Washington Post's Scores

For 859 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 39% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 60% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 11 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 54
Highest review score: 100 House: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Hidden Palms: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 344
  2. Negative: 0 out of 344
344 tv reviews
  1. 1600 Penn comes off as a fairly formulaic yet occasionally bright return to an old premise.
  2. The first four episodes of this new season have the same raw and gritty-cool feel as the first season's (it takes no time at all for Dunham to bare her now-famously doughy naked body in a sex scene), but the show has become significantly more predictable.
  3. As a drama, The Americans struggles to crack a certain code; the concept is tantalizing, but the follow-through lacks the momentum that gets viewers to commit.
  4. Although no expense has been spared, House of Cards appears to suffer from the same ambitious but weighty seriousness that afflicted Starz's "Boss."
  5. Distracting and annoying as some of its bad habits are, "John Doe" is still hauntingly distinctive enough to warrant further investigation. Who knows but that eventually we may even find -- yes, I'm going to say it -- Doe a dear.
  6. Vice seems to be in search of some sweet spot between “60 Minutes” and “Jackass,” and there’s enough here to suggest that such a spot may exist. The concept could work, especially if Smith and his correspondents were more inclined to point the cameras away from themselves.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There are shades of "Swingers" -- that 1996 indie hit starring Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn -- all over this show, but it gives up much of what "Swingers" had in heart in exchange for heavier satire. Think "Swingers" if Vaughn finally did make it big and the other guys gave up their dreams and just went along for the ride. [18 July 2004, p.N01]
  7. West Wing is not a dramatic powerhouse as it gets off the ground tonight but, indeed, it does get off the ground. There are good performances, crispy-crunchy lines of dialogue and a few sizzly sparks. Subsequent episodes will have to improve on the premiere, however, if there's really going to be anything must-see-ish about the show. [22 Sept 1999, p.C01]
  8. The Show With Vinny, a contrived hybrid of a reality series and a talk show, is a surprisingly sweet exercise in hospitality and good cheer.
  9. Largely faithful in tone to the BBC series, which concentrates on the maddening banality of workplace-as-microcosm, NBC's Office still fails to score a direct hit, settling instead for an amusing approximation.
  10. Menace so permeates the atmosphere that a certain glum predictability has set in to the scenes. [28 Oct 2003]
  11. In more exciting times, "Home Improvement" might barely pass muster as tolerable froth. But in a new TV season low on innovation and lean on potential hits, the happy competence of "Home Improvement" seems almost spectacular. [17 Sep 1991]
  12. Under the Dome does have an air of King’s more sinister tendencies, but not enough of them in the first hour to suggest the sort of horror that’s worth sticking around for.
  13. Though I do not begrudge Ray Donovan its sense of momentum or tension, I was immediately struck by a desire to simply see more of Ray doing his job for a few episodes rather than seeing him deal with his brothers’ various problems.
  14. Very slick and very shiny, full of impassioned confrontations and noble utterances. [17 Sep 1994]
  15. Demonstrates plenty of marksmanship in the old aim-to-please department. It has a nice convivial camaraderie going for it, and one fail-safe ingredient in reserve: the proverbial cute baby. [22 Sept 1987, p.D1]
  16. Hallmark Channel’s warm but sometimes thin adaptation of The Watsons Go to Birmingham, based on Christopher Paul Curtis’s award-winning children’s book, is at first a welcome departure from the network’s usual Slanket-ready movies.
  17. Homeland is wearing a bit thin even while it nobly stays the course.
  18. Coven is the first time American Horror Story gets started with the unmistakable feeling of timecards being punched, as an ensemble of big-name stars dutifully carry forward the show’s trademark fixation on style over substance.
  19. Having watched the serviceable but flat opening episodes of this new season, I think now is as good a time as any to ask if it’s worth going on with The Walking Dead, when all it does is underline its message of futility over and over and over.
  20. [An] ambivalent but mildly engrossing new docu-series.
  21. It is, as always, beautifully filmed and patiently assembled. Everyone in it clearly believes in the project (and the city) down to their bones, even if the writers have shortchanged their best actors this time. What comes through most is a feeling of over-indulgence--one drink too many, one plate of etouffee too far, one too many hangovers and five too many episodes of an otherwise memorable series.
