The New York Times' Scores

For 1,834 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 Master of None: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Notes from the Underbelly: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 872
  2. Negative: 0 out of 872
872 tv reviews
  1. The sitcom doesn't get any better than this. ... Over the last year... 'Murphy Brown' has evolved from a clearly promising idea... into a landmark series.
  2. Rectify, a drama entering its final season on SundanceTV on Wednesday, is exceptional in being concerned with what comes after prison, for ex-convicts, for their families, for an entire community.
  3. As cheerfully goofy and bizarrely on target as ever. [19 Jul 1995]
    • The New York Times
  4. 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.
  5. As wickedly, painfully funny as the first two seasons and, in tiny, fleeting doses, as delicately tender.
  6. 'The Wire' has become one of the smartest, most ambitious shows on television. With its attention to detail and its shifting points of view -- we spend equal time inside the heads of cops and criminals -- it is also one of the most novelistic, now more than ever before. [19 Sep 2004]
    • The New York Times
  7. This season of “The Wire” will knock the breath out of you.
  8. Even this early 'The Sopranos' has displayed the depth that is its most stunning quality.
  9. When a series starts off great and just keeps getting better, it's television-classic time. And as "The Larry Sanders Show" racks up its fifth 13-week season, that's precisely what is happening on HBO.
    • The New York Times
  10. Display[s] more wit, emotion, humanity and brutality than ever. Even measured against insanely high expectations, the series is as good as it has ever been.
  11. This is event television given a memorably wicked spin. Nothing like it has ever been seen on network prime time.
  12. For its part, O.J.: Made in America, directed by Ezra Edelman, has the grandeur and authority of the best long-form nonfiction. If it were a book, it could sit on the shelf alongside “The Executioner’s Song” by Norman Mailer and the great biographical works of Robert Caro.
  13. [It] may be the most creative and richly imagined [season] yet: it begins by going over old ground and yet something new and totally surprising happens.
  14. The new season offers even more [with casting], with delicious results.... An entertaining season of this sublime series.
  15. [David Attenborough] has eschewed the soapbox in favor of subtlety. This program (the series producer is Tom Hugh-Jones) does, too, for the most part.
  16. The Americans has created a crowded bulletin board of characters and subplots, and this new season struggles to pin the yarn to connect them all. But each resonates with the others, like movements in a melancholy symphony.
  17. One of the best shows on television. ... The show, which prides itself on unvarnished realism, is almost willfully jagged and hard to follow. But it is just as hard to turn off.
  18. For all of its fashionably jittery surfaces, Homicide establishes its own special mark with incisive character portraits. This particular squad of detectives is an inspired collection of types, many sounding like escapees from a play by David Mamet. And why not? Buffs will remember that Mr. Mamet wrote one of the final episodes of "Hill Street Blues." In any event, the protective cynicism and sarcastic repartee of these Baltimore cops are brilliantly on target. A dynamite cast gets it just right.
  19. This narrative pokiness is redeemed, as usual, by the machine-tooled professionalism of the production, the lavish attention to the mock-medieval costumes and setting, and the mostly crisp, understated acting by the international cast.... More than ever, though, you may find yourself impatient for the plot to wind around to the more engaging story lines.
  20. Season two broadens its focus to the vast extended Pfefferman mishpocheh: children, in-laws, exes and long-gone ancestors. And it’s all the richer for it.
  21. The series’ nuanced depiction of espionage as grinding emotional labor is still enthralling.
  22. Television's funniest show. ... On a less carefully written show, the [mockumentary] conceit would almost certainly pall after a few episodes. 'The Office' is instead addictive, less because viewers grow to love David and his batty employees than because the show refuses to let those characters grow too lovable.
  23. Deadwood is indeed small and brackish, and it is in its own way as absorbing and addictive as "The Sopranos."
  24. Louie is a comedy that seeks to provide something besides laughter. Louis C.K. will try anything, and not everything works. But it’s the willingness to defy expectations and experiment that makes Louie special.
