Wall Street Journal's Scores

For 447 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 4.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 Downton Abbey: Season 2
Lowest review score: 10 Category 7: The End of the World: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 321
  2. Negative: 0 out of 321
321 tv reviews
  1. 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?
  2. White Collar takes off in its own refreshing directions, with enough wit and sparkle to make the time fly by.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. No vampires (so far). But no matter what materializes in the town, it's satisfying to see in the first episode that Haven already revolves around grown-ups.
  7. It promised, in short, steadily absorbing plots and skilled writing, and these the series has delivered ever since.
  8. Making, and enjoying, a commitment to watch Showtime's new dramedy The Big C requires a deliberate decision to ignore nagging questions. Such as: Why are so many of the TV and cinematic cancer stories of the past few decades about women? And in an era when more and more of us know someone with cancer, or have experienced it directly, does that mean that we are now ready to embrace the subject as entertainment? Dwell too long on those questions, and what is good about The Big C may pass you by.
  9. Although their characters are as vivid as they are distinctive, these two interact so effortlessly, in conversation and body language, it's easy to forget they are just acting. And inside these "lost boys" are real men struggling to get out.
  10. 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.
  11. Mike & Molly may not at first seem to offer much (other, that is, than streams of fat jokes), but it boasts a cast with distinctive looks and a capacity to deliver quick comedic jabs that can make you howl. That these come unexpectedly in the midst of endless gross clatter is one of those mysteries of the creative process best not to dwell upon.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Jokes like that ["You gonna go all 'Twilight' on me?"] and the wisecracking Sally occasionally threaten to turn Being Human into a mild, campy thing. As we get to know the characters, however, and begin to identify with their sense of loss and isolation, humor helps make what is preposterous about their situation seem real.
  15. It consistently pokes fun at our culture and foibles in ways that are clever and sometimes sharp but never mean.
  16. Whatever the complaints about the movie, it brings home, as few films on such themes ever do, the terrors of accusation and conviction.
  17. These are, in short, characters with a long literary-and Hollywood-pedigree. Which makes all the more impressive the vividness and mystery they bring to this series (adapted by Andrew Davies from a 1936 novel by Winifred Holtby)--thanks, needless to say, to extraordinarily seductive performances.
  18. Director Liz Garbus conveys much of the excitement and turmoil surrounding the subject of her documentary, Bobby Fischer Against the World.
  19. Hey, it works. Probably because Falling Skies tells a gripping story, full of people whose fate we cannot guess on a playing field whose contours are not yet clear.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. It's no small miracle that Mr. Azaria makes this soppy character work. He does. The same can be said for just about everything else in this appealingly hard-headed, smartly written comedy.
  25. A sharply drawn and riveting one from the evidence on hand, and bolstered by a skilled cast. This club should lure plenty of customers, television-viewing variety. They'll have good reason.
    • 75 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.
  26. 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.
  27. [The wife is] not to be ignored. The same holds true for these two splendid hours of entertainment.
  28. The TV series picks up perfectly where the movie left off, adding spice along the way.
  29. This is Southland, where the emotional underpinnings of the main characters give the show its outstanding grace and depth.
  30. 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.
  31. The real Messrs. Gervais and Merchant haven't lost their touch with self-humiliating characters.
  32. It's one that's sharply plotted, fast-paced, with impressive performances.
  33. It is the small things that can elevate Mad Men above the level of ambitious soap opera.
  34. The Killing returns with all its powers intact, its uniformly superb performances--not least Ms. Enos's Detective Linden and Mr. Sexton's Stanley.
  35. After only one episode it's clear that the more we learn about each of them, the more we will want to know.
  36. That this rich, impressively ambitious film says far more about Martha Gellhorn than about Ernest Hemingway was inevitable.
  37. Longmire is the best of two worlds: a modern crime drama with dry wit and sometimes heart-wrenching emotion that's also got a glorious setting under the big sky of Wyoming.
  38. Alert to every deranged impulse of his clients, Mr. Silver brings his lessons home with vigor and wit.
  39. 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.
  40. A suspense story enriched by its psychological dimension and three quietly compelling performances.
  41. All good stuff, plus a brief but powerful moment at the end that will leave longtime "Morse" fans in an agony of nostalgia
  42. Boss is not flawless. But buoyed by strong performances and a haunting score, the show makes for deeply affecting television nevertheless.
  43. Its unyielding moral passion, exemplified in the character and pursuits of its hero, Detective Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones), is the life force that propels this powerful--and powerfully violent--tale of New York City, 1864.
  44. It is neither a cheap thrill or too painful to watch these lost souls being drilled in first impressions.
  45. Vide Shakespeare and all the other roles, Mr. Branagh has never been better cast.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. No sooner has Upstairs veered toward farce than it redeems itself, again and again.
  49. [A] thoroughly captivating Rolling Stones documentary.
  50. 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.
  51. Most of the editors here have charm and pizazz that seem more appealing than the photographs they masterminded.
  52. 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.
