Washington Post's Scores

For 1,275 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 9.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 Big Little Lies: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Zero Hour: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 561
  2. Negative: 0 out of 561
561 tv reviews
  1. Overall, Late Show seems to be in good hands. If it was too busy, it was a busy-ness from the heart.
  2. Henderson gives a lunky, forgettable performance, coming nowhere near anyone's idea of a stronger, meaner version of J.R. Thanks to the rest of its ensemble, however, the new Dallas gains some traction and kicks up a little dust.
  3. It’s not nearly as funny as either ["The Office" and "Parks and Recreation"], and it sometimes sacrifices its most promising potential (making fun of true-crime serializations) to pick off easier targets (making fun of the South). ... Lithgow’s effort rubs off on his energetic co-stars, who elevate the material and give it a spark it otherwise wouldn’t have.
  4. Foster makes for an energetic and engaging lead, never missing a beat; the rest of the cast is equally snappy-snippy, thanks to scripts and story lines that keep everyone prancing along like trained poodles.
  5. Do we ever feel as if we're really there, in Henry's court, half a millennium ago? Perhaps not, but a splendid cast and sumptuous production details make "The Tudors" a rollicking and resplendent show, if never a deeply affecting one.
  6. This is by no means the first Comedy Central show about a guy comedian in Hollywood engaged in convenient pseudo-sketches about the rain clouds hanging over him. But it’s the first one in a long time that feels like it has something real to say.
  7. Most of the actors make their characters zesty and likable, if on occasion too glib for their -- and our -- own good.
  8. This new drama has bad dialogue to spare, too, which mars an otherwise distinctive, better-than-average police show.
  9. It’s a well-meaning, good-humored, hospitable hour of television, reminiscent of the nascent days of cable reality shows in the early 2000s, before everyone figured out that ratings success meant being nasty, famous and selfish.
  10. It sounds gimmicky and visually tedious, with most of the so-called action taking place in a conference room. It's all those things, but the moments of misery make it memorable.
  11. A wickedly entertaining show.
  12. Viewers are in for another high-powered pulse-pounder. [29 Oct 2002]
    • Washington Post
  13. While it's not perfect, Bunheads is a happy find, a ray of authenticity on a summer TV schedule filled with so much artificial light.
  14. Remarkable for one reason only: It achieves levels of warmth that are rare for such shows. It may not make everybody laugh, but a decent human being would have a hard time not smiling. [22 Sept 1989, p.B1]
    • Washington Post
  15. The plot and subplots of the premiere eventually deteriorate into pandemonium, but McCormack remains the steadying center that makes the show intelligible and, more important, involving. And, perhaps more important still, fun.
  16. Just a dose of the show leads to sweaty palms and heightened anticipation--always a good sign. It's funny how little it takes: Everything about the way Million Dollar Money Drop is built relies on one modern game-show trope after another.
  17. If it’s even partly a put-on, Seduced and Abandoned is nevertheless a fun, larky travel essay and commentary on the film biz, an exquisite wallow in the most rarefied sort of first-world problems.
  18. The show makes an admirable effort at transcending gayness without compromising it. Groff is fine but not fascinating as the naive yet manipulative Patrick, and Alvarez gives Agustin a certain bohemian flair. The real standout--and best-realized character so far--is Bartlett’s Dom. Actually, the more I think about it, the show’s real standout is San Francisco itself.
  19. In the first two episodes, the show has enough momentum to offer some promise, even if Cherry’s vehicles tend to start strong and go off the rails quickly.
  20. It’s good to know there’s something more to Baskets than a creep in greasepaint. The delicious misery here is evenly spread.
  21. All of which is to say that even for the most open minds, Game of Thrones can be a big stein of groggy slog. On the plus side, the first six episodes are impressively free of sorcery and special effects, and instead rely on the stuff of any deeply dark HBO epic: corruption, deceit, illicit sex (incest in this case), unflinchingly gory violence, and a willingness to kill off a prominent character or two in the service of plot.
  22. National Geographic Channel’s sullen but entertaining two-night miniseries Saints & Strangers earnestly underlines our most American principle, telling a warts-and-all story of that hodgepodge of passengers on the rickety English ship known as the Mayflower.
