The New York Times' Scores

For 1,831 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 The Sopranos: 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. Like the movie, the series is peculiar, with an irregular rhythm and lots of black humor, and it is also oddly winning.
  2. In any given episode, all three of these actresses may be called upon for slapstick comedy (for Ms. Metcalf, in the season premiere, there’s an outlandish scene in a bathroom stall), deadpan humor and actual pathos, since their patients are often frail, facing dementia or outright dying. And they deliver with nuanced performances that turn quick glances or sighs into punch lines.
  3. The appeal is elementary: good, unpretentious fun, something that's in short supply around here.
  4. At times "Freaks and Geeks" tried too hard to create jolts of recognition. Here the frantic characters regularly call one another idiots, yet Undeclared always seems smart and effortless.
  5. The Knick has become much more than another tortured-genius antihero story. It has developed a sprawl reminiscent of HBO’s “Deadwood,” stretching to the mansion and the gutter with equal familiarity.... Despite the often dark outlook, there’s also a sense of awe at the analog machinery of life.
  6. Ultimately, it’s a show to be admired, not loved. Part of this may have to do with packing a complicated story with about a dozen major characters into six hours.
  7. The multitude of exegeses and theories devoted to major plot twists and minor details attest to the series’s enduring egghead appeal.
  8. On "State of Play" and Prime Suspect, ordinary men and women take center stage and hold it beautifully. [16 Apr 2004, p.E1]
    • The New York Times
  9. People eat this stuff up, and a skeptic can find himself riveted by the best of it.
  10. 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.
  11. The depiction of the modern country music business in Nashville feels reasonably authentic, and when the story stays within that realm, it has the mix of hardheadedness, sentimentality and honky-tonk come-on you can get from a good country song.
  12. Lady Dynamite has its own bizarre-sincere voice and its own dream logic. It’s something else, in a good way: a journey to the center of Ms. Bamford’s mind that dives through fantasy after loopy fantasy and emerges with something real.
  13. A blistering, demented animated series.
  14. The Missing is imaginatively written, well cast, chillingly believable and quite addictive. This kind of story has been told this way before, but somehow that doesn’t make this telling any less compelling.
  15. Because the gently quirky celebrity documentary is an enjoyable if standardized format, the potency of Bright Lights sneaks up on you.
  16. Season 2 is in many ways as captivating and addictive as the first, but this time around, the series comes off as a shameless throwback to itself.
  17. 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.
  18. There aren’t many series at the moment quite like it or as good. It is as subtle and intrusive as “In Treatment” was on HBO, with some of the suspense and narrative feints that made “True Detective,” also on HBO, so addictive.
  19. 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.
  20. The plot of "House of Cards" requires more than just a couple suspensions of disbelief. Seemingly perceptive characters turn inexplicably naive. The obvious is overlooked just a bit too frequently. But, directed by Paul Seed, the production moves ahead briskly, and as the story turns more and more vicious, the timely potboiler becomes surprisingly compelling. Much of the credit belongs to Ian Richardson's scarily perfect performance as Francis Urquhart.
  21. In many ways the second season is richer. The stories are again lifted from “Be’ Tipul,” but set in New York, the epicenter of post-Freudian civilization and its discontents.
  22. 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.
  23. This is an ABC drama that is not just good, it’s startlingly good, as bracing in its own way as "True Detective" was on HBO last year.
  24. Through the four episodes screened for critics, the season bursts with power and purpose but misses a spark of life. It plays like an earnestly acted position paper.
  25. The 2016 presidential campaign has yet to produce a distinctive comedy voice, but Ms. Bee made a bold early case that it could be hers.
  26. Some comics are natural actors, but Ms. Butcher and Ms. Esposito aren’t, which makes for awkward moments, especially when the show tries to hit a somber or intimate note. But the clunkiness also gives Take My Wife a weird sort of honesty.
  27. The Killing is as bleak and oppressive as any, but it's so well told that it's almost heartening.
  28. "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
  29. The series is acted with razorlike timing. [21 Sept 1998, p.E5]
    • The New York Times
  30. It’s a vehicle for two graying actors that gives both a chance for tour-de-force performances, and in the new television version Monday on Starz, a couple of esteemed veterans, Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen, get about as much out of the tale as there is to get.
  31. There is a genuine suspense and thrill to the show now, but it succeeds largely as a treatise not on the tragedy of cancer but on the sheer monotony of it, the relentless waiting around.
  32. 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.
  33. Its stories of buppie frustration and romance, set in Los Angeles, aren’t revolutionary, but they’re funny and moving, powered by Ms. Rae’s ear for dialogue of a kind of crystalline, pitch-perfect profanity.
  34. 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.
  35. Even the smaller parts are skillfully sculptured. James McDaniel, trailing outstanding stage performances in "Six Degrees of Separation" and "Someone Who'll Watch Over Me," is quietly controlled as the police lieutenant who must cope with Sipowicz's racist outbursts, among other things. And Nicholas Turturro, John's kid brother, is engaging as a young and eager policeman named Martinez.