  53. This hour [is] packed with Mr. Brooks at his most endearing.
  54. Its smartness comes shining through despite the claptrap (none worse than the parade of sex scenes, soft-porn variety, whose noisiness is exceeded only by their unconvincingness); its story, littered with intriguingly repellent characters, like Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen), local evil tycoon, grows ever more enticing.
  55. There's considerable charm in this medical-drama concoction, which comes with the usual generous supply of spectacular brain disorders nobody you know will ever get--and in Mr. Pasquale's Dr. Cole, a confident, dedicated surgeon.
  56. Sharp-tongued, ambitious, highly seductive--a TV series that has, it can be said, done the job.
  57. 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.
  58. 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]
  59. As painful as it is to see a fallen dog's body draped in the American flag, what Glory Dogs also does is deepen our appreciation for the servicemen who train them.
  60. While they are every bit as wild and woolly as the historical figures of Norse sagas, such is the power of Vikings that we come to know and even root for them, so enthralling are they and almost everything else here.
  61. As odd as poor Norman is, there's something about Norma that gives Bates Motel its true, and truly frightening, center. Vulnerable and malign, Ms. Farmiga pretty much nails it.
  62. A fact-based film of exceptional power.
  63. 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.
  64. All are reintroduced in a premiere episode that lumbers along, overpopulated, burdened by the weight of its ambitions, flattened by misbegotten detours--but one, nevertheless, that surges to life in the end.
  65. 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.
  66. Maron is short, funny and coherent.
  67. 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.
  68. Behind the Candelabra, a snapshot from the last decade of the pianist and showman Liberace, is sublimely entertaining.
  69. An atmospheric thriller wrapped around a nugget of social commentary.
  70. Once past an introductory flow of steamy images--plenty of stripping and unzipping, couplings in darkened rooms--it takes no time to recognize the quality in this sharply written and entertaining saga of four women destined to lead exceedingly complicated lives.
  71. 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.
  72. 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.
  73. A dark but artful and sophisticated drama.
  74. Hard as it may be to imagine, there is still drama in the subject of crime families. And National Geographic Channel's contribution, the six-part Inside the American Mob, is impressive on that score. Most of its persuasiveness derives from first-person reflections both by federal officials and by Mafios.
  75. This highly personal view of the Nixon years is, for obvious reasons, a sad and wrenching one--a film that is nonetheless filled with spirit, humor and a beautiful sense of irony.
  76. A wonderfully diverting film with Mr. David at his abrasive best.
  77. While the documentary doesn't view the day through rose-colored glasses, it lets us approach that time in a new, less painful way.
  78. A high-hearted script awash in flinty wit and two extraordinary performances.
  79. Sleepy Hollow is great fun and gorgeous to look at.... The mythology of Sleepy Hollow is richly complex.
  80. The new season of Foyle's War could be the best ever.
  81. 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.
  82. 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.
  83. 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.
  84. Some viewers may be dismayed to see so much more of Brody's sulky daughter, Dana (Morgan Saylor), or put off by another Carrie meltdown. But those are minor annoyances. Overall, the new Homeland looks to be back on track in marvelous ways.
  85. A spectacularly entertaining enterprise.
  86. It is sharp comedy enriched by a cast led by Allison Janney as Bonnie, the mother in question, and Anna Faris as Christy, her daughter.
  87. Some of the life forms in Almost Human are artificial. The intelligence is genuine.
  88. That these actors can make us care about their characters, or at least feel their pain so acutely, is what elevates Getting On above the miasma of its material.
  89. Even on the basis of the two episodes made available, it's easy enough to see that Mob City has plenty up its noir sleeve, including some rich plotting. Above all there's the cast, mainly responsible for the aforementioned life and energy.
  90. 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.
  91. After the stage-setting of the first two episodes, however, Looking becomes less frenetic and begins building emotional resonance.
  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. A six-part saga awash in fashionable gloom, set in the mountains of New Jersey, and much of the time a compelling one in its picture of the tensions between the Van Der Veens, members of an Indian tribe, and the blue-collar Jensens, headed by Harold (Martin Henderson), a police officer.
  94. 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.
  95. [A] smartly ordered, sizzling drama, which establishes itself from the opening scene and builds from there.
  96. Silicon Valley, the latest creation of Mike Judge ("Office Space," "King of the Hill"), gets off to a rough start Sunday night; one might say it tries too hard. But it's certainly worth the 30-minute expenditure, because well before Episode 5 it's in a comedic groove and seems destined to run beyond the eight-week run HBO currently has planned.
  97. Ms. Reilly, who is otherwise appealing, brings an all-too-steady intensity to the role of Catherine--a kind that makes it hard to tell, on occasion, whether the doctor is on her medication or off it. That aside, and despite some madly improbable adventures in the hospital's brain-surgery unit, creator Amy Holden Jones and team have delivered a Black Box whose content is both smart and seductive.
  98. 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.
  99. Fantastic (as in crazy) though much of this may be, so danger-laden is the misty, smoky air and so claustrophobic are the richly detailed sets that it is difficult to look away.

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