  25. As pleasurable as its tale is grim.
  26. Deadpan lunacy has never worked better for Mr. Shandling and his splendidly merry gang of featured players. [22 Jun 1994]
    • The New York Times
  27. The Shield does not quite have the depth to make Mackey's actions more than a shock tactic. It doesn't have the moral or artistic complexity of "The Sopranos," the obvious model for a series whose hero does indefensible things. But it echoes reality closely enough to create a chilling resonance and an often gripping show. The Shield is a mix of daring accomplishment, obvious cop-show strategies and orchestrated envelope-pushing, down to its cable-ready reliance on rough language and nudity. But the smooth mix makes the series intriguing, and its energy is relentless even when its freshness lags.
  28. Mostly, the misguided lead the misled; action devolves into misadventure; and every season gets more complicated, and is all the better for it.
  29. Carrie is hard to like, but Homeland is almost impossible to resist.
  30. Transparent is very good, an insightful, downbeat comedy told without piety or burlesque.
  31. 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It is, overall, a marvelous ensemble, both in concept and in performance.
  32. For the most part, the flexibility that television provides is used to good advantage in The Hollow Crown to clarify the action and enhance the dynamics. Only occasionally does it feel misplaced, as in “Richard II,” when [director Rupert] Goold goes all in with Jesus imagery.
  33. The new season is a more straightforward affair over all, reminiscent in tone and structure of the show’s brilliantly mordant first three years.... As Louis C.K. reinvents the classic sitcom in his own elliptical, cerebral style, he seems to be in his absurdist theater phase, or his surrealist short-story phase--Kafka on the Hudson. (Louis C.K. still writes, directs and edits every episode.) At that level of ambition, some things work and some don’t.
  34. Quibbles aside, Game of Thrones is still remarkable for both the scrupulousness and the lavishness of its production, beautiful to look at and mostly engaging to follow, though there is something of the accountant’s method in Mr. Martin’s fantasy--progress through constant addition--that transfers into the television show.
  35. There's a shrewd madness in this straight-faced satire. [2 Jun 1993]
    • The New York Times
  36. Master of None, the year’s best comedy straight out of the gate, is a lot of things.
  37. 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.
  38. These images will stick with you. But so will an overall sense that Frozen Planet is more--a lot more--of the same: an aestheticized, sentimentalized, anthropomorphic abstraction of the natural world, in which gentle soundtrack music, winsome narration (by Alec Baldwin, replacing Mr. Attenborough for most of the American version) and the judicious use of slow motion combine to put us in a pleasant stupor on the couch.
  39. 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.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    If the writers and producers are able to trust a little more in their characters and resist the broad gags, this may develop into a grown-up show. [14 Aug 1992]
    • The New York Times
  40. [Peter Dinklage, Ciaran Hinds, Paul Kaye, and Dianna Rigg are] all fun to watch, even when their characters don’t have anything in particular to do besides relay information that we need to keep up with the story or keep straight the seven (so we’re told) warring families.
  41. Snobs may sneer that the series could more accurately be called "Remains of the Gosford/Upstairs/Brideshead Revisited Park." But there are times when a sincere imitation is not only better than nothing--it's nearly as good.
  42. Remains bracingly rude and funny.
  43. [A] tense and exquisite limited series on HBO. ... The later episodes become a more conventional legal story, as Stone patches together a defense, and the case becomes Nancy Grace-ified in the media. There are nods to TV legal series throughout.
  44. Oh My God, taped in February, is a crackerjack show, a polished, manifestly professional performance that couldn’t be more different in tone from “Louie.”
  45. Dry and offbeat, with an immediate, original voice, this comedy is a back-roads drive through the expansive territory between rags and riches.
