The New York Times' Scores

For 1,832 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 Fargo: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Notes from the Underbelly: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 871
  2. Negative: 0 out of 871
871 tv reviews
  1. There is an appealing cheekiness to the show’s insistence on dressing up hunch work as the purview of serious science.
  2. If you fall into its languorous rhythms, you’ll be rewarded by a story that builds tension with clockwork precision and expertly maintains a mood of clammy dread.
  3. Durham County, in short, is very, very creepy and unsettling, and entirely addictive, a modern murder mystery with a touch of Patricia Highsmith misanthropy.
  4. The series embraces the absurdities of its subject with enough compassion to avoid outright parody.
  5. You might assume that this meant sacrificing some measure of journalistic credibility in the quest for attention. But the truth is, Mr. Ford and Mr. Cheadle are just as good as any seasoned television correspondent at the newsmagazine drill.
  6. 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.”
  7. 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.
  8. [Silicon Valley] continues to demonstrate a knack for making business and technology strategies a comprehensible and effective component of its storytelling.
  9. The humor of Making History, created by a writer for “Family Guy” and “Dads,” is broad, sometimes borderline gross and pop-culture inflected. ... The jokes are also, with some regularity, funny and endearing, especially when delivered by Mr. Lester or Ms. Meester, whose portrayal of an earnest proto-feminist is the show’s best weapon.
  10. It's by no means assured that American viewers will commit themselves to what is, in effect, a very long mini-series with no tidy wrap-ups each week. But Murder One sets the stage skillfully for what promises to be the television equivalent of an absorbing excursion into a good Mary Higgins Clark mystery. I wouldn't dream of missing, at the very least, the next few episodes.
  11. Public Speaking perfectly captures the pleasure she takes in observing the world while subtly revealing the crippling dimensions of perfectionism, the outsize ego it requires to achieve a certain kind of creative failure.
  12. "EZ Streets" may sound depressing, but its fiercely dark vision keeps viewers off-kilter and engaged and makes this one of the season's most exciting new series. [26 Oct 1996]
    • The New York Times
  13. It’s the TV show as page-turner, if you have room on your night stand.
  14. The real-time approach can't seem as innovative the second time around, but it is still used to great effect ... The glaring weak spot is Jack's teenage daughter, Kim (Elisha Cuthbert). [29 Oct 2002]
    • The New York Times
  15. As forced as its concept seems, John Doe is alluring because it flows so easily from humor to drama then back again and because Dominic Purcell's smooth performance as John is perfectly in tune with that fluid style. [20 Sept 2002, p.E26]
    • The New York Times
  16. The movie, adapted by Mr. Kramer and directed by Ryan Murphy, simultaneously exposes some of the play’s flaws and finds alternate sources of power in the story.
  17. Damages borrows heavily from the front page, and that keeps it interesting.
  18. Bored to Death is as idiosyncratic and delightful in its own way as “Curb Your Enthusiasm."
  19. 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Tig
    [An] engaging and moving documentary.
  20. 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.
  21. There is, admittedly, a fine line between being hilariously perceptive and just plain, even objectionably, silly. While habitually teetering on that line, 'The Simpsons' has shown a remarkable ability to come down on the right side most of the time.
  22. The current season, exquisitely plotted so far, deals in part with the repercussions of outing.
  23. There are shades of “True Blood” and “Being Human” here, and you hope that the show doesn’t drift away from the everyday dilemmas of the Walkers, who are excellently portrayed by Mr. Newberry, Harriet Cains (Kieren’s no-nonsense sister) and Marie Critchley and Steve Cooper (their parents).
  24. The list of people who have been reviled and labeled, explicitly or subtly, as something less than human is long: blacks, Jews, foreigners, people with AIDS, people with disabilities. Zombies notwithstanding, this appealing series, created and written by Dominic Mitchell, works this territory as credibly as any more conventional drama.
  25. Reaper is not at all grim; it’s actually quite rewarding.
  26. The second season of Happy Valley is less intense but more polished than the first, and still a superior example of the crime drama that focuses more on the people than on the crime.
  27. This HBO adaptation of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same title is so respectful and gracefully done that big inventions and small omissions don’t stand out or disappoint.
  28. Oz can also be unpleasant to watch, it is so gruesome and claustrophobic. Yet over the first few weeks, as the series moves beyond its introductory shock value, it becomes more serious, disturbing and gripping.
  29. Maron may not have the depth and adventurousness of “Louie” or the crude energy of Jim Jefferies’s “Legit,” but it’s consistently well written (or improvised) and smartly cast.
  30. By 1:20 p.m. the series's third season is already as tightly coiled, clever and suspenseful as the first two. [28 Oct 2003]
    • The New York Times
  31. For the most part, though, The A Word feels true and honest. Other shows that have used characters with disabilities for secondary plotlines have often seemed simplistic or glib, going for quick tears or feel-good moments. This one’s unblinking, and more powerful for it.