  23. Shows like those lean more toward seriousness and away from the colorfully ridiculous old comic books. Although this often strikes non-fanboys and non-fangirls as woefully atonal, it mostly works here, but it would be nice if No Ordinary Family had more humor about it.
  24. It's rather a bold, retro step for CBS to attempt this kind of show in the era of reality television and domestic fights that appear to be actual and spontaneous rather than cooked up by a writer. But the airwaves are so choked with reality that a return to fantasy seems strangely refreshing and, ironically, even more realistic.
  25. Everything that’s excellent about The Normal Heart--including compelling performances from its stars, Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts, with an especially strong turn from "White Collar’s" Matt Bomer--is also merely just fine; very good but not great; a tear-jerker but not a bawler; and probably beyond reproach.
  26. Even when the transition from music to drama seems abrupt, or the staging of a number a bit too prosaic, "Cop Rock" has the audaciousness and energy of a true original, plus moments of brilliance that are almost blinding. [26 Sep 1990, p.C1]
    • Washington Post
  27. Every detail has been attended to, every format and traditional segue honored; there is absolutely nothing to quibble over with the show's tone and pace. Which is, itself, a quibble.
  28. Tennant is once again terrific at juggling a lot of emotions from one moment to the next. The supporting cast is also sufficiently fine, including a steely performance from Sophie Okonedo.... Plodding on too far, The Escape Artist becomes a revenge story. And yet, for the ineffably eurocentric reasons I was describing earlier, you keep watching and waiting for the surprise.
  29. Viewers who like to tiptoe over to the dark side now and then--at least once a week--are bound to find Walt White's wonderland of woes worth a visit or two, or many more.
  30. Margulies rises so grippingly to the challenge that whatever else it is, "just another" courtroom show Canterbury's Law most definitely is not.
  31. Steinberg... appears to be having a good time, and that helps a lot.
  32. With an efficient and alternately clumsy and eloquent screenplay by Walon Green, Killing Jesus does not vary much from the Via Dolorosa. As a result, the lavish NatGeo treatment works a lot better than it did on the channel’s adaptations of O’Reilly’s earlier books, “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Kennedy.”
  33. After a skittery and slightly tedious start, which is heavy on Carter’s need to keep infusing Mulder and Scully’s world with a convoluted master theory, The X-Files settles in and starts to relocate some of its creepy vibe and playfulness.
  34. Mitchell’s coolly understated performance makes it all slightly more believable and worth a few episodes to see where it leads.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    New technology is good. The latest educational research is good. This new crew is a superhero team we could support--even if we don't quite understand how Wordball solves crimes. None of that was ever what the original "Electric Company" was about, though.
  35. Despite some stiffness (and a whole lot of words crammed into the characters’ mouths, hastily delivered in an array of accents) Turn succeeds in making the War of Independence seem like a vital and fresh saga.... But the show struggles to lay out its characters and conflicts in a way that feels instantly addictive.
  36. It's often difficult for them to shed the topical baggage they are made to carry and simply be themselves. Still, if you stick with them, you'll see Treme becoming a well-paced work of fiction rather than see Treme spending too much effort speaking truth to an indifferent power.
  37. Sharp without being nasty and warm without being mushy...If sitcoms are a necessary evil, Boy Meets World at least manages to be as pleasant and painless as possible. [24 Sept 1993, p.C1]
    • Washington Post
  38. He may not even know his real identity, which is what makes him so good at taking on imaginary aliases. From there, the show seems a bit predictably structured, but Bean lends a strong and complex presence to the idea.
  39. A solid prime-time soap with a burnt-crisp soul.
  40. Like all shows set in Texas, Killer Women is cooked through with too much yee-haw sauce and a whole lot of urban-cowgirl chic, but Helfer ably carries off the assignment and keeps the momentum going.
  41. Nothing here feels particularly new, except for the compelling way the Duffers have put it all together--and even that can’t fix some plot holes and deliberate obfuscation that make Stranger Things a clumsier ride than it needs to be.
  42. If you haven’t been reading Marvel Comics lately... then the show can feel somewhat exclusionary and, frankly, a little too cornball and cutesy about its own geekiness.
