Washington Post's Scores

For 1,222 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 40% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 58% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 9.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 The Larry Sanders Show: Season 4
Lowest review score: 0 Work It : Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 533
  2. Negative: 0 out of 533
533 tv reviews
  1. This is a long way from a half-hour sitcom about a dysthymic guy comedian and his everyday nuisances. It’s good to see that Louie intends to keep pressing our limits.
  2. The story's a good one, all right, and beautifully related--but there's a lot more going on in "The Sopranos" than good storytelling. This is one of the most unpretentiously profound and troubling dramas in the history of American television. [16 Jan 2000]
    • Washington Post
  3. An outstanding crime drama. It has all the trappings of a good show and then, of course, one staple of a great one: An absolutely terrific star in the lead role. Kathryn Morris can go through my files anytime. [27 Sept 2003, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
  4. Game of Thrones is like no other TV show around right now--brilliant, exasperating, enthralling, and, if you let it become so, hard work.
  5. The most electrifying new main character to hit television in years. [16 Nov 2004, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Homicide isn't only riveting drama; it's really about something, and it says what it's about in credible and haunting ways, sometimes with a dramatic jolt, sometimes with a painfully funny jab, almost always with compelling command. It is, in short, a killer. It's murder. That is meant as a compliment.
  6. The show is as darkly gleeful as ever, shrewdly and even elegantly put together and, in a way that perhaps no other TV drama series has ever been, troublingly seductive and irresistible. [3 Mar 2001]
    • Washington Post
  7. Watching this season’s first three episodes, one is struck by how sumptuously far this epic now spreads.
  8. The first four episodes of Season 3 of The Americans, which returns Wednesday night on FX, are just as absorbing and dark and impeccably realized as what we saw in Season 2.
  9. It’s brilliant. HBO’s Show Me a Hero is a subtle and deeply effective melding of art and conscience; from its writing and narrative pace to its outstanding performances (particularly that of its star, Oscar Isaac) the miniseries locates a seldom-found sweet spot between storytelling and moralism.
  10. A series that started out merely good and has now become, like NBC's "Cheers," a comedy essential, a good reason to stay home and laugh. [18 Sep 1989]
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  11. It is nothing short of a towering achievement.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With Boomtown, you are likely to feel a much stronger emotional investment than with lesser crime dramas. In the final moments of the premiere, the drama reaches a level that is almost poetically tragic and terribly haunting...Ambitious, artful and sometimes ingenious, Boomtown is the best and least compromised new network drama series since "ER," and in its own way, just as much of a breakthrough. [28 Sept 2002, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
  12. A captivating blend of the existential and the pulpy, the surreal and the neo-real, the grim and the farcical, Twin Peaks is new age music for the eyes, a show that careens off the wall and out into left field and yet supplies some of the basic satisfactions we humans have demanded of our storytellers since we first wriggled out of primordial goop.
  13. In Jenji Kohan’s magnificent and thoroughly engrossing new series, Orange Is the New Black, prison is still the pits. But it is also filled with the entire range of human emotion and stories, all of which are brought vividly to life in a world where a stick of gum could ignite either a romance or a death threat.
  14. The Corner is strong, solid storytelling, but it's more than that. It's an act of enlightenment, raw and shattering and strangely, inexplicably, beautiful. [15 Apr 2000, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
  15. This is good, strong procedural television that respects the art form and commands our attention.
  16. Arrested Development is very animated but it is not a cartoon. Cartoonish, perhaps, but it is filled with real actors playing surreal people, all of whom have frighteningly identifiable traits and tics. Together they are the Bluths, the latest and at this moment greatest of TV's dysfunctional families. Dysfunctionalism has rarely been as ingratiating or, certainly, as hilarious.