  32. It’s the kind of lushly produced, complexly plotted series that wraps everything in a wet towel of sentiment.... If you stick with it, though, the sheer weight of the plot machinery and the performances will probably pull you in, beginning about midway through the third episode.
  33. The next-best thing to "The Wire."
  34. 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.
  35. The writing is smart and the episodes well structured, but much of the credit goes to Mr. Kinnear, who maintains a veneer of charm without stinting on his character’s underlay of seedy desperation.
  36. Beneath the light moments and the spy-versus-spy stuff, the series has a perspective that makes it refreshing.
  37. A succinct and well-conceived documentary.
  38. But for [Diane] and for this improbable but promising spinoff--it ends up being an invigorating new start.
  39. The story of Ned (Lee Pace), a young man who can bring the dead back to life, is sweetly odd, but also oddly charming.
  40. In Season 2 it’s the quality of the family-sitcom interplay that continues to make Survivor’s Remorse, created by the actor and writer Mike O’Malley and inspired in part by the life of LeBron James, one of the funnier and more appealing mainstream half-hours on television--mainstream meaning formulaic but with a light enough touch that you can choose to ignore it.
  41. In the beginning, this program feels like old news (one generation has seen it all before, and the other doesn’t care), but the narrative quickly comes together and still has the power to astound.
  42. 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.
  43. CW's Oh Sit!, a raucous competition show is a hilarious return to the childhood you never had--the fun, danger-filled, almost-anything-goes one.
  44. Sometimes this focus on technology feels a bit heavy-handed, but in general this is a series that seems to be growing more assured as it goes along.
  45. The plot twists of The Hour can at times be puzzling, but the series is never dull.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A tight, polished hour of jokes with a strong thematic core.
  46. Upstairs Downstairs sticks to the rules established by the original and defies the odds by being as good, and in some ways, even better.
  47. While this new show is not as innovative as its predecessor ["Murder One"], it is, in its own way, similarly well paced and compelling.
  48. 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.
  49. Even when it’s boring, it’s absorbing, like an art video playing in the lobby of a boutique hotel.
  50. [David Holbrooke] puts just enough of himself and his extended family into The Diplomat to give it some audience-friendly poignancy.
  51. Mr. Cranston keeps it watchable with a performance that grows ever more fervent but never goes over the top.
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. Both “Bored to Death” and Curb Your Enthusiasm have heroes who are hell-bent on doing the impossible and are doomed to fail. And it’s impossible not to prefer them just as they are.
  55. Maron may not delve that deeply [into substance abuse]--by Episode 2 of the new season, Marc is showing signs that he’s the same irksome guy in rehab that he was before. But if nothing else, the premiere does effectively, yet comedically, show two truths of substance abuse: Addicts need enablers who fuel their problem, either deliberately or inadvertently, and most need someone to intervene to help them climb out of the pit.
  56. Louie is a comedy that seeks to provide something besides laughter. Louis C.K. will try anything, and not everything works. But it’s the willingness to defy expectations and experiment that makes Louie special.
  57. In its first season, Difficult People distinguished itself with such fast-paced, snippy dialogue, but the show has become more than just a series of quick jokes. The writing has grown increasingly intricate.
  58. The series is structured as an ever-evolving medical detective story, but the filmmakers give it heart as well by juxtaposing the history lessons with present-day personal profiles of cancer patients.... It’s a well-conceived approach to a subject that in other hands might have been dry. Still, be prepared to give it your full attention.
  59. Staking out a distinctive place within the genre isn’t easy. Penny Dreadful tries to do so with a combination of literary allusion, fine acting, patience and fearlessness, which, at least for the first two episodes, clicks deliciously.
  60. The challenge with any extended zombie narrative is striking the right balance between gut-munching action and undergraduate philosophy seminar, and the first two episodes this season are pretty talky.
  61. The presentation is familiar, maybe a little too familiar, by now: actors reading journal entries; vintage photographs lovingly panned; historians adding commentary.... But Mr. Burns, cutting between [Theodore and Franklin's] life stories, probes the intersections with playful insight.
  62. Vikings is a mini-series about a band of professional pillagers with a disregard for human life and a relentless focus on gratifying material desires. So it is somewhat surprising that it is also a refreshing study in restraint.
  63. The documentary doesn't pretend to be anything other than a homage to a good man who served his country well in war and peace.
  64. Ambitious setups like this don't always hold up, but Revolution has the potential to be a more disciplined "Lost"--not necessarily more plausible but with any luck less preposterous and pretentious.
  65. Mr. Quill is trying for something that’s funny in the Bill Lawrence adult-suburban-hipster mode (he and Mr. Lawrence worked together on “Scrubs” and “Spin City”) and also heartfelt, with a message about self-actualization and taking control of your life. Ms. Lynch negotiates this divide effortlessly--she’s often hilarious and always engaging--but the show around her occasionally bogs down in its own mushiness.
  66. The premise sets it apart, the premiere promises a lot of plot wrinkles and a fast pace, and the acting (with a few exceptions) is decent.
