The New York Times' Scores

For 1,424 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 Gideon's Crossing: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Notes from the Underbelly: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 667
  2. Negative: 0 out of 667
667 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. This is a treatise on personalities rather than systems, its bantering sensibility recalling something more along the lines of "Ocean's Eleven" than "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."
  3. 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.
  4. The result--for the person with a casual interest in cars, anyway--is a show that at this point lacks the character of the British original but is, particularly in its second and third episodes, reasonably entertaining by American reality-TV standards.
  5. The series is well written, and has its moments.
  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. We pay close attention to Sit Down, Shut Up, an occasionally quite funny but largely anodyne animated comedy beginning Sunday on Fox, because it comes from the pen of Mitchell Hurwitz, creator of “Arrested Development."
  8. Unlike Ms. Zoe, whose gift for vapid and catchy utterances made for sticky television, Mr. Goreski has to rely on his sartorial choices, his Canadian good will, and the occasional bolt of drama and anguish.
  9. 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.
  10. It was a cautious, please-all production, but it took guts to do it.
  11. If “This American Life” is all like this [opening] segment, it will be an immaculate and historic documentary series, with or without the storytelling pretext.
  12. There's plenty of espionage action and kick-boxing but little concern for political authenticity. The appeal rests in the heroine, played by Jennifer Garner with an attractive combination of vulnerability and entrepreneurial self-protectiveness. This lively piece of entertainment is too cartoonish to feel threatening.
  13. The revisiting of Ripper lore, though, is relatively painless, especially since the most interesting character in this series is Edward Buchan (Steve Pemberton), the Ripperologist who tips Chandler to the similarities between the then and the now.
  14. "Broken Trail" is not as well written or compelling as "Lonesome Dove," but Mr. Duvall brings an earthy believability to even the most plodding lines.
  15. There is an uneasiness to [Perry's] performance--in some scenes he looks startled, even frightened--that makes it hard to play off Mr. Lennon, who seems very comfortable as a nervous nelly. That chemistry could come with time, but even if the show flops, it’s an interesting experiment.
  16. 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.
  17. A quest romance in which Middle Earth is essentially Route 66, that national treasure, and some of its burned-out byways.
  18. Yes, boys and girls, Teen Wolf has more to say than "Jersey Shore."
  19. The story is cheekily told here, and pretty well, if you don’t mind “cheeky” as the tone for a tale in which real people died.
  20. The movie races so quickly through the milestones of his career... that some of the most powerful moments in his papacy are underplayed.
  21. It's the "Sabrina" story mixed with "Arthur," and it strains to make the tycoon's son endearingly weak and childish
  22. Like everything else in the MacFarlane arsenal, The Cleveland Show relies heavily on pop-cultural references (and many of them are pretty funny), but the rhythm and pacing can feel like a slow-dripping faucet.
  23. Matador is definitely B-level--serviceable dialogue, not-quite-cartoonish characters, gimmicky editing--but it’s not grindhouse.
  24. A comedy with a fair amount of melodrama mixed in. The comic parts--fistfights between costumed characters, cattiness in the costume room, training sessions with militarylike intensity--can be pretty funny.... The melodrama is more uneven.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Those Elaine moments are the real allure of this series -- a chance to see Ms. Louis-Dreyfus once again portray an insensitive, aggressive neurotic trapped in the body of a petite, attractive woman.
  29. The characters are intriguing in a lightweight way but could lose their appeal fast. Remember when Austin Powers was a brilliant comedy creation, the thawed-out 90's secret agent who still operated by 60's social standards? The joke just wasn't good enough to hold up three (and probably more) films, although that hasn't hurt the films at the box office. The clones, like Austin, may turn out to be a one-joke invention.
  30. Finding Sarah isn't really all that helpful as an inspirational story or even as a cautionary tale. [...] But the series provides an invaluable lesson in celebrity self-help.
  31. Red Band Society has a tone that is both sassy and sorrowful, a carefully calculated balance of humor and sentiment. The pilot episode, however, leans too heavily on emotional tugs.
  32. 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.
  33. When you do sketch-style comedy, though, you’re only as good as your next idea, and in two subsequent episodes the situations aren’t as distinctive. Jay Baruchel gives Josh an appealing blend of desperation, gallantry and squirming calculation. He’s carrying all the weight, though: The cast includes Eric Andre as Josh’s pick-up-artist best friend, Britt Lower as his sister and Maya Erskine as his ex, but none of their characters are more than foils.
