USA Today's Scores

For 743 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 58% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 38% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Spin City: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Lucky Louie: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 454
  2. Negative: 0 out of 454
454 tv reviews
  1. Convincingly smart, realistically unsettled and sexy as all get-out, Gugino radiates so much TV star power, it just might be visible from outer space.
  2. Tonight's pilot lays the groundwork for what could be a fabulous series, one that blends supernatural adventure with down-to-earth, complex family dynamics.
  3. It is, in short, a show about real life, as seen through the eyes of one of the funniest men in America.
  4. This is 24 at its fast, furious, exaggerated best, filled with well-drawn subsidiary characters and rapid-fire surprises, all held in place by Kiefer Sutherland's great, under-sung performance as Jack.
  5. This is The Sopranos at its best -- and that's just about as good as TV ever gets.
  6. Brilliant, scathing, sprawling, The Wire has turned our indifference to urban decay into a TV achievement of the highest order.
  7. Teeming with rich characters and terrific actors, brimming with wit, drama and unexpected urgency, Studio 60 brings its workplace to full, immensely entertaining life.
  8. A satisfying, intriguingly complex ABC drama that emerges from the season's serialized pack as the best new show of the year.
  9. What's remarkable is that 24 still finds so many ways to surprise us, to take our knowledge of how things are done and turn it against us.
  10. Mad Men is a joy to watch - the clothes, the clocks, the furniture, it's like a mid-century night's dream. But this is no mere period piece. It's a smart, complex drama that attempts to get through the facades that have always hidden the truth.
  11. Solid gold from top to bottom, the cast is almost an embarrassment of riches.
  12. There's humanity in its victims and dark humor in the goal-oriented drive of its villains. With or without a strike, this is a show to treasure.
  13. Let Lost remind you of how spectacular scripted network programming can be.
  14. As terrific as the three women are, the movie would not have been made without Combs and would not work as well without him
  15. What Kill has to offer is clarity and clear-eyed empathy. TV's the better for it.
  16. Terrifically acted and gorgeously produced, this is a show that's both funny and frightening, that can simultaneously make you miss the '60s and feel blessed that they're gone.
  17. Some of House's callousness is an act, and sometimes the show lets the act go too far. But one of the series' primary strengths is the way the writers and the star keep us guessing as to where that act ends and reality begins.
  18. Indeed, the only real downside of the program is that they've made only six episodes.
  19. Heavily narrated and prone at times to the precious, Daisies is a show unlike any other, and not everyone will like it. But even those who don't can embrace it as a sign that creativity, confidence and capability have not fled broadcast for cable just yet. Here, they're alive and thriving.
  20. Even when 24 went off the rails, Sutherland somehow kept Jack in balance. And now that his show seems back on track, he's rolling at top form.
  21. This is an epic big-screen adventure done for the small screen--and done in a way that makes most big-screen versions pale in comparison.
  22. This is as good an adaptation as any Ladies lover could wish, one that overflows with the joys of life and exudes an all-embracing spirit. Be ready to be beguiled.
  23. For those who were disappointed in the show's uneven fourth season, the best news is that, at least in the nine episodes previewed, Rescue Me is more consistent, more focused and more fun, with better stories for all of its characters.
  24. There is always meaning to Mad Men's madness and passion under its control, along with an uncommon level of style, flair and wit. On a TV shelf crowded with cookie-cutter products, Mad Men is an original.
  25. An equally spectacular, equally triumphant yet tonally divergent work that stands with "Band of Brothers" as the best war movie ever made for TV.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    While a quintessential Masterpiece Theatre production, Bleak House doesn't indulge in the languid pacing and preciousness that weigh down some other PBS period pieces.
  26. This two-part production expands and opens the story without diminishing the charm or appeal of Austen's original or pushing it past her socially constrained boundaries.
  27. Once you get past the premiere, series are often a crapshoot. But Showtime made all 12 episodes available for preview, and through that run, the energy never flags and the performances get deeper and richer.
  28. Treme tells its story incredibly well, but it just may not be a story everyone wants to follow. Some will hear its music and some won't. But if you do, this could be the rare TV show that makes you dance.
  29. Jackie can be a dark show, and it's going to get darker. But there isn't an episode that doesn't leave you yearning to see the next. There also isn't a performance that doesn't work.
  30. While the subject matter is heavy, Rescue Me is seldom heavy-going. It still makes times to revel in the boisterous camaraderie of its firefighters, and it still takes great advantage of one of the sexiest, funniest casts on television.
  31. They've richly re-created a Roaring '20s world on the edge of an ocean and a precipice, and populated it with a riveting rogues gallery.
  32. For two nights and four fabulous hours, this sequel to 1994's Baseball, still PBS' most-watched program, reminds us why baseball retains its hold on our imagination, and why Burns and Novick remain TV's pre-eminent popular historians.
  33. Three weeks, three styles, three fine, fun hours.
  34. The result is a sharp, funny, clever series that remains faithful to the spirit of Doyle's stories while infusing them with a vibrant spirit of modernity.
