USA Today's Scores

For 783 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 1 point lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 The Corner: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Lucky Louie: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 472
  2. Negative: 0 out of 472
472 tv reviews
  1. For all the artificiality of the language, there has seldom been a show that felt more authentic.
  2. Entourage... returns for a third season with funnier episodes and higher stakes.
  3. 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.
  4. There is no new show more likable, but that affection may waver if Betty can't give Ferrera the scripts and support she deserves.
  5. Lights has a rare ability to portray life in small-town America without being condescending or sentimental.
  6. Granted, this new Andy may not be as inventive or subversive as Universe, but it is just as funny and probably a bit more accessible.
  7. Happily, this is a carefully adapted, clearly enunciated As You Like It that retains the beauty of the dialogue while making the meanings clear.
  8. Damages is an enjoyably complex thriller.
  9. The show is not designed to appeal to prudes, but the writing and the acting are too good to be wasted on the prurient.
  10. In a sense, Monday's promising premiere is the first in a three-part introduction, with each episode building on and improving upon the one before.
  11. Wise has been given a great chance to shine, and he makes the most of it, stealing scenes with such aplomb it may almost be a sin. Still, the show has to be carried by Harrison and Labine, and they seem up to the task.
  12. Tonight, the surgeons set up shop in Beverly Hills, a move that has inspired the show to rediscover its sense of style and fun.
  13. The British Mars produced only 16 episodes, and when the last of this season's final eight is over, you will have all the answers you need. What's more, they're satisfying and well worth the relatively short amount of time expended.
  14. As much as the show recalls the movies, it also recalls some of the best work ever done in the genre for TV: the Buffy universe of Joss Whedon. Most every blast of portent and bombast is lightened by a throwaway joke; scenes of intense action and violence give way to equally well-realized scenes of domestic life that root the fantasy in emotional reality.
  15. Bad brings new life and depth to an old one: Malcolm in the Middle's Bryan Cranston, riveting and remarkable as a chemistry teacher who finds a more commercial use for his skills.
  16. The Tudors comes back enriched and improved.
  17. Part mystery, part fantasy, part comedy, and all wildly imaginative exaggeration, Blood proves that there's still vibrant life--or death--left in the "star-crossed lovers" paradigm.
  18. You can see where it's going, and assuming Abrams doesn't let it get lost in its conspiracy, it should be fun to ride along.
  19. All we need ask of Grey's is that it tell its stories well in its own way, and tonight it does.
  20. A fast-paced, funny show that has bounced back from last spring's post-strike slump.
  21. So far, though, it keeps the techno-babble to a manageable level, and if it seems to owe more to other movies and shows than it does to real life, at least it's paying its debt in an entertaining fashion.
  22. Times have changed, but they haven't weakened the basic strength of Dickens' story or diminished his insights into a society in which the poor are left to their own oppressed devices unless they cross paths with the rich.
  23. Luckily, in Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange, HBO has found precisely the right people to convey the peculiar blend of courage and craziness that were the two Edie Beales, daughter and mother.
  24. Not every shift works; a newly added agent seems just as expendable as poor, underused Charlie (Kirk Acevedo). But there's a great final twist that more than compensates, and it solidifies the overall impression that a series that was once too far on the conspiracy fringe has settled into an enjoyable weekly sci-fi adventure.
  25. There are big moments, but much of the joy comes from small exchanges and throwaway jokes.
  26. Though the premiere's twists are not as shocking as in years past, better ones are coming, and quickly. Trust me, the show has not lost its ability to surprise--or even to make you gasp.
  27. Yet, as rock-solid as the entire cast may be, Damages still belongs to Close, who makes us embrace a character who in other hands might be repellent or, worse, ridiculous.
  28. There are needed bursts of humor that lighten the sometimes oppressive sense of a world on the verge of social collapse. And there's that visually pleasing re-creation of '60s style that both delights on its own and allows the show to comment through skewed reflection on modern times.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Love, betrayal, despair, redemption, reconciliation. All of the elements expected of any epic love story are included. The distinction here: The story is splendidly retold.
  29. It's not perfect, but in a sea of procedural conformity, Glee is its own weird, often enchanting little island escape.
