Washington Post's Scores

For 1,009 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 39% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 59% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 10.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 54
Highest review score: 100 Murder One: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Matlock: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 412
  2. Negative: 0 out of 412
412 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. The Walking Dead can still surprise us that way. And that's one of the reasons why we must keep watching.
  3. Boardwalk Empire is doing what I wish Prohibition had done--it's tempting me to stick around for one more.
  4. Reaper works on its own cleverly devilish level and proves one of the happier, snappier surprises of the season.
  5. The film, which kicks off HBO's long, annual summer of well-curated documentary offerings on Monday nights, is certainly absorbing. For those only vaguely familiar with the competitive chess circuit (or even the game's 1,500-year history), Bobby Fischer Against the World is both an easy introduction and a thorough recounting of Fischer's improbable rise to superstardom some 40 years ago.
  6. Burton and Taylor is intelligently winnowed down to a moment in time, firmly planting itself in the last days of disco.
  7. It's not so much a narrative as a collection of character studies, and the characters aren't particularly fascinating.
  8. It's got edge galore, but it's the kind that sneaks up on you and proves again that Gervais has the subtlest kind of brilliance, hard to categorize but easy to enjoy.
  9. Director Nancy Buirski's engaging HBO documentary (a Valentine's Day treat, airing Tuesday night), rescues the Lovings from the perfunctory realm of footnotes and newspaper clippings and brings them into a more emotional light.
  10. No matter how opulent this production, Mirren is never upstaged, and she is the best reason to keep watching.
  11. 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.
  12. The first half of Vito plays almost like a 45-minute "It Gets Better" ad. [Then] Vito exchanges its subtle storytelling technique for a sobering session of gay rights homework, resembling a recent raft of documentaries about the early years of the AIDS crisis.
    • 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]
    • Washington Post
  13. An engaging yet taciturn new miniseries.
  14. The cast is terrific, and some of the lines are screamingly funny, but there’s also an empathetic, moral undercurrent to the story--the usual cautionary tale about having all your dreams come true.
  15. Dharma & Greg goes beyond merely funny all the way to enchanting. There's nothing momentous or groundbreaking about the new ABC sitcom, but it's good-hearted, lightheaded and delightful, a kind of miracle cure for the blues -- especially the blues you might get from most of the other new sitcoms this season. [24 Sept 1997, p.D01]
    • Washington Post
  16. 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.
  17. A fresh and even stirring reminiscence.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    We can only be assured that Gunn's presence in the workroom will keep Project Runway's creative fires burning bright and any maudlin meltdowns to a satisfying but tasteful minimum.
  18. 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.
  19. Although Justified qualifies as cryptic, and its mouth is plenty potty, it definitely lacks edge, the most important quality of the three. In fact, it can get downright sleepy between killings. It moseys. It meanders.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Although Jane the Virgin could easily devolve into a frenetic sendup of telenovela cheesiness, it is a remarkably sure-footed, enjoyable dramedy full of strong performances, particularly from Rodriguez.
  23. Circus has no difficulty finding all the usual, romantically enthralling ideals contained within circus life, which unfortunately causes a lot of the series to feel predictable.
  24. It's all so real it verges on the mundane, but the show is also strong and necessary medicine for these times.
  25. A fascinating new PBS documentary.
  26. The problem is that the little scenes from the old shows seem so much more intriguing than the new show they interrupt. [7 July 1990, p.C1]
    • Washington Post
  27. 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
  28. The show seems somehow sleeker and better paced. Characters may now be people first and archetypes second. This has the subtle but immediate effect of making The Walking Dead less predictable and more frightening.
  29. Frasier at this point seems much more amusing when he's at home contending with his father than when he's at the workplace fielding phoned-in woes. But wherever he is, he's clearly in good hands -- the hands of old pros who still have the brash enthusiasm of young Turks. [16 Sept 1993, p.C1]
    • Washington Post
  30. 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.
  31. As Feynman, it takes the workmanlike Hurt a little too long to shuffle through the slate of go-to moods and characters he’s played already, but he eventually lands on a unique and compelling take on the man.
