The New York Times' Scores

For 1,286 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 53% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 The Office (UK): Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Notes from the Underbelly: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 596
  2. Negative: 0 out of 596
596 tv reviews
  1. Strike Back won't make anyone forget "24" or "MI-5" or even "The Unit," but it has its pleasures for the aficionado of guns and flesh in exotic locales.
  2. It's decent popcorn TV, if you've got nothing better to do.
  3. Ringer is nearly all melodramatics, but the pilot has a throwback, B-movie vibe that's entertaining--empty calories, but with a little kick.
  4. It may turn into one of those crime shows that are competent enough but, well, forgettable, despite Ms. Montgomery's charms.
  5. A smart look at political power brokers that gets silly on the subjects of sex and violence.
  6. In a way it's as paradoxical as its subject: a big, lusty but surprisingly timid look at the bold pioneers and profiteers who ravaged nature to build a nation.
  7. The storytelling in The Fades can be convoluted and creaky, but there's some wit to the writing, and the horror and battle scenes are legitimately frightening, by TV standards.
  8. It's the right cast in the right setting but with a wrongfully righteous script.
  9. The 11-year-old boy at the center of the story has never spoken and is also the show's narrator. It's a perfectly acceptable device, if not a particularly interesting one in this case.
  10. If the various kinks work themselves out, The Finder will at the least be a medium-strength entry in the increasingly crowded field of comedy-dramas featuring eccentric characters.
  11. The new film, despite the astounding story it tells, is the most conventional, least urgent and, cinematically, the least interesting of the three.
  12. While there are moments of snappy dialogue, it's sometimes snappier than the characters themselves.
  13. Hatfields & McCoys is a perfectly respectable piece of work, and probably better than we could have expected for a History mini-series....The mini-series's main problem is that six-hour running time.
  14. However, beyond its stars (and a welcome guest appearance in the pilot by Dallas Roberts), Elementary is a mixed bag. Mr. Doherty, whose primary credit is a long stint on the voluptuously melodramatic "Medium," is good on atmosphere and character but not so strong on plot mechanics.
  15. It's all just window dressing on a standard crime drama, however, and while the pilot sets up running story lines involving the gangster and the officials he controls, they feel squeezed and a little perfunctory.
  16. The story ends with a final, not quite believable, flourish on John's part, but Mr. Mackintosh carries it off, riding comfortably above his middling material.
  17. There are interesting tidbits about the history of fashion photography--the racism, the drugs--but not much serious discussion about the cultural consequences of the evolution of the business.
  18. Ms. Kreuk and Nina Lisandrello, as her police force partner, are unconvincing as detectives. But the pilot's hint of a connection between the beast's condition and the murder of Catherine's mother offers the promise of future depth.
  19. The details of those bargains and interrelationships among the inhabitants of the Drake will no doubt be fleshed out in subsequent episodes. But the premiere, at least, hasn't found a way to make this odd mix of high-end real estate and B-movie occultism compelling enough that you're eager for more.
  20. The strained '40s-speak starts to recede in the third episode (four were sent to critics), and, not coincidentally, the performances begin to improve--what looked like community theater acting in the pilot suddenly seems more natural.
  21. It's a drama that takes the wretched New Jersey caricature created by trashy shows like "Jersey Shore" and uses it as a force for good, or at least for reasonably good courtroom tales.
  22. Hunted ends up being a competent addition to the high-stakes-snooping genre but not a very surprising one.
  23. The competitors may not be all that amusing, but some of the show's gimmicks are.
  24. It's a delicious immorality play with an excellent cast, but the tempo is slow and oddly ponderous--a romp slowed down to a dirge.
  25. 1600 Penn has charm and some funny riffs, but it's a 2013 sitcom that at times seems like it was written in 1983.
  26. Unfortunately, the three hours of the show, while they include chases, sexual entrapment, grisly murders and lots of spycraft, never exceed the tension in those quiet opening scenes.
  27. The question is whether it has any depth or insight to offer once it [raises your eyebrows]. The evidence provided by the first three episodes is inconclusive.
  28. Do No Harm is a resolutely lightweight entertainment whose silliness isn't necessarily a deal breaker--if you turn off the right parts of your brain, you might enjoy it.
  29. The story lines and dialogue may be a bit too cute and contrived to hold viewers’ interest for long. It’s the cast, which includes Ana Ortiz of “Ugly Betty” and Judy Reyes, who played Carla on “Scrubs,” that commands attention.
