Wall Street Journal's Scores

For 666 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 The Americans: Season 4
Lowest review score: 10 Graceland: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 472
  2. Negative: 0 out of 472
472 tv reviews
  1. [A] splendidly written work whose surprise ending is the kind worth waiting for.
  2. The overwhelming sense of a work drained of vitality-- of a series once rich in suspense of the most brilliantly imagined kind, especially in the past two seasons, now flattened, on the evidence of the first episodes, to a deadly predictability, all of it the inevitable result of works dedicated to sermonizing.
  3. Ms. Fisher’s often naked honesty on the page and in person, made her beloved to her many fans, as the flow of tributes proved last week. Her mother, conversely, represented an old-style “show must go on” tenacity that got her through the Fisher-Taylor scandal with poise and class, and perhaps made her beloved to another kind of fan. Both camps will find much to move them in Bright Lights, especially the profound bond between its subjects and the obstacles that were overcome to make it last.
  4. The family is Cuban-American. The single mom, Penelope (the excellent Justina Machado of “Six Feet Under”), is ex-military. Hispanic culture is one of the show’s founts of humor--a painful one, in the case of Rita Moreno’s live-in grandma, Lydia. Otherwise, the show is recycled Norman Lear.
  5. A Smithsonian Channel documentary sizzling with breaking news broadcasts, pictures and commentaries seldom if ever included in previous documentaries. The result is quite simply spine-tingling, and that tingling grows steadily stronger.
  6. There are no surprises in this story. All is predictable, sorrows pass, happiness triumphs--a formula that works out splendidly in this endearing tale.
  7. We’re clearly meant to see the duke as a wastrel with heart. It doesn’t quite come off--Mr. Jennings is far too convincing as an empty-hearted scoundrel--but it’s a minor flaw in this superbly sustained work.
  8. The show’s whiskey-voiced, horse-loving, shotgun-wielding Camilla is so viciously funny she requires no real explanation. Already aired in the U.K., Tracey Ullman’s Show takes swipes at various aspects of British life and politics, but Americans shouldn’t need much help absorbing them.
  9. All the Durrells seem to find themselves in Corfu. Viewers will find them irresistible.
  10. In this skillfully conceived series the characters never fail to remind us of the forces that drive them, and no one does it better or more compellingly than Thomas Haden Church as Robert, a man in chaos hurling his many selves around, all of them infused with his absurdity and raging wit.
  11. All told, Katie is a commanding presence, a social commentator with a flair for insult, a housewife with a bottomless capacity for complaint. Ms. Mixon performs commendably. What the show needs now are writers of whom the same could be said.
  12. Judging from the premiere episode, Conviction is not just compelling and topical, it’s a master class in TV-series construction.
  13. Woody Allen projects are all walking and talking, so they rise or fall based on the strength of their ideas. This one has none.
  14. The problem comes in the second episode, along with a suddenly increased capacity to resist everything about Designated Survivor. Here we come up against the show’s message, or more precisely its gross political tendentiousness. ... Mr. Sutherland may not have been the best choice for the role of a virtuous milquetoast concealing a heart of steel--the milquetoast part dominates even when the steel is flashed.
  15. Wry, smart, culturally immediate, it takes great delight, on the one hand, in skewering that vaunted sociological/real-estate phenomenon one might call Insufferable Brooklyn. On the other, it consistently mines laughs and melancholy out of a smattering of sympathetic characters drawn from the ranks of the self-absorbed, the newly arrived, the mendacious and the medicated.
  16. [Churchill's Secret is] awash in a deadening sentimentality, in addition to much received wisdom on why the children of great men go wrong. ... Churchill’s Secret has its strengths, among them the setting--the majestic Churchill family home at Chartwell--and the fine cast, in particular Mr. Gambon. For his scenes with his special nurse, Millie (Romola Garai), a wholly fictional character, he manages a faintly wicked buoyancy that is, at times, the one thing that saves them.
  17. It’s certainly energetic TV, but requires a strenuous suspension of disbelief.
  18. It’s certainly energetic TV, but requires a strenuous suspension of disbelief.
  19. The sense of desperation among all the characters is heightened; the stakes are higher; the politics more sordid. Other aspects of the series, however, have remained disappointingly the same.
  20. The program has the depth of a tuna can and is edited so frantically it feels like a trailer for itself. The four stars are basically there to present their well-established personae.
  21. The show is so infectiously fun—in its up-tempo numbers, production design (all high-waisted, polyester pants and vinyl-topped cars) and the historical characters who pop up (from DJ Kool Herc to Ed Koch)--that it rises above its shortcomings. Add to this the shining performances of Ms. Guardiola, Mr. Moore and Mr. Smith and it’s hard not to be charmed.
  22. You don’t need to have seen the two seasons of HBO’s drama “Looking” to enjoy the movie that wraps things up now that the series has ended.
  23. There isn’t much that can pass for comedy here, but there’s plenty of compelling viciousness and two powerful performances.
  24. 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.
  25. If the series were only about the doe-eyed and inscrutable Naz, it would be interesting enough. But it is bursting with other characters and heart-ripping portraits and morality playlets with a life of their own. The main attraction is the disheveled lawyer Jack Stone (John Turturro, in a mind-blowing performance).
  26. The subjects of this series, seen in their habitats--a massive Nile crocodile, which gets to eat once a year, lying in wait for herds of wildebeests to come by; a hungry polar bear, stalking seals while struggling in the melting ice--have all the impact of characters whose moments on stage are brief but not easily forgotten. An effect largely due to the talent and enterprise of the photographic team for this endlessly compelling work.
  27. The task of holding things together under this assault and others will fall to the amiable tour manager, Bill (Luke Wilson, awkwardly cast as a Lothario) and the production manager, Shelli (Carla Gugino)--who are supposed to have some chemistry between them but don’t seem to spark. ... Almost crushed beneath the farce are small moments that seem genuine.
  28. A lack of originality isn’t its only weakness. Overacting--and at least one abysmal attempt at a Boston accent--results in a soapy atmosphere. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but it becomes one as the series fails to grasp its tone.
  29. Ms. Comer delivers a compelling portrayal as Ivy, who, even in the grip of terror, projects an air of dangerousness. She’s fragile, but has also developed a core of steel—her experience has made her tough, as she shows throughout the five episodes of this thriller entirely worthy of the name.
  30. While the show shoots for Sorkinesque commentary and the hilarity of “Veep,” it doesn’t come anywhere close to either. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Danny Pino, Aaron Tveit, Tony Shalhoub and other familiar small-screen faces don’t have much to work with, given writing that’s as weak as the excuses offered during high-profile sexting scandals.

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