  22. There are, in fact, simply too many characters chasing each other up and down the seven hills, and viewers who try to keep track are in for maddening frustration. If only people would address one another by name once in a blue moon, that would help a little. [28 Aug 2005, p.N01]
  23. House of Cards is almost willfully and sadistically atonal. Its schemes and subplots and internecine politics undulate and intertwine with a suffocating kind of flatness. I find these new episodes watchable yet sterile.
  24. The humor is smart-ish and has more bite and suggestive raunch than you’d expect.
  25. Believe works best as a relentless chase scene. The first episode (directed by Cuarón) has some limberness to its movement, but, like so much else in this particular genre, produces a lukewarm result.
  26. It’s as watchable as ever, and also as unsatisfying as ever, as it veers toward the helter-skelter.
  27. Boss works hard to resist the usual "this is how we do things in Chicago" nonsense and dutifully aims for a somewhat "Wire"-esque believability. Yet it can also feel like a burden to watch.
  28. The tepid laughs here are already in need of a jolt, as Partners cries out for its Karen.
  29. Everyone here, including "Oz's" Eamonn Walker as the battalion chief, is working from the same medium-grim setting, with medium-grim dialogue, which quickly drags the story and action into the still-smoldering ruins of other fire-and-rescue dramas.
  30. The show suffers from the same banal characteristics of most paint-by-numbers network sitcoms.
  31. Throughout the pilot, you’ll wonder why this couldn’t all be handled in a mediocre two-hour action movie.
  32. Once you get past the utter silliness of the idea, Reign is kind of a kick.
  33. It's more of a character sketch than a fully realized story.
  34. Janney and Faris seem to have fun, even when the material in the pilot episode is a tad too seedy and even off-puttingly icy. If Mom could dial it down a notch, it would find a better balance between bawdy and snide.
  35. On the whole, Intelligence trafficks in the usual request to suspend your disbelief and then some, but it’s also mildly intriguing--especially in the idea that its macho lead character is also treated as a vulnerable prize who needs to be protected at all costs.
  36. The pilot is admittedly a swift, brisk bit of escapist whimsy, but one has to wonder whether the idea of a heist every week will really prove tenable.
  37. Intriguing and confounding though it is, this is anything but easy, funsy television. In fact, there are times when a viewer may feel he's being punished almost to the same degree as Detective Hopper.
  38. "My Boys" is the kind of show that you're unlikely to seek out -- it's not TiVo-worthy by any means -- but if you happen upon it while channel-surfing, you could do a lot worse than pause and give it a shot.
  39. "Underbelly" does indeed aim narrow, likely appealing only to those who are pregnant or have recent memories of it.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The show is enlightening, but dull.
  40. Yes, they're wicked wacky, this group, but they also seem to have been torn from the pages of the Sitcom Writer's Handbook, their status as foils and fools having been measured out in carefully calculated amounts, the final goal appearing to be not so much nonstop hilarity as the reassuring guarantee of No Surprises.
  41. It doesn't go quite far enough into uncharted territory but gets off to a basically promising start nonetheless.
  42. Carpoolers has a certain loopy cuteness to it, but the show lacks a beating heart, some strong central figure to care about and root for.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Realism, in other words, is not the show's strong suit; pretty much all of it (the detecting, the lawyering, the examining and the reporting) can be described as "lite.
  43. The characters are refreshingly non-hostile and converse in something other than brittle, cold sitcom-speak. But the serialized nature of the stories (subsequent episodes begin with the "previously on" feature usually seen on dramas) is no particular plus. And while the characters are sweet, they stop short of being lovable.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Somehow, even after following these girls from ninth through 12th grade, Confidential manages to make their stories boring.
  44. It's easy to root for the very watchable Greer, both as the underdog and as a charming actress who deserves a better script.
  45. The basic formula is by now so groaningly familiar, and the premise so weak and weary, that there's only the "reality" part of this docu-game, or whatever it ought to be called, to tempt one's interest, and that not much.
  46. Seriously, it is hard to take the show very seriously. It does traffic in issues and hot topics--and protests, in its way, the general corruption of the legal system--but not in particularly fresh or original terms.
  47. Despite the prestigious presence of stars such as Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli, Lisa Bonet and Gretchen Mol, Life on Mars, a new ABC crime drama, comes off as naggingly undistinguished.
