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. 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.
  2. Nothing on network television is as smart, original and amusing as Entourage.
  3. “Kidnapped,” which is filmed with a keener intelligence [than "Jericho"] and elegant restraint, focuses on a much smaller catastrophe and finds more to say.
  4. Ms. Peake is excellent as Costello, but the character, and the show, feel so rigged and inauthentic that even her skilled work can’t make the case for our sticking around.
  5. The show, which begins on Wednesday, is all tattoos and creased leather vests and shock-value chatter, and it isn't half-bad.
  6. Hatfields & McCoys is a perfectly respectable piece of work, and probably better than we could have expected for a History mini-series....The mini-series's main problem is that six-hour running time.
  7. 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.
  8. Ethel is tone-deaf and maddeningly incomplete.
  9. A crackling-sharp spinoff...The show swiftly finds its balance. Not every series lends itself to cloning, but the essential qualities of "Law and Order" seem made for it: headline-generated stories resolved in self-contained episodes; a no-nonsense tone; a cast large enough to vary the focus.
  10. Durham County, in short, is very, very creepy and unsettling, and entirely addictive, a modern murder mystery with a touch of Patricia Highsmith misanthropy.
  11. “Flight of the Conchords” is funny in such an understated way that it is almost dangerous to make too much of it.
  12. Beneath all that witty repartee, the two main characters actually have some depth.
  13. Mr. Trudeau has a feel for not just political hypocrisy but also character, and this cast manages to bring life and even some charm to these Capitol Hill caricatures. Alpha House is not yet as sharply honed as “Veep,” but it could get there; it certainly has plenty of material to work with.
  14. The series is a free-for-all (a good thing), pitting representational artists against conceptual ones and so on.
  15. “Rome” is engaging even if it isn’t a swords-and-sandals version of “The Sopranos,” as HBO had hoped.
  16. 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.
  17. While this new show is not as innovative as its predecessor ["Murder One"], it is, in its own way, similarly well paced and compelling.
  18. The first four episodes, made available for preview, indicate that Law and Order could climb quickly to the top echelons of the genre, right up there with "Crime Story" and "Hill Street Blues." [13 Sept 1990, p.C26]
    • The New York Times
  19. Maybe "King of the Hill" is trying a tricky balancing act, hoping to please people who look down on the Hills and people who can identify their neighbors on the show. Whatever the series hopes to do, it better move fast. So far it suffers severely from a lack of funny lines. [11 Jan 1997]
    • The New York Times
  20. 'Reno 911!' is not as ambitious or witty as Comedy Central's best offering, 'The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.' It is not as wickedly funny as 'The Office,' a parody of office life in a dull corporate outpost of London, on BBC America. But it is in the same tradition, and in the same spirit. And that is close enough.
  21. Extant is more deft and sophisticated [than season two of "Under the Dome"], and Halle Berry is a big star. But, as is the case with "Under the Dome," the new series dilutes its own mystique with too many plodding plot devices and stock characters.
  22. It's all just window dressing on a standard crime drama, however, and while the pilot sets up running story lines involving the gangster and the officials he controls, they feel squeezed and a little perfunctory.
  23. For all its flights of fancy the Encore mini-series is not entirely silly or even half bad. Shot mostly in Nova Scotia, it's an ambitious, beautifully made adventure tale that seeks to be respectful of the book while still making the characters and story accessible to modern viewers.
  24. Not all the films on "Mystery Movie Night" are equally good, but Innocent is one of the better choices.
  25. It offers the minor pleasures of formulaic fantasy and weekly puzzle solving, though in a cheaper-looking and less original package than usual.
  26. "Sons & Daughters" is a milder, more humane version of Fox's canceled "Arrested Development" -- it milks the humor of absurd people and brutally frank conversation.
  27. The challenges are too outsize and the format is too confusing to take full advantage of the gimmick.
  28. Nothing much happens in any given episode of Billy & Billie. Mr. LaBute is in no hurry. That’s sometimes frustrating; you’re left wanting a bit more pith, as well as more back story. But there are wry rewards in the exchanges between Billy and Billie.