  43. Wolk provides just the sort of casting ingenuity The Crazy Ones needs, especially as a counterbalance to Williams, who, it goes without saying, will motormouth his way through any scene he can. ... But watching [Gellar] play Williams’s dutiful and comedy-challenged daughter is a dreary primer in the pitfalls of big-name casting.
  44. No one will accuse 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' of too much authenticity, but it does have a confident breeziness in its banter that almost immediately locates a ['Barney Miller']-esque balance in the more absurd aspects of law enforcement.
  45. The earnestness comes in pretty strong doses, but it might be good for what ails you.
  46. Frequency’s concept was mildly intriguing in theaters, and it’s mildly intriguing now, even with an extra layer or two of mushy TV-style goop on top of the story’s basic hokeyness. List and the other cast members give convincing enough performances.
  47. It's an adrenalin-doused premise that is handsomely executed, but it feels like we get to Defcon 2 way too fast.
  48. A large supporting cast helps Vegas appear to be compelling and classy. And then CBS lapses into its old habit, as Lamb and company squander all this intriguing potential trying to solve their first of many cases.
  49. It’s difficult to know whether Fortitude aims to be a “Broadchurch on Ice” or, at its most extreme, a riff on John Carpenter’s “The Thing.” In its favor, the show has an irresistible setting.
  50. Fresh Off the Boat wants to be both “Black-ish” and “The Goldbergs”--and it works fairly okay as a companion piece to either--but it’s a lot better show when it occasionally stops going for just the easy jokes and aims for a subtler, sharper line of comment.
  51. Forever isn’t the freshest new show this fall, but its classiness is appreciated.
  52. Dracula shows a lot of skill when it comes to launching a swift-paced series and weaving together several taut story lines and characters; at times it even finds an undiscovered sweet spot between 'Downton Abbey' and Bela Lugosi. ... Only one crucial piece is missing: Dracula isn’t scary.
  53. There’s a caustic wit to Bad Judge that, with a little help, might still rise above its more shallow laughs.
  54. There is absolutely nothing new about anything seen here and yet Arrow has nice aim.
  55. Loch Ness, fresh off its ITV premiere across the pond, hews strictly to the formula seen in “Broadchurch” and other knockoffs, but this six-episode series meets most of the requirements to keep a viewer hooked.
  56. It’ll take a few more zany diaper changes (you knew there had to be some) before we’ll know if there’s a stronger show here. If not, then Grandfathered is just a more flashy version of “Raising Hope.”
  57. For those many millions of broadcast TV watchers who never saw Broadchurch ... Gracepoint still has plenty of potential to be a real treat; it’s clearly something different from the maxed-capacity morgues of prime time’s many procedural crime dramas. It’s a better quality of murder mystery all around.
  58. It might just do the trick, if its frantic doctors can save the first episode from a deadly case of hammy dialogue.
  59. Creator Moira Walley-Beckett’s eight-episode limited series about the depressing and excessively cruel world of professional ballet has moments that are sublime and engrossing but not always sustainable. Flesh and Bone can also be ham-handed in both narrative and dialogue.
  60. There’s a lack of conviction to Almost Royal’s premise that means the funniest parts are only just mildly funny.
  61. Minor but deftly done.
  62. HBO’s mildly funny yet thematically redundant half-hour series.
  63. The humor is smart-ish and has more bite and suggestive raunch than you’d expect.
  64. The Event is an intentional mess, daring you to go wherever it thinks it's going. Within the first five minutes, potential viewers will have to make their own personal choice: Am I up for this?
  65. 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.
  66. The spinoff is stylish, mindless and easily devourable. In other words, "Laguna" fans can safely put out the rallying call: "Run for 'The Hills!' "
  67. If you're a regular viewer of the network -- whose hits include "Stargate: SG-1" and "Battlestar Galactica" -- be glad there's plenty of sci-fi to be found on "Eureka." And if Sci Fi's not on your TiVo, be glad that the show is driven more by characters than special effects (and so-so special effects at that).
  68. 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.
  69. The premise of this new series seems charmingly assembled from leftover "Magnum P.I." and "Spenser for Hire" polyforms kept in a storage bin somewhere.
  70. Although no expense has been spared, House of Cards appears to suffer from the same ambitious but weighty seriousness that afflicted Starz's "Boss."
