USA Today's Scores

For 1,086 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 2.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Breaking Bad: Season 5
Lowest review score: 0 Lucky Louie: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 644
  2. Negative: 0 out of 644
644 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. How mad you'll be for the slice-of-strife romantic comedy of Mad About You may depend on your tolerance for the young-ish and restless, verbally glib and urban-ly neurotic. [23 Sep 1992]
    • USA Today
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Enter The Strain, which just may turn out to be the best-executed, most cleverly constructed and most universally enjoyable fright-monger of them all.
  6. From what I can tell, the goal of Love is to prove that life can be just as mundane, colorless and boring with three spouses as it can with one or none. Mission accomplished.
  7. A lavish romp of campy romance and corny adventure that absolutely must not be taken seriously. If the plot's full of holes, they're plugged with a heedless style that makes this the season's most purely entertaining new show. [10 Sept 1993, p.3D]
    • USA Today
  8. 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.
  9. Rather than balance, what you get from Filth is a gratingly smug superiority that mocks both sides while failing to make any point of its own.
  10. 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.
  11. He'll need to relax a bit: As you might expect, given the stakes and the hype, he seemed a bit over-caffeinated. But calm will almost certainly come with time.... Colbert's chat with Clooney felt oddly stilted, with uncertain transitions from serious topics to prearranged comedy. He actually seemed more at ease with his second guest, Governor Bush.
  12. 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.
  13. 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]
    • USA Today
  14. Though boringly narrated by a 93-year-old Indy, the tales are the stuff of many a kid's adventure story - back when kids still read. [4 Mar 1992, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  15. At least this feels like a culture-clash adventure, not merely an audition for the seven callow cuties sharing yet another fab flat. [27 Jun 1995]
    • USA Today
  16. FlashForward may not keep you hooked for years or even months, but chances are good tonight's episode will bring you back next week. For now, that's as far forward as we need to flash.
  17. 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.
  18. With a little humor to lighten the tension, some well-placed quiet moments to keep the show grounded and a fast pace that keeps any seams from showing, Designated arrives as the most satisfying opening hour of any new broadcast drama.
  19. The series does what it was designed to do: It stays true to its roots while allowing fans to spend more time with Molly and her friends and the actors who play them.
  20. The half hour moves along briskly, sprinkled with a slew of funny lines and throwaway reactions and a few knowing winks at TV conventions--though not so many winks that they pull you out of the story. And through it all you have the pleasures provided by Lowe, Savage, Ellis and Devane, who mesh seamlessly.
  21. As hard as Gotham works to make Gordon a suitable hero, those who are not deeply immersed in the Batman universe may wonder whether the energy is well-spent.
  22. Come for the fancy costumes, drafty castles, barbed glances and backstabbing power grabs. Just don’t come for the story, because Princess doesn't have much of one to tell.
  23. As with any show built around a high-concept gimmick, there’s a danger here that the trick will wear thin; that we’ll tire of Martin’s low-energy observations. (Ned, at least as filmed, is the most morose dog on the planet.) But for now, be content with how much this Dog has going for it, starting with the gentle way it ambles along, speaking softly rather than barking at us, and including the sweet chemistry between Neff and Tolman.
  24. Again, if you loved all things Battlestar beyond measure, Caprica may satisfy. For all others, this is a planet best left unvisited.
  25. Kudrow imbues Valerie with a humanity that lets us see something of ourselves in her resilience and her dedication, misguided as it may be. Like the show that inspired her, our Valerie is a survivor. Welcome back.
  26. The cases he tackles are intriguing, if wildly complicated and too often sustained by that peculiar TV mystery mix of intuitive leaps and bad basic police work....Yet as with all such shows, it's the main character who provides the main reason for watching, as the long-suffering Wallander struggles to solve the crimes and put his life back in order.
  27. A serviceable mystery isn’t quite enough to sustain a series. The Sinner has the opportunity, in its remaining episodes, to show more than violence breeding violence. Otherwise, we might be able to live without knowing the answers.
  28. As entertaining as it may be, Apt. 23 does seem like an odd tonal match for the sweeter, more realistic Modern Family. Still, it's nice to see ABC giving a great time slot to a very good show.
  29. If you're not too picky about historical accuracy, and not too put off by cheap-looking computer effects, you'll find much to enjoy in this entertaining adventure, built on a solid hero's-quest structure and bolstered by a terrifically engaging performance from Travis Fimmel as the hero-at-hand.
  30. Odd, inventive and sometimes shockingly dark, this British-American co-production has all the benefits you’d expect from a show able to draw upon both country’s talent pools.
  31. What follows is a sometimes humorous, sometimes nostalgic, sometimes bumpy ride through the era, with a story that often seems to halt just when it’s picking up momentum. Still, every time the story falters, the characters’ and the show’s obvious love for popular music in all its forms lifts it back up.
  32. There's no question that some of the jokes are funny, or that it's nice to see Sisto in a role that lets him lighten up.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The jousting and bonding between the senior Anglo investigator and his younger French-Canadian partner gives Cardinal emotional depth.