  48. There's little about Homeland Security USA that's warmly reassuring in the post-9/11 world. But the agents do behave with commendable civility (at least while cameras are trained on them) and apparent diligence.
  49. Fallon is far from such stature, but though his opening night had disappointments, none were crushing or looked potentially fatal. Once Fallon relaxes, hunkers down and lightens up, the new "Late Night" could win over many a semi-conscious heart and mind.
  50. Basically it's a half-baked adventure series, but it's July, and fully baked may just not be the way to go.
  51. Accidentally on Purpose doesn't have the smarts to be the salvation of a genre, but neither does it look like the torpedo to sink the ship. Not great, but nothing heinous.
  52. Now it's a little bit "Lost" meets "Star Trek: Voyager." Why are we here? How do we get home? Stay tuned, if it's your thing.
  53. Unlike the misuse of celebrity willingness on "The Marriage Ref," "Who Do You Think You Are?" has a purer heart and an underlying appreciation for marriage, family, longevity and memory. Also to its credit, it encourages people to go to libraries and museums and to look for things online besides the latest Perez Hilton gossip.
  54. The pilot episode is laden with so much setup for countless other characters that the network should have supplied a flow chart.
  55. Perhaps partly because the producers are determined not to let More to Love turn into a jeer fest, the show almost chokes on its own sensitivity and refinement.
  56. Leno's funny, but in the safest way. He's adheres to the center of the exact middle road, so it's wrong to expect a revolution here.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The dialogue, while quick, has all the calculated bite of a smirky cellphone commercial, veering into jokes about Ben Affleck and "The Breakfast Club." The grading scale here is strictly Pass/Fail. Its preseason hype aside, Community needs to buckle down to survive the semester.
  57. A peppy but mediocre sitcom.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    While it could be captivating to watch an everyday person change everything about herself to gain confidence (Hollywood-speak for "become hotter"), it's simply unsatisfying when the magical transformation takes place thanks to a highly trained team of stylists, a personal life coach and pricey electronic equipment.
  58. Even with its ample servings of va-va-boom, a lot of edgy potential is wasted in Nikita, the CW's retinkering of the much-tinkered-with story of the sexy assassin who is betrayed and hunted by "the Division," the top-secret government agency that trained her.
  59. Detroit 1-8-7 comes across, despite the strong performances, as wan and halfhearted. Dividing each episode into two cases, and labeling them onscreen (as Tuesday night: "Pharmacy Double" and "Bullet Train") may be convenient, but it seems part of an especially unimaginative approach.
  60. Whatever hopes "Arrested Development" fans may have held for a new Will Arnett series begin to dissipate by Episode 2--even with another "Development" funnyman, David Cross, on board as Emily's annoying eco-terrorist boyfriend. This tiny horsey has no giddyap, but there's still a chuckle or two.
  61. There's perhaps the coppiest cop show of the century so far, the soppy and self-satirizing CBS melodrama Blue Bloods, about an entire family--"the Reagans" yet!--involved in the crime biz.
  62. It's a fine line with Coco. For every funny line he squeezed from his anger Monday night, he missed the point of pathos.
  63. Both shows ["Storage Wars" and Discovery's Gold Rush: Alaska] also have their moments of absorbing drama and distasteful levels of bullheadedness, set against an American backdrop that once again seems mere steps away from the full-on, Cormac McCarthy-style apocalypse.
  64. Both shows [Storage Wars and Discovery's "Gold Rush: Alaska"] also have their moments of absorbing drama and distasteful levels of bullheadedness, set against an American backdrop that once again seems mere steps away from the full-on, Cormac McCarthy-style apocalypse.
  65. Owing more to its overambitious breadth of material than any overt political agenda, The Kennedys necessarily compresses, stretches, distorts and otherwise crams itself into a soap opera that is occasionally elegant and even moving near the end.
  66. It's strange how a show meant to generate excitement and promote thriftiness can leave one with a sense of remorse and shame.
  67. This new, more mild Upstairs Downstairs, which makes its American premiere on PBS on Sunday night, is a three-part epilogue that feels more like an unfinished afterthought.
