The New York Times' Scores

For 1,852 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 Office (UK): Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Notes from the Underbelly: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 884
  2. Negative: 0 out of 884
884 tv reviews
  1. The series is structured as an ever-evolving medical detective story, but the filmmakers give it heart as well by juxtaposing the history lessons with present-day personal profiles of cancer patients.... It’s a well-conceived approach to a subject that in other hands might have been dry. Still, be prepared to give it your full attention.
  2. John Adams is the weakest part of John Adams.
  3. It is a believable, sharply observed portrait of ordinary men who, through all-too-common bad breaks and missteps, feel that they are backsliding.
  4. The series has a sprawling cast and high production values, yet it starts off rather generically--bearded men playing with swords, battling over territory.... Hang around until Episode 3, though, and substantive themes begin to take shape that give this series a distinctive personality.
  5. Hopkins, a six-part documentary series by ABC News that begins on Thursday, provides an extraordinarily intimate look at doctors and desperately ill patients that is gripping but not groundbreaking.
  6. It is the seamless weaving of Marshall's personal biography with the story of his tenure as chief counsel for the N.A.A.C.P., where he worked to challenge the separate-but-equal doctrine used to justify racial segregation in the decision of Plessy v. Ferguson, that keeps Thurgood a work of such enthralling theater and television.
  7. 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.
  8. The change in structure [expanding to four POVs] certainly helps the series, which though one of TV’s more ambitious writing experiments was beginning to seem limited by its own gimmick.... True, the consequences of the affair that set the series in motion are substantial and never-ending, but it’s all coated in an idyllic sheen.
  9. Like many high-concept sitcom pilots, "The Good Place" ... at first seems more like a movie idea (e.g., "Defending Your Life"). But over five previewed episodes, it holds up.
  10. A fiercely controlled and inventive work of art.
  11. A surprising element of the series--making it both compelling and perversely enjoyable--is that Mr. Herzog loosens up, getting more argumentative in the interviews and presenting moments of mordant humor.
  12. Mr. Cranston keeps it watchable with a performance that grows ever more fervent but never goes over the top.
  13. It's a subtle, complex portrait of a relationship etched into an engaging espionage thriller set in 1981.
  14. The series leavens wacky absurdity with acid wit and is very funny.
  15. There is, as in live theater, the occasional hesitance over a line, and the first episode relies on melodramatic twists that don’t always feel earned. But when it really gathers steam--nearly any time Mr. Alda opens his mouth, and especially in his scenes with Ms. Falco--it’s like little else on TV. (If it can be said, technically, to be TV at all.)
  16. "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.
  17. This grayer, chillier Foyle’s War may not suit everyone, but it’s admirable, and a bit remarkable, that Mr. Horowitz has moved the show forward in a way that makes historical and dramatic sense.
  18. It’s a better-than-average, serious-minded science-fiction cartoon, with well-executed space chases and battles but also an introspection more reminiscent of Japanese anime than of the usual American children’s animation.
  19. [David Holbrooke] puts just enough of himself and his extended family into The Diplomat to give it some audience-friendly poignancy.
  20. Beyond the elaborate production design and the stately but genuinely gory and frightening Gothic bloodletting, Penny Dreadful is a fairly typical story of troubled people--all the main characters are hiding something, in their pasts or in their bodies--who manage to do the right thing. That it’s the best of its kind on TV right now, along with “The Strain” on FX, has to do with Mr. Logan’s ability to render over-the-top action and emotions in human terms and to choose actors who can see what he’s trying to do.
  21. Offbeat and utterly charming.
  22. Ultimately it's a fairly standard TV movie, if an overly long one, ending on a note of sentimental affirmation and, luckily, offering one outstanding central performance.
  23. The acting is compelling, and the costumes are sumptuous, but the staging is static, too “Masterpiece Theater” for the story at hand.
  24. The mood of the series changes after the pilot; a show that was distinctive for being relaxed and amiable starts to feel a little more forced and artificial.
