Wall Street Journal's Scores

For 652 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 62% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 35% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 All The Way (2016)
Lowest review score: 10 Category 7: The End of the World: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 461
  2. Negative: 0 out of 461
461 tv reviews
  1. If the quality of this one, so irresistible in its vitality and suspense, does fail to hold up, its creators will have delivered, at the least, one remarkably fine hour.
  2. A fact-based film of exceptional power.
  3. As any rational person would expect, the subject of HBO’s The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee--the executive editor who presided over the Washington Post’s coverage of the Watergate scandal that drove Richard Nixon from office--quickly emerges as a heroic figure. What’s not so expected, what comes as something bordering on shock, of a gratifying kind, is how much else the film takes on in this buoyant and mercilessly frank look at Bradlee’s life and career.
  4. It's best to get quickly past the confused and shapeless first episode and on to the rest, where the characters become individualized.
  5. There are no surprises in this story. All is predictable, sorrows pass, happiness triumphs--a formula that works out splendidly in this endearing tale.
  6. Although the film ends on an odd note that seems to endorse near-subsistence farming as the only moral and sustainable form of agriculture, it makes an important record of a receding era.
  7. It would be grim if it were not for the poetry itself, and Mr. Hollander’s soothing approximation of the way Thomas declaimed it on recordings he left behind.
  8. Director Liz Garbus conveys much of the excitement and turmoil surrounding the subject of her documentary, Bobby Fischer Against the World.
  9. The arrival of one pure and unadulterated drama about a passion as old as man is something to celebrate. That's particularly true when that drama is as spellbinding in its satisfyingly gaudy way, as Revenge turns out to be.
  10. There's promise, plainly, of rich developments ahead.
  11. The lineup of episodes has been rich in their revelations, moving in their testaments to the lives of the employees and, especially, to the meaning to them of their daily labor. There is above all no simulated emotion in what those workers say, no artifice—a new and revolutionary turn for the genre.
  12. A wide-ranging work and a compelling one.
  13. Ms. Jones's president is compelling--a force to contend with. Much the same can be said of the new 24 itself--a force now returned in strength and, once again, highly addictive.
  14. Mr. Gervais has in no way lost his touch.
  15. How this works out over its many episodes isn't easy to predict, but we have, at minimum, a strong beginning--Zamani notwithstanding--one that reaches undeniably satisfying levels of menace.
  16. Season three's In Treatment [scripts are] entirely original. That may partly account for the so-far stagey quality of the episodes involving Jesse (Dane DeHaan), a 16-year-old gay male adoptee confronting a birth-mother problem....There is, otherwise, little that can detract from this series now roaring back with its old miraculous suspense and flinty intelligence.
  17. After the static and bloodless world of “The Girlfriend Experience,” the Showtime comedy Dice is like an explosion of heat and vigor and passion.
  18. [A] splendidly written work whose surprise ending is the kind worth waiting for.
  19. Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer, brothers and the show’s creators, have done their homework when it comes to ’80s cinema. Whether you’re a fan of John Carpenter’s “The Thing” or “The Goonies” is more your speed, there’s plenty to like in Stranger Things.
  20. Just two episodes of this 13-part series have been made available—enough to indicate the enormous care devoted to the look of the '40s, to the primitive living quarters. We get an immediate sense, as well, of the characters likely to command attention.
  21. It's a dramatic premise that should yield high rewards for Hostages, whose confident pilot episode ends with a cliffhanger worthy of the name--a kind that should bring audiences back lusting for more.
  22. There isn’t much that can pass for comedy here, but there’s plenty of compelling viciousness and two powerful performances.
  23. The story of rising (and falling) movie star Vince (Adrian Grenier) and his entourage of high-living pals is as amusing as ever; and as the show matures so, ever so slightly, do the characters.
  24. This workplace comedy comes out of the gate with instant appeal. Mr. Williams is never less than formidable in his delivery; the writing is never less than crisp and sometimes it's crisply hilarious.
  25. Most of the editors here have charm and pizazz that seem more appealing than the photographs they masterminded.
  26. A series about a high-school girl that's neither maudlin nor alarming nor conceived with intent to preach or to shock. It's further distinguished by its focus on entirely recognizable teenage pains, as endured by an entirely recognizable teenager, Jenna. Its other distinction: strong echoes of an older kind of storytelling, the sort whose characters grow and acquire depth.
  27. Despite some clumsy exposition by its creators, Jack Amiel and Michael Begler, it has a well-researched sense of place.
  28. Power is a frightening but easy-to-get-sucked-into fable about those last two paths to financial success [drug dealing and nightclubs].
  29. The truthful background of this high-stakes history makes it thrilling on a deeper level. Along with the battle scenes and other entertainments, the series reflects many challenges of today’s world.
  30. Who in this family has been plotting what against whom? That this quickly becomes, for the viewer, an urgent question says all that’s necessary about the story’s magnetic pull.
