Wall Street Journal's Scores

For 470 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 64% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 33% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 Homeland: Season 1
Lowest review score: 10 The Millers: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 339
  2. Negative: 0 out of 339
339 tv reviews
  1. This season's "Sopranos" is quite simply dazzling in its inventiveness, its reach, and one other aspect -- its capacity to pound audiences emotionally as the series has never before done.
  2. Stunning in a different way are the three Marines at the center of the series. In their true stories and, more importantly, their individual responses to the demands of warfare, we find a perfect trinity of action, emotion and intellect.
  3. Perhaps the most glorious Masterpiece Theater of all time.
  4. The best parts of Treme are breathtaking. And then it exceeds that.
  5. What makes The Walking Dead so much more than a horror show is that it plays with theatrical grandeur, on a canvas that feels real, looks cinematic and has an orchestral score to match. For all its set pieces, however, Walking is most breathtaking in its small moments, in which the pain and glory of being human are conveyed with only the flick of a filmmaking wrist.
  6. There is no mystery about the potency of this series, slathered in wit, powered by storytelling of a high order.
  7. One welcome aspect of all this is that some of the plot threads which became so distracting last season, threatening to tip Big Love into crazy-flatulent "L.A. Law" territory, seem to be gone. There is more than enough left, along with consistently brilliant acting all over, to keep the show as mesmerizing as it ever was.
  8. They [the Loud family] are to the contrary enlarged, explained, their family loyalty honored, in a film that ends up packing an emotional punch that's as surprising as it is eloquent.
  9. Taken together there is in these 5 1/2 hours, breathtaking in their scope and detail, nothing approaching a dull moment.
  10. Once you watch the first episode, it's going to be hard standing the wait for the next.
  11. The vibrant brew of upstairs-downstairs relationships is more savory now, the characters more complicated.
  12. Intricate plots (many updated versions of old favorites), fast pacing and smart, witty writing make Sherlock one of the most dazzling confections on TV.
  13. Television's best drama series is, in short, back with all that was delectable about season one on vivid display again-first-class writing, sterling performances, rocketing suspense.
  14. Downton has returned with all its powers intact, not least its power to mesmerize its armies of devoted fans.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What Mr. Lynch does so well is to imbue something as ordinary as small-town America with an inchoate threat, an ax waiting to fall. In short, Twin Peaks is creepy... After two episodes, Twin Peaks is riveting. And it's so cool, it's chilly.
    • Wall Street Journal
  15. Moment after moment the drama deepens, the rich complexity of Ford's characters make themselves felt in all their strangeness and variety.
  16. The drama unfolds in a series of flashbacks separated by many years. Hart and Cohle, no longer young, end up reporting on the past in separate interviews—a formula carried off with subtlety and high intelligence, like everything else in this detective story.
  17. The PBS series is more marvelous, and thrilling, than ever.
  18. The trick to Ray Donovan, its gift to TV art, is to make almost every character emerge fully formed, and each scene a stunning vignette: of tragedy.
  19. Watching "My Name Is Earl" unfold is like taking a hydrofoil ride and flying so fast above the ordinary surface of television life that when the show ends you feel dazed and amazed for hours afterward.
  20. What makes it uniquely entertaining are Mr. Rock's and co-creator Ali LeRoi's humorous insights into the terrors of adolescence and their tart observations about harsh realities of the wider world.
  21. Thoroughly sharp, seriously compelling.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It doesn't happen very often that halfway into the pilot for a new show, you're already looking forward to subsequent episodes just to find out more about the characters you've glimpsed in the first few minutes.
  22. A work as shapely as it is sprawling -- no small trick -- it renders the complex history that led to 9/11 with a ripping power that can at times feel overwhelming.
  23. It's clear that all that has made "24" so huge and deserved a success is on display again in these first smashing episodes.
  24. It is even more excruciating -- which in this case means better -- than last year's.
  25. Local stories can have more poetry than grand ones; that is the genius of The Wire. It's not what happens to the characters, or the societal trends the script explores, that matter so much as the authentic and precise way in which events are represented.
  26. Its capacity to maintain an unyielding grip on your attention becomes similarly evident fast, as does one's strong sense that that grip isn't going to weaken anytime soon.
  27. This three-hour production, starring most of the cast of the 2004 Broadway revival, flies by with lightning speed--and that cast led by Ms. Rashad, superbly authoritative, impossibly attractive as Lena, is no small part of the reason. Ms. McDonald is heartbreaking as Ruth, desperate to understand her husband's descent into misery, and Mr. Combs, who portrays that husband, delivers a sterling performance.
  28. It's not often that television with a scope so novelistic--so ambitious--comes along, and not often, either, that it yields drama so sterling.
  29. Its vivid, cliché-free writing has always been In Treatment's singular strength. That's even truer in its riveting new season--no small accomplishment.