  71. Perhaps Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will eventually find a way to be a show worthy of all this talk and expectation, rather than the B-/C+ attempt at a network show that Fey and Carlock have delivered. There’s not much special about it, so far, except the lucky circumstances of its survival.
  72. The pace is languid and the ambiance laconic. Easy Money isn't the kind of show likely to clean up at Emmy time. But it has the same sort of eccentric, addled charm that marks an increasing number of current television shows.
  73. Benjamin clearly did not sell out with this good-natured, inspirational cartoon.
  74. A sharply-made if slightly off-putting reality series that follows different advertising agencies each week as they compete for new accounts.
  75. There's no question that "Dog Bites Man"... scales heights of hilarity, more than one might have a right to expect. But there's a problem: Virtually all the characters are detestable in one way or another, and partly as a result, the show never seems grounded.
  76. 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.
  77. It’s hard to believe that Grease was once subversive; what viewers saw on television Sunday night seemed somehow cleaner and more perfunctory and cute. It was a fabulous, well-scrubbed and flawlessly executed show that could have been just a little bit greasier.
  78. Like the homeliest puppy in the pound, there's something lovable about this clanky ode to romantic love; maybe it's just that the cast is so determined to put it over, no matter how foolish even the actors might find the material.
  79. An intriguing but often clumsy new movie about the making of the TV show.
  80. The new episodes push the saga in a few initially intriguing directions, but the cast keeps expanding into an overpopulated mishmash of disparate story threads that no longer weave together as a whole.
  81. But for all the noble collaboration, for all its division of writing and directing duties and its tactical approach to deployment of film crews, The Pacific becomes a very good miniseries that fails to arrive at a coherent, artistic sensibility.
  82. The result is a gentle, respectful and thorough biography that is 100 minutes of no news and no fresh insights.
  83. Maybe it should be considered substitute programming, until more solid and substantial dramas return. On that level, it doesn't totally blow, bro; it's actually quite tolerable.
  84. 1600 Penn comes off as a fairly formulaic yet occasionally bright return to an old premise.
  85. It’s hard to deny that The Leftovers can be both visually and emotionally arresting. It is also hard to deny that it is absolutely no fun to watch, a fact that doesn’t necessarily lead one to abandon it. The addition of a new family in Jarden/Miracle, the Murphys--headed by strong new cast members Kevin Carroll and recent Emmy-winner Regina King--is reason enough to tread lightly and see if Lindelof, et al, have worked out some of the kinks when it comes to pacing and payoff.
  86. 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.
  87. 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.
  88. 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]
    • Washington Post
  89. Sorkin aspires to "importance," which can sometimes curdle into pretentiousness.
  90. 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.
  91. The show gets off to a serviceable start--coolly conceived and professionally directed, at least in the one episode shared with critics. Where it goes from here is anybody’s guess at this point, but Extant’s creator and cast seem to be taking things seriously enough as a work of sci-fi origami, folded and layered with a certain precision.
  92. It’s actually far from perfect. The revival has four 90-minute chapters, and it turns out that 42-minute episodes were the perfect amount of time before the famously sparkling dialogue and wacky plotlines start to drag--and characters’ flaws go from endearing to irritating. ... With extended time and producers’ creative freedom, it’s a veritable buffet of every “Gilmore” experience imaginable.
  93. Allegiance’s real mission, like “The Americans,” is to draw us into a believable family crisis and, in that regard, the show’s results are mixed. Some performances are strong (particularly from Davis and Stenhouse) and the first three episodes demonstrate a knack for getting everyone — viewers included--to hang together off the same cliff right at the 57-minute mark.
  94. For all its cribbing from plots gone by, "Vanished" still makes for good, escapist fun.
  95. Horton may in fact reach too frequently into his bag of editing and photographic bells and whistles, but for the most part his approach helps sustain interest when the teleplay falters, sputters or just plain poops out.
  96. Darabont and his cast excel at conjuring up a taut social study, but let the horror scenes fall oddly flat.
  97. [An] ambivalent but mildly engrossing new docu-series.
  98. "Lucky Louie" is not a runaway smash right out of the gate, but neither does it stumble or implode.
  99. Really, honestly, actually, it isn't all that bad...It's sort of like "Flipper" without the dolphin.

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