  25. Yes, the show will be funny, in an innocuous sort of way, if it continues to stay off that pulpit. But if it becomes a little less cautious occasionally, it might rise from merely diverting to important.
  26. It’s the idiosyncratic story of an idiosyncratic Los Angeles family that shows how idiosyncrasy has become a formula itself. But this is a well-executed version, which becomes more than the sum of its quirks.
  27. [Its] sharp writing elevates it above its strained concept.
  28. Violence, like deficit spending, is a very American vice. “Dexter” is yet another temptation that is almost impossible to resist.
  29. There is little resistance to cliche in all this, but the cliche is so visually appealing that you'll feel like a spoiled child if you complain. And you're given such a treat that you'll also feel like one, begging for more.
  30. There are comics who inspire more raucous, helpless laughter, but no one has the audience so completely on her side.... During the second half, the focus swings to sex, and the notion--not new, but rarely conveyed this pungently and hilariously--that women enjoy it just as much as men.
  31. When this complex question about memory, identity, reality and generations of women supplies the suspense of the film, “Life Support” really gets good.
  32. It is louder, bolder and more lurid than the original, and also more boring.
  33. If the longstanding "SNL" segment is a sort of introductory course in wringing humor from headlines, and Mr. Stewart's "Daily Show" is the advance-level class, Onion News Network is graduate school, requiring much quicker thinking and a greater tolerance for comfort-zone invasion.
  34. Mad Men is both a drama and a comedy and all the better for it, a series that breaks new ground by luxuriating in the not-so-distant past.
  35. This is a deceptively difficult form to nail; often those who try end up with little more than a collection of flatulence jokes. Done right, though, as it is in "Galavant," a mindless comedy is not the same as a dumb comedy. It’s smart, just in a carefree way.
  36. A tender, occasionally funny, often moving entertainment about the grieving process.
  37. Latino Americans is the kind of polished, intelligent documentary series that PBS does so well.
  38. The action itself is pedestrian, but as with the previous Librarian adventures, there’s just enough wit around the edges to keep you watching.
  39. An Adventure in Space and Time turns out to be an entirely conventional backstage drama, moving at a leisurely pace and making every reversal and triumph easily comprehensible for an audience that may not have seen the original show.
  40. If your own family is anything like the clan in this delightfully demented show, seek help immediately.
  41. The third season doesn’t just stretch credulity, it tries patience.
  42. It’s built on sharp writing and equally sharp acting, as any good series needs to be.
  43. Previewing the songs may be enough to draw Foo Fighters fans. For everyone else, Mr. Grohl provides, through interviews, archival clips and his own narration, a musical and social history of the city that’s both surprisingly detailed and decidedly personal.
  44. The solemnities of the writing are balanced by some excellent performances and superior production values.
  45. On balance it plays like a well-made and increasingly grim horror picture, with a crispness of execution and a graphic level of intestine-pulling, throat-ripping violence that are both beyond the American norm.
  46. The Detour is the kind of show that is best consumed in extended viewing. Individually, its episodes can seem slapdash and gratuitously crass. But there’s a theme beneath the ribaldry, one that may leave you pondering just how much you really know about that person sitting or sleeping next to you.
  47. The character-building, unfortunately, is far weaker than the world-building. The dialogue is often B-movie grade, and Juliana and Frank, the closest thing the ensemble has to leads, are dull and dour.... That said, I finished six episodes eager to see the last four. High Castle is at least addictive as a mystery.
  48. Shaped by directors and camera people, given the familiar MTV gloss of breathless pacing and quick edits, "The Real World" is a relentlessly artificial concept. ... Accepting that, viewers can sit back and enjoy the carefully cultivated performances, keeping them in skeptical perspective.
  49. If you’re willing to wait for the story to take shape, there are compensations. The action hums along, even if you can’t tell where it’s going, and there’s a welcome edge of humor (not abundant in this genre), especially in the performances of Mr. McShane and Pablo Schreiber.