  35. She's a smart, funny, eccentric elitist who isn't afraid to tell us what she thinks of us or herself. Listen with an open mind, and you should find her sometimes scathing honesty is bracing rather than off-putting.
  36. A riotously, often scathingly funny showbiz satire that proves LeBlanc is smart enough to know self-mockery can be a potent weapon, and talented enough to wield it properly.
  37. There are worse sins than looking like a Jane Austen movie. In fact, with PBS' latest British hit import, the unfailingly entertaining Downton Abbey, it might even be a blessing.
  38. Like the show itself, Margo Martindale's performance is smart, chilling, amusing, convincing and unfailingly entertaining. And like the show, you really don't want to miss it.
  39. What sets The Killing apart are its steady sense of dread, its dense atmospherics--that feeling that rain may at any moment pour from our sets--and its beautifully drawn characters.
  40. Every line, every reaction is perfectly pitched, every shift from humor to menace to seduction perfectly played.
  41. Danes and Lewis are near-flawless, keeping you off-balance and absorbed.
  42. For anyone seeking edge-of-your-chair tension, Dead delivers. But what separates this fine series from similar shows is the honesty of its human interactions.
  43. There's nothing in Downton you won't recognize, and almost nothing you won't enjoy.
  44. As you'd hope from a show based on Elmore Leonard's work, the plots snap, the dialogue crackles and--to press on with the point--the characters pop.
  45. This is such a gorgeous show to watch (at least for anyone fond of mid-'60s clothes and design) that it's easy to forget how beautifully these actors play their roles and how true-to-life they and the writers make these characters seem.
  46. Dunham's simply writing what she knows, and incredibly well.
  47. This is TV pleasure at its most intense, without even a shade of guilt.
  48. Summer TV at its witty, riveting best.
  49. Bad is too complex a series and too brilliantly distinctive a creation to be reduced to a simple "Crime does not pay" motto.
  50. Despite its depth and ambition, this is one great drama that never becomes cumbersome--it never feels like a chore imposed upon us by the God of High TV Art.
  51. What lies ahead for Downton fans is a first-rate run of episodes that feels less hectic and more tightly focused on the family core.
  52. No American-made option this weekend can compare.
  53. Out of these familiar adventure-story components and a host of pop-culture conventions, Alias' J.J. Abrams has fashioned a totally original, fabulously enjoyable lost-at-sea series. Once again, he has taken an outlandish Saturday-serial setup and imbued it with real characters and honest emotions, without sacrificing any of the old-fashioned fun.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    TV has so much middle ground already there's no way not to cheer ABC's nerve in giving us something so ground-breaking, so distinctive, so you- can't-take-your-eyes-off-it or get-your-mind-off-it gripping...They've set a tone with Sunday's two-hour pilot - which succeeds best as a masterpiece of mood - that's gleefully perverse, visually glorious, splendidly acted, with a pulsating music score that heightens an already unbearable tension. [6 Apr 1990, p.1D]
  54. As you watch the smart, sophisticated, sharply written and slickly directed Spin City strut its stuff, memories of Murphy Brown's early days may come to mind. Dominating a volatile, high-profile workplace and supported by a crackerjack cast, Fox demonstrates superb and crafty comic timing in a tailor-made role. [17 Sept 1996, p.1D]
  55. Top of the Lake is rivetingly odd, almost oppressively atmospheric and thoroughly entrancing.
  56. Of a handful of promising new series this season, only one shows the promise of greatness: Boomtown.
  57. Expertly cut and polished until it practically gleams, 24 is like a flawless diamond: stylish, multifaceted and so sharp that it could cut glass. Everything clicks, from the hip sets to the whip-smart direction to the ever-shifting split screen that imbues even mundane activities such as talking on the phone with an unexpected urgency. [6 Nov 2001]
  58. Combine the new story's broader scope with the show's newfound willingness to tap into current fears, and there's every reason to hope for an even more suspenseful season. And that's even considering the drag applied by Kim's credibility-straining subplot. [29 Oct 2002]
  59. It's such a new day on Fox's 24, it might almost be a new show. This ingeniously entertaining drama always gives us a new set of villains for each seasonal crisis. But this year, it's also giving us a brand new set of heroes. Fortunately for Fox and fans, the things that have been changed are, by and large, improved -- and the most important things have been left alone. [7 Jan 2005]
  60. Refreshingly original, bracingly adult and thoroughly delightful, Desperate Housewives is like the answer to a TV prayer you didn't know you'd made. You just know life was much duller before it arrived. [1 Oct 2004]
  61. The funniest family ever. [11 Oct 1990]
  62. Laugh-out-loud and sad all at once, The Larry Sanders Show shines merciless light in the heartless dark night of TV. [14 Aug 1992]
  63. [A] brilliant and acid satire of late-night TV that scores its bitter points with the zing of a Variety headline. [2 Jun 1993]
  64. A darkly hilarious look at the neurotic personalities and duplicitous machinations of late-night talk shows, it's the smartest and most ruthless show about TV ever on TV. [22 Jun 1994]
  65. Brilliant. [18 Jul 1995]
  66. The Wire, while brilliant,is not exactly user-friendly. Attention is required, but the series more than repays the time and effort invested.