  34. Enjoyable but not exhilarating, engaging but not hypnotic.
  35. The lines are too blunt, but with its mix of crime-solving and wit, this series could be the unexpected winner among the new crime shows. [6 Oct 2000, p.E30]
    • The New York Times
  36. Unfortunately for Ms. Collette, the roles of Tara’s children are so deftly written and skillfully played that they undermine her own star turn--Tara has four personalities and is one-dimensional in all of them.
  37. 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.
  38. Defying Gravity, about four men and four women sent into orbit with entangled romantic pasts and removable libido-suppressing devices, has high-tech props and a spooky sci-fi mystery, but it is layered in feminine concerns and the mawkishly sentimental pop music that frames plot points on “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice.”
  39. Hollander... has pared the medical drama down to its barest notions of life and death and sliced away the acronyms, arguably just when they needed some cutting.
  40. Rather than tackle Ms. Sontag’s ideas or their value head-on, the director, Nancy Kates, continually deflects the discussion along other lines: Ms. Sontag as closeted bisexual, serial heartbreaker, liberal provocateur, narcissist, celebrity, camera subject, Jew, cancer survivor.
  41. The executive producers, Shana Goldberg-Meehan and Greg Malins, both worked on "Friends," and the jokes in Better With You have the polish and the off-center, sneakily funny quality that marked that show. But the single-family multigeneration setup seems to have facilitated an undertone of nastiness and desperation in the humor, most clearly expressed in the condescending portrayal of the youngest couple.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. While there are moments of snappy dialogue, it's sometimes snappier than the characters themselves.
  45. 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.
  46. This latest hardboiled-but-dedicated babe with a badge follows all the clichés of the genre but knows it and will find ways to twist the formula in novel, interesting ways.
  47. Nothing very funny happens on “30 Rock” until Alec Baldwin enters the room, and suddenly this new NBC sitcom comes alive.
  48. 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.
  49. The language is supposed to be realistic and maybe it is realistic, but it often feels self-conscious, like an overly thick Southern accent. That's too bad, because when Mr. Simon and Edward Burns, who are credited with the writing of the first five episodes, pull back a bit, they sometimes achieve a rough eloquence.
  50. Offering prefab middle-of-the-road stardom, "American Idol" is entertaining, but not for the reasons its producers like to pretend. The open secret that the show's creators and its fans choose to ignore is that the music and arrangements are trite, full of wannabe Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder wails. Originality is a losing strategy. But the series does have a stroke of commercial genius, as it shrewdly combines elements from a smattering of other series into one big marketable soup. It's "Survivor" with a soundtrack.
  51. A smart look at political power brokers that gets silly on the subjects of sex and violence.
  52. Ms. Flockhart... is not convincing as a woman of conviction. And that is too bad, because “Brothers and Sisters” has wit and grace.
  53. It is instructive to observe how working woman's guilt plays out in a postfeminist era when having it all is considered a privilege, not a right.
  54. Ms. Heaton is less acerbic than she was on "Everybody Loves Raymond," but just as comical playing an overwhelmed Midwesterner who works at Orson's only surviving car dealership.
  55. The casting of the leads is a bit disappointing.
  56. "Invasion" is a step up from many new offerings on the Sci Fi Channel, but never quite as intricate or engaging as the ABC hit "Lost."
  57. The good side of the kabuki-like formalism of the Bruckheimer approach is that the story moves like a bullet toward the inevitable apprehension of the fugitive, flying past leaden dialogue and plot holes so quickly that if you enjoy the crime-drama formulas that are in play, you can enjoy the show.
  58. The plot knots are Gordian, but the writer, Rockne S. O'Bannon, successfully picks them apart. What suffers is the dialogue, which often strains to explain all the science in offhand conversation.
  59. The competitors may not be all that amusing, but some of the show's gimmicks are.
  60. It is a credit to the casting scouts of Bravo that they managed to sign up a crew of women every bit as uninhibited and ostentatious as their predecessors.
  61. Mostly, it is a case load borrowed from "L.A. Law" and "Boston Legal." But the two troubled lawyers are amusing.
  62. "Related" is enjoyable but odd: feminism with a baby-doll face.
  63. If you've seen the many hours of "The Blue Planet" and "Planet Earth," or are a regular watcher of the nature documentaries constantly available on cable, then you've already seen most of what Great Migrations has to offer, or some version of it.
