The New York Times' Scores

For 1,561 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 4.5 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 739
  2. Negative: 0 out of 739
739 tv reviews
  1. Without Zoe Barnes, prostitutes, corrupt lobbyists and dissipated members of Congress to perk up the landscape as in seasons past, the show feels monotonous. It certainly looks it.
  2. The show is bold, quite good and gets better as it goes on. But Huff is never truly great the way ''The Sopranos'' or ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' have been on HBO. Like other Showtime fare, ''Dead Like Me'' and ''The L Word,'' the series is enjoyable without being vital.
  3. 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.
  4. Fortitude is great to look at and will eventually provide the basic pleasure of a convoluted mystery solved, but it’s a distinctly chilly piece of storytelling.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Superman purists won't like it. People abnormally devoted to established teenage shows from which it borrows won't like it. But anyone with a flexible streak should find plenty to admire in Smallville.
  5. Bribes, kickbacks, suspiciously well-compensated construction companies, organized-crime alliances--this is the stockpot in which the series stirs its wooden spoon. For the most part the flavors blend well.
  6. “Ugly Betty” is a sweet, funny show. It’s worth watching. And we’ll see.
  7. The original title, "Keep Hope Alive," is funnier, but Raising Hope better suits a very funny sitcom that leavens its satire with sympathy.
  8. This first episode won't grab new viewers by the throat either, although it does reveal David Boreanaz's immense attraction as the brooding, hunky, laconic vampire. [5 Oct 1999, p.E7]
    • The New York Times
  9. Just when the crowd thinks it knows where he’s going, he jerks the string and sends things in a different direction, to great effect. It’s a gimmick that takes a refined sense of timing and a mastery of misdirection, and Mr. Cosby, who is 76, shows that he still has both.
  10. Had it arrived 10 or 15 years earlier, when long-form narrative was not the dominant form on cable television, it would have been felt, arguably, more as an explosion than a trickle. The series has at least so far failed to find a large audience, indicating perhaps how much we have come to take good serial drama for granted.
  11. The Knick is unusual and very good. It’s a great leap backward in time, yet another ambitious examination of at an important but often overlooked epoch in history.
  12. Terriers hangs rich people out to dry, makes fun of yuppie affectation and seeks as much to position itself on the right side of the class war as it does to amuse us. It succeeds amiably on both fronts.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. As crime shows go, it’s pretty good. As comic book shows go, it’s a demonstration of how tricky it can be to turn a comic book into a show.... It’s just that too much of the story feels indistinct, like disconnected chunks of a much-better-than-average cop show.
  16. Bessie shows us an assortment of moments from that life but doesn’t really make us feel it, despite Queen Latifah’s best efforts. Blame a choppy presentation that checks off points in the Bessie Smith timeline but doesn’t probe them or knit them together.
  17. Absolutely ordinary. [21 Sep 1998]
    • The New York Times
  18. It’s disappointing that two of the first three episodes are little more than familiar reworkings of overused formulas and plots. But Episode 2 indicates the concept’s promise; the show stops trying to be too many things and, for a half-hour at least, finds a groove.
  19. [A] sleekly made, absorbing series.
    • The New York Times
  20. This nine-episode series is maddeningly and needlessly opaque, and so deferential to the rites and rituals of the track that the storytelling is labored and even joyless.
  21. Burn Notice resumes its second season on Thursday like a sarcastic friend whose absences may not be lamented but whose reappearances are always surprisingly well met.
  22. Top Chef promises more than a clash of personalities; it inspires patriotism.
  23. The zeal and dedication of researchers is inspiring, and so are the patients and caregivers who struggle with the disease everyday, but over all, The Alzheimer’s Project celebrates hope at the expense of caution.
  24. 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.
  25. Mr. Weintraub is a genial, garrulous interview subject, rattling off anecdotes about Colonel Parker, Sinatra and Pat Morita, and Mr. McGrath supplies lavish film clips of 1950s, '60s and '70s New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. It's not a vanity project, but it's the kind of deluxe package Jerry Weintraub has spent his life working relentlessly to assemble.
  26. The show's characters are flat and so is the writing, but there is something universally appealing about blood, guts and a rushing gurney. There is no Dr. Feelgood in House, but the patients' symptoms provide a little consolation.
  27. This isn’t crackpot conspiracy theory stuff; the documentary is as serious and somber as its title.... The film ends with a lengthy list of officials who declined to be interviewed, which leaves it one-sided, and it doesn’t go beyond merely asking that the crash get another look: the intent is not to explore who might have fired any missiles that were fired.
  28. It hardly needs saying that Ms. Silverman’s material is not for everybody.... But she isn’t spewing things out randomly, hoping to get by on shock value. The execution is fairly intricate.
  29. There is nothing else quite like it on television, and that is actually saying a lot.
  30. 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.
