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 The Sopranos: Season 6
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. 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."
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Absolutely ordinary. [21 Sep 1998]
  7. 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    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]
  8. 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.
  9. The new jokes mostly feel slow and hands-off, less disdainful than uninterested.
  10. 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.
  11. That's the seamy beauty of CBS's "Big Brother": voyeurism without guilt. [7 Jul 2000]
  12. It’s not an embarrassment for the channel, but it doesn’t raise the stakes either.
  13. Surprisingly inoffensive.
  14. 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."
  15. Clings to proven formulas.
  16. "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.
  17. Mr. Dean is appealing as Nate and Mr. Sheridan is amusing as Dove, but the tone of the series is uneven.
  18. It may be too much a celebration of Rev Run's normalcy to be all that intriguing.
  19. "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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Mr. Danson has some funny moments, but he is not as comfortable in a comic genre where deadpan takes the place of punch line.
  24. "In Case of Emergency" is uneven, more antic than witty.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. As with “Laguna Beach,” however, MTV seems to have deployed every camera at Viacom just following the cast members around town in case something exciting -- a cellphone call! - happens.
  29. Women’s Murder Club is all right, but not good enough.
  30. The paradox of The Tudors is that it takes on one of the most powerful and protested institutions in human history--the Catholic Church during the Renaissance--and provides little sense of what the English people have to gain or lose by breaking with it.
  31. It aspires to distill the news from an African-American perspective, and in two weeks on the air its comedy has been variously anachronistic and plodding, and timely and sharp.
  32. It’s creepy, steamy and funny at times, and it’s also a muddle, a comic murder mystery that is a little too enthralled with its own exoticism.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Mr. Branagh has teased out every manly rivalry and preserved every hey-nonny-nonny of the kooks in the Forest of Arden, but slashed passages of the repartee that defines Rosalind.
  33. Eastbound & Down feels static.
  34. Fear Itself, which is directed by a platoon of horror film veterans (including the Hong Kong auteur Ronny Yu), delivers a lot of ripped flesh and spilled blood--terrible things happen, in particular, to lips and teeth--in the service of very little terror or discomfort.
  35. Flashpoint lingers when it ought to speed up. It is a show about crisis that refuses to make you anxious.
  36. The show feels aggressively off-kilter with the current mood, as if it had been incubated in the early to mid-’90s, when it was possible to find global-warming skeptics among even the reasonable and informed.
  37. It needs a lot more moments like the one when the samurai girl bursts through a door to find her chauffeur on the verge of disemboweling himself. “Seriously?” she asks, eyeing the knife in his hands. “Seppuku?”
  38. Pizazz is what’s missing from CBS’s new drama, Eleventh Hour, in which Rufus Sewell plays Dr. Jacob Hood.
  39. The series itself seems divided: at times a supersize fable told with portentous, and even turgid, simplicity, while at others, a sophisticated spoof that uses ancient legend to send up modern politics. And when a series cannot be both, it ends up being neither.
  40. You see Mr. Bratt with his goatee and expressions of martyrdom, but you hear the voice of Nancy Reagan.
  41. Leverage winds up seeming merely anachronistic, wrapping up with a cute resolution each week, the swine in handcuffs, not torn from the private hockey rinks of their Aspen vacation homes.
  42. What is obvious to viewers after only a few minutes is not obvious to the supposedly crack investigators dispatched to untangle the conspiracy, whose Ludlumesque layers they fail to see.
  43. The show’s value, if any, is in demonstrating the different styles used by the principals: tough, tender and so on. The show’s drawback is that it suggests that all principals do is administer discipline. For that, the show’s creators need a spanking.
  44. The semi-improvised Z Rock has its moments, none of which can be described adequately here.
  45. Suspect Behavior is not boring, but it is familiar.
  46. Accidentally on Purpose, with its matching sets of friends for Billie and Zack, its bland jokes, its lack of any sort of topicality, its Jenna Elfman, feels as if it could have been on any time in the last two decades.