  32. Scorsese (with Tedeschi’s help) has found a more worthy sweet spot between introducing viewers to a whole other world and simply making film tributes to people he knows and likes.
  33. Gripping ... It sure gets off to a spine-tingling, heart-pounding start. [19 Sep 1994]
    • Washington Post
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. Orphan Black has apparently just scraped the surface--not only with the overall narrative arc but with the depth of character development in each of the clones that Maslany plays.... [However] It is chewing so voraciously through its story lines--at such a rapid pace--that it often verges on collapse.
  37. 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
  38. One weak link is fellow stand-up comic Michael Richards as Seinfeld's wacky neighbor. He isn't wacky or neighborly enough; it just doesn't work. But he's in the minority where "Seinfeld" is concerned. You may not convulsively guffaw, but you're bound to convincingly smile. Here's one that worked out just right.
  39. 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
  40. But sprawl it must. "True Blood" is a soap opera at its core, which is why it is so overpopulated with sexy characters.
  41. Though deliberately and even artfully paced, Lights Out also feels protracted. It has difficulty establishing momentum in its first few episodes, even with a smattering of intriguing subplots and story lines, and no one character exerts that intangible ability to make us keep watching.
  42. It's to the network's credit that it undertakes projects that aren't necessarily big crowd-pleasers but have a palpable artistic integrity and social significance. [1 June 2002, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
  43. Smash is a case where not bad is plenty good enough.
  44. At an hour in length, Parenthood seems like a prolonged, and rather melancholy, sitcom. There are too many characters, and it's hard to keep the relationships straight. Replacing the irreplaceable Steve Martin as the father of a 10-year-old problem child -- and a man who remains something of a problem child himself -- is the capable but unexciting Ed Begley Jr. [20 Aug 1990, p.B1]
    • Washington Post
  45. The fizzily entertaining pilot of White Collar works hard to establish a vibe of style and smarts, and almost gets the job done.
  46. 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]
    • Washington Post
  47. Joan of Arcadia may mean well, and it showcases a charming new star, but the premiere suggests viewers are being asked to wade heart-deep into a drearily portentous muddle. [26 Sept 2003, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
  48. HBO’s mildly funny yet thematically redundant half-hour series.
  49. 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.
  50. The fact that Barr's show seems cut so authentically out of middle-class experience gives it a solid familiarity from first encounter. ... "Roseanne" is really different and really funny. [18 Oct 1988]
    • Washington Post
  51. 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.
  52. Seems too self-consciously and schematically a vehicle for the actor, a vehicle that sputters and stalls when one wants it to zoom. [10 Oct 2000, p.C01]
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    With so many characters to introduce in a one-hour show, at least a few broad strokes are unavoidable.
  53. From the writing to the performances to some overly artistic visuals and camera cuts, the first episode could not be more crammed with self-seriousness if it tried.... Some strong performances peek through anyhow, especially from Manhattan’s star, John Benjamin Hickey.
  54. Great Migrations lets us be amazed rather than telling us to be, and the amazement quotient is, yes, amazingly high.
  55. The instant the duct tape is ripped off his mouth by his captors, a certain Saul-ness kicks in and Odenkirk’s talent is on full display as Jimmy delivers a pleading, philosophical monologue on--among other things--the awful nature of revenge.
  56. Becoming Chaz is one thing--and it's occasionally fascinating to watch--but being Chaz gets old pretty fast.
  57. 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.
  58. Men of a Certain Age proves a powerful yet mercifully amusing experience--bittersweet, poignant and wise. It's not just a series, but something of a tonic.
  59. Extraordinary in just about every conceivable way.
  60. I never stopped smiling while watching the first few episodes of this pitch-perfect comedy, which finds that elusive sweet spot between snark and heart.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. A shipshape, neato-burrito side project that finds the right balance between hype and hyperspace.
  64. Amounts to a character study of a character not worth studying.
  65. Grey Gardens is tragicomedy of a very rare and rarefied kind--priceless, precious and, thanks largely to Lange, potentially unforgettable.
  66. Depending on how far it’s willing to press and poke at the issues it raises, Black-ish displays a welcoming sense of humor that might be illuminating in the present context.