  30. Bates Motel has a talented cast and a memorable back story that guides, but doesn’t limit, the narrative, and at its best it’s intriguing and enjoyably grim. But even more than Norman, the series itself has a split personality, a Hitchcock classic grafted onto a much more mundane brand of suspense. Each new twist moves it further from “Psycho” and closer to Nancy Drew.
  31. [A] glossy, silly, intermittently entertaining new series.
  32. The directionless but well-shot archival footage dates to 2011, when Kesha led her first headlining tour, and was filmed by her brother Lagan, among others, which explains the access, the duration of filming and the intimacy.
  33. Ms. Martindale sucks up most of the oxygen on the show. Beau Bridges, who plays her bumbling husband, Tom, barely gets a word in edgewise. But even in the basic ensemble sitcom, Mr. Arnett’s suppressed lunacy seeps though, mostly in the inane local news reports that Nathan delivers with smoothie aplomb. It doesn’t hurt that his cameraman is J B Smoove, who was so great as Leon on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
  34. Watching Mr. Williams return to the kind of improvisation-style routines that made him famous in the 1970s is bittersweet, like watching Jimmy Connors play tennis again: they are still impressive, but audiences can’t help recalling how much more elastic and powerful they were at their peak.
  35. It has lots of stunning images, but if there’s a unifying concept, it is apparently going to emerge more gradually than a single episode allows.
  36. The film’s inevitable compressions, made worse by the amount of empty, self-congratulatory celebrity blathering, mean that every Pryor fan will have omissions to complain about. But the best strategy is probably to sit back and enjoy what’s there.
  37. This may be a case where a little more violence would help make the stakes seem more real. The main issues for these royals and would-be royals are when to bow and to whom.
  38. It’s a solid start, and were this the first series of its kind, King & Maxwell would seem like a sure hit. That it’s working the same territory as various other well-made shows costs it some luster, but it could still settle in as a reliable schedule filler.
  39. If the show manages to settle on a consistent tone, much still rides on the slender shoulders of Ms. Kent. The first episode is staged as a long monologue, with the bartender-coed unloading her story on one of her regular customers. Ms. Kent is game but not always steady as she begins to negotiate the tough-but-tender course the show's producers and writers have set for Lydia. [30 Sept 2000, p.B17]
    • The New York Times
  40. Assuming the perspectives of its characters, the series avoids cliches and condescension; the performances are remarkably free of the cheap mannerisms actors often resort to when playing addicts. But this insiders' view is still undermined by the tone of a cautionary tale. The fact that the series makes a plea to understand the characters' humanity, rather than a judgment about them, doesn't make it less didactic.
  41. Mild, affable and familiar, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a show the whole family can snicker at.
  42. The show has an admirable energy, but there's also an offensive smugness that it will have to do a lot to overcome.
  43. Sean is an older but only slightly more down-to-earth version of Jack, the impishly self-centered gay man Mr. Hayes played so well on “Will & Grace,” and that gives this otherwise commonplace sitcom its zest.
  44. Camp tries to sound cleverer than its conceit, but the series is most appealing when it keeps in mind that everybody has a story to tell about that one special summer at sleep-away camp.
  45. Mr. Wahl has the kind of brooding good looks that could attract ratings - that is, if the public is ready for still another blood-and-guts romp on television.
  46. Mr. Gregg hits the same appealing note of wry authority that he struck in “The Avengers” (it’s not yet clear whether he has any others), and the newcomer Brett Dalton shows some charm as a Bond-style operative. Joss Whedon, meanwhile, has fun with the show’s obligatory jabs of self-awareness.... The first week’s adventure feels perfunctory, though, even given the constraint of introducing characters and back story, and most of the team members are still strictly two-dimensional.
  47. The family conflicts are facile and easily resolved on Back in the Game, but Terry is an appealing heroine, and she has an amusing new best friend.
  48. Low Winter Sun is so clotted with bleak cityscapes, shadowy interiors and brooding portent that the narrative sags under the weight of all that mood-setting.
  49. It’s treacle, but it’s distinguished by several things, beginning with its relatively dry style and careful modulation of tone and volume--even the shouting and the car chases are discreetly tasteful.
  50. Kirstie, with Ms. Alley mugging through her role as a kindhearted narcissist, is more like the Ford Focus. If it’s late and it’s all the rental company has left, you might as well take it.... Rhea Perlman is funny as Thelma, but the real revelation of Kirstie is Michael Richards as the shady chauffeur, Frank.
