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 Murphy Brown: Season 2
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. This looks like a pretty tasty fantasy drama.
  2. The filmmaker Lasse Hallstrom has directed the pilot with cool, almost metallic tones, as if trying to conceal the show’s distorted bedrock sentimentality. He can’t.
  3. The Bravermans are more interesting than the sum of their plights. The actors sparkle, even in muted form, but the Berkeley they inhabit feels a lot like upscale Brentwood, minus the Lexus sports cars and nanny cams.
  4. Good sickly fun.
  5. It's too soon to tell whether this amiable show, which runs for five episodes, will upend those preconceptions, though it's probably not in its interest to do so.
  6. Free Agents is not "The Office," but the lead characters are appealing, and the show is funny in its own, quite grown-up way.
  7. A teary, perfectly tolerable collection of interlocking stories featuring lots of recognizable actors and two particularly well-etched segments.
  8. As on "Gilmore Girls" there's a sense that a place, if peaceful enough, can redeem the people within.
  9. 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
  10. The Following ... is one of the most disturbing procedural dramas on television, in its own way creepier than similar network shows and even cable series like "Dexter" or "Breaking Bad" or "The Walking Dead." It's hard to turn off and even harder to watch.
  11. Though it has a winning, low-keyed charm, Freaks and Geeks can't escape its sense of borrowed wonder. But at least it has some. [24 Sept 1999, p.E1]
    • The New York Times
  12. 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.
  13. It's funnier than a similar new Fox sitcom, "Free Ride," about a college graduate who moves back in with his parents. Partly that is because "The Loop" has a faster pace and bolder writing.
  14. The show is hilarious with a capital If: It’s hilarious If you like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
  15. 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.
  16. The first three episodes are beguiling enough to suggest that beneath the show's mystique there is a mystery worth puzzling. But there is also the mystery of how long viewers' curiosity can stay piqued.
  17. It’s a reality show, as droll and frivolous as “The Newsroom” was serious.
  18. An earnest new MTV docu-series.
  19. [The first episode is] a little dawdling and predictable and unsure of its tone, with cardboard characters and flat dialogue. Things pick up after that, though--once everyone’s been brought onstage and the story set in motion, the episodes have more snap, and the horror scenes go from pedestrian to actually creepy.
  20. It is an arch comedy with a soft heart behind its scrim of fast-paced patter.
  21. "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.
  22. The camp factor churned out is fairly high, and with Primeval, a new series starting Saturday on BBC America, it climbs up Big Ben and right on over the top of the London Eye.
  23. An entertaining, wistful, happy-sad film that feels shorter than its 95 minutes.
  24. Mr. Donovan is likeably lighthearted and cool as a smart-mouthed loner; his character is a watered-down version of the kind of wiseguy once played by Michael Keaton.
  25. 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.
  26. 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
  27. Briskly paced and amusingly corny.
  28. 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.
  29. Stylista, which begins on Wednesday on CW, is selling itself as “The Devil Wears Prada” in reality-television form. But it may even surpass its predecessor as a treatise on the empty ambition and distaste for civility that girds so much of Seventh Avenue.
  30. 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.
  31. Plenty of places for this series to take its engaging leads, one of the odder crime-fighting pairs on TV, doing battle against one of TV’s creepier-looking if expressionless bad guys.
  32. This show, too, is funny, despite a cheesy game show premise.
  33. The palette is brighter, and the mood is more mellow, but over all this version of "Law & Order" follows the basic template that worked for 20 years-- through world crises and catastrophes and, within the show, numerous cast changes and rebootings.
  34. While there are moments that are downright laughable, Scandal has flair and even sophistication.
  35. The office scenes are by the far the series's funniest, showcasing an arrogant and idiotic boss who talks in screwball staccato.
  36. Season 2 begins on Sunday, and the off-kilter charm is still there, though some strain is beginning to show.
  37. We have perhaps grown to expect a certain rhythm in these accounts. A mission accomplished amid much bravery and loss. Memories of horror and heroism carried silently for decades. The Ghost Army reminds us that in a conflict as sweeping as the Second World War, not every story fits that template.
