The New York Times' Scores

For 2,023 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 42% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Legion: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Notes from the Underbelly: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 970
  2. Negative: 0 out of 970
970 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. What Broadchurch has to offer, beyond its central performances and its intelligent but not particularly original plot, is mood: a tasty icing of gloom and foreboding that leans heavily on the music of Olafur Arnalds and the cinematography of Matt Gray, whose shots from every possible angle of the dramatic cliffs behind the Broadchurch beach are essential to the show’s ambience.
  4. Offbeat and utterly charming.
  5. Britain in the 1980s is arguably a lot more interesting than Britain in the ’70s, and Ashes to Ashes sharply engages the factionalism of the day: the mounting antipathies of the working class, the growth of privatization and development, the fury over nuclear armament.
  6. The final season of The Wire is committed to proving him wrong; by leaving nothing out it offers viewers as close a chance as anyone can get to everything.
  7. Detroit 1-8-7 is a lovingly updated tribute to shows that were on the air so long ago that almost none of the detectives were black.
  8. 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.
  9. An intriguing new series.... a cyber-age thriller infused with a dark, almost nihilistic pessimism about the Internet, capitalism and income inequality. And that makes it kind of fun.
  10. 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").
  11. Those first fugues into Don's hidden past are not the most inviting way into a new season, however. Mad Men is essentially one long flashback, an artfully imagined historic re-enactment of an era when America was a soaring superpower feeling its first shivers of mortality.
  12. With her clear-eyed gaze and Pre-Raphaelite hair, Felicity (Keri Russell) is immensely likable yet down to earth as she struggles to stand up for herself. Ms. Russell's sincerity and naturalness take the curse off the series' calculated, prepackaged feel.
  13. 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.
  14. Sons of Liberty isn’t history exactly, but it’s a well-made dramatization that brings history to life.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. On the evidence of Friday's season opener, Fringe will continue to be the best show of its kind since "The X-Files" at the grace notes, intimate or humorous instances like Olivia's Crate & Barrel moment (which won't be further spoiled here). When you get the small things right, it's less crucial that your universes and time shifts exactly line up.
  19. That JJ has cerebral palsy, which keeps him from speaking, as well as limits his obscene gestures, is what makes ABC’s Speechless distinctive. That he’s a flawed kid with a flawed family in a reasonably funny sitcom is what makes Speechless good, rather than simply worthy. ... But by the end of its first episode, Speechless establishes one important indicator of a new sitcom’s potential. It has a voice.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. This quietly addictive program isn't really about what goes on inside the Big Apple's single ring. It's about the people, both under the lights and behind them, who make those performances possible.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Elvis Presley: The Searcher can’t escape the familiarity of its story. But it focuses, with purposeful tunnel vision, on Presley as a musician and performer.
  23. Mostly, though, The Wrong Mans coasts along on the strength of Mr. Corden, Mr. Baynton and Tom Basden’s sneaky-funny writing (“You know what danger doesn’t do? Call ahead. Unless it’s the I.R.A.”) and the pleasure of watching Mr. Corden timidly but delightedly snorting drugs at a mobster’s party or trying to blend in with a group of svelte dancers.
  24. 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.
  25. It can be shamelessly sentimental and, at least in this sensitively crafted introduction written and directed by Mr. Goldberg, thoroughly captivating. [20 Sep 1991]
    • The New York Times
  26. Now they are the last blinkered women in the bunker, hoarding designer shoes and awaiting an Evite back to the glamorous life. They don't belong there, and that's what makes them so welcome.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. What could have easily become a pandering hybrid is in fact intelligent, emotionally resonant television.
  30. Storage Wars is an especially entertaining addition to the genre. Who doesn't love the sound of an auctioneer's voice? Beyond that, the four buyers on whom the show focuses are well chosen, and the "reveals"--the moments when the buyers see what they've acquired and get estimates of its value--are great fun.
  31. 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.
  32. Because everyone in the Duck dynasty has a well-defined role and sticks to it, the bit works. So does the show.
  33. Mr. Moura is inscrutably brilliant at the center of it all.
  34. If you loved the baseball film “Major League” but always wished Bob Uecker’s broadcaster character had been darker and more bawdy, this is your show.