  51. Where Sagan’s narrative often approached poetry, Dr. Tyson’s can sound like an overwrought, overamplified planetarium show.... The animation used to present his story resembles low-budget anime and isn’t terribly absorbing. Bruno deserves better. Nit-picking aside, if the new Cosmos doesn’t deliver quite the punch of the original, it’s because this isn’t 1980.
  52. The characters on Surviving Jack, like those on “Growing Up Fisher,” are more appealing and a little more nuanced. But they both are feel-good comedies that seem written to make their creators, more than the audience, feel good. Neither is as funny and durable as "The Middle."
  53. The cinematography is striking, as always; the sets and costumes remain as telling as the dialogue--this is when Peter Max was on the cover of Life magazine. But many of the characters are repeating themselves or pedaling in place, and the historic underlay that was once so piquant is now dreary.
  54. Episodes end with a sit-down interview labeled "Amy Goes Deep"--everything on this show is a double-entendre--in which Ms. Schumer might talk to a sex columnist, a phone-sex operator or a pornography cameraman. That’s a lot of extra business for a half-hour sketch show, and as charming and quick on her feet as Ms. Schumer is in these segments, they can feel like filler.
  55. This narrative pokiness is redeemed, as usual, by the machine-tooled professionalism of the production, the lavish attention to the mock-medieval costumes and setting, and the mostly crisp, understated acting by the international cast.... More than ever, though, you may find yourself impatient for the plot to wind around to the more engaging story lines.
  56. As is so often the case, the premiere episode tries too hard and isn’t as funny as it could be. The writing loosens up later on, and has some charm.
  57. John Oliver, a graduate of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” didn’t exactly break the mold when he rolled out his new show, Last Week Tonight, late on Sunday on HBO; he just tugged at it a bit.
  58. Everybody, though, is well meaning and enormously attractive. Even Damone, banned from Disneyland, dressed like a rummage sale and generally recognized as the school sleaze, is basically likable. That is what makes the show moderately interesting. It might also be noted that there is no laugh track. That makes Fast Times almost courageous.
  59. It’s an action drama about a cop leading a double life and is itself torn in two directions: aspiring to the latitude and sophistication of cable, but still hamstrung by conventional notions of character development, exposition and taste.
  60. Undateable may be unoriginal, but it’s not unwatchable.
  61. The pilot, moreover, is not easy to follow. Somewhat like “Turn,” an AMC show about spies during the American Revolution, this new series is a little too opaque at the outset.
  62. So far, My Big Fat Greek Life has all the predictable jokes and canned laughter of an ordinary sitcom without enough of the dark insights or droll wit that made its predecessor the most successful independent film ever made.
  63. Ms. Langton seems to be a good enough actress, but she doesn't have the lovable vulnerability that Ms. Bullock, at her post-"Speed" peak, brought to the movie role. And Ms. Langton doesn't exude the sexy spookiness of David Duchovny as Fox Mulder, the character who is clearly Angela's male counterpart. The show itself is inoffensive, if a little obvious, and could go either way.
  64. It’s two characters for the price of one--or for the price of sitting through the three hours (over two nights) of an opaque and contrived thriller.
  65. Tyrant tries so hard to make audiences comfortable with its foreign setting that the story becomes a little too familiar.
  66. Extant is more deft and sophisticated [than season two of "Under the Dome"], and Halle Berry is a big star. But, as is the case with "Under the Dome," the new series dilutes its own mystique with too many plodding plot devices and stock characters.
  67. Much like the shows on ABC Family, Finding Carter has a muted palette, and is full of double crosses, shifting sympathies and warring dualities.... Carter has friends, but they’re mostly “Breakfast Club” archetypes. The one exception is Ofe (Jesse Carere), the rare sui generis sidekick on a teen show.
  68. Matador is definitely B-level--serviceable dialogue, not-quite-cartoonish characters, gimmicky editing--but it’s not grindhouse.
  69. Satisfaction is the most daring, because it’s not really a comedy, and that makes its intent oblique and quasi-European.... The series picks up as it moves away from the couple’s problems and into the complications Neil’s new career creates.
  70. The title role of the hourlong show is played with insinuating relish by Avery Brooks. ... Now the series ... has to find some scripts worthy of the character.
  71. This WB series, which has its premiere tonight, seems to want to be a dark dramatic version of "Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch Grows Up" or "Bewitched: The Single Years." Unfortunately, it just manages to make witchcraft look bland.