  67. While High School Confidential has its flaws--it is choppily edited and far too spare in its depictions of the girls living rather than talking--it does us a service by portraying teenagers beyond the media’s typical parameters of exceptionalism
  68. The funniest bits rely on incongruity rather than vulgarity. But even the crude stuff has a silver lining.
  69. Even familiar plot points are told in the expertly spooky Bruckheimer style.
  70. The series got its start on the Internet and is more linear, unpolished and narrowly comedic than “Girls” on HBO--Abbi and Ilana are so feckless that they make Lena Dunham’s Hannah seem like Warren Buffett.
  71. Mr. Meyers was at ease and disarming in his new role as a talk show host.
  72. There's something stylishly scary at work here.
  73. "Modern Men" is funny, but it is actually all about role reversal, depicting an imaginary world in which young men are as deeply concerned about their love lives and future spouses as women are.
  74. This Jane is not as morally spent and self-interested as Ms. Mirren's character, but she has an unusual and appealing roughness around the edges.
  75. If "Laguna Beach" looked perpetually like late afternoon -- the mellow light of cocktail hour, the promise of a party -- "The Hills" looks like a workday.
  76. There’s plenty to laugh at here.
  77. It is very good at allowing viewers to feel superior.
  78. It’s highly satisfying but not often exciting. The producers, many with roots in European television, have gone for a modest tone and a slow-burn narrative that can feel more admirable than addictive.
  79. Blue Bloods has an old-fashioned appeal both as drama in the vein of a workingman's "Dynasty" and as splashy procedural.
  80. Whatever you might think of the group’s beliefs and belligerence, these sailors give great sound bites.
  81. It has one of the most talented actresses on television as its lead, and yet over all Nurse Jackie is surprisingly, and disconcertingly, off key. This is a drama draped in black humor that doesn’t know when to be funny.
  82. It’s an enjoyable, straightforward espionage tale without a lot of twists or extra layers.
  83. Lots of amusing cameos add to the fun.... Mr. Gaffigan may not be the greatest actor, but he has a genial charm, which is the first prerequisite to making a show like this work.
  84. Not all of the sketches are home runs, but even in the weaker ones, it can be fun just trying to figure out which character she’s playing and how the crew managed to effect such a transformation.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Like so much British science fiction, especially Douglas Adams's "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series, this "Doctor Who" has a goofy, homemade quality; it's less interested in gizmos than in characters.
  85. Beautifully shot and sublimely silly, Sense8 is slower than “The Matrix” and not nearly as thrilling.
  86. The premiere episode tends to lapse into a "You go, girl" mode typical of shallow treatments of disability, with fist-pumping and treacly background music.
  87. Though the show is a drama, it is served up with a droll comic sensibility that is a refreshing change.
  88. Icy-dry satire laced with moments of farce and inspired lunacy.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The Bronx Is Burning succeeds because of the mutually-assured-destruction brand of combustibility among its lead characters - there is something of “Barbarians at the Gate” in the gleeful madness of the Yankees plot - and because of the incidents that the writers and director choose to recreate.
  89. 'Unscripted' is a small thing, but it has funny and clever moments. [7 Jan 2005]
    • The New York Times
  90. Limitless retains the flippant style of the movie, especially in Brian’s voice-overs, which distinguishes it from many of the others. The guy is a mega-genius, but he’s a likable one.
  91. Jack is no Jeff, and this series, an old-school set-up-punch-line comedy, is no “Community.” That said, there are plenty of good laughs, and the show is an equal-opportunity roaster.
  92. The half-hour Juarez, on Monday night, is a bracing, at times mesmerizing introduction to the Witness series.... The subsequent films are each an hour long, and while all have powerful material, particularly the South Sudan chapter, they're also more diffuse and more prone to sentimentality about the violence and social disorder the photojournalists bear witness to.
  93. Would You Rather ...? With Graham Norton on BBC America proves that a fair amount of fun can be generated simply by putting people in chairs and letting them crack wise.
  94. Mr. Pollan’s messages are important to hear and are engagingly presented in this series. Still, there’s a disconnect that’s never addressed.... The world’s poorest people--some seen in idyllic imagery here--have to devote long hours to basic subsistence, and the world’s relatively well off have the luxury to indulge in artisanal cooking. Yet applying his ideas across the whole range of human circumstances is a trickier subject than this pretty series wants to tackle.
  95. Judged on its own, Confirmation is solidly in the middle range of meat-and-potatoes HBO historical movies. There’s nothing wrong with it, nor will it do much to surprise you. It tells a sober, linear story and doesn’t develop its characters beyond headline-news figures.
  96. These images will stick with you. But so will an overall sense that Frozen Planet is more--a lot more--of the same: an aestheticized, sentimentalized, anthropomorphic abstraction of the natural world, in which gentle soundtrack music, winsome narration (by Alec Baldwin, replacing Mr. Attenborough for most of the American version) and the judicious use of slow motion combine to put us in a pleasant stupor on the couch.

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