  31. There are a lot of jokes about Brooklyn, sex and millennial entitlement, but the underlying sensibility echoes that of “Sex and the City.” It’s a lighthearted but wistfully knowing look at the gender imbalances and generational rifts that make life hard for even fabulous women.
  32. 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.
  33. The first few episodes of Ray Donovan are disappointing--grandiose, predictable and painfully slow.
  34. The casting of the leads is a bit disappointing.
  35. Tony Shalhoub is not the only reason to watch Monk, a smart new detective series on USA, but the intriguing character he and the show's writers have created might have been enough.
  36. The next-best thing to "The Wire."
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    If Maximum Bob can maintain its off-kilter inventiveness, it could build a following.
  37. Supergirl is an average action show thus far, but its star is engaging.
  38. At the outset, Bloodline doesn’t even make clear if anyone has been murdered, let alone who might be missing. But it does establish that it may be well worth waiting to find out.
  39. Amid the current glut of serious horror series (some of them, like “The Strain” and “The Returned,” quite good), the Ash vs. Evil Dead pilot stands out for its intelligent esprit.... A second episode, neither written nor directed by Mr. Raimi, is more conventional in its humor and pacing. But the performers are still appealing, and the self-referential jokes mostly land.
  40. The hero of Awake has a psychiatric problem; there are no aliens or ghosts to explain away the more improbable turns, and this adventure is far more compelling.
  41. All the actors are wonderfully credible, even when forced to deal with the occasional creaky line. (Brenda says Nate doesn't know her, and he answers, "Yeah, because you won't let me.") Freddy Rodriguez adds humor as Federico, so talented at restoring corpses that he puts the Humpty Dumpty who was chewed up in the mixing machine back together. And Ms. Conroy's portrayal of the mother is subtle, funny and painful. [1 June 2001, p.E25]
    • The New York Times
  42. Mr. Romano has a knack for hilariously obsessing on life's most ordinary details. He's made for prime-time comedy, and "Everybody Loves Raymond" would seem to be his perfect vehicle. [13 Sep 1996]
    • The New York Times
  43. Family Tree can feel a little loose and inconsequential.... But that also means that we get to spend more time with Mr. Guest’s crack cast of improvisers and there are moments in each half-hour that pay off.
  44. The secret of "The Practice" is that it cloaks these workaday attitudes in just enough glamour and heroism to make an entertaining drama. [4 Oct 1997]
    • The New York Times
  45. An absorbing and beautifully made film in its own right, whose 208 minutes mostly fly by.
  46. The series embraces the absurdities of its subject with enough compassion to avoid outright parody.
  47. The show probably doesn’t need to resort to voice-overs as often as it does, but it’s generally pretty smart, witty and well acted, and not afraid to turn dark on occasion.
  48. Traditional Trekkies may object to the grit and occasional flippancy of the cheeky spinoff. The rest of us are likely to feel, at least for the time being, fairly optimistic about the future of "Deep Space 9." Mr. Brooks's performance alone is certainly encouraging. [7 Jan 1993]
    • The New York Times
  49. 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.
  50. Awkward is a wry show about longing--for love, certainly, but also for consistency, that great intangible in the ever-morphing world of high school life.
  51. The many layers of feints and puzzles are compelling, but it’s hard to see how they can last more than a season or two.
  52. There is a lot going on this season, but the focus is back on Carrie.
  53. [The clichés of the counterterrorism action-thriller genre] cohere into something with enough surface plausibility to be more entertaining than insulting.
  54. The shaggy humor is amusing enough.
  55. Television now seems crowded with so many alien species with meaningful cultural characteristics that we hardly need any new ones, but "Farscape" has its pluses. [19 Mar 1999]
    • The New York Times
  56. As gripping as Steven Soderbergh's 2000 movie or the 1989 British mini-series. [26 Jan 2004]
    • The New York Times
  57. Last Resort is an action-adventure mystery slickly coated with suspense, but some of the uncertainty lies over whether the story can stay afloat for more than a few episodes.
  58. 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.
  59. HBO does an expert job of turning Ms. Fisher's 2 hour and 20 minute monologue into a documentary, with only a few, artfully chosen embellishments.
  60. Upstairs Downstairs sticks to the rules established by the original and defies the odds by being as good, and in some ways, even better.
  61. Nip/Tuck proves its own point: Plastic surgery isn’t magic. At some point the cracks beneath the surface and other signs of age will out.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. The series is part spy spoof, part workplace comedy, and it is a genuinely engaging homage to the nerd hero.
  65. The series ... is full of the same brutal weather and dubious quests as Discovery’s reality shows, but professional actors ... make it a much more compelling attraction than any of that other fare.
  66. 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.”