  72. Absolutely ordinary. [21 Sep 1998]
    • The New York Times
  73. The Equalizer...recites the Vigilante Creed with effective fervor. And Mr. Woodward, the always accomplished actor whose more recent credits include "A Christmas Carol" on television and the title role in the Australian film "Breaker Morant," is so good that he makes the entire questionable enterprise seem almost reasonable.
  74. After watching the rest of what is a very promising pilot, we are left with the unpleasant aftertaste of saccharin. A passing miscalulation, or a harbinger of episodes to come? Bring on the series. [15 Sept 1986, p.C14]
    • The New York Times
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Stargate [the movie] gained in power largely because of its visual sweep: the scenes of ancient folk and modern warriors joining to engage the supernatural, against a vast desert backdrop, made for a resonant, even poetic blend of the past, present and future. A television series, with a lower budget, can't be expected to achieve its impact in that way, but Stargate SG-1 seems to be trying to make up the deficit with shock tactics.
  75. Though the first episode of Mr. Belvedere indicates that the basic format is fertile ground for humor, its creators should beware believing that a benign laugh track means they have been funny.
  76. Ms. Bloodworth-Thomason is no Susan Harris, whose crackling humor keeps "The Golden Girls" popping steadily from week to week. On the other hand, Designing Women has a first-rate cast.
  77. Ms. Hardin is appealing but a bit lumpish in the dance scenes. Mr. Cassidy, looking as if he has just spent hours pumping iron, bumps, grinds and gyrates with all the sexual steaminess the producers are clearly seeking. Can Johnny and Baby keep this misbegotten romance simmering for a few weeks, never mind a full season? Can enough dirty dancing be squeezed into future half-hour episodes to maintain the mambo momentum? I doubt it.
  78. Initial verdict: clunky.
  79. The new jokes mostly feel slow and hands-off, less disdainful than uninterested.
  80. The novelty of the hour-by-hour conceit wore off long ago, and the various plot devices and characters are all familiar. The fun, at least at the beginning of a new season, is in seeing how the creators will rejigger the pieces this time around.
  81. That's the seamy beauty of CBS's "Big Brother": voyeurism without guilt. [7 Jul 2000]
    • The New York Times
  82. It’s not an embarrassment for the channel, but it doesn’t raise the stakes either.
  83. Surprisingly inoffensive.
  84. The stars are appealing WB veterans, but it is hard to believe that subsequent episodes will carry the same edge as the premiere. "Supernatural" is not "The Sixth Sense," it's "Ghostbusters' Creek."
  85. Clings to proven formulas.
  86. "The Unit" becomes distinctive only when the action shifts back to the wives left behind on the base.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    [Cooper's] presence [is] almost engaging enough to redeem an overstuffed, overbaked first episode.
  87. Mr. Dean is appealing as Nate and Mr. Sheridan is amusing as Dove, but the tone of the series is uneven.
  88. It may be too much a celebration of Rev Run's normalcy to be all that intriguing.
  89. "Miracle Workers" has its share of the tears and phony drama we've come to expect in television-as-savior programs, but at its best it's more documentary than reality show.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The show isn't entertaining, exactly — it has none of the wit or style of "Desperate Housewives." But like so much reality TV, it's both educational and grimly fascinating, and leaves you feeling much better about your own life — if for no other reason than that you would never be so stupid as to appear on a show like this.
  90. The hallucination conceit is strange but not necessarily horrible.... The problem with “Raines” is that it tries too hard to be too many things at once.
  91. Those jokes are supposed to establish Liz’s geek cred, but they mostly serve as speed bumps in the show’s otherwise fast and clever banter.
  92. It’s pretty easy to loathe this stuff if you like your comedy more ragged, drug-addled and confrontational. But there’s an easygoing red-state pleasantness to it too, a celebration of timeless and consoling suburban inertia.
  93. Mr. Danson has some funny moments, but he is not as comfortable in a comic genre where deadpan takes the place of punch line.
  94. "In Case of Emergency" is uneven, more antic than witty.
  95. It would be nice if Angela’s persona were truly distinctive, but, played by Ms. Spencer, she may turn out to be just another very pretty face.
  96. Prime-time game shows like “1 vs 100,” which begins tonight on NBC, are not a test of a contestant’s erudition or nerve; they are aspirational reality shows that allow ordinary Joes to go for it all in the hope of transforming their lives.
  97. You’d expect the back story of how humanity nearly brings about its own destruction (in only 58 years!) to be serious, but through the three episodes sent to critics Caprica stays on that one note; it hasn’t yet developed enough humor or authentic domestic drama to move beyond the “Galactica” fan base.

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