  50. It’s a premise that in the wrong hands could be boorish and not at all amusing, so it is to the writers’ credit that Aliens is instead fresh, funny and charming in a tart, sardonic way, one of the best sendups of adolescent angst since "The Wonder Years" and "Malcolm in the Middle" (and perhaps even "My So-Called Life").
  51. Those three central performances [Carrie (Claire Danes), Saul (Mandy Patinkin), and Quinn (Rupert Friend)], along with that of F. Murray Abraham as the C.I.A. sensei Dar Adal, still carry the show, though it’s starting to feel as if we’ve seen everything Ms. Danes has to offer as Carrie.
  52. Without spoiling the brief season, I found the new sketches polished, if unsurprisingly hit and miss.... Still, if sketch comedy now has more tributaries and more ways to stream, it’s no less fun, in “W/ Bob & David,” to paddle back to the source.
  53. It’s highly satisfying but not often exciting. The producers, many with roots in European television, have gone for a modest tone and a slow-burn narrative that can feel more admirable than addictive.
  54. The first hour works its way efficiently through an economy-size box of tissues with cleverly turned dialogue and well-inhabited performances.
  55. The show doesn’t make [Hannah’s] downward progress convincing. It too often feels artificial, like a very long public service announcement. Another problem is a storytelling contrivance that quickly becomes irritating. ... The watchful, smart performance by Mr. Minnette is one reason to make the effort-- it builds up some cumulative force. In the last four episodes, two directed by Carl Franklin and two by Jessica Yu, it achieves a momentum and gravity somewhat equal to its subject matter.
  56. It doesn’t have the emotional or stylistic highs of those predecessors [“The Sopranos” and “The Godfather”], but it carries you along like one of the sleek Italian motorcycles preferred by its wealthier characters.
  57. 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.
  58. Allowances must be made for a scene-setting episode introducing an entire new cast, and the show could easily get back in the groove next week. But perhaps, once the new Doctor gets the hang of the Tardis, he could go back to late 2009 and pick up Mr. Davies, just for a consult.
  59. These highlight reels can be enjoyed for their own sakes. Mr. Burns and Ms. Novick try to construct a larger story around the career of Barry Bonds, who set the single-season and career home run records while becoming embroiled in the steroid scandals, but it never really coheres into something that can give shape to the entire four-hour documentary.
  60. 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.
  61. The first two episodes are relatively restrained by Luther standards, with an emphasis on plodding police work, while the case against Luther percolates in the background. Neil Cross still delivers the dread, though, as killers pop out of attics, closets and even closer places. The action picks up in the season’s second half.
  62. The result is a film that’s dense with information, some of which will be familiar if you’ve paid attention to the news over the last two decades, and occasionally a bit repetitive.
  63. 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.
  64. Inspiring stories of brave men, women and children introduce us to Harry Washington, one of George Washington’s slaves, who ran away from Mount Vernon and joined the British Army; to the first sit-in (a refusal to worship from the “black pews”) at a Philadelphia church in 1786; and to Mound Bayou, Miss., an all-black town founded proudly by former slaves. But we’re left wishing there were time to learn more.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There's a fine line between clever and stupid, as somebody says in "This Is Spinal Tap," Rob Reiner's cleverly stupid "rockumentary." Beavis and Butt-head don't just walk that line: they live there. [11 July 1993, p.8]
    • The New York Times
  65. For the most part, though, The A Word feels true and honest. Other shows that have used characters with disabilities for secondary plotlines have often seemed simplistic or glib, going for quick tears or feel-good moments. This one’s unblinking, and more powerful for it.
  66. In the new season, the show’s best and worst impulses continue to exist side by side. ... But here and there, Mr. Fellowes has raised his game.