  67. An entertaining, wistful, happy-sad film that feels shorter than its 95 minutes.
  68. As on "Gilmore Girls" there's a sense that a place, if peaceful enough, can redeem the people within.
  69. A prickly alliance founded on mutual respect and constantly threatened by both history and present, unpleasant circumstance, it’s more subtle and moving than your average TV bromance and brings out the best in Common and Mr. Mount.
  70. A satirical and quite funny comedy about two British television writers, a husband- and wife team, Sean and Beverly Lincoln (Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig) who are lured to Hollywood to adapt their hit sitcom for an American network.
  71. Though the show happens to be about sports, it works even better as a shrewd sendup of the culture of money, hype and celebrity.
  72. Cinema Verite is a clever, beautifully made but somehow underwhelming re-enactment of the breakup of the Loud marriage, on camera and off.
  73. Ms. Palin dominates as a disarming egotist whose presumption is balanced by charisma and animal cunning--and in this film, as in life, she has the last smirk.
  74. Humans, a British product based on a Swedish series, feels fresh nonetheless, thanks to a multiple-plotline approach, a deft cast and its refusal to be simplistic.
  75. 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.
  76. The premiere episode of Life on Mars, by contrast [to "Kath & Kim"], is strange and exhilarating.
  77. It’s the pacing that makes Breaking Bad more of a hard slog than a cautionary joy ride. It has good acting, particularly by Bryan Cranston (“Malcolm in the Middle”), who blends Walt’s sad-sack passivity with glints of wry self-awareness.
  78. Torchwood is a world I wouldn’t mind seeing erased.
  79. This new version of Murder One is not as taut as the original. But it is more focused. And even though it lacks Stanley Tucci and his mesmerizing performance of last season, it has a strong cast and the occasional clever gambit, most notably Ralph Waite, the fine actor still best known as Papa Walton, depicting a subtly menacing power behind the urban scenes. I've seen the first two episodes. I'm hooked.
  80. This peculiar series seals NBC’s new role as the skinflint’s HBO. The shows “30 Rock,” “Friday Night Lights” and now “Andy Barker, P.I.” are all so engrossing and so creatively untrammeled that it’s almost suspicious.
  81. 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.
  82. “Gotham” and “Constantine” were both bound to go the dark and violent route. The Flash goes another way, which might not endear it to the comics fans but could attract an audience just looking for something fun.
  83. Season 2 is, from the start, an entirely messier, more contingent affair, enjoyable in a different and, to me, more appealing way.
  84. Their chemistry [Martin Clunes and Charles Edwards], and the quality of the production design (the settings include stately homes, factories and grubby farms), are the show’s best offerings. The mystery is overly complicated, with a twist that’s clumsily telegraphed in the first episode, and the theme of racial prejudice against the “half-caste” Edalji, while central to the story, is hit upon more heavily than is good for the drama. But there’s just enough Sherlockian fun to make the case for Arthur & George.
  85. 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.
  86. Looking has a premium-cable mandate to be daring, and is indeed sexually unbound. But almost everything else, including dialogue, plotting and humor, is muffled.
  87. This looks like a pretty tasty fantasy drama.
  88. The series is not easy to follow or instantly love, but it is impossible to dismiss.
  89. By the end of the second episode, this tasty show starts to reveal that it is not just another identity-swapping story. Something creepily sci-fi is definitely going on.
  90. They practice the comedy of female semi-empowerment, in which confidence (tending toward narcissism) and a still somewhat startling sexual frankness combine with old-fashioned insecurity and self-abasement, all of them generating laughs.
  91. At times, it feels like a smarter, less melodramatic version of a backstage series like “Smash” (or a less over-the-top version of a superior backstage story like “Slings and Arrows”)
  92. 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.
  93. In Sleepyhead, the better of the two, someone is killing women by inducing strokes....In Scaredy Cat the crimes are just as bizarre, though the outcome is more predictable.
  94. A fairly entertaining conglomeration of nostalgia, postwar intrigue, comic-book science fiction and screwball comedy (with frequent interludes of bone-crunching violence).
  95. The plot complications occasionally feel forced, and Henry’s overwhelming dyspepsia sometimes comes off as meanspirited and a little mystifying (through two episodes, anyway). But Mr. Davies, as “Doctor Who” fans know, has perfected a style of propulsive, almost manic comic dialogue with an undercoating of melancholy, and there are plenty of hilarious and touching moments in Cucumber.
  96. It helps that Mr. Winters and Mr. Duhamel give performances that add some glints of complexity to their surface charm, and that the writers avoid many of the usual clichés. This is an engaging series about a likable bunch of co-workers that isn’t too sweet or predictable.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Middleman skillfully incorporates real-life details into its fantastic scenarios. Its characters aren’t just Manichaean warriors; they also live the kinds of lives that people read comic books to escape from.

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