  36. [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.
  37. What is implied elsewhere is confronted aggressively in the terrifically restive FX drama Rescue Me.
  38. [Dr. Oz's presence is not] fatal to the enjoyment provided by the eight hours of NY Med, and we can also forgive the familiar situations and stock characters.
  39. 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.
  40. 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
  41. Here is some of the freshest and most disarming material the comedy scene has been able to claim in a long while.
  42. As with most things Forrest tries in this drolly hilarious show, neither goes quite as planned.
  43. National Treasure is a beautifully drawn portrait of ugliness, impeccably written and acted, yet painful to absorb.
  44. 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
  45. Overall, the remake, whose producers include Mr. Burton and Mark M. Wolper (whose father, David L. Wolper, produced the original “Roots”), ably polishes the story for a new audience that might find the old production dated and slow.
  46. Friday Night Lights (which begins Wednesday on DirecTV, the satellite subscription service that is helping finance it, and moves to NBC in February) is delivered with the precision and manner of ethnography--it never condescends.
  47. Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), whose braininess extends to an expertise in physics and an acute ability to help Luther unravel the most advanced criminal minds. The two circle each other dangerously, their chemistry both bizarre and addicting.
  48. Presumably the producers’ realization of what they had in Maria and her bright, gorgeous, unfettered children led to the bifurcated structure of the series, and it’s the ups but mostly downs of her last eight months on earth that make Time of Death worth watching.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. The core portion of Jackie Robinson’s story is so familiar that Part 1 of the new Ken Burns treatment of it may not seem like vital viewing. But Part 2 examines Robinson’s later, less celebrated years, completing a portrait of an eventful life that, in the popular mind, is often confined to the ball field.
  52. Mr. Delaney and Ms. Horgan, as writers and actors, are able to make most of the serious moments believable and bearable, even touching (though the twist ending of the season finale feels like a miscalculation). And while the show’s humor, alternately subtle and pummeling, doesn’t always click, each episode has its moments.
  53. Now it's a compliment to say that Season 3 does: Paul's relationships with his new patients are as finely etched as before. The writing may seem a little less sophisticated--each session offers incremental insights about the patient that can seem a bit pat or forced--but over all In Treatment is still an absorbing dramatization of psychotherapy.
  54. While Mr. Douglas glides through the film--demonstrating that his talent for portraying carnivorous lechery and polished duplicity works regardless of sexual orientation--and Mr. Damon is earnest and committed, the love, or whatever it was, between Thorson and Liberace never comes into emotional focus.
  55. 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).
  56. The new season takes time to reset, and the movement in the early episodes is slow. The character dynamics are solid, though, and the ’80s details continue to be spot on.
  57. The program has a fair amount of feel-good filler about the bond between the dogs and their handlers, but when it comes to showing these pairs at work, it is blunt and disturbing.
  58. A brisk and concise 82-minute film.
  59. None overdoes the self-conscious creepiness at first. The close-ups of slabs of meat being hacked apart for dinner and a few forced performances from otherwise reliable actors (especially Anna Maxwell Martin as the servant Ethel Rogers) smack of concept getting in the way of common sense.... Once the gathering of the victims has been completed, however, and the murderer goes to work, the series settles into a satisfyingly eerie groove.
  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. Legion presents a superhero drama as psychic journey, distinguishing itself in an overcrowded genre by setting its most compelling drama in its protagonist’s mind. It’s no ordinary comic-book show: it’s a head trip, and it’s spectacular.
  62. The Returned is mesmerizing television.... The first three new episodes complicate the plot more than advance it.... But the questions are tantalizing. Like HBO’s “The Leftovers,” this is a gorgeous, full-hearted drama about grief, rich with metaphor.
  63. Wartorn sometimes starts to feel prim and preachy. But it also has its share of quietly devastating, haunting scenes, echoes of the nightmares that veterans are bringing home with them from Iraq and Afghanistan.
  64. The story of the Dust Bowl is complicated, twisting together ecology, economics and politics, as well as divisions of class and region, and Mr. Burns and his writer, Dayton Duncan, have done as careful and admirable a job as you would expect in laying it out.
  65. What really sets Key & Peele apart are the stars’ performances.
  66. What sets the show apart is its tireless, formless, free-flowing pursuit of laughs--and a cast that can ride that wave while also giving some human dimension to what are essentially vaudevillian characters.
  67. Everyone is clearly having a good time, and the fun is catching. One should be grateful for that much, perhaps, but the sheer professionalism cannot entirely hide some potential weaknesses. A little too much of the humor is directed at ridiculing certain signs of aging, from having hair in one's ears to incontinence. Bathroom jokes have their limitations. And Miss Getty's character threatens to demolish the ensemble work with the need to get a laugh every time she opens her outrageous mouth. [14 Sept 1985]
    • The New York Times
  68. As with all of the best examples of this genre--this film was not made to provide a feel-good moment that enables us to go back to forgetting about the bombing and those most affected by it. It was made to remind us that recovery is far harder and more complex than we realize.