  17. The show truly teeters on wonderful. This is probably TV's most poignant half-hour comedy in years, a masterfully modulated combination of shrewd satire and a tender, even tearful, central story. [5 June 2005, p.N01]
    • Washington Post
  18. "The Larry Sanders Show" is brilliantly brilliant, wonderfully wonderful and hilariously hilarious, the next step in the evolution of the television talk show and a contribution to the betterment of viewerkind. [14 Aug 1992]
    • Washington Post
  19. The characters get better and more complex, the story builds, strange things start to happen and now I can’t wait to see how its interweaving plots unfold.... It’s rare that a show can intuit what the viewer wants and deliver it, but that’s precisely what happened.
  20. There also aren’t many words left to describe why Veep keeps working as well it does.
  21. Even if the new season's shows weren't the blah, bland blanks that most of them are, Ed would stand out. For one thing, it isn't often that the season's best new comedy is also its best new drama. Ed is. [8 Oct 2000, p.G01]
    • Washington Post
  22. n terms of character and ambitious writing and acting, Orange Is the New Black is certainly one of the best shows going, however you choose to watch it
  23. The episodes surf hypnotically along, succeeding less on thematic concerns and more on Atlanta’s unerring knack for portraiture. The show introduces us to its world and its inhabitants without declaring its intent in every other scene.
  24. Creator Vince Gilligan's much-lauded meth lab saga Breaking Bad, which is back for what looks to be another superior season Sunday night on AMC, is one of those shows that comes from such a dark hole of the American cultural psyche that you sometimes have to wonder how it ever made it on TV.
  25. It is intelligent, witty, quick-paced and surprising; it is tragic without being emotionally devastating.
  26. Television's greatest drama series has only gotten greater.
  27. "Larry Sanders" seems to be continuing waspishly along on track, blurring the line between reality and fantasy in wry, inventive ways, using a show biz milieu to comment on a lot more than just show biz. [2 Jun 1993]
    • Washington Post
  28. You needn't be the least bit interested in sports to enjoy Sports Night, the best new ABC sitcom of the season. [22 Sept 1998, p.E01]
    • Washington Post
  29. Arrested Development is, in fact, "Dynasty" as it might be rewritten for the Three Stooges if there were a dozen of them...Sly, wild, clever and just plain nuts, Arrested Development makes you think as it makes you laugh, and one of the things it makes you think is, "Why the hell am I laughing?" Deep in your subconscious, you know. You've slipped on the appeal of a frozen banana. [6 Nov 2004, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
  30. Wright says. "After the Vietnam War ended, the onus of shame largely fell on the veterans. This time around, if shame is to be had when the Iraq conflict ends--and all indications are there will be plenty of it--the veterans are the last people in America to deserve it." Generation Kill makes that point so powerfully as to stand among the truest and most trenchant war movies of all time.
  31. A compelling and sometimes harrowing hour of high-tension urban trauma, different from Bochco's "Hill Street Blues" and at least as good as any other drama series now on the air. It delivers a good, stiff shock now and then, and what's wrong with that? It's surely preferable to shows that lull you into numbness. [21 Sept 1993, p.D1]
    • Washington Post
  32. There’s more to talk about here than the mystery of gender and relationships. Transparent is the best show we have right now about personal identity--of any and all human kinds.
  33. There is a certain pretentious artiness to the new series, as there was to "thirtysomething," but the characters have life and authenticity; they seem really to live and breathe, at least for one vital hour each week -- especially Angela, a fully dimensional being in contrast to all the stereotyped teenagers that dominate prime time...Controversial or not, My So-Called Life is even better than first-rate.
  34. Each episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" flies by in a dizzying blur of neurotic delight. [14 Sep 2002]
    • Washington Post
  35. It joins "Planet Earth" and "Life" to reign as a triumvirate in Best Buy showrooms. Nothing looks better, sounds better.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Bitterly, brutally, blatantly hilarious. [19 Jul 1995]
    • Washington Post
  36. Catastrophe is here and gone in six episodes, but it leaves you spent, satisfied and pleasantly skeeved out, the way the best modern comedy shows do.