  68. Becoming Chaz is one thing--and it's occasionally fascinating to watch--but being Chaz gets old pretty fast.
  69. It's a handsome study in perfect mediocrity.
  70. It's D'Elia and the other cast members who rescue the show from a wretched Whitney overload.
  71. It's a whole lot of techno-hooey, relying on screenwriter-friendly leaps of logic. Emerson turns out to be a one-note actor, but Caviezel is appealing in a particle-board sort of way.
  72. You'll vaguely remember several shows that went pretty much like this one.
  73. For sitcom's premise sake, Kat reluctantly offers Caroline a place to stay, and before you know it we're watching a lukewarm revamp of "The Odd Couple."
  74. It's rare for Burns and Novick to get lost in their own material, but it happens here.
  75. With the line between documentary and amusement-park ride now crossed, it's easy for a critic to start noticing Vietnam in HD's other narrative and technical shortcuts with filler and stock footage, splicing in wherever needed the images we have seen before, including those familiar payload-perspective views of bombs being dropped over the hills and villages.
  76. Downton Abbey lacks surprise and is stretched precariously thin, a house full of fascinating people with not nearly enough to do, all caught in a loop of weak storylines that circle round but never fully propel.
  77. As lovingly written and organized as it is, the viewer must divide his or her time picking up on different scenarios and moods, caught between rather ho-hum murder cases and this other, more beguiling attempt to craft a show that is about the nature of loss and grief.
  78. Fashion Star's debut lasts 90 minutes but feels as though it's about five hours.
  79. It prefers action at points where it could really stand to slow down and build out a slightly more creative story. It's the very definition of a guilty-pleasure series.
  80. In some parts, Touch is pleasantly moving and even tightly woven, until it becomes too blunt in its purposeful yanking of heartstrings.
  81. A conceptually smart but only moderately funny comedy.
  82. You'll blow a gasket if you watch this show with any trace of superiority or outrage. Instead, bafflement is a good resting spot; a guilty-pleasure glee works even better.
  83. It's precisely what the title says: just new iterations of the same spit-up and teething jokes.
  84. That path [Will Ferrell/Jack Black/Zach Galifianakis school of oddballery] is fairly well trod at this point, as is the "New Girl" vibe Ben and Kate reaches for. Some funny lines still manage to peek through.
  85. Ultimately, the network misses the point of its own franchise, spending too much time poking fun at its classic guilty pleasure instead of giving something that viewers of "Mom at Sixteen" really want--actual information.
  86. Deception falls prey to the exhaustive method of too-much-storytelling, adding layer upon layer of mini-mysteries and twists until the weary viewer needs a detailed map to keep track--or turns off the show entirely.
  87. Only when it has 20 minutes left to live does Killing Lincoln knock it off with the hokey structure and melodrama and let the story itself take charge.
  88. Snail-paced and difficult to relate to, Parade’s End feels twice as long as its total running time. And yet it’s an exquisite and thoughtful sort of slog, with sound British pedigree and bone structure.
  89. For a while you can sense Hannibal’s noble urge to stick to a long story arc--why does there have to be a new case every episode?--but eventually it gives in to a proven formula.
  90. Mad Men is that rare thing that can be as infuriating as it is perfect. I’ve gone back and forth (and hot and cold) on it as much as a critic can; I warmed to it last season but feel a familiar chill this time.
  91. If Rectify was winnowed down to the length of a feature film and shown at a festival, we could better judge whether or not it accomplishes what it set out to do. Delivered this way, as a meandering, weekly TV show (with commercial breaks), it has spread itself too thin.
  92. Schumer’s sharpness comes through best in such moments, when she’s in stand-up mode and taking significant risks beyond the genre’s still-customary boundary lines of gender.... Meanwhile, her sketches and woman-on-the-street interviews with passersby feel burdened with the task of pleasing a male audience (while enlightening them a scoch).
  93. Tveit is kind of an underwhelming Officer Opie here, while Sunjata brings a menacingly ambivalent character to life.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    One of those "almost" shows--almost funny, almost interesting and almost family-friendly. There is potential here, particularly in the mother-daughter relationship between 32-year-old Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and 16-year-old Rory (Alexis Bledel), who could develop a real bond if they'd stop zinging one-liners for a few minutes. And if they can't stop the quips, maybe they could just speak more slowly so the audience can understand what they're saying. [5 Oct 2000, p.C07]