  67. Brooklyn Bridge is a show to love, not merely to watch. A sentimental knockout, it's a valentine rooted in the warm glow of a specific place and bygone time, yet oddly universal and relevant. [20 Sep 1991]
  68. As fine as these opening episodes are, they're not quite as good as last season's final run. [14 Jan 2000]
  69. Gervais' show is so unusual, and his performance as David Brent is so painfully specific -- and sometimes just so flat-out painful -- it's hard to imagine how anyone else can make it work. [23 Jan 2003]
  70. We can all be grateful for a series this awe-inspiringly exceptional.
  71. An oasis of becalmed eccentricity, this backwoods burg is a serene paradise of quirky humor and offbeat pathos. Here, using that old city-boy- meets-country-sages routine, is a show where intelligence, not ignorance, is bliss. [12 July 1990, p.3D]
  72. Band of Brothers is significantly flawed and yet absolutely extraordinary -- just like the men it portrays. [7 Sept 2001, p.1E]
  73. It is also stunning, compelling and thoroughly, empathetically human. [14 Apr 2000, p.11E]
  74. A few plotlines look rocky, and a few lines of dialogue stumble, but based on the first six episodes, we're being introduced to a show that can enlighten, entertain and contend for Emmys, all in the same breath.
  75. Imagine 24 devoting a substantial block of time to exploring the repercussions of one of its attacks, without moving on to the next threat, and you get the idea.
  76. If you think of it less as a mystery and more as a two-person character study, odds are you'll be more patient with it. And trust me, that patience will be rewarded.
  77. May be the network's most effective combination yet of artistic reach and popular appeal. Created by The Job's Peter Tolan and Denis Leary, who also stars, Rescue Me could do for firefighters what "NYPD Blue" did for cops: strip them of myth while celebrating their humanity.
  78. With Denis Leary's return as Tommy Gavin in FX's Rescue Me, viewers have hit the summer trifecta: the best actor playing the best character in the best show on basic cable.
  79. Funny, shocking and purposely incorrect, this testosterone-drenched series from Denis Leary and Peter Tolan returns to reclaim its spot as basic cable's best show, bar none. [13 June 2007, p.10D]
  80. In theory and practice, Murder One is everything that's best about TV. [19 Sept 1995, p.1D]
  81. There isn't an actor or character you won't look forward to seeing again, and that includes those you may initially resist. Each is allowed to be right or wrong, each could exist in the world as we know it, and each can be uproariously funny in his or her own way.
  82. What separates Fargo is the depth of its characterizations and the individuality of its approach.
  83. The winsome Sarah Michelle Gellar is a huge improvement over bubblehead Kristy Swanson as the new Buffy, moving with her mom to the "one-Starbucks town" of Sunnydale, Calif. She's cute and pert but nobody's fool. [10 Mar 1997, p.3D]
  84. A hilarious holiday package. [15 Dec 1989, p.3D]
  85. A trauma-rama that opens on an adrenaline rush and pretty much stays there, with timeouts for pathos and sex and dark hilarity, ER launches a surgical strike on the emotions that could make it the medical drama for the '90s. [19 Sep 1994]
  86. Like St. Elsewhere grafted onto L.A. Law, this is in the slick but endangered tradition of ensemble dramas showing heroes on the cutting edge of their vocation while personal lives entangle and unravel. [16 Sep 1994]
  87. It operates on such a high frequency of inspired lunacy, it instantly renders this busy midseason's other hopefuls just so much sitcom static to be tuned out. [21 Mar 1995]
  88. Here's a show full of delightful surprises, with something for everyone. It's hard to imagine anyone resisting its many charms. Twin Peaks too ponderous? Lawyer shows too heavy (and too many)? Sitcoms too silly? As Goldilocks said of the little bear's porridge, this one gets it just right. [8 Apr 1991, p.1D]
  89. Bones isn't the riskiest or most ambitious series coming your way this season. But it may turn out to be one of the most satisfying and entertaining.
  90. The script is humorous, though not hilarious, and the show boasts a fine cast that could, with time, jell into a great one.
  91. Earl shares the look and heavily narrated sound of Arrested Development, but it has its own scruffy comic tone.
  92. Witty, earnest, intelligent, overdone, overly ambitious, wildly entertaining and superbly cast.
  93. There's something terribly real and awfully funny about this engaging little sitcom, which takes the sweetness of Parenthood and adds its own slightly bitter touch.
  94. This bright, funny, appealing old-school comedy is an ideal vehicle for Louis-Dreyfus.
  95. As Elizabeth movies go, this version has neither the sweep of Glenda Jackson's Elizabeth R nor the easily digested entertainment value of Bette Davis' Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex. But it has Mirren, and that's reason enough to make it and watch it.
  96. For all the artificiality of the language, there has seldom been a show that felt more authentic.
  97. Entourage... returns for a third season with funnier episodes and higher stakes.
  98. Juggling such a large ensemble won't be easy, and the producers have to guard against crowding too many stories together at the cost of depth and development.... If they can get the balance right, though, Class should be an ideal fit for CBS' successful Monday lineup.