  30. The best of the bunch, and the best new series of the fall, comes first.
  31. The Middle is precisely the show ABC should be doing: a smart, amusing sitcom that understands the damage cutbacks have done to folks in the middle.
  32. ABC can add to that list of achievements the season's most entertaining new hour, straightforward division: V.
  33. True Blood is worth the work, particularly since the main plot (Sookie's search for her kidnapped vampire lover Bill) is pretty much a self-starter.
  34. It firmly establishes its intriguing main character's brains, skills, and skewed-but-real moral code.
  35. What will remain is the terrific, admirably diverse cast; the tough-but-uncynical attitude; and, perhaps best of all, the out-of-the-TV-norm location. The show isn't just set in Detroit; it's shot there, which gives it an authenticity and a palpable sense of place.
  36. For now, what Better brings you are six well-written, well-played characters (Lacy offers a particularly nice take on his slacker doofus) who say and do enough funny things to keep you amused between Middle and Modern.
  37. Happily, it now seems to have landed on solid ground, with its best ensemble and most engaging stories in years.
  38. There are times when the sheer force of Jones' personality undercuts his ability to be convincing as the voice of existential despair. But at the end, when he throws that force behind his final assault, his performance all makes sense. And it makes the final scenes, as Jackson's ebulliently portrayed confidence begins to crack, all the more shattering.
  39. If it plays a bit fast and loose with facts, it's nowhere near as outrageous as its Showtime cousin The Tudors, whose ever-young, ever-fit Henry VIII was an affront to history and to common sense. Irons may not look anything like the real Pope Alexander, but he makes you believe in him - and for The Borgias' purposes, that's what matters.
  40. It's all very well told and well acted, but those who insist on comparing it to The Lord of the Rings are setting up expectations Game cannot possibly match.
  41. For today, enjoy a home-grown version of a great series that's suspenseful, exciting and flat-out fun. That may not count as a miracle, but it's awfully good news nonetheless.
  42. Leary is working with a fabulous cast, which is why he and co-creator Peter Tolan can dance so nimbly between realism and surrealism, drama and comedy.
  43. Girl sets up a viable premise and introduces a strong set of supporting characters, which is just what you want from fall's most promising new series.
  44. They may not enchant you, but they and their series, the best new hour this year, are unlikely to bore you. Would that every new show could say the same.
  45. There is much to admire here, from the snap in the dialogue to the show's willingness to tackle issues of race in the workplace--but there might be even more if creator Matthew Carnahan (Dirt) could learn when to stop pushing.
  46. Unless you're allergic to musicals in general and Broadway in particular, you should find that a compelling central story, a strong cast, an out-of-the-procedural-mold premise and some rousing, roof-raising numbers more than compensate for any lingering problems.
  47. This is a sprawling, exciting, blood-soaked story, filled with great set pieces and wonderful actors.
  48. As smartly written as it is played, Episodes offers the comic pleasures, not just of clashing cultures, but of contrasting comic styles.
  49. At its best, it plays like a Woody Allen film, something you may notice most when secondary characters stop and explain themselves to the camera.
  50. What you end up with may not have the makings of a great drama at the Homeland/Breaking Bad level--but it could produce an extremely entertaining, refreshingly hackney-free weekly procedural, with the crimes playing out against a background of interesting characters and flashy time-travel sets.
  51. You may appreciate the flair and poignancy Elementary brings to the crowded procedural field, and the energy, wit and sex appeal Miller brings to his role.
  52. It's a sprawling story, held together with music--though unlike Glee or Smash, most of the songs are presented on this night in truncated bursts.... While that could mean trouble, set worries aside for one night, and simply enjoy the season's best, most enjoyable new hour.
  53. Some plot twists seem implausible at best, others are overdone or gratuitous. But some implausibility comes with the horror/suspense genre, and there's no question Williamson has mastered it--just as there's no question that the match of wills between the wounded Bacon and malevolent Purefoy is exceedingly well played.
  54. Luckily for us, UPN has found a terrific young actress to play this terrifically engaging character: Kristen Bell. Whether you buy the idea of teen crime-solvers or not, there's no questioning Bell's credentials as a TV star.