  38. There is a lot going on this season, but the focus is back on Carrie.
  39. The break-in may never take place, but the characters are appealing, and the writing is spirited enough to carry the sitcom at least for a while.
  40. The series gets better and more engrossing with time, but it takes more than a few episodes for it to clear its throat, establish its bona fides and fall into storytelling stride.
  41. 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The creators of "Enterprise," Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, don't reinvent Gene Roddenberry's wheel, they just give it a spirited turn. [26 Sep 2001]
    • The New York Times
  42. Intriguing.
  43. 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Visually, the world of "Futurama" is much richer than that of the Simpsons. ... But the writing, from the conception of the characters forward, lacks the bite of its predecessor. [26 Mar 1999]
    • The New York Times
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    If Maximum Bob can maintain its off-kilter inventiveness, it could build a following.
  44. As Gordon, Ben McKenzie is solid in a more theatrical version of the upright-cop role he played in “Southland.” Donal Logue is reliably blustery and sarcastic as Bullock. The biggest impressions are made by the villains, whose smaller roles are looser and more fun.... The real star of the Gotham pilot is its consistent style, a combination of production design, cinematography and writing that manages to evoke both the bang-pow 1940s spirit of the original “Batman” and post-”Blade Runner” neo-noir.
  45. Greek is a decidedly unromantic teenage soap opera.
  46. Not all the films on "Mystery Movie Night" are equally good, but Innocent is one of the better choices.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The made-in-the-U.S.A. jalopy Singing Bee is much more flawed yet more human and endearing.
  47. Mr. Dinello and the screenwriters, the brothers Steven and Daniel Altiere, have found an amiable and amusing middle ground between adult slacker comedy and frenetic children’s farce.
  48. It takes a while for Louie to find its own voice, and while it is at times a crude and offensive one, it is not without a strange wit and under-the-radar appeal.
  49. The program may not contain any startling revelations about its five principal subjects, Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J. P. Morgan and Henry Ford. But based on the first episode, it certainly gives them a modern-day relevance, perhaps unintentionally.
  50. The series is not easy to follow or instantly love, but it is impossible to dismiss.
  51. The Messengers certainly offers enough in its premiere to be worth a return visit next week, just to see where it’s going.
  52. The solemnities of the writing are balanced by some excellent performances and superior production values.
  53. This quirky new Fox drama, with traces of wry comedy, sometimes tries so hard to be clever that it turns silly.
  54. At its best the show’s language is inventively and diversely funny, drawing laughs in two or three or four different ways within the space of seconds.... There are moments, though--and they come more often as the episode goes along--when the tone turns a little more earnest and brushes up against the sentimental.
  55. MacBride is the kind of intense, unpredictable, almost loopy kind of character that television audiences dote on. Think Bruce Willis in "Moonlighting."
  56. The Ex List doesn’t solicit analysis, and it has no ambition to be debated. And yet, or rather because of, this narrower vision it is about as charming an hour of television as anyone female could hope to stay home for.
  57. Chicago P.D. is, in many ways, a throwback to an earlier, male-dominated era of crime shows, yet it carves out room for strong female characters who are good at their jobs and taken seriously by their colleagues--and the writers.
  58. [Its] sharp writing elevates it above its strained concept.
  59. Its clash of arrested adolescence and premature old age is also more openly sentimental, but the writing has enough of an edge to balance it out.
  60. The adaption takes liberties with Stevenson's tale that some will find unforgivable. But viewers open to experimentation will enjoy simply seeing if they agree with the choices the filmmakers made in their what-if game.
  61. The alchemy is imperfect. Rescue Me is worthy and at times engrossing, but not addictive. Viewers can appreciate the effort -- this is an atonal love song to New York firefighters -- without feeling any need to see the next episode. By the end of the first we know where this is all headed, so pleasure really depends on how much we enjoy the ride.
  62. The title role of the hourlong show is played with insinuating relish by Avery Brooks. ... Now the series ... has to find some scripts worthy of the character.
  63. 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.