  47. The series may want to say something about the inequities of the medical care system or it may just want an excuse to produce panning shots of the velvet lawns and iron gates of Gin Lane. It seems safer to bet on the second and to remain grateful for the “House” reruns that are shown more or less continually on USA.
  48. If you’re old enough to remember “The Partridge Family” and young enough to remember it fondly--which means you’re in your mid-40s and can recite the Echo Valley phone number--then you might enjoy Tuesday night’s pilot episode of Ruby & the Rockits on ABC Family.
  49. There’s too much hinting around about Chance’s troubled past--reflecting the solemn pretensions of the comic book-- and the writing, in terms of both humor and plotting, isn’t at the level of the show’s role models.
  50. Undercover Boss, a CBS reality show that turns the tables on management, seems tailor-made for the anticorporate rancor of the times, but if anything, it paints too rosy a picture of white-collar benevolence.
  51. Predictable characters haven’t hurt the “CSI” crime shows, but this is Mr. Bruckheimer’s first hospital drama, and viewers accustomed to layered dramas like “ER” and “House” expect more.
  52. At this point, everything about it feels generic.
  53. The comedy pivots on Hank’s painful adjustment to middle-class living, but that joke is undercut with syrupy life lessons about parental responsibility and quality time.
  54. No one appearing on Melrose Place 2.0 is nearly that dreadful, and the one-liners that remind us that we are not watching the television of a historic golden age retain the zesty camp of the series’s first iteration.
  55. The balance between humor and pathos is a hard one, and this show teeters on the edge and occasionally falls flat.
  56. The premiere showcases seven different women, doctors and their patients, in various states of anger, insecurity and neediness. It’s like a Hogarth engraving of the seven stages of womanly despair, “A Surgeon’s Progress.”
  57. Too often The Real L Word feels like sitting in a restaurant and hearing about some incredible specials that happen to be sold out. Anything genuinely interesting seems to have already taken place.
  58. In the absence of an arcing narrative, the series wants us to accept as its mission of suspense the mystery of this crypto drag-king-meets-shopaholic friendship.
  59. Plain Jane is more than shopping spree and vocabulary builder; it betrays a cockamamie respect for the therapeutic process, and it shouldn't be giving too much away to tell you that the snails lose, that the plain Janes blossom, and that no stimulus money has been wasted along the way.
  60. It feels as if the attention that should have gone to the storytelling all went to the atmosphere and the repartee.
  61. The banter between the Blooms is so full of cloying sugar substitutes and so devoid of any real tension that there is no voyeuristic thrill to be had even from their--I'm just going to say it, because the show does--"sexpionage."
  62. Each warrior is given equal time and the evidence is piled up on both sides to maximize the suspense around the weekly suspect's guilt or innocence. But the personality cost is too high for the payoff.
  63. It offers the minor pleasures of formulaic fantasy and weekly puzzle solving, though in a cheaper-looking and less original package than usual.
  64. Some of the stories are touching, but the formula is set and stagy. The viewer has no doubt that the episode will end with a job offer and floods of thankful tears.
  65. The snowcapped mountains, pine forests and shimmering lakes are majestic, the Palin children are adorable, and the series looks like a travelogue--wholesome, visually breathtaking and a little dull.
  66. Off the Map takes few chances with plot or characters.
  67. The result is a production even more fantastically soapy than the first, visually elevated by an apocalyptic video-game look in which the orgiastic sex and violence are presented with a studied, syncopated choreography.
  68. It's well made and also at times unnecessarily cheesy.
  69. It's a five-part drama that is loyally, unwaveringly true to James M. Cain's 1941 novel and somehow not nearly as satisfying as the 1945 film noir that took shameless liberties with plot, characters and settings.
  70. The show's jarring shift in tone suggests a touch of the film "Syriana," as well, all of which leaves us with a hard-to-digest influence soup. It's as if a novelist were telling you that she wrote while under the spell of both Salinger and Nancy Drew.