  30. The HBO film Grey Gardens shines new light on old subjects, and the result--including a fantastic performance from Drew Barrymore--is beyond entertaining.
  31. The new season returns with a full roster of the vivid characters who have distinguished the series from the outset, and in ways more important than the cultural detail for which Mad Men has been rightly praised. They're smart, they're self-seeking, they're recognizably human.
  32. It is not very often that a TV series invents a new look, or even a new genre. After only two weeks on the air, it may be too soon to gush that way about FX's new drama Justified, but this is one cool show.
  33. The stories are complex and contemporary, with references to a remembered past. But it's easy to forget the past--the present Sherlock, droll yet naive, is so wonderfully weird.
  34. There is scarcely a central figure in American film, whether Cecil B. DeMille, Darryl Zanuck, Frank Capra, William Wyler, Orson Welles or a legendary star--that list is far too long to recite--who doesn't come to life here, in fresh perspective. It's entertainment for grown-ups all right, and you won't find that at the multiplex.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The exceptional writing and pitch-perfect acting of Southland is not to be missed.
  35. It's quickly clear that this skillfully sustained, sharply plotted series is a fighter saga you'll want to follow to the final bell.
  36. What distinguishes this drama from countless mysteries about missing young women gone to terrifying deaths is the unrelenting focus, complex and haunting, on the family left behind. A riveting tale with a hunt for the killer that's no less compelling.
  37. Onto this short list of tightly written and intensely acted thrillers now comes Boss.
  38. [Bill Nighy] is the riveting, breath-stealing, can't-take-your-eyes-off-him center of drama where every actor and every moment is like that, too.
  39. The cast is crowded and uniformly splendid. There's little about this captivating fusion of music, dance and potent storytelling of which the same couldn't be said.
  40. Each week the story unfolds like a tapestry, its intricate stitches slowly creating not just a scene but a whole world. It's a world to get lost in, but not always easy to endure.
  41. It is, in its artfulness and drama, a smashing pilot and--from the evidence of the next episodes--a reliable indicator of the quality to come.
  42. Mindy is not just soulful and amusing. It takes a genre full of clichés, adds something fresh and spins it into gold.
  43. [The best way] to view The Girl as an exquisitely lurid morality play in the Hitchcock style.
  44. This immensely absorbing drama is worth any trouble it takes to catch up with its singular pleasures.
  45. The Americans unfolds a thoroughly seductive tale of sleeper KGB agents.
  46. The cast--including Michael Cudlitz, Ben McKenzie, Shawn Hatosy and Regina King--is perfection. No ensemble of actors on television is more stunning or exciting to watch.
  47. Golden Boy is packed with fine performances, but no amount of actorly talent could have done for this series what its intelligently twisty plots, its nuanced dialogue bearing a distinct resemblance to human exchange--even from the mouths of TV police detectives--has done.
  48. The narrative is so intense and the details are so rich that you can forget to breathe.
  49. To watch Mr. Pacino's Spector pull himself back from the edge to shout, bitterly, that of course he knows this is only a rehearsal--he'll go on, awkwardly, to assure the shaken defense team that they've done well--is to feel the full force of the intelligence behind this drama.
  50. What makes this documentary so fascinating are the narratives by many of the CIA analysts, operatives and others who worked in the shadows over almost two decades to lay the groundwork for identifying Islamic radicals and tracking terrorists.
  51. [A] captivating series created by Ann Biderman--sharply written, sophisticated even at its most melodramatic, with first-class performances throughout.
  52. As a murder mystery, Broadchurch is satisfyingly complex (even if the accents may take some getting used to). As an exploration of grief it is even better, with Ms. Whittaker and Ms. Colman pointing the way. But in its long, slow unfolding Broadchurch is most magnificent in another sense--as an elegy for the happy innocence of ignorance.
  53. It was impossible to imagine anything like the gripping power of Life According to Sam.... Not long into the film, it becomes difficult to look at anyone but Sam--who has by sheer force of his intelligence, his unmistakable assurance, become a magnetic presence.
  54. A superbly stylish and scary French drama with no equal in its genre.
  55. The Canadian wilderness scenery is spectacular and the cast is even better.
  56. The new season--suspenseful as ever, more brutal in its violence, perhaps, and more expansive in its reach into history--easily upholds the standard of the first.
  57. The question of whether Malvo is a Satan or some kind of avenging angel is what helps elevate Fargo above the realm of merely clever black comedy.
  58. In a film directed by Ryan Murphy and with strong performances, including those by Mr. Ruffalo, Ms. Roberts, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and Alfred Molina, Mr. Mantello's anguished lament ["...can't you see how important it is for us to love openly...without guilt?"] may be the most haunting.
  59. The people of Orange offer some of the best times, and company, to be found on TV.
  60. All of which adds up to drama--which includes a fine turn by Bill Murray--of a notably high order.

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