  37. It’s among the best detective shows--and perhaps even among the best dramas--in several years. It will break your heart and keep you guessing all the way through.
  38. So is "The Wire" as good as ever? Perhaps even better.
  39. what else can I do but yap excitedly and try to get you to watch one of the best shows on TV right now? The first four episodes of the new season will not disappoint fans.
  40. Six Feet Under establishes from the start that it will be unflinching and brazen and, as it happens, scorchingly brilliant. [3 June 2001, p.G01]
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  41. This brilliant and aching and achingly brilliant series is the best original sitcom in the history of cable TV. [15 Mar 1998]
    • Washington Post
  42. Even though Scrubs is the best of the season's new comedies, it may not have the most laughs. But oh mama, it has the most heart. Scrubs is to the average sitcom as a steak at the Palm is to a Big Mac. We are talking an entirely different, and superior, species. [2 Oct 2001, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
  43. Brings new energy and respectability to the "reality" genre popularized by the same network's "Survivor" -- and surpasses it in spectacle and human drama. Great TV lives. ... There is so much more to this show than there is to most of its ilk. [5 Sep 2001]
    • Washington Post
  44. Nashville never strays too far from its real story--the ups and downs of glitzy stardom, with Britton and Panettiere performing their own vocals.
  45. The cast is marvelous, the gritty, post-war set pieces are meticulously recreated and, even with all the warm-water enemas and splattered afterbirth, the story always has its eye on uplift and good cheer.
  46. Veep works because it is a compact ensemble comedy, filled with the sort of overheard details and wonk verisimilitude that has a way of making the show seem just real enough, even when it has played coy about whether its lead character is a Democrat or a Republican. In that way, it stands far apart from much of what passes for political comedy these days.
  47. So rousingly well done that it seems to come from a different solar system than most contemporary episodic television shows, and yet too many rapturous panegyrics could spoil some of the fun. The two-hour pilot for the series...is so terribly and industriously entertaining that you hate to see the program lumped in with things that are supposedly "good for you." This isn't a John Chancellor commentary. This is living, breathing matter -- clever, thoughtful, ribald and hard-boiled. [15 Sept 1986, p.B1]
    • Washington Post
  48. It doesn’t matter if you know precisely where this story leads (whose head goes to which chopping block), Wolf Hall is about as compellingly and meticulously crafted as television gets.
  49. Quarry’s knack for conveying moral ambiguity and its mastery of setting reminds me of another very good show that took forever to catch on; it was about a cancer-stricken chemistry teacher in Albuquerque who started cooking meth to make money.
  50. Calling Steven Bochco's Murder One the best new series of the season is too easy and over-understated. The episode airing tonight on ABC is one of the classiest, best-written and most assured dramatic pilots ever seen on television, and next week's installment, "Chapter Two," is nearly as good. This is super-gripping, diamond-bright, edge-of-your-couch TV.
  51. As FX’s gripping, magnificent Cold War drama The Americans jumps into its fourth season Wednesday night with its usual hypertension, its makers are always quick to remind us that their show is first and foremost about a marriage.
  52. Once Upon a Time is a smartly-crafted reward for fans of light fantasy, with the right mix of cleverness, action and romance.
  53. My love for Undeclared is unconditional... There are many different kinds of funny, and Apatow aims for one of the hardest kinds -- the humor of rueful recognition. You may not laugh till it hurts, but it'll hurt a little when you laugh, because you may recall your own awkward moments of defeat, embarrassment or disillusion. Undeclared is shrewdly observant and richly detailed, and the fact that it's funny, too, is the icing on the cake. Great cake! [25 Sept 2001, p.C01]
  54. Sparse, tough, nuts-and-bolts, hit-and-run TV. You'd need a magnifying glass to find a nuance. But it works, and grippingly.