  46. Assuming the perspectives of its characters, the series avoids cliches and condescension; the performances are remarkably free of the cheap mannerisms actors often resort to when playing addicts. But this insiders' view is still undermined by the tone of a cautionary tale. The fact that the series makes a plea to understand the characters' humanity, rather than a judgment about them, doesn't make it less didactic.
  47. It's unlikely that Rescue Me, which continues to cast a serious spell, will turn into a womany show. When "we're Irish" fails to serve as a pretext for bad or capricious behavior on this show, the second-best explanation is still "we're men."
  48. The show acquits itself well. Despite the audience’s knowledge that the former football star Orenthal James Simpson will be found not guilty (history is not a spoiler, sorry), the series is absorbing, infuriating and, yes, thoroughly entertaining.
  49. [Silicon Valley] continues to demonstrate a knack for making business and technology strategies a comprehensible and effective component of its storytelling.
  50. The new season of this dense medieval fantasy set in a land called Westeros serves up a whole bunch of wartime posturing, a seemingly endless number of would-be rulers and the usual sex and (sometimes in the same scene) violence. But it sure doesn't give viewers much to latch onto.
  51. Yes, the series sometimes grows a bit preachy: This installment, like its predecessors, tends to indulge in extended scenes whose dialogue can sound as if it were from a PBS documentary or a newspaper exposé. But you have to admire the ability of Mr. Ridley and his actors to wrap the earnestness in a compelling package.
  52. The show can be applauded for giving opportunities to a wide range of talented actresses and for representing a multiplicity of ethnicities and orientations in its characters, but the stories built around them are notable for their melodramatic underpinnings and an occasional willingness to resort to clichés.... But Ms. Kohan and her writers, abetted by their excellent cast, know how to leave us laughing.
  53. The absurdist comedy and hallucinatory visuals match the series’ take on Hollywood as a reality-distortion field. But the series never takes an attitude of easy superiority to its showbiz characters. At heart, BoJack Horseman is a comedy about lonely people (and animals) who are never by themselves. That melancholy spirit comes through beautifully in the stunning fourth episode of the new season.
  54. 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.
  55. "24" still provides an irresistible blend of iPodish computer wizardry and "Perils of Pauline" cliffhanger suspense.
  56. The Bluth heirs are eccentric and warped, but they are not hothouse child prodigies like the Tenenbaum siblings. They are nouveau riche misfits, the Ewings of "Dallas" as seen by Bunuel. And they are quite amusing.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Tig
    [An] engaging and moving documentary.
  57. At this point, the context may be more interesting than the characters.
  58. 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.
  59. "Everybody Hates Chris" is the first show in a long time centered on a teenager whose main problem is not adolescent angst, but real life. And Mr. Rock makes it funny, not maudlin or mean.
  60. The most visually sensual series perhaps ever seen on television.
  61. Everyone in this layered show has cover stories, divided loyalties, mixed emotions and hidden motives. The complexity of the characters drives the narrative as much as the car chases and ultrasecret missions.
  62. 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.
  63. The presentation is familiar, maybe a little too familiar, by now: actors reading journal entries; vintage photographs lovingly panned; historians adding commentary.... But Mr. Burns, cutting between [Theodore and Franklin's] life stories, probes the intersections with playful insight.
  64. What sets the show apart isn’t the surface quality of its humor but its restless, almost feral energy and its slap-in-the-face attitude.
  65. 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
  66. [Broadbent] is unrecognizable and remarkable in the role of Longford, capturing both the man’s dotty hauteur and his awkward, absent-minded chivalry.
  67. One weakness in the show is that each character has a showoff story line that splinters the narrative rather than unites it. And sometimes the hyper-arch tone gets a little tiresome. But only sometimes. Mostly, a talented cast and funny, imaginative writing make each episode a pleasure. Arrested Development is watched by critics, but it deserves a bigger, perhaps better audience.