  71. Happy Endings is both a retro version of "Friends" and a more superficially progressive one.
  72. The show does a creditable job of cataloging the novel's themes, but it has more trouble capturing the story's Victorian-style sweep and texture.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    An odd and sympathetic show beginning Sunday that's part episodic biography, part comeback tale and part confrontation therapy.
  73. Franklin & Bash has some of the ingredients of perfectly adequate summer filler: it's handsomely shot; the writing, line by line, is as good as or better than that of most of the cable competition; and there are appealing actors like Malcolm McDowell, Reed Diamond and Ms. Davis in supporting roles. The problem is that Franklin and Bash themselves are resolutely uninteresting.
  74. Current TV turns out to be less serious than one would have predicted, and in some sense 4th and Forever might have benefited from some of the aura of earnestness that used to surround Mr. Gore before he took to making uncannily great guest appearances on enterprises like "30 Rock."
  75. What we get is an unwieldy and mostly humdrum combination of mob tale and backstage musical.
  76. It's neither here nor there: low on sci-fi mystery and intrigue and not yet convincing as ensemble drama. Right now it feels like the beta version.
  77. Ms. Walker is an appealing actress with a strong presence, but in the pilot, at least, her character isn't as well formed or well written as other tough-talking television dames.
  78. Though the series begins amusingly enough, it quickly descends into cloying buddy escapade, in which the full-of-heart slacker seeks to teach his careerist boss how to care, and the careerist boss teaches his moldable young thing about cunning and diligence and clothes that cost a mortgage payment.
  79. If only for the costumes and '60s music, Pan Am is amusing to see at least once, but if it has any instructive benefit at all, it's as a mood indicator for these times, not those.
  80. Quirky, so obsessed with the process of taking an idea to market, overlooks the process of building a successful television narrative.
  81. The pilot begins promisingly with Max unfurling an Aaron Sorkin-like rant at a customer foolish enough to snap his fingers to get her attention. But after that there are too many one-liners about semen stains and orgasms that aren't clever, just pronounced very loudly to carry over the titters of a studio audience.
  82. Up All Night could use more backup players and more imaginative writing. Most of all, the show has to get over its fear of offending.
  83. Rock Center is still a work in progress, so it's hard to judge how it will fare.
  84. All those profiled are on their best behavior, and the show is so focused on teaching that it goes for long stretches without entertaining.
  85. The models themselves are incidental on Scouted, merely empty planets around which revolve some fascinating characters and plenty more dull ones.
  86. The writers may work their way out of this corner and Mr. McIntyre, who's a bit lightweight at this point, may grow into the central role. In the meantime there are still touches of the unbridled campiness that made the first season amusing.
  87. By the end of this documentary, yes, you're convinced that Mr. Lewis was a much larger figure than is generally acknowledged. But you still don't feel as if you know him.
  88. It's refreshing, and ultimately unnerving, to see just how naïve Jane Quimby (Erica Dasher) is at the outset of Jane by Design.
  89. The scripts are efficient. The acting is decent. But you're likely to find yourself just waiting for the familiar crises and character complications to come along, and sure enough, they do.
  90. It tries to combine elements of American mob stories and Scandinavian mysteries, seasoned with frequent overt references to "The Sopranos," but the mixture is pretty flat in the first episode.
  91. Resolutely generic.
  92. This glossy tribute is enjoyable; it is just not memorable.
  93. Nothing in the first two episodes of The Pauly D Project is more than mildly diverting, but that's still more than can be said for the reboot of the candid-camera prank show "Punk'd."
  94. The show around them [the actors], at this point, looks too flat and schematically plotted to succeed as the type of lightweight summer fun we've come to expect from USA.
  95. At least in the early stages, the series is quite entertaining. But over all, the mini-series suffers from defensive storytelling; it's a narrative driven in splintered directions less by inspiration than by avoidance.