Washington Post's Scores

For 1,346 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 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 57
Highest review score: 100 Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 3
Lowest review score: 0 Dads: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 599
  2. Negative: 0 out of 599
599 tv reviews
  1. 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]
    • Washington Post
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Bitterly, brutally, blatantly hilarious. [19 Jul 1995]
    • Washington Post
  2. 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.
  3. This brilliant and aching and achingly brilliant series is the best original sitcom in the history of cable TV. [15 Mar 1998]
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  4. Mike Judge, creator of "Beavis and Butt-head," made a darn good try at a seriously funny workplace comedy with his 1999 film "Office Space," but Gervais and Merchant have even greater success. "The Office" is hilarious in a very hip and flippant way. [30 Jan 2003]
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  5. So is "The Wire" as good as ever? Perhaps even better.
  6. 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]
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  7. Even though this is not the strongest season opener in the history of the series, it still makes most of the sitcoms on the broadcast networks look weak of knee and soft of head. [13 Nov 1996]
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  8. It’s an excellent and deceptively precise show about the human condition.
  9. 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
    • 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.
  10. 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.
  11. It is nothing short of a towering achievement.
  12. 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.
  13. Television's greatest drama series has only gotten greater.
  14. The only complaint one could muster about Fargo this time is that it spreads itself on too thickly in the first two episodes. In moments that count, the show can seem more interested in style than substance. Season 2 also introduces so many characters (played by equally strong actors, including Ted Danson as Trooper Solverson’s father-in-law, Hank; Cristin Milioti as Solverson’s wife, Betsy; and Nick Offerman as Karl, Luverne’s most conspiracy-minded lawyer--to name a few) and so many fascinating threads at once that it threatens to collapse under its own weight. The intricacies do begin to cohere by Episode 4.
  15. Sadness and dread have settled in, handled with the same skill with which Catastrophe subverted the notion of a love story.
  16. Enlightened comes through with a triumphant eight-episode arc that broadens its characters, quickens the pace and finishes strong.
  17. 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.
    • 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.
  18. Watching this season’s first three episodes, one is struck by how sumptuously far this epic now spreads.
  19. 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]
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  20. Each episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" flies by in a dizzying blur of neurotic delight. [14 Sep 2002]
    • Washington Post
  21. 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.
  22. Fans of the show’s intrigue will immediately notice an uptick in tension and momentum from last season that feels like a comeback. And fans of the complex love story between the show’s married pretenders, Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, will pick up on a new layer of iciness that may never thaw.
  23. As full of wit and mischief as it was last year. [11 Oct 1990]
    • Washington Post
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. [A] magnificent and effectively haunting 10-episode series.
  27. Transparent is the best streaming-network pilot since Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black.”
  28. It is a uniquely rendered creepshow that specializes in meaningful silences, emotional stress and dour moods. In so doing, it takes its place among recent miniseries that artfully elude their genres.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. "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
  32. The overall effect of Master of None is one of fullness and fun.
  33. A thoroughly enjoyable if less impressive second season.
  34. 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.
  35. It joins "Planet Earth" and "Life" to reign as a triumvirate in Best Buy showrooms. Nothing looks better, sounds better.
  36. Sherlock is too often a petulant know-it-all, which grows tiresome and makes a viewer painfully aware that each episode is 90 minutes long.... Sherlock's redundancies are improved by a couple of longer story arcs.
  37. "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
  38. Game of Thrones is like no other TV show around right now--brilliant, exasperating, enthralling, and, if you let it become so, hard work.
  39. 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.
  40. This is good, strong procedural television that respects the art form and commands our attention.
  41. 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.
  42. 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
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. Without ever being too on-the-nose, Insecure has something to tell its audience about the lived experience of seeking life and career successes while black.
  46. Astounding and sobering. ... It clocks in at 18 hours--a length as daunting as its subject, yet worth every single minute of your time. I’ll go so far as to call it required viewing, before you watch anything else on TV that will come (and probably go) this fall season.
  47. There also aren’t many words left to describe why Veep keeps working as well it does.
  48. It’s a compelling but also consistently depressing series, and, in its lack of gloss, unlike anything else on the prime time schedule. It’s not going to help matters that this season has exchanged some of American Crime’s clarity for more cloudiness, which I’m sure is Ridley’s intent.
  49. 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
    • 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
  50. It is intelligent, witty, quick-paced and surprising; it is tragic without being emotionally devastating.
  51. It’s a gloriously thoughtful wallow in the subtle and sometimes even insecure ways that families and friends relate to one another.
  52. 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.
  53. This new season starts off strong.
  54. The absence of gimmickry and the presence of respect for the story and the audience give The Wire organic advantages over nearly all other TV dramas, whether they deal with cops and crime or birds and bees. Which is to say: If you want to see the television of tomorrow, it's on HBO tonight.
  55. The first five episodes of Season 2 are as good or better as what we saw in Season 1.
  56. The first six episodes (which I've watched, dutifully at times) draw you in but sometimes feel overstuffed, overproduced and weirdly gauzy where the series means to be an exercise in crisp, razor-sharp filmmaking.