  69. Absurdity is the only real agenda here, and The Tick hits that target. Whether that is enough remains to be seen. The daffiest shows sometimes flame out early, and in its aggressive incongruity The Tick is certainly a descendant of "Police Squad," an experimental classic that lasted just a few episodes.
  70. While there are some deeply disturbing images, The Honorable Woman is an astute, sensitive and at times delicate psychological drama that is evenhanded in the nonincendiary sense of the word: No side is entirely to blame, and there are villains, innocent victims and foolish dupes on both sides.
  71. The show’s subversiveness, if it can be called that, is partly a matter of degree. It stands out (on basic cable, at least) for its frankness.... You wonder whether Mr. Falk can keep the plates spinning. Some jokes seem to be repeating themselves.
  72. It thrives as radical comedy because it challenges one of our most preciously held assumptions: that parenthood is ennobling, rewarding work; that it grounds us and makes us marginally better people.
  73. The television adaptation is surprisingly scary and remarkably good, a show that visually echoes the stylized comic-book aesthetic of the original and combines elegant suspense with gratifyingly crude and gruesome slasher-film gore.
  74. 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.
  75. Humans is a less ambitious production than “Westworld.” But its more pedestrian nature--it’s domestic drama merged with a sci-fi thriller--also makes it more emotionally effective.
  76. For about an episode and a quarter, it’s very good television. But over the rest of its six-episode first season it resembles nothing so much as a bad indie film, the kind of slow and tepid bummer that used to fill Sundance’s late nights and afternoons when it was a full-time movie channel.
  77. [A] glossy, generic adaptation.
  78. It’s an exceedingly watchable history lesson.
  79. Feud, with blunt writing but exquisite performances, recreates that dish, critiques it and eats it with relish.
  80. Reaper is not at all grim; it’s actually quite rewarding.
  81. This is a thoughtful series that lingers over death rather than using it for shock value; one that finds its story lines in small power struggles rather than gruesome palace coups.
  82. 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.
  83. The result is surprisingly interesting, fun and, at times, even quite moving.
  84. There is nothing supernatural behind the mystery, and there is no deep-rooted government conspiracy lurking behind seemingly mundane events. But suspense builds, personalities strengthen and change, and “The Nine” takes on a life of its own.
  85. The whole enterprise is wrapped in a big-budget look and served with a respect for the ability of young minds to perceive offbeat, incongruous humor, the very quality that made the books so successful in the first place.
  86. Watching Mr. Robot can be a little like living in Elliot’s skin: engrossed by a skillfully executed dystopian fantasy while nagged by the knowledge that it isn’t everything it claims to be.
  87. A worthy and exhilarating new HBO companion to "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
  88. Vikings has benefited all along from the accomplished, subdued performances of a number of its cast, including Mr. Byrne, Mr. Roache, Clive Standen as Ragnar’s warlike brother and both Nathan O’Toole and Alexander Ludwig, who play Ragnar’s son Bjorn at different ages. But the heart of the show remains Mr. Fimmel’s smirking, withdrawn, not quite good but certainly distinctive performance as Ragnar.
  89. 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.
  90. It's the Lovings, not Loving v. Virginia, that hold our attention. Their reticence, even under such close camera scrutiny, is intriguing and even charming.
  91. There are no mediocre performances here.
  92. "Elizabeth I" was made for television and is not a lavish, big-budget production. Visually, it is no match for the 1998 movie. But what "Elizabeth I" does offer is not insignificant: a richly drawn portrait of a powerful woman who is both ruthless and sentimental, formidable and mercurial, vain and likable.
  93. It’s a fine show, relying on slow-building tension rather than the gory shock value of series like “The Following,” and the five-episode arc now on Netflix is worth a look if you haven’t had your fill of cat-and-mouse dynamics.... Oddly, the character developed the least may be Ms. Anderson’s.
  94. 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.
  95. The smooth telling of Russo's story juxtaposed against the present day, when gay marriage is sanctioned in some states and gay characters are all over prime-time television, drives home how different the cultural landscape is from the one Russo knew.
  96. It would be easy to overrate Search Party for its novelty, and the humor, while frequently sharp, is often of the sideways, trailing-off variety that won’t hit every viewer’s pleasure centers. But the cross-pollination of genres clicks just often enough.
  97. Damages borrows heavily from the front page, and that keeps it interesting.
  98. Despite these quibbles, Children of Earth is still good fun, if not good, exactly.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A likable if lightweight not-too-dramatic series.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A tight, polished hour of jokes with a strong thematic core.

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