  33. 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.
  34. The show is not designed to appeal to prudes, but the writing and the acting are too good to be wasted on the prurient.
  35. 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.
  36. Though fun, the opener's skits are too short, and the characters too numerous, for any one joke to register. But give the show a week to settle, and the strengths of Ullman's concept come to the fore.
  37. Green and Dalton are incredibly entertaining, their world feels fully created, and in Logan, their show is in the hands of a great writer. It's not quite clear yet where he's leading us, but for awhile, at least, consider following.
  38. As is often the nature of such programs, Skies does ask you to accept a lot of clunky dialogue and a few too many easily spotted twists. Even so, fans of the genre can embrace it as a summer-viewing diversion--one that's likely to work even better for younger viewers, who haven't seen all the films from which it borrows.
  39. Simon. He's the gold standard, the judge against whom all others are judged, and his presence is enough to make Factor a factor.
  40. The plot is unlikely to interfere with the real draw of Bloods, which is watching a terrific, mature, extremely well-chosen cast interact.
  41. Red Oaks is never much more than pleasant, but it's also seldom much less. The episodes may not make you laugh out loud, but with a few clanging exceptions (led by an inexplicable Freaky Friday detour) they generally feel both warm and true.
  42. It's two hours of all the things you love (or don't) about 24: The twists and turns, the recalcitrant, dimwitted superiors, the nick-of-time escapes and oh-so-close near-captures. And, of course, there's Sutherland and Rajskub, still one of the best teams the spy genre has ever produced.
  43. Even at its sporadic best, In Treatment comes across as no more than an actor's exercise, one likely to be best remembered for providing future acting students with a large supply of two-character scenes for class projects.
  44. 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]
    • USA Today
  45. Something's going on here, but unfortunately not between the two bland lead actors. Duchovny makes a peculiar hero, too laconic even when discussing his passion for tracking aliens. His character needs oomph, but The X-Files already has a nicely offbeat tone. Maybe this is how Fox will revive its still-lamented Alien Nation series. [10 Sept, 1993 p.Life 3D]
    • USA Today
  46. In TV, however, there are few worse sins than being uninvolving--and despite the best efforts of a strong cast, that’s where The Path lands.
  47. 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]
    • USA Today
  48. The costumes are gorgeous, the sets are time-period gems, and the actors are among the best.... But the story to which they've been appended is hollow. It's like an exquisitely wrapped empty box.
  49. 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.
  50. Karen is more a character-driven drama with cops than a mystery, so don't expect the plot, well-developed though it may be, to fool you. You know Karen will get her man, one way or the other...What matters is the style and steam she brings to the chase.
  51. If you can get past the show's visual tricks and excessive self-consciousness, there is some fun to be had here.
  52. There are times when Quantico feels a shade mechanical, in moments when you can practically hear the plot gears moving. But it accomplishes what the opener of a whodunit needs to do: establish a wide range of plausible suspects and spark our interest in the mystery and the hero. Which means, so far, they got away with it.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. What you get is a ham-fisted, irrational, superficially stylish show that thinks it’s saying something when it’s merely bellowing, and thinks it’s taking risks when it’s merely taking liberties.
  56. You get a great role for Holloway, who has great, sex-charged on-screen chemistry with an equally strong Callies, and the strength of that “What would you do” premise. And for now, that may be enough.
  57. 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.
  58. The plot takes a few satisfyingly clever twists, some of them possibly even fact-based. The period touches seem well-observed, and the acting is fine throughout--with Pace a standout for the way he allows anger and doubt to be just barely visible below a calm, confident shell. Yet too often the writing lets the actors down.
  59. 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]
    • USA Today
  60. Some of the lessons are laid on a bit thick. But the cast, including April Bowlby as Deb's best friend, Ben Feldman as her guardian angel, and Jackson Hurst as her boyfriend, sells them with a minimum of fuss and a light touch.
  61. It's not as funny as "30 Rock" nor as distinctive as "The Office," but it's a clear improvement on the seemingly unsalvageable "Parks & Recreation."
  62. To the extent style points count, Rubicon looks good and boasts a fine cast, including Oscar nominee Miranda Richardson. They work hard, but the more they and their show strain for taut, the more limp the program becomes. And for viewers, that's a very hard bridge to cross.
  63. The tweaks this new Fox hour brings to the template are a higher degree of special-effects-fueled action, a faster pace and a consistently amusing tongue-in-cheek tone.
  64. If you've resisted Kaling's charms up to now, nothing that happens tonight is likely to change your mind.
  65. Southland is unbearable--a pretentious, foul-mouthed, overly arty chore that will leave you with a headache should you linger too long.