  35. Valentine Road, directed by Marta Cunningham, is clear in its sympathy for Mr. King, but it is also bracingly willing to explore other sides of this disturbing case and complex subject.
  36. The strange little documentary Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words is engrossing despite itself.
  37. Though the setting has shifted from New York to Los Angeles, the look and feel of the show are essentially unchanged, with Heidi Klum and her Valkyrie manner still doing the hosting and Tim Gunn continuing to bring an Oxford don’s comportment to his sartorial mentoring.
  38. It's King done right.
  39. More polished than their sketch series “Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!,” Bedtime Stories mimics the sort of dark tales of human nature that fill the schedule of reality channels like A&E and Investigation Discovery, turning them into absurd and creepy yet unsettlingly ordinary vignettes.
  40. It’s become a confident, emotionally rich series--but one that, by nature and obligation, is wrenching to watch. ... Often, though, The Handmaid’s Tale feels so determined not to be misread, to treat its subject with gravity, that its storytelling is heavy-handed and its peripheral characters stiff. Fortunately, the central performance is anything but. ... Without someone as expressive as Ms. Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale might not pull off its balancing acts.
  41. Housewives of New Jersey is more farcical, less phony and a lot more fun.
  42. Mr. Tennant and Ms. Colman--with a strong assist from the soap opera actress Julie Hesmondhalgh as the victim--are entertaining and moving right to the end.
    • 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.
  43. The series is part spy spoof, part workplace comedy, and it is a genuinely engaging homage to the nerd hero.
  44. 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.
  45. At typical drama length, this series might have been bogged down with plot digressions and expansions. As it is, it sometimes slips into melodrama, but the lapses pass quickly. Life may be too short, but Vida is just right.
  46. 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.
  47. Judging from the first two episodes, this is a skillfully acted, richly detailed historical show that would not be out of place on PBS or a high-end pay-cable outlet.
  48. Not everything Mr. Morgan tries works--an episode involving Elizabeth’s complicated feelings toward Jacqueline Kennedy, and a plot contrivance in which Philip is more closely linked to the Profumo scandal than history would suggest, don’t pan out. But the pleasures of high-class melodrama are always present, as is the comforting notion--increasingly hard to believe--that our leaders can be compassionate, intelligent and exceedingly well behaved.
  49. Masters of Sex does an elegant job of reframing their [Masters and Johnson's] strange, complicated and at times deeply cynical partnership into a twisted but intriguing love story.
  50. It’s hard to imagine even the haters not enjoying Annie: It’s the Hard-Knock Life, From Script to Stage, a delightful documentary.
  51. Lone Star offers an amusing and novel television conceit, but in an age of Enron and Bernard Madoff, it takes a very persuasive actor to keep viewers rooting for a swindler. Mr. Wolk is well cast.
  52. It’s not loud or frenetic. It’s not particularly cutting-edge. It’s just funny, in a relaxed way that’s welcome somehow in a television spectrum full of pushiness and intensity.
  53. There is an appealing cheekiness to the show’s insistence on dressing up hunch work as the purview of serious science.
  54. If you fall into its languorous rhythms, you’ll be rewarded by a story that builds tension with clockwork precision and expertly maintains a mood of clammy dread.
  55. Durham County, in short, is very, very creepy and unsettling, and entirely addictive, a modern murder mystery with a touch of Patricia Highsmith misanthropy.
  56. The series embraces the absurdities of its subject with enough compassion to avoid outright parody.
  57. You might assume that this meant sacrificing some measure of journalistic credibility in the quest for attention. But the truth is, Mr. Ford and Mr. Cheadle are just as good as any seasoned television correspondent at the newsmagazine drill.
  58. 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.”
  59. The fact that it's neither embarrassing nor deeply offensive--once it gets rolling, the show is actually quite charming--is a credit to the cast and the writers.
  60. [Silicon Valley] continues to demonstrate a knack for making business and technology strategies a comprehensible and effective component of its storytelling.
