USA Today's Scores

For 1,113 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 55% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 41% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Olive Kitteridge
Lowest review score: 0 Lucky Louie: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 665
  2. Negative: 0 out of 665
665 tv reviews
  1. Freakylinks pours on all the visual horror tricks -- the atmospheric lighting, the weird close-ups, the slanted camera angles. All the tricks in the world, however, can't mask the show's failure to master even the most basic storytelling skills. [6 Oct 2000, p.10E]
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  2. In what is almost certain to go down in history as a legendarily bad TV idea, Normal seeks to find weekly comedy in the sad, small lives of four paranoid men and their incompetent therapist. Odds are the idea, while novel, was unsalvageable -- but the execution of Normal is so flawed on every level, it's hard to be sure. [6 Oct 2000, p.11E]
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  3. As for Byrne, maybe he shouldn't have done a sitcom so soon after doing Eugene O'Neill on Broadway. You can tell he's trying to make the lines funny, but he seems to be grimly and completely out of sync with everyone around him. [6 Oct 2000, p.11E]
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  4. What the cuts can't remove is the chemistry between Cavanagh and Bowen. They're a lovably winning couple in a completely winning new show. [6 Oct 2000, p.1E]
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  5. That's a lot of eccentricity for one hour, but Gilmore Girls never loses its even, humorous keel or its unforced warmth. There are clever lines, to be sure (Michel, ignoring Lorelai: "To me, you are the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons"), but they seldom turn nasty and never seem out of character. [5 Oct 2000, p.1D]
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  6. Every detail in the show looks and feels false and phony--from the weird, yellow-tinged warehouse/prison to the skyline view of Washington that seems to insert national monuments at random.
  7. Too often, the writing stretches for cheap shock -- gags about phallic-shaped food and not wearing undies -- when the shock of Neil's culture clash already makes perfectly audacious comedy. [11 Sep 1992]
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  8. As the show moves past the setup and into its first caper, the extended introductory episode does improve. And then it hits a final twist that would be tiresome even if you believed Graceland was equipped to explore it properly. Had Elvis ever actually entered the building, this would be the point where he left. Follow suit.
  9. It relies on excellent work from Enos as the dark, damaged Linden and Kinnaman as the slightly lighter Holder to carry us along even when the plot seems to be stagnating.
  10. Arrested remains a bracingly clever but emotionally cold intellectual exercise of a comedy, one that revels in puns, double entendres, intricately structured set pieces, astonishingly inappropriate jokes, asides, callbacks, flashbacks and, less propitiously, its own inaccessibility.
  11. As you might expect from an experimental show that is doing its best to misbehave, there are times when Arrested goes too far. I could live without George Michael's crush on his first cousin, a story given more prominence in a future episode when it really needs less. But for now, I'd say stick with the Bluths, even when their behavior is more alarming than arresting. At least they're not dull. And this season, that's a development worth encouraging.
  12. Buffed to a typical HBO high gloss, Candelabra is a visual feast. But it shines brightest in those moments where it captures the rhythms of a relationship in its first blush of affection and its seemingly inevitable collapse.
  13. There's a great TV show out there called The Office...This just isn't it...Instead, what NBC is offering tonight is a passable imitation of a miles-better British original -- a brilliant faux-documentary starring Ricky Gervais that has attracted a small but devoted fan base from its BBC America run.
  14. If Fontana's goal is stark realism, it's undercut by the overly theatrical device of a funky narrator, an inmate who uses a wheelchair (Harold Perrineau) and who barks his thoughts into the camera. A sample commentary: "People kill to stay alive. That's as true in prison as out. But I'm wondering why in here we fight so hard to stay alive." [11 July 1997, p.3D]
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  15. Tree is not the master at his best--it's one of those light entertainments that pass by without leaving much of a mark. But it's good-hearted and amusing.
  16. Sorkin has created a funny, free-flowing comedy that more closely reflects the rhythms and look of a feature film. He may still have something to learn about the sitcom form, as witness the abrupt shift to sentimentality that ends the first two episodes. But when he's on his game, he provides moments of unexpected and acute insight that can almost leave you breathless. [22 Sept 1998, p.3D]
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  17. There's nothing wrong with that cast. Simmons and Remini, in particular, play off each other expertly, and provide a nice, tart balance to Bornheimer's sweeter character. But despite their best efforts, the show just floats along, weightless, innocuous and eminently forgettable.
  18. While there are moments of overly arty chatter, the show's ability to create a believable sense of place is nothing short of astounding (as is its profanity). Much of the credit goes to an incredible cast, led by West, Sohn, Gilliard and Lance Reddick as McNulty's boss.
  19. Based on the real-life Hollywood adventures of Mark Wahlberg, Entourage is the almost shockingly entertaining story of an incredibly unlikely set of sitcom heroes: an up-and-coming star known for his looks more than his talent and his hanger-on friends. What could have been a recipe for disaster, or at the very least for one of those HBO shows people respect more than enjoy, is instead an unassuming treat.
  20. The shame is, after a very slow start, the living members of the Fisher family actually start to grow on you -- though it takes them far longer than it should. [1 June 2001, p.15E]
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  21. Enough to make you re-evaluate the virtues of celibacy...Here's a thought: Perhaps these whiners can't find great guys because they're not so great themselves. [5 June 1998, p.12E]
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  22. If you stay, you just may find yourself captivated by a trio of strong performances from Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy and Laurence Fishburne--and entranced by the fevered-dream spell cast by creator Bryan Fuller, the brilliant TV auteur behind Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls.
  23. If the lines are never actually funny, some of them are amusing, and if the writing doesn't always work in Parents' favor, the cast does.
  24. What Men offers is the pleasure of watching people who know what they're doing do it well. Jones' mixture of bratty spunk and vulnerability keeps Jake from seeming too precocious or too cute. Sheen is so amusingly sardonic and cheerfully self-aware, he makes Charlie's immaturity endearing rather than annoying. And there just aren't many actors who are better at funny-fussbudget than Cryer -- or who have more polished comic skills.
  25. The Sopranos would have benefited from the editing required by network time and content restraints, which would have made the rambling episodes tighter and cleared them of their worst blood and exposed-breast excesses. [8 Jan 1999, p.8E]
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  26. If you are willing and able to take it on its own fictional terms, it does work as a well-acted legal drama, though even on that level, you're better off watching The Good Wife.
  27. That sincere desire to serve is key. In the wrong hands, Scrubs could have been another mean-spirited juvenile comedy about smart-aleck, self-absorbed, barely post-collegiate yuppies -- which is the impression you may have gotten from NBC's inexplicably unpleasant promos. But Lawrence takes pains to show us that these doctors take their jobs seriously, an essential task accomplished without sacrificing any of the humor. In a sense, the show is a flashback to M*A*S*H, both in its look (Scrubs is shot without an audience) and in the way it blends laughs with life-and-death emotion.
  28. Some shows are so syrupy, you're afraid the tape will stick in the VCR. Which brings us to Everwood, a tiny Colorado town that time forgot — but that every sappy TV cliché found. Narrator? Check. Ghosts? Check. A town full of twee eccentrics? Check and checkmate.
  29. If you look past the sometimes strained pushing of the basic cable envelope (including a completely gratuitous breast shot), The Shield offers an interesting take on a familiar subject, one that boasts a great supporting turn from CCH Pounder as a smart cop who has seen it all.[12 Mar 2002, p.10D]
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  30. At heart, Angel is another Whedon treatise on the need to accept responsibility and to move past atonement to engagement. But Whedon never overemphasizes his deeper meanings, and neither should we. [5 Oct 1999, p.1D]
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