  29. The latest incarnation, Nikita, which begins on the CW network on Thursday, is a surprisingly sophisticated and satisfying adaptation.
  30. If the show manages to settle on a consistent tone, much still rides on the slender shoulders of Ms. Kent. The first episode is staged as a long monologue, with the bartender-coed unloading her story on one of her regular customers. Ms. Kent is game but not always steady as she begins to negotiate the tough-but-tender course the show's producers and writers have set for Lydia. [30 Sept 2000, p.B17]
    • The New York Times
  31. Fringe invokes some of the sillier forms of television devices-- teleportation, psychokinesis, transmogrification and even bionic prostheses--but still manages to seem smart and stylish.
  32. It is an impressively credentialed and stylish bit of television moviemaking, an exploration not merely of our practical dependence on technology but also of our psychological and nearly eroticized addiction to it.
  33. There’s plenty to laugh at here.
  34. [Garbus] packages it well in a film that's like a more meticulous and dignified version of one of those network television prime-time crime compendiums--a "48 Hours Mystery" with more heart and brain.
  35. The in-the-field story lines, with their affairs and guilt and post-traumatic stress, tend toward the sentimental, and the series as a whole is weaker for trying to have it both ways--to be both a no-holds-barred, absurdist satire about the primacy of image-making and a straightforward drama about the nobility of public service.... But the jokes are pretty good over all.... And there are nice performances.
  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. The problem with Vice isn’t its insistent aggrandizement but its excessive softheadedness. It’s journalism at the intersection of shallow and gullible, where they meet, high-five and compare tattoos.
  38. Possibly because it works so hard to mimic the original’s gloomy restraint, The Returned feels strained.
  39. The Pillars of the Earth will go down painlessly for the fan of this sort of epic; while it's predictable and never exactly sweeping, it's certainly eventful, and the production values are above average.
  40. The plotlines here--a fund-raiser for a charity that provides high-heel shoes for dogs occupies the first episode--are kind of amusing, but in general the show looks as if it were far more fun to make than it is to watch.
  41. The new jokes mostly feel slow and hands-off, less disdainful than uninterested.
  42. Wilfred tries for a coarse sophistication that locates it somewhere between HBO's winsome "Flight of the Conchords" and FX's brutally honest "Louie" (which begins its second season on Thursday night). But it ends up muffled and not very funny.
  43. Both the summer movie and Tuesday’s premiere feature plot points so severe and odd that they destabilize the show’s narrative.
  44. Mr. Corden, a portly British performer, was energetic, amiable and cheerfully self-assured, but not particularly special.
  45. Both shows ["About a Boy" and "Growing Up Fisher"] are well written and actually quite engaging, but what is most interesting is the focus on the brighter side of splitting up. It’s a new genre of heartwarming family show.
  46. The malaria story, it seems to say, is filmable only if the central figures are white and it is larded up with the kind of button-pushing that television dramas thrive on.... But the scenes in which the two actresses are together have some real power.
  47. The Big C works because most of the writing is strong and believable, and so is Ms. Linney, who rarely sounds a false note and here has perfect pitch.
  48. There’s not a lot going on in Bates Motel--a couple of murder mysteries, the slowly evolving picture of Norman’s true nature--and there’s no guarantee that the show will be able to keep its delicate balance of humor and spookiness, without pushing Norma and Norman into caricature. For now, though, it’s inherited the “Dexter” mantle as the serial-killer show to watch.
  49. Nothing very funny happens on “30 Rock” until Alec Baldwin enters the room, and suddenly this new NBC sitcom comes alive.
  50. Weeds no longer seems propelled by the will to subvert all of our cultural images of maternal perfection; it seems insistent on celebrating Nancy’s parental fecklessness and narcissism, asking us to refrain from judgments when all we want to do now is throw stones.
  51. The two actors do everything they can to make [it] a tolerable situation, but they can never entirely distract us from the fact that they're trapped in Mr. McCarthy's dorm-room argument masquerading as a drama.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Too Big To Fail uses every cinematic trick in the book, but ultimately succeeds because we know that the danger was real.