  68. Except for Mr. Sutherland, who has a strong and appealing presence, most of the actors seem generic. [6 Nov 2001]
    • The New York Times
  69. Its fifth season is in fine, familiar form.
  70. 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
  71. It takes at least two episodes for David's TV persona - the cantankerous, self-absorbed Hollywood writer whose best intentions always go horribly awry - to regain some degree of cozy familiarity. And that discomfort is one of the things that make Curb Your Enthusiasm so unusual and so funny. [3 Jan 2004]
    • The New York Times
  72. This is an elliptically told tale, and it takes a few episodes for the plot and the characters to pick up steam.
  73. Mad Men beguiles like a Christmas catalog of all the forbidden vices, especially smoking, drinking and social inequity. Yet the series is more than a period piece. It’s a sleek, hard-boiled drama with a soft, satirical core.
  74. An inventive, likable comedy. [7 Jan 2000]
    • The New York Times
  75. Combining dark comedy and psychological drama, the show achieves a fresh tone to match its irresistibly winning concept. [8 Jan 1999, p.E1]
    • The New York Times
  76. An absorbing film by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein, has both [insight and subtlety], making it as rewarding as it is thought-provoking.
  77. 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.
  78. Catastrophe has the raw honesty of a mom on her second martini at a play date. It’s also--time-strapped parents take note--a refreshingly brisk six episodes. Even at that, some subplots feel extraneous, and like the first season, the second ends on a dissonant cliffhanger.
  79. Most of the elaborately introduced plotlines fizzle out (or simply vanish), and the final surprise is the worst kind of twist ending, arrived at arbitrarily and seemingly presented for its shock value.
  80. 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.
  81. Ed is a throwback, a hopeful, pixilated Capra character who wants to believe that things will work out as they should and is genuinely baffled and disappointed when they don't. Yet "Ed" the show doesn't seem creaky because Ed the character has also been endowed with ironic self-awareness, as might be expected on a series created by the men behind "The Late Show With David Letterman." He does wonders for both lawyers and bowling.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The closest American popular television has ever come to this kind of close-up realism is probably the drug-dealing scenes in "The Wire" on HBO, and even they seem a little tame and stagey compared with what takes place in Dona Marta.
  82. 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).
  83. UnREAL remains one of TV’s most sharp-minded and -tongued escapes, a heart-shaped box full of chocolate and razor blades.
  84. Lena Dunham's much anticipated comedy about four single women in New York is worth all the fuss, even though it invites comparisons to Carrie Bradshaw and friends, and even though it incites a lot of dreary debate about the demise of feminism.
  85. What could have easily become a pandering hybrid is in fact intelligent, emotionally resonant television.
  86. The flashback structure, which could have been cumbersome and distracting, is impressively seamless. But, despite these positives, things start to go off track as early as the second episode.... [Director Cary Joji Fukunaga] doesn’t show much ability here to animate Mr. Pizzolatto’s dialogue-heavy encounters.... There are some nice moments in the later episodes, and they’re the ones with the fewest words.
  87. An extraordinary 10-part series that masters its greatest challenge: it balances the ideal of heroism with the violence and terror of battle, reflecting what is both civilized and savage about war. [7 Sept 2001, p.E1]
  88. In the fog of war movies, some events are hard to follow, a few characters are easily confused, but the series is never less than spellbinding.
  89. Mr. Burns and Ms. Novick, commendably, don't beat you over the head with the obvious lessons for those today who would legislate personal behavior; they largely let the story of Prohibition speak for itself.
  90. 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.
  91. It’s acutely intelligent, luxuriously dressed and well acted across the board. It’s also notably serious and quiet, despite the occasional beheading or session on the rack required by a tale.... [But] the emotional and psychological underpinnings of the narrative don’t resonate as strongly as its ideas about history and governance.
  92. Tthe best new half-hour of funny television in a season rife with half-hours of funny television.
  93. A succinct and well-conceived documentary.
  94. The story of Ned (Lee Pace), a young man who can bring the dead back to life, is sweetly odd, but also oddly charming.
  95. 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.
  96. 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.

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