  61. The humor of Making History, created by a writer for “Family Guy” and “Dads,” is broad, sometimes borderline gross and pop-culture inflected. ... The jokes are also, with some regularity, funny and endearing, especially when delivered by Mr. Lester or Ms. Meester, whose portrayal of an earnest proto-feminist is the show’s best weapon.
  62. It's by no means assured that American viewers will commit themselves to what is, in effect, a very long mini-series with no tidy wrap-ups each week. But Murder One sets the stage skillfully for what promises to be the television equivalent of an absorbing excursion into a good Mary Higgins Clark mystery. I wouldn't dream of missing, at the very least, the next few episodes.
  63. 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.
  64. "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
  65. It’s the TV show as page-turner, if you have room on your night stand.
  66. 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
  67. As forced as its concept seems, John Doe is alluring because it flows so easily from humor to drama then back again and because Dominic Purcell's smooth performance as John is perfectly in tune with that fluid style. [20 Sept 2002, p.E26]
    • The New York Times
  68. 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.
  69. Damages borrows heavily from the front page, and that keeps it interesting.
  70. Bored to Death is as idiosyncratic and delightful in its own way as “Curb Your Enthusiasm."
  71. 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.
  72. Tig
    [An] engaging and moving documentary.
  73. Huge imparts lessons while avoiding the tenor of an instructional, and in many ways it feels like a hybrid of two distinct eras of adolescent television, one marked by a heartfelt languor and the other by a media-fluent sarcasm.
  74. There is, admittedly, a fine line between being hilariously perceptive and just plain, even objectionably, silly. While habitually teetering on that line, 'The Simpsons' has shown a remarkable ability to come down on the right side most of the time.
  75. The current season, exquisitely plotted so far, deals in part with the repercussions of outing.
  76. There are shades of “True Blood” and “Being Human” here, and you hope that the show doesn’t drift away from the everyday dilemmas of the Walkers, who are excellently portrayed by Mr. Newberry, Harriet Cains (Kieren’s no-nonsense sister) and Marie Critchley and Steve Cooper (their parents).
  77. 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.
  78. Reaper is not at all grim; it’s actually quite rewarding.
  79. 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.
  80. This HBO adaptation of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same title is so respectful and gracefully done that big inventions and small omissions don’t stand out or disappoint.
  81. Oz can also be unpleasant to watch, it is so gruesome and claustrophobic. Yet over the first few weeks, as the series moves beyond its introductory shock value, it becomes more serious, disturbing and gripping.
  82. Maron may not have the depth and adventurousness of “Louie” or the crude energy of Jim Jefferies’s “Legit,” but it’s consistently well written (or improvised) and smartly cast.
  83. By 1:20 p.m. the series's third season is already as tightly coiled, clever and suspenseful as the first two. [28 Oct 2003]
    • The New York Times
  84. 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.
  85. It’s the kind of lushly produced, complexly plotted series that wraps everything in a wet towel of sentiment.... If you stick with it, though, the sheer weight of the plot machinery and the performances will probably pull you in, beginning about midway through the third episode.
  86. The next-best thing to "The Wire."
  87. 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.
  88. The writing is smart and the episodes well structured, but much of the credit goes to Mr. Kinnear, who maintains a veneer of charm without stinting on his character’s underlay of seedy desperation.
  89. Beneath the light moments and the spy-versus-spy stuff, the series has a perspective that makes it refreshing.
  90. A succinct and well-conceived documentary.
  91. But for [Diane] and for this improbable but promising spinoff--it ends up being an invigorating new start.
  92. The story of Ned (Lee Pace), a young man who can bring the dead back to life, is sweetly odd, but also oddly charming.
  93. 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.
  94. In the beginning, this program feels like old news (one generation has seen it all before, and the other doesn’t care), but the narrative quickly comes together and still has the power to astound.
  95. 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.
  96. CW's Oh Sit!, a raucous competition show is a hilarious return to the childhood you never had--the fun, danger-filled, almost-anything-goes one.
  97. Sometimes this focus on technology feels a bit heavy-handed, but in general this is a series that seems to be growing more assured as it goes along.
  98. The plot twists of The Hour can at times be puzzling, but the series is never dull.

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