  55. In mere minutes and with a few instantly evocative images, Freaks draws its characters more precisely than some shows do in a season. [24 Sept 1999, p.11E]
  56. Firefly offers the same well-balanced blend of humor, action, sharply drawn characters and unexpected twists on genre conventions. And if you have so far resisted the vamp-call of Buffy, this more mainstream sci-fi adventure may be your ticket into Whedon's TV universe.
  57. This is one House call worth making.
  58. Hip, bright and done with a great deal of flair, Alias is like some candy-colored -- and very violent -- comic book come to life.
  59. I'd also like to see the show adopt a somewhat lighter tone -- though I fear the ring of somber self-importance may be perfectly pitched for teens. [29 Sept 1998, p.3D]
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. 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]
  67. The tone can be darkly comic, even nasty, also sweetly sentimental, even corny. Picket Fences is idiosyncratic, unpredictable and fun fun fun to watch. Our Town gone ga-ga. Put it this way: When in Rome ... sit back and enjoy. [18 Sept 1992, p.1D]
  68. What really separates this Race from the competition... is the blessed absence of most of the contrived conflict and melodrama that have become reality's reason for being. [5 Sep 2001]
  69. The thought and care Hall has put into her premise carries over to the casting. Every choice is near ideal, starting with the remarkable Amber Tamblyn, who is so fabulously right as Joan, and including Joe Mantegna and Mary Steenburgen as her parents and Michael Welch and Jason Ritter (son of the late John Ritter) as her brothers. [26 Sept 2003, p.1E]
  70. We could all use a good summer TV diversion around now, and if tonight's entertaining, intriguing premiere turns out to be a fair guide, Dome could be just what we've needed.
  71. In Ray and Mickey, producer Ann Biderman has created two of TV's most interesting characters and one of its most absorbing dynamics.
  72. With a sure and witty touch, Will captures the way gay men and their straight female friends make an asset of their gender differences and romantic similarities. [21 Sep 1998]
  73. You don't get the same kind of fun, gizmo fascination that livens up CSI. But you also don't get the leaden, expositionary dialogue CSI uses to explain those gizmos. [26 Sep 2002]
  74. A deft mix of comedy and drama in which the prison feels like a real place and the women are actual people, rather than a thinly veiled excuse to stage catfights, lesbian fantasies and sexual assault.
  75. Malcolm recalls Roseanne's maternal drive, The Simpsons' cartoon exaggerations, and a blue-collar sensibility and emotional honesty common to both. And if tonight's outstanding premiere tries too hard for its own good to stand out, even that flaw subsides in later episodes. [7 Jan 2000]
  76. Fans can relax; the franchise is in good, and possibly even better, hands. [23 Sep 2002]
  77. It takes a real artist's eye to concentrate reality so realistically, and a true wit to pull it off in a sitcom that makes you gasp as frequently as it makes you laugh. [10 Oct 2003]
  78. Credit Samberg with choosing a solid concept, a Barney Miller-type cop comedy from Parks and Recreation's Dan Goor and Michael Schur, and surrounding himself with a great supporting cast led by Andre Braugher as the squad's captain.
  79. A solid weekly crime show built around a genuine TV star. That's the kind of series the networks have to be able to pull off to survive. And with Spader in command, odds are NBC will.
  80. All in all, it's a very promising start.
  81. Haunting, heartfelt and even-handed, Valentine Road should be required viewing in teaching tolerance on middle-school and high-school campuses.
  82. There's still fun to be had in the visual manifestations of Sherlock's thought process, for example, but there are times when you fear what they're really doing is filling time. Yet thanks to the stars, the wit of the writing and a few clever tricks, the show remains a joy.
  83. There's no question Tuck is at times excessive or that it risks becoming exhausting. But in a season packed with reality and retreads, at least Murphy and FX are shooting for something novel and doing so in a way that is less pretentious and more dramatically viable than many of their more high-profile cable competitors.
  84. As extravagant, enticing and chaotic as Rome itself, HBO's latest series boasts all the opulent pleasures that lavish expenditures of time and money can buy. Every detail in its re-creation of ancient Rome may not be correct, but the spirit and the overall picture ring true -- and the entertainment value resounds.
  85. There's so much here to build on, from the strong performances to the chemistry between the stars to the sweet central story of two people helping each other mature.
  86. what these two characters, so fabulously played by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, are about to realize as this excellent series returns is that their jobs put their children at risk.

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