  55. Though imbued with epic sweep, Hell on Wheels is a western at heart, even if that heart is cold.
  56. The Honorable Woman is a slow-building but gripping story, regardless of where you stand on Mideast politics; Gyllenhaal delivers a remarkably measured and moving performance.
  57. A refreshingly taut and well-executed futuristic sci-fi series about a group of 100 jailed juvenile delinquents who are banished from an orbiting space-station colony and sent to live on Earth--97 years after a nuclear apocalypse.
  58. Greenleaf never once forgets that it is first and foremost a television show--and a soapy-sudsy one at that. But it is also an impeccably written and often beautifully envisioned family drama, reflecting a level of care and authenticity rarely seen in fictional stories about church life.
  59. [A] funny, highly profane but surprisingly poignant dramedy (originally a stage play) about a sexually compulsive woman in London.
  60. Insecure is simple, funny and authentic.
  61. Everything about The Mindy Project is so very Kaling and happily spot-on, starting with the strength of the jokes and dialogue.
  62. A particularly taut and well-structured pilot episode lays out McCord’s essential struggles, while Leoni delivers a calm, cool and wry performance.
  63. With a “Homeland”-style mastery of momentum and a “Traffic”-esque multi-narrative premise, Odyssey passes the biggest test of all when it comes to trying out new TV shows in today’s glut of offerings: As soon as the first episode was over, I was eager to see more.
  64. Transparent is the best streaming-network pilot since Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black.”
  65. Supergirl is a cheerful and spot-on adaptation, skillfully accomplishing the difficult task of making a corny comic-book story seem not only believable but also welcoming to those who’ve tired (or never enjoyed) the genre.
  66. What makes Homeland rise above other post-9/11 dramas is Danes's stellar performance as Carrie--easily this season's strongest female character, who is also hiding some personal secrets of her own. The latter half of the first episode is exhilarating. I'm hooked.
  67. Virgin Territory isn’t lurid or easily embarrassed. That’s (sometimes) the wonderful thing about this social-network generation: They’ll talk openly about anything, everything.
  68. Southland is a show of high caliber and riveting brilliance, instantly one of the finest hours of TiVo-worthy drama anywhere on the tube.
  69. You know you will laugh, but you know you will cringe. You know you will guffaw, but you'll also likely wince. It's hard to imagine comedy that's any edgier, without being topical, than this.
  70. The Roosevelts delivers on its subtitle, drawing such a full and close portrait of the extended clan and their social and political circles that a viewer can’t help but feel connected to them, faults and all.
  71. Beyond its gimmicky concept and fantasy angle, Quantum Leap -- from "Magnum, P.I." creator Donald P. Bellisario -- touches on forms of alienation that grip everybody at one time or another. For Sam, it's one time or several others...The premise holds out a prospect even more attractive in the late '80s than it would be in many other eras: escape from the present. [25 Mar 1989, p.D1]
    • Washington Post
  72. Absorbing and deeply inspiring.... The film ably transitions to and from its parallel stories of uplift and defeat.
  73. The People v. O.J. Simpson isn’t flawless, and it probably won’t stand up to the sort of factual scrutiny that still swirls around its subject matter, but it is ambitiously imagined, surprisingly responsible and practically unerring in tone and pace.
  74. John Adams is the kind of classily intelligent production that can be happily recommended to everybody. The filmmakers, including executive producer Tom Hanks, have attempted to re-create and enliven history--and they succeed grandly.
  75. Watching UnReal so ably slice up and serve all this topical relevance can be exhilarating--and also exhausting. Season 2 affirms that the series is not merely a fine and nasty piece of entertainment.