  31. It's an old story rolled out with all the power of the new--meticulously plotted, irresistibly suspenseful.
  32. Boss is not flawless. But buoyed by strong performances and a haunting score, the show makes for deeply affecting television nevertheless.
  33. For all its emotional agony and slow pacing at times, Happy Valley is always moving forward and the fifth episode explodes off the screen.
  34. The series is set in modern-day Rome, where the women wear tight skirts, the men are in sharp suits, and even the corruption is exquisite in its labyrinthine complexity.
  35. Judging from the premiere episode, Conviction is not just compelling and topical, it’s a master class in TV-series construction.
  36. It's all more like a steady burn--of talent, of smart writing, of chemical reactions--and it may take a few episodes to feel the heat.
  37. It is neither a cheap thrill or too painful to watch these lost souls being drilled in first impressions.
  38. Despite the music in James Lapine's documentary, Six By Sondheim, it is archival clips of Mr. Sondheim describing how he writes that make the film a treasure.
  39. Suffering is never easy to watch, and when a series revolves around a woman in near-constant mental anguish, things can creep close to tiresome. Such is Ms. Sevigny's performance, though--at once veiled and yet open to view as she has not often been in other roles—that you can't stop looking.
  40. So far--although Glee may be creeping closer to the edge--it remains nearly as delightful as it was when everything about the show seemed shiny and new.
  41. It consistently pokes fun at our culture and foibles in ways that are clever and sometimes sharp but never mean.
  42. The non-toxic intimacy of these struggles--a rarity in reality TV--and the recognizable nature of these lives should keep plenty of viewers glued to the screen.
  43. It’s nonetheless admirably written, and reliably sophisticated comedy.
  44. Strong writing and acting ensure that we soon become so sensitive to the characters that we feel for them the way they feel for their horses.
  45. Sharp-tongued, ambitious, highly seductive--a TV series that has, it can be said, done the job.
  46. It promised, in short, steadily absorbing plots and skilled writing, and these the series has delivered ever since.
  47. It's a measure of the skill brought to this script by Paul Scheuring that a first episode so awash in multiplying complications manages to maintain its coherence and even a significant measure of suspense.
  48. Even without the Hollywood glamour, though, the New York series may turn out to be the superior product, grounded as it is in Mr. Greenberg's compelling, layered character, with a strong mind and vulnerable heart.
  49. This new PBS Masterpiece series written by Andrew Davies is plenty addicting without the lords and ladies, opening a treasure box of tales about love, loss, ambition and the spirit of a new age.
  50. The amusing Odd Mom Out is a sweet, frothy surprise.
  51. The performances by the likes of Mr. Biggs, Ms. Mulgrew and, especially, Ms. Schilling are so convincing, and the dialogue so sharp, that none of this feels like prurience for its own sake.
  52. The glory of this particular adaptation, intentional or not, is that what we bring to it with today's sensibilities can actually enhance the experience.
  53. All the sci-fi intrigue and alien high jinks will give them [Adam Scott and Craig Robinson] plenty of material. But it’s really only window dressing for their comedy, which in the weeks to come could be out of this world.
  54. Alert to every deranged impulse of his clients, Mr. Silver brings his lessons home with vigor and wit.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This isn't just the story of one woman's search for relevance or power in a man's world; it's the story of one human being's search for meaning, one soul's search for redemption.
  55. As the premiere episode nears its end, the plot begins thickening agreeably with so many secrets, dark revelations, shocks and betrayals it all begins to seem familiarly and comfortably absorbing.
  56. The standard caution is relevant -- debut episodes tend to be highly polished. All the more reason to enjoy the hilarious scenes and fine ensemble cast here.
  57. It's a testament to the crackling intelligence of the script (written by Mr. Boyd) that the nature of that menace hangs elusively in the air until the end.
  58. [A] darkly acerbic, and riveting, Masterpiece drama, written and directed by Sally Wainwright
  59. The underlying theme here, once the fantastic elements are stripped away, is loneliness. That (plus the interesting face of its star) gives New Amsterdam a true and very tender heart.
  60. Thankfully, Caprica can be enjoyed without any reference to the literal past or the figurative future.
  61. [A] handsome and well acted period piece.
  62. Rectify is an ambitious and eloquent series, vivid in its portraiture of family and local citizens who don't know quite what to make of Daniel (a proclivity the film seems to share)--assurance enough of an engrossing six hours.
  63. As charming as all that is amid the macabre, Pushing Daisies is a show that only a grown-up can fully enjoy.
  64. There are precious few signs of trouble or uncertainty in the polished, instantaneously seductive finished product on display in its first episode.
  65. HBO's Bored to Death sneaks up speedily, an eight-part comic enterprise that's soon transformed into flat-out inspired comedy.