  64. Strike Back won't make anyone forget "24" or "MI-5" or even "The Unit," but it has its pleasures for the aficionado of guns and flesh in exotic locales.
  65. The details of those bargains and interrelationships among the inhabitants of the Drake will no doubt be fleshed out in subsequent episodes. But the premiere, at least, hasn't found a way to make this odd mix of high-end real estate and B-movie occultism compelling enough that you're eager for more.
  66. 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
  67. 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.
  68. Mr. Corden, a portly British performer, was energetic, amiable and cheerfully self-assured, but not particularly special.
  69. "Desperate Housewives" is entertaining, but it turns the clock back to pre-Betty Friedan America, lampooning four bored, frustrated, white upper-middle-class ladies who lunch.
  70. “The Class” has appealing characters and funny lines, but it has some problems. The jokes move along slowly, and at times the acting turns very broad and very loud, as if it were dinner theater.
  71. 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.
  72. 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.
  73. It's hard to say for sure after watching only one episode, but a more confrontational and high-adrenaline Top Chef Masters may bump up ratings at the cost of making the show less distinctive. Part of its appeal has been that it focused attention on the chefs' virtuosity, and not merely on the weekly competition.
  74. The storytelling in The Fades can be convoluted and creaky, but there's some wit to the writing, and the horror and battle scenes are legitimately frightening, by TV standards.
  75. “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.
  76. An eclectic, speedy and fun-enough cartoon.
  77. This is the world of “Weeds” a few tax brackets lower, and the sense of emptiness is as aggressively conveyed.
  78. Satisfaction is the most daring, because it’s not really a comedy, and that makes its intent oblique and quasi-European.... The series picks up as it moves away from the couple’s problems and into the complications Neil’s new career creates.
  79. John Adams is the weakest part of John Adams.
  80. CW shows tend to walk a thin line between escapism and soap opera, and after its witty pilot the show spends Episodes 2 and 3 massaging the tear ducts, hard. But there is the potential for something at least as good as “Gilmore Girls."
  81. The dialogue, timing and jokes have the madcap pace and anarchic spirit of "Scrubs," and it takes a while for Ms. Cox to recalibrate her Monica persona from "Friends."
  82. Haven not only resembles its Syfy stablemates, but it's also just about as good, which means that if you like a cozy, lived-in mystery with some quirky characters in a pleasant setting--and you don't mind spotty writing and perfunctory camerawork--you may enjoy it.
  83. Watching the pilot again, though, it became harder to ignore the soap opera underpinnings and the twee sentimentality.
  84. In the premiere, at least, all of that ends up being only moderately involving because it's all so calculated.
  85. Friday Night Dinner, which had its first season on the British Channel 4 this spring, is a rowdier, sweatier, more profane show that will probably seem more typically British to American fans of "Fawlty Towers" or "The Royle Family."
  86. Happily Divorced is less a sitcom than a showcase for Ms. Drescher's delightful, if somewhat time-worn, brand of schtick.
  87. 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.
    • 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
  88. [A] glossy, silly, intermittently entertaining new series.
  89. NBC’s show, which is more about fembot martial arts and slick “Matrix”-ish special effects than about character development, is oriented toward young male viewers.
  90. "Four Kings" is better than a lot of similar sitcoms, but it's not different enough to stand out in what NBC hopes will be a renaissance of must-see television.
  91. Robert Carlyle has a gravity that allows him to sell the most implausible science-fiction hokum, making you realize that performance as much as writing makes this kind of thing work.
  92. The strained '40s-speak starts to recede in the third episode (four were sent to critics), and, not coincidentally, the performances begin to improve--what looked like community theater acting in the pilot suddenly seems more natural.
  93. The series is in the "NYPD Blue" and "Southland" vein, trying for realism. It isn't in those shows' league, but it's a welcome change from the glossy triviality of other summer filler like "Rookie Blue" or "The Good Guys."
  94. The question is not whether "3 Lbs" is familiar and predictable, but whether "3 Lbs" is entertaining. It is, and mostly because it is so familiar and predictable.
  95. 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.

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