  64. The new film, despite the astounding story it tells, is the most conventional, least urgent and, cinematically, the least interesting of the three.
  65. The show can get overly cute. It's hard to believe that anyone these days, even in remote Alaska, hasn't heard of a bagel, frozen or otherwise. And at one point, a passing reference is made to "St. Elsewhere." Not necessary. But, like Joel, a good many viewers may discover that the characters kind of grow on you. A first-rate cast makes it all the more easy. As Ed says to Joel about the gamey mooseburgers, you'll get used to it. [12 July 1990, p.C22]
  66. 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.
  67. Four hours may seem like a lot, and some of the commentary sounds as if it’s being read from a script, which doesn’t help the time pass quickly. But if anyone deserves a longer-than-usual television documentary, it’s Sinatra, who would have turned 100 this December. The film becomes more interesting the less far back your memory goes.
  68. In this version, Mrs. Harris, at times appealing, at other times brittle and censorious, is hard to fathom.
  69. Possibly because it works so hard to mimic the original’s gloomy restraint, The Returned feels strained.
  70. The real pleasure lies in the adjustment problems of a seemingly normal suburban family leading a terrifying secret life.
  71. 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.
  72. "Chuck" has interests similar to those of the heroes of Big Bang, including a lack of interest in chasing women, but his comedy is more inventive--the better bet in a new era in which the nerd no longer loses, but the best nerd show wins.
  73. Swingtown has ’70s mystique, but not much mystery.
  74. 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.
  75. They each have a glorious, fearsome secret, and can truly confide only in one another. But it's not clear whether this series--a hybrid of family drama and graphic novel--can sustain interest once the premise is fully established.
  76. Ms. Rivers is, even in this silly imposture, very funny, making jokes and playing the role of doting grandmother and interfering mother self-mockingly.
  77. 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.
  78. Immortalized is the better of the two ["Freakshow" being the other] because it revels in its own absurdity.
  79. The creators take a fresh start, but cling to the sepulchral atmospherics that too often take the place of narrative. The series is still suspenseful, but the dread that once again follows Sarah through damp forests, deserted tenements and shadowy, rain-washed streets diminishes with overuse.
  80. 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.
  81. There's nothing inherently interesting about the show's attempt to combine stock ethnic-family sitcom formulas with retro-kitsch nostalgia, and viewers (especially those who have worked in family Chinese restaurants) may find the simplifications and stereotypes appalling.
  82. The flashback structure, which could have been cumbersome and distracting, is impressively seamless. But, despite these positives, things start to go off track as early as the second episode.... [Director Cary Joji Fukunaga] doesn’t show much ability here to animate Mr. Pizzolatto’s dialogue-heavy encounters.... There are some nice moments in the later episodes, and they’re the ones with the fewest words.
    • 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.
  83. It's not a great show, but it's interesting in an experience-it-before-it-vanishes sort of way.
  84. Quirky, so obsessed with the process of taking an idea to market, overlooks the process of building a successful television narrative.
  85. 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.
  86. This glossy tribute is enjoyable; it is just not memorable.
  87. Some of the jokes are amusing, but the show is a traditional sitcom that looks slightly dated.
  88. The comedy in the show is a grab bag, sometimes subtle, sometimes self-consciously outlandish.
  89. It’s an engrossing but somewhat aimless and impressionistic ramble through the Nixon presidency and tumult of the 1970s. At times it leans too heavily on artistic license.
  90. 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.
  91. "In Case of Emergency" is uneven, more antic than witty.
  92. It’s not an embarrassment for the channel, but it doesn’t raise the stakes either.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Nobody cusses, nobody copulates, nobody sweats, and hardly anybody bleeds. The only dramatic tension surrounds the question of whether Joe's true identity will be discovered. But in that case, he'd be whacked, and the show would be over.
  93. 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."
  94. TV Land proves again that no one in basic cable does a more proficient, professional job of executing and packaging traditional sitcoms. What’s not so admirable: the creator and writer Matthew Carlson’s pilot script.
  95. 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.
  96. It offers the minor pleasures of formulaic fantasy and weekly puzzle solving, though in a cheaper-looking and less original package than usual.
  97. It feels cobbled together, from the premise of “Chuck,” “Jake 2.0” and other shows to scenes and situations that recall better productions like “Person of Interest,” “Homeland” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

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