  66. All of us have common memories of that time. Yet this quiet but affecting program is Mr. Bush's story, told as only the man who was president on Sept. 11, 2001 could tell it.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's genuinely hilarious and smartly written (Mike O'Malley), its observations are keen, its atmosphere warm but with a saving flinty undertone. Add to that a preening vulgarity that shows touching evidence of restraint.
  67. [The show’s writers revert] at least once to a Carrie who maunders on pathetically during a trip back to America, as she evokes loving memories of the psychopathic Brody for her infant daughter—a truly unbearable scene, fortunately brief. There’s not a lot likely to dim the attractions of this Homeland with its energized spirit--not to mention the implacable Carrie, capable of mounting a war on terror all her own.
  68. It is the small things that can elevate Mad Men above the level of ambitious soap opera.
  69. Jack will have his work cut out for him, and audiences will be as enthralled by 24 as they have ever been, if not more, and they'll have good reason.
  70. Ms.Tomlin and Ms. Fonda make an immensely potent comedy team. Together, and also separately, they’re the source of most of the ebullience, style and assorted other pleasures of Grace and Frankie, and those are considerable.
  71. An atmospheric thriller wrapped around a nugget of social commentary.
  72. A tartly written number, (by Paul Feig) that is amusing and frequently hard-eyed in its look back at certain not so dear old school days. [27 Sept 1999, p.A32]
    • Wall Street Journal
  73. The first episode of Under the Dome is so intriguing that you may be tempted to Wiki the Stephen King novel on which it's based to find out what will happen next. Don't do that.
  74. The series, created by Simon Block, weaves its way deftly through its engrossing plot entanglements.
  75. There's enough room left in the genre for another modern pairing, and Mr. Miller and Ms. Liu bring something memorably new to each character.
  76. While the documentary doesn't view the day through rose-colored glasses, it lets us approach that time in a new, less painful way.
  77. There is a little less suspense about some of the baddies here, one of whom is easy to guess early on. Yet it is never tiring to watch Marcus run and leap and limp and dodge the police cars and foot-chasers that seem to turn up every place he tries to take refuge in or search for clues.
  78. A hard-charging, unfailingly suspenseful mystery whose tonnage of side dramas and veritable school of red herrings don’t, miraculously enough, undermine its strength. Though it is, on occasion, a close call.
  79. Impressive... Ms. Mirren leaves her authoritative stamp on the role of Elizabeth.
  80. What makes this a standout family show is not the absence of dirty words. Who needs those when there's an abundance of eccentric humor and bright writing?
  81. It's far more beautiful than its predecessors.
  82. It contains enough legalese to make things seem plausible, not impenetrable. It breathes. It allows relationships to build, and be revealed, as the narrative progresses.
  83. It has cinematic production values that give it the heft of a movie, and the lead characters are so natural and believable that the alien angle is less ludicrous than usual.
  84. The unit's work was top secret, its members' experiences, recounted in this film, fascinating above all for what they tell about the determined inventiveness, the all-out ambition to try everything, characteristic of that war effort.
  85. There's plenty of life and overall quality to sustain this series for a long time to come.
  86. The series couldn't have arrived at a more timely moment for such subject matter, but there's no point looking for even-handedness or a lack thereof in a work that offers only--give or take a caustic political observation or two--exhilarating drama.
  87. No sooner has Upstairs veered toward farce than it redeems itself, again and again.
  88. Maron is short, funny and coherent.
  89. Whatever the complaints about the movie, it brings home, as few films on such themes ever do, the terrors of accusation and conviction.
  90. We may have seen film of migrating wildebeest and zebras on the Serengeti before. But Great Migrations looks at everything from new and spectacularly beautiful angles.
  91. There is enough lively (if sometimes explicit) dialogue and reliable sexual appeal in all this to keep intuitive male viewers interested.
  92. Given the filmmaker's unrestricted access to Mitt Romney through both presidential campaigns, Greg Whiteley's Mitt is an unsurprisingly warm portrait. Which isn't to say it isn't full of tensions, when not outright suffering, perceptible through all the upbeat chatter from the candidate and his wife, campaign advisers, the Romney sons and their wives.
  93. All good stuff, plus a brief but powerful moment at the end that will leave longtime "Morse" fans in an agony of nostalgia
  94. This being a made-for-television environment, no one perishes, but there are no happy endings here, either.
  95. Some of the life forms in Almost Human are artificial. The intelligence is genuine.
  96. TNT's cop drama Southland is like a hot date on a Saturday night. Just waiting for another episode to begin each week is a thrill, and once the show gets going the rush is like nothing else on TV.
  97. While the series is not without humor--including the occasional sexual witticism--it is never camp, a huge plus for devotees of genuine drama.
  98. Magnificent cinematography, abundant animal life and lovely music that may contain harmonies unique to Botswana--all these make The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency a distinctly foreign affair. In the end, though, what comes through most strongly is not what's different, but how easily we recognize it all.

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