  67. If you are reaching the saturation point with this type of sketch work, The Birthday Boys may cause you to sigh at the sameness of it all. But if you’ve stayed away from those other yucksters, these ones provide fairly consistent midlevel laughs.
  68. A well-chosen supporting cast rounds things out.... And yes, they are self-absorbed, hypercritical people who you would and should hate. But the reason the show works is that, very subtly, it’s mocking them. Julie and Billy are all about self-loathing, and they invite you to loathe right along with them.
  69. The story so far is compelling, but, as with that true-crime podcast, our judgments will be heavily influenced by how the series plays out and what kind of resolution it provides (or doesn’t).
  70. These four women are amusing, at times poignant, but not easily likable. The show is caustic and hard to watch, but harder to turn off. In Season 3, their solipsism and callousness are even more pointed, all the more shocking, and still quite funny.
  71. A vibrant, fiercely committed three-night mini-series.
  72. It has one of the most talented actresses on television as its lead, and yet over all Nurse Jackie is surprisingly, and disconcertingly, off key. This is a drama draped in black humor that doesn’t know when to be funny.
  73. Even with accomplished performers like David Morrissey and Keeley Hawes as the parents, Season 2 is the lesser in just about every way. It perks to life at the end, though, when the action settles into a cross-border manhunt that recaptures some of the eerie, hinterlands quality that made the first season distinctive.
  74. 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.
  75. The list of people who have been reviled and labeled, explicitly or subtly, as something less than human is long: blacks, Jews, foreigners, people with AIDS, people with disabilities. Zombies notwithstanding, this appealing series, created and written by Dominic Mitchell, works this territory as credibly as any more conventional drama.
  76. The strange little documentary Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words is engrossing despite itself.
  77. Indian Summers lacks the thing that makes “Downton” irresistible despite its sometimes irritatingly muddled storytelling: Julian Fellowes’s ability to create an endless roster of distinctive, quirky characters (and the show’s ability to find actors to match them). Mr. Rutman’s people are more off-the-shelf, but he keeps them moving and orchestrates their predictable perils and heartbreaks with some panache.
  78. Mr. Moura is inscrutably brilliant at the center of it all.
  79. This Steel Magnolias is mostly restrained and relentlessly tasteful, qualities the original could not have been accused of.
  80. Harder is capturing the tone of another era. The Duffers manage that quite well, too, thanks to a fine sense of restraint that increasingly seems a lost art these days. There are a few good shocks here, but mostly there is patience. None of it would work without solid acting, and the series has that in abundance.
  81. The two episodes that begin its stretch run on Wednesday reflect a slight flattening out that’s been evident in recent seasons: both depend to some extent on movie parodies, and in both the gags are a little less pointed than in the early seasons. But they’re still pretty good.
  82. 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.
  83. It has a chance to crossbreed the better angels of character drama with devilish genre splatter. Within its oversize color panels there’s some hard-boiled philosophy about trying to be good in a world of sin. And there’s little on TV quite like its fallen world.
  84. 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.
  85. 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.
  86. 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.
  87. The series builds to that climax in an almost casual way, fleshing out some characters and plotlines but leaving others thin. That can be frustrating at times, but it’s all a sort of misdirection that makes the final episode all the more jolting.
  88. The show’s story lines--money problems, childhood rebellions--are what you might see on any animated family show. The difference is, F for Family treats these issues as if they’re real and lasting. It’s still a comedy, rude, raunchy and not entirely original, but it has heft and heart.
  89. After a slow start focused on establishing unnecessary back stories, the show shifts into a series of satisfying and suspenseful “Roadrunner”-like chases and escapes.
    • 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.
  90. 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.
  91. “Ugly Betty” is a sweet, funny show. It’s worth watching. And we’ll see.
  92. The original title, "Keep Hope Alive," is funnier, but Raising Hope better suits a very funny sitcom that leavens its satire with sympathy.
  93. 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
  94. 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.
  95. 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.
  96. 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.
  97. 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.
  98. 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.

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