  76. As much as any other Western town in any other Western, Deadwood -- which is really a camp hoping to be a town hoping to be part of the United States -- seems really to exist, so vivid are the characters and so rich the texture. [5 Mar 2005, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
  77. In visual style, witty language, borderline surrealism and overall mad attitude, "Desperate Housewives" stands on a mountaintop all its own, the best new drama of the season and perhaps the best new comedy, too. [3 Oct 2004]
    • Washington Post
  78. A powerful and unforgettably thorough HBO documentary, is not only an exploration of what happened (difficult questions linger, particularly about the response of the town’s police to the initial 911 call), it also invites a frank and remarkably even-handed discussion of what sort of punishment could ever fit the crime.
  79. "Extras" lives up to expectations and to its own lunatic traditions.
  80. It’s a gloriously thoughtful wallow in the subtle and sometimes even insecure ways that families and friends relate to one another.
  81. "Malcolm" immediately, instantly, explosively achieves an identity all its own--a little bit like a live-action "Simpsons," but with a Bart who's a genius, not an underachiever. [8 Jan 2000]
    • Washington Post
  82. The reason it works so well is that performers and script are ideally matched; they join forces to obliterate resistance. [14 Sept 1985, p.C1]
    • Washington Post
  83. You may groan at the premise -- a young woman helps the police solve crimes through use of her psychic intuition -- but it's brought off with so much storytelling skill and so few voguish gimmicks that it might as well be the first show of its kind. [3 Jan 2005]
    • Washington Post
  84. Working something of a miracle, Danny McBride, who plays Kenny and is one of the creative talents behind the show premiering tomorrow on HBO--the most recklessly funny comedy of the year--makes us kind of like Kenny Powers.
  85. American Crime is an intentionally exasperating viewing experience; sooner or later, every character does something that’s just flat-out wrong. And yet I can’t remember the last time a network drama had my rapt attention and respect on this many levels at once.
  86. What at first seemed like another excuse to make fun of nerds and techie office culture instead revealed itself to be a near-perfect example of social satire.... Suzanne Cryer joins the cast as Laurie Bream, a robotically unemotional VC fund manager who steps into the void Peter Gregory left behind. She’s funny, but the show invests more energy and time in adding yet another brash boy-billionaire narcissist (Chris Diamantopoulos).
  87. Yes, it's quite good. Sunday's episode is nearly flawless and a textbook example of how to launch an ensemble saga that may eventually embroider itself into a haunting tapestry.
  88. A stand-up, standout piece of work, one that works wonders on a seemingly tired genre.
  89. Queer as Folk gets off to a triumphantly provocative start. The least that can be said is that there's nothing else like it anywhere on the air. [2 Dec 2000, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
  90. No one could maintain that the show deals in grueling realism. But the characters and their time do seem affectionately and thoughtfully portrayed, and genuineness along these lines is rare in TV. The Wonder Years is first-class time travel. [15 Mar 1998, p.1]
    • Washington Post
  91. There’s something almost revolutionary about the complex and utterly human teenagers that Ridley has conceived here and that his young actors bring to life. This season will get right under the skin of parents who worry too much (or not enough) about their kids.
  92. Deliberately or not, the show throttles back on the experimental narrative arcs; fans of the early seasons might be relieved to see Louie is once again mostly about a single father and stand-up comedian and some of the people he knows.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Take a look at the second season's first episodes, and you'll see it in a nervy concoction of writing and acting.
  93. It's a grim, evocative look at some of this country's ruggedest but most disreputable roots -- a meticulously detailed portrait of a time, place and people that makes even today, with its punishing headlines about suicide bombs and other terrorist atrocities, seem almost safe and sane.
  94. The real genius of Black Mirror lies in its dissection of humanity--how our emotions, compulsions and fears inform our use of technology. Season 3 masterfully carries on this tradition, skewering Internet vigilantism, invasion of privacy and the false personas we present on social media.
  95. The caliber is very, very high, a gangbusters idea executed with skill and sensitivity. [26 Sep 2002]
    • Washington Post
  96. Though its central mystery may feel old hat to aficionados of the genre, The Missing seems to have a deep respect for its audience. Its red herrings are few and its emphasis on people and their feelings help elevate the series to another level.

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