  52. Billy Campbell anchors the cast admirably as Dr. Alan Farragut.... Mr. Sanada is always intriguing to watch. And some of the show’s support players bring welcome spunk to the claustrophobic world of the research center, especially Catherine Lemieux as Dr. Doreen Boyle, a smart pathologist with a smart mouth.
  53. [The] preposterously grandiose title really needed to be strung out a bit to give an accurate picture of the program. Something like, "Mankind: The Story of All of Us, Delivered Somewhat Superficially by People You Know and Love, Because We Don't Want to Bore You."
  54. The Bridge still feels like a show caught between two masters. It has a lot of the pieces it needs to actually be a compelling murder mystery--some good performances in key roles; an evocative, sun-blasted look; and an ability (presumably Mr. Reid’s) to concoct creepy, suspenseful scenes. Yet we’re still waiting for it all to come together.
  55. 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.
  56. The IT Crowd packages feeble stereotypes and then hits the send button.
  57. Despite the repetitions, the first four episodes are slick, fast-paced and engrossing, but that’s not new either.
  58. It does have a lively pace, a warm spirit, a contagious sense of fun, some very pretty 18th-century European settings and Peter O’Toole as the title character in his later years.
  59. This spy drama is not as dense and psychologically intricate, but it has compensations, most notably the placement of fictional characters like McAuliffe and Torriti alongside real-life figures like Angleton and Philby, and inside real-life crises like the 1956 Hungarian uprising.
  60. Ben and Kate has charm, but the brother-sister dynamic has built-in limitations.
  61. The pilot efficiently sets up the series. All the characters who are introduced have plenty of places they could go.
  62. Purists may be irritated by the pilfering of James Dean's classic film "Rebel Without a Cause," including, in the show's second episode, an entire plot line in which Ryan (Benjamin McKenzie) runs away and plays house with Marissa and another young friend in the unfinished model house of a new development. Yet the empty swimming pool, used by the boys as a skateboarding rink, is a rather amusing homage to that 1955 movie by Nicholas Ray.
  63. State of Mind owes most of its appeal to Ms. Taylor, an accomplished indie actress with unusual jolie-laide looks who brings a wry charm and dignity to the inauspicious role of a wronged wife who is also burdened with an overbearing mother.
  64. The format doesn’t work, but the illusions do. It’s 58 minutes of pretty amusing magic, building to a two-minute letdown.
  65. It's missing exactly the elements that make you want to watch those British shows on BBC America: energy, irreverence, a sense of humor and, crucially, consistently good performances.
  66. If you're feeling charitable, too, you might wrench a laugh out of the final line of the pilot, one in which a woman in a grocery store mistakes Charlie and Alan for boyfriends. But it's testament to the show's thoroughgoing dreariness that an old gay-misunderstanding joke is the best line in it. Or maybe the moment is happy because the show's over.
  67. The Event is bright and showy and too in thrall to its own hysteria to feel unsettling. It doesn't quiet down enough to disturb, and as a result its claims to relevance seem merely perfunctory
  68. It’s easy to admire Mr. Lilley’s writing and performing talent, and some jokes work anywhere. But if he’s interested in really connecting with audiences here--something HBO probably has in mind for the future--he needs to do some more research.
  69. “Heroes” tries very hard to spook viewers with hints of science fiction and dark conspiracies. But its main appeal is the curious link among complete strangers.
  70. At its best, Better Off Ted is like some of the better new comedies on NBC and CBS, shows that blend mordant satire with odd, endearing characters that viewers want to keep watching. Ms. Anders in particular is a very funny, appealing actress who makes even dull patches of dialogue amusing; Mr. Slavin and Mr. Barrett bring comic heft to their small roles.
  71. MacBride is the kind of intense, unpredictable, almost loopy kind of character that television audiences dote on. Think Bruce Willis in "Moonlighting."
  72. Even familiar plot points are told in the expertly spooky Bruckheimer style.
  73. 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.
  74. The ideas in V, about alien encounters and mass delusion and media manipulation, are enticing. It’s too bad that they’re floating around in a show that at this early stage, is so slapdash and formulaic in its storytelling.
