show’s story lines--money problems, childhood rebellions--are what you might see on any animated family show. The difference is, F for Family treats these issues as if they’re real and lasting. It’s still a comedy, rude, raunchy and not entirely original, but it has heft and heart.
  59. All the President’s Men Revisited is nonetheless well worth a look, less because it is so well made than because the subject is still so captivating.
  60. Typical of the Netflix large-portions ethos, a few of the new episodes are too long, and compared with the lapidary early seasons, they feel diluted. Still, Black Mirror hasn’t lost its currency.
  61. 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.
  62. People eat this stuff up, and a skeptic can find himself riveted by the best of it.
  63. In this age of "Desperate Housewives" and "The O.C.," it is refreshing to see a television show whose heroines aspire to meaningful work as well as meaningless sex.
  64. The show probably doesn’t need to resort to voice-overs as often as it does, but it’s generally pretty smart, witty and well acted, and not afraid to turn dark on occasion.
  65. The Knick is unusual and very good. It’s a great leap backward in time, yet another ambitious examination of at an important but often overlooked epoch in history.
  66. Her comic style is familiar, but much of Ms. Ullman’s material is fresh and up-to-date.
  67. "Prison Break"... is more intriguing than most of the new network series, and it certainly is one of the most original.
  68. The latest incarnation, Nikita, which begins on the CW network on Thursday, is a surprisingly sophisticated and satisfying adaptation.
  69. The Olympian spirit is all about relentless rigor, steely self-discipline and doing the impossible. Twenty Twelve celebrates sloth, inattention and surrender. There should be a gold medal for that too.
  70. This is a smart, informative and compassionate look at the artist known as the Godfather of Soul, whose music changed America.
  71. Comparing Patriot, a 10-episode series available Friday on Amazon, to three of the most distinctive series on television [“Mr. Robot,” “Fargo” and “The Americans”] is overselling it, but not by a drastic amount.
  72. “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.
  73. The series may not be original, but it is swift, engrossing and escapist. Sometimes that's all you want. [13 Jan 1997, p.C15]
    • The New York Times
  74. Violence, like deficit spending, is a very American vice. “Dexter” is yet another temptation that is almost impossible to resist.
  75. 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.
  76. A sophisticated, suspenseful comedy of ill manners that seems much more like a Showtime or Netflix drama than a broadcast network offering.
  77. 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.
  78. Even in the age of the high-quality limited series, it’s rare to come this close to the feeling of reading a book--immersive, compulsive and unpredictable, but also exhausting and sometimes mundane and repetitive. For the most part, the series’s novelistic qualities carry the day.
  79. 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.”
  80. 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.
  81. As gripping as Steven Soderbergh's 2000 movie or the 1989 British mini-series. [26 Jan 2004]
    • The New York Times
  82. 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.
  83. The series has humor and charm beneath its facile message, in large part (no disrespect intended) to a subtle, winning performance by Ms. Elliott.
  84. 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.
  85. The series leavens wacky absurdity with acid wit and is very funny.
  86. As with most things Forrest tries in this drolly hilarious show, neither goes quite as planned.
  87. This is an elliptically told tale, and it takes a few episodes for the plot and the characters to pick up steam.
  88. A vibrant, fiercely committed three-night mini-series.
  89. 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.
  90. 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.
  91. 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.
  92. It is a believable, sharply observed portrait of ordinary men who, through all-too-common bad breaks and missteps, feel that they are backsliding.
  93. 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.
  94. There are no mediocre performances here.
  95. It is a smart, intense thriller inspired by the Innocence Project.
  96. [A] sleekly made, absorbing series.
    • The New York Times
  97. A memorable comedy about a man trying to be forgotten.
  98. It’s the idiosyncratic story of an idiosyncratic Los Angeles family that shows how idiosyncrasy has become a formula itself. But this is a well-executed version, which becomes more than the sum of its quirks.
  99. The multitude of exegeses and theories devoted to major plot twists and minor details attest to the series’s enduring egghead appeal.

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