  66. The storytelling is too diffuse. At times, it's a medical mystery, with Matthew Modine the outspoken lead researcher manning an obstacle course of financial and bureaucratic Catch-22s. Other times, it's obvious agitprop targeting an uncaring Reagan administration and, in a devastating character assassination, self-promoting Dr. Robert Gallo (Alan Alda).[10 Sept 1993, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  67. Extending for five hours over three weekly segments, this luxuriously produced miniseries is so gorgeous, even in its re-creation of the Depression, that it practically shimmers. It's also slow to the point where "languid" doesn't even begin to do it justice.
  68. The stunts and set pieces are impressive (though the show can't keep having Kimble jump off things every time he's about to be caught), but The Fugitive will ultimately rise or fall on Daly and Williamson. [6 Oct 2000, p.10E]
    • USA Today
  69. Whatever one thought of Practice last season, Boston Legal is a separate show -- and it should be viewed with a clean slate. Taken on its own purposely outrageous terms, Boston succeeds as a decent legal comedy led by two broadly amusing characters. [1 Oct 2004]
    • USA Today
  70. The Riches most often treats this family and their mad attempt to steal a new identity with a delightfully light comic touch bolstered by an underpinning of yearning.... The show stumbles whenever it tries to become dark or serious.
  71. There's no denying that the show throbs with life--and offers enough of a promise of tuneful, scenery-chewing entertainment to make up for the familiarity of some of its twists.
  72. There is pleasure to be found in Life. There'd be even more, though, if a few more of us were invited in.
  73. The plots of the two episodes available for review were standard and sometimes underdeveloped soap staples, but they're well handled by the attractive cast. [28 Jun 2000]
    • USA Today
  74. The script is humorous, though not hilarious, and the show boasts a fine cast that could, with time, jell into a great one.
    • USA Today
  75. The opener for this CW charmer, TV's latest series based on a foreign hit, easily gets over the hurdle that stymies some romantic comedies: your willingness to accept the couple as made for each other.
  76. The goal is little more than light, disposable summer entertainment — and the show may even get there, if it can strip away some of its more annoying drags.
  77. Some will grow bored with the style when the substance falters, but others are likely to be enchanted--particularly those who feel it's time hip-hop finally got its own cinematic celebration.
  78. The first [strike] is that Pitch is virtually surprise-free, save for a twist that feels more like a gimmick, and a dead-end one at that. The other is that while the writers no doubt have more stories to tell, you can't help wondering whether they've already told the most interesting one.
  79. Intentionally or not, what you end up with is two movies that don’t always happily coexist: A fantasy version of 24, complete with that series' sometimes annoying time-wasting obstacles, paired with a star-crossed romance. And to make matters worse, Franco is only convincing in the love story, where he does his best work.
  80. Fans can relax; the franchise is in good, and possibly even better, hands. [23 Sep 2002]
    • USA Today
  81. As you'd expect from a new late-night show, parts of it worked better than others, and no doubt tweaks will be forthcoming. But overall, Monday's opening outing got Wilmore off to a solid start. ... It helps immensely that, in his first night, Wilmore already seemed completely comfortable as the show's host.
  82. The good news is that you will get answers. The bad news is that they don't so much advance the story as circle around it.
  83. 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.
  84. 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.
  85. You can easily imagine yourself settling in with Kidnapped for six, eight, maybe even 13 episodes. But 22? Sorry, no.
  86. Sons wants us to care about their hopes and struggles, but gives no clue as to why we might do so.
  87. The Tudors comes back enriched and improved.
  88. It takes a while to pull you in -- but once it does, you're likely to stay. [20 Sept 1999, p.1D]
    • USA Today
  89. All we need ask of Grey's is that it tell its stories well in its own way, and tonight it does.
  90. [The premiere is] another well-told story that gives us a bit more insight into the pair while the season's two interconnected running story lines spool out behind them.
  91. A few minutes in, and you can sense a promise of sex, surprises, and a healthy dose of fun. And so far, the show delivers.
  92. If the show lacks novelty, it's not without its appeal. The dialogue is unforced without being aimless, and there's fun to be had from a strong supporting cast.
  93. Ponderous... convoluted.
  94. Like the Vatican itself, Pope is beautiful, lush and carefully, formally composed. It’s also oddly airless and cold, more a series of striking pictures than a living and breathing slice of life, one that leaves you with no way in and little reason to care. Style doesn't just trump substance here; it's the only substance The Young Pope has. And that seems wrong.
  95. With each episode, the show seems to move further from real life and the real Rome and off into some sex-crazed, soap-opera fantasy version of a place that has never, thankfully, existed before or since.
  96. This is a series where surface is substance, and surfaces don't come much dreamier than in this beautifully realized flight fantasy, from its lovely, terror-free airport to its even lovelier cast.
  97. An exceedingly funny spoof of Cops that also manages to dismantle the entire crime-show genre. [23 Jul 2003]
    • USA Today
  98. If parts of the tale are familiar, it's all well-told, with a bit of visual flair.... [Berry] brings a dignity and gravity to Molly, a projected intelligence that allows you to buy her as an astronaut and to see what has happened to her as frightening rather than ridiculous.
  99. 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.

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