  75. The good bits are hilarious; the others often kind of just lie there.
  76. The music, costumes, lighting and even some camera shots--a shower head, a spiral staircase--all evoke classic Hitchcock movies like "Psycho," "Spellbound" and "Vertigo." But the film loses steam as soon as Hitchcock acts on his passion.
  77. Socially, that reversal is a profoundly stupid idea. There's too much sexual stereotyping around, too much of a lingering sense that what makes a man a playboy makes a woman a slut. And The Bachelorette is hardly trying to explode those cliches. With its hokey title (a word no one ever uses) and its smarmy attitude (viewers are going to be looking for signs of sluttiness), this gimmicky series plays right into those stereotypes while pretending not to...The show also promises to be as irresistibly entertaining as "The Bachelor."
  78. It looks like a zillion other workplace reality shows.
  79. The subtext of Kitchen Nightmares is that ordinary middle-class business owners need brash and brilliant moguls to save them from a sad reliance on their own mediocrity. It is an ugly message that Mr. Ramsay makes undeniably hypnotic.
  80. 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."
  81. Madam Secretary has some good moments, but it would be better if its heroine were just a little bit worse.
  82. This is the world of “Weeds” a few tax brackets lower, and the sense of emptiness is as aggressively conveyed.
  83. This glossy, gossipy look at the Renaissance in the time of Machiavelli isn't a history lesson, it's a lurid family drama that happened to change the course of history.
  84. The comedy in the show is a grab bag, sometimes subtle, sometimes self-consciously outlandish.
  85. "Just Shoot Me" does score passing comic points, but all too seldom. [4 Mar 1997]
    • The New York Times
  86. A comedy about the ignominy of life as a member of a catering wait staff, Party Down is a great idea inadequately enlivened by desperation.
  87. Recount, an astute and deliciously engrossing film on HBO this Sunday night, retells the tale of Florida in all its bizarre and inglorious moments, from haggling over the “hanging chad” and “butterfly ballots” to the ruckus between the Florida secretary of state, Katherine Harris, and the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board.
  88. 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.
  89. Shameless is deftly adapted and surprisingly appealing, crude, funny and also touching.
  90. It's Gossip Girl tailored to this economy, with just enough campy suspense to be enjoyable.
  91. At least the Sopranos knew how to have fun.... Mr. Momoa and Mr. Henderson acquit themselves well without generating any heat or much of any feeling. The best work is by Julianne Nicholson as Harold’s damaged wife and Zahn McClarnon as a foot soldier in Phillip’s drug operation.
  92. Bates Motel has a talented cast and a memorable back story that guides, but doesn’t limit, the narrative, and at its best it’s intriguing and enjoyably grim. But even more than Norman, the series itself has a split personality, a Hitchcock classic grafted onto a much more mundane brand of suspense. Each new twist moves it further from “Psycho” and closer to Nancy Drew.
  93. Cold Justice picks up considerably in its second episode and seems as if it might be a worthy addition to the genre.
  94. Ms. Margulies never recedes from the scripted egomania; she rams right through it. She remains shrill even in grief.
  95. New Girl is charming and quite funny, but especially when compared with the other two shows, it seems quite old-school.
  96. While it sounds like a one-joke conceit, and a sophomoric one at that, this HBO series is oddly beguiling, a downbeat screwball comedy in R-rated clothing.
  97. Watching the pilot again, though, it became harder to ignore the soap opera underpinnings and the twee sentimentality.
  98. When Zach is performing for the cameras, he’s hammy verging on pathetic, as if he’s starring not in a reality show but a sketch-comedy show about someone with deep feelings of inadequacy..... He’s at his most personable and affectionate when he thinks he’s shooed away the cameras, which are of course still filming, in a more vérité style.
  99. There are new faces this season, and two of the better additions aren’t even journalists. Most important, the narrative this time around is driven by an overarching story line--a libel suit--that pulls viewers past the rocks and eddies of liberal piety. This revamped version of The Newsroom is no less preachy, but it’s a lot more fun to watch.

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