  57. 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.
  58. Sherlock moves swiftly and intelligently but also a little too coldly, like a long commercial for better WiFi..... Cumberbatch’s take on Holmes’s narcissism can come off as skeevishly robotic. If not for Freeman’s deeper, more human work as Watson, the style would soon go sterile.
  59. [A] funny, highly profane but surprisingly poignant dramedy (originally a stage play) about a sexually compulsive woman in London.
  60. It's the most savory new series of the season, the one most likely to engage the emotions, stir the heart, touch the soul -- a comedy with tears that celebrates family and memory and the rich ingredients that make up the American melting pot. [20 Sep 1991]
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  61. 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]
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  62. Cleverly constructed and invigoratingly ambitious in design ... '24' has tension and density that set it well apart from the pack. [6 Nov 2001]
    • Washington Post
  63. 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.
  64. So much in the Freaks and Geeks premiere is shrewdly, tenderly and sagaciously observed that one wonders whether there'll be enough material left for additional episodes. Probably. [25 Sept 1999, p.C01]
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  65. In the first of the new episodes, David seems all too eager to reach, and even stretch, for laughs. ... The good news is that as the weeks go on ... the show gets better and better, until the barnacles of self-consciousness fall off and David gets back to his old stride. It only requires a bit of patience, in other words, and viewers who find the first couple of episodes disappointing should stay with it, because at its lunatic best, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is still one of the absolutely funniest half-hours on television. [3 Jan 2004]
    • Washington Post
  66. "Extras" lives up to expectations and to its own lunatic traditions.
  67. 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.
  68. "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
  69. The Flag is precisely the sort of film we should be making and watching at this particular distance from the attacks.
  70. How did a story about a depressed, alcoholic horse become one of the most human shows on TV? ... Can BoJack Horseman pull off a fracking story line? You betcha. ... And BoJack Horseman never neglects to expand its rich, Hollywood-parallel universe, which is largely responsible for the show’s sardonic brand of humor.
  71. 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.
  72. It’s mainly an intelligent crime drama, and a real step forward for Sundance, which is bringing more original programming to its slate. As slow as it seems to go at first, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’re addicted.
  73. 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
  74. 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.
  75. As television, Girls is disturbing, sharply honed and even wickedly funny.
  76. In striving to be more, The Crown, which delivers 10 robust new episodes Friday on Netflix, intermittently becomes too much.
  77. Season 4 feels more like a drama than ever, and that’s not a bad thing. “Orange Is the New Black” has introduced a multitude of characters we don’t usually see on television and given them complicated and intimate relationships that speak volumes about issues not contained to prison’s impenetrable walls.
  78. 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).
  79. 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.
  80. [The mockumentary style is] used not to excess but to success, which is just what this wise, clever and bighearted comedy ought to be.
  81. The lovingly and imaginatively produced pilot has to be the most gorgeous piece of television airing anywhere tonight.
  82. Absorbing and deeply inspiring.... The film ably transitions to and from its parallel stories of uplift and defeat.
  83. Sing Your Song is broad and complete, but like most biographical documentaries of legendary performers that we've seen of late, it is also hagiographic.
  84. Lost actually gives every sign of knowing where it's going and what it's doing. It's solid, suspenseful and fraught with frights. The Big Scary Monster may be a corny touch, but who's to say what does and doesn't exist on those mysterious uncharted islands where, for example, King Kong once holed up. Lost has the capacity to bring out the kid in adults and the adult in kids. [22 Sept 2004, p.C.01]
    • Washington Post
  85. 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Scenes fold into themselves and mutate with a chaotic precision not seen since Python. [23 Oct 1997]
    • Washington Post
  86. By the third episode, Fargo confidently stretches in a direction that is uniquely satisfying.
  87. The first four episodes of this new season are among the series’ best.... Network trauma dramas come and go--and with them a lot of serious doctors and nurses and miserable patients--but rarely do we see a show that understands life in a hospital as well as Getting On did.
  88. A serious and provocative new drama from co-creators David Simon and George Pelecanos.
  89. 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]
  90. High Maintenance is hardly an advertisement for pot; once in a while it even seems to suggest that the drug keeps the Guy and his customers in a slightly numbed state of response to the world around them. These are not the stereotypical stoners of yore. Like so many Americans, they’re just looking for a break from all this. That they do and don’t find relief is part of what makes the show so believably, wistfully good.
  91. 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.
  92. Nashville never strays too far from its real story--the ups and downs of glitzy stardom, with Britton and Panettiere performing their own vocals.
  93. More deeply and uniquely, Lady Dynamite delivers a knowing, if satirical, glimpse of bipolar disorder--sort of like the Carrie Fisher story with a whole lot more Kimmy Schmidt thrown in.
  94. [Dear White People] elevates its source material into a deeply poignant exploration of where we are now.
  95. 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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