  67. Vikings exceeds expectations, so long as those expectations aren’t up in “Game of Thrones” territory. What could be a silly exercise in quasi-historical swordplay is instead an earnest, tightly told family drama.
  68. It has a seamless and almost hypnotic quality to its narrative, and it’s easily one of the best debuts this year.
  69. The costumes and sets are just ducky and highly evocative, but the people in and around them spoil the show, gum up the works and shatter veracity.
  70. Ellis, particularly, gives a lead performance that is strong enough to mask some of the script’s problems.
  71. 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.
  72. An enjoyable dramatic movie.... [But] Because it’s a film both by and for the devoted, An Adventure in Space and Time tends to too easily revel in its own creation myth, veering quickly into a tidy, Hallmark-like ending.
  73. Homeland is wearing a bit thin even while it nobly stays the course.
  74. Looking feels spot-on and real; it falters only when it occasionally pauses to let one of its characters gaysplain, in dialogue, a subject that it believes a larger audience might not get.
  75. The good news about Sonic Highways is that it doesn’t have enough time to bore us to tears.
  76. Very slick and very shiny, full of impassioned confrontations and noble utterances. [17 Sep 1994]
    • Washington Post
  77. Southland is a show of high caliber and riveting brilliance, instantly one of the finest hours of TiVo-worthy drama anywhere on the tube.
  78. We have to take the good things about Boardwalk Empire (the acting, the authenticity in its exquisite details and most of the writing) along with the bad (the repetitiveness, the plodding).
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    You tell yourself no one can replace the Original Seven in your heart, that you won't get seduced by another bunch of comely young guys and gals thirsting for fame. And by the end of the evening, you helplessly confess that it's happening to you again. [24 Jun 1993]
    • Washington Post
  79. Despite plenty of surface sparkle, there is something discomforting about the show, and not just because it borrows tone and form from other sitcoms with youthful heroes, especially Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle."
  80. Although no expense has been spared, House of Cards appears to suffer from the same ambitious but weighty seriousness that afflicted Starz's "Boss."
  81. The film is made skillfully enough that it could conceivably captivate both the most obsessive baseball fan and somebody who doesn't give a hoot but has a healthy curiosity--and the gratuitous extra minutes aren't by any means intolerable.
  82. The first episode of Last Week Tonight (and, to be clear, it is only the first episode, with plenty of potential and room for improvement) demonstrated little in the way of innovating or improving on “The Daily Show’s” prevailing concept.
  83. The beady-eyed Durst is a wily but generous interview subject, but where The Jinx really succeeds is in its fantastic attention to pace and detail, particularly in reenactments that are far and away better than what we usually see on “48 Hours,” et al.
  84. It’s a lot less fun now; when watching these new episodes, I found it impossible to complete any sentence along the lines of “I hope [blank] happens to [blank],” not counting my hope that poor Adam (Hannah’s increasingly complex boyfriend, played by Adam Driver, who now provides the show’s only gravitational pull) will come to his senses and flee.
  85. The casting, like the writing and direction, is impeccable, and includes Eve Best as Jackie's doctor friend Eleanor; Peter Facinelli as cute but semi-competent ER physician Fitch "Coop" Cooper; Merritt Wever as a bleeding-heart novice; and Haaz Sleiman as a gay Muslim orderly.
  86. At first glance, Alias appears to be unadulterated garbage. But then you start noticing all the adulterations...Nothing is as it seems except for the fact that this seems like a lousy show and it is one. [29 Sept 2001, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
  87. In the Flesh skillfully navigates several genres at once, all of them heavy, none of them comic.
  88. Though not as artfully constructed as Penny Lane’s excellent documentary “Our Nixon,” which aired last year on CNN, Nixon by Nixon is similarly judicious in its use of visuals and old footage.
  89. [The] new episodes are no great shakes, but they do find Futurama humming along.
  90. 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.
  91. For the most part, Girls is still wickedly written and, for some viewers, the best hate-watch around. Yet it too easily runs on fumes from a hipster era (circa 2012) that is already ossifying.
  92. This entire personification of Superman is so whiny and self-pitying that it's really an insult to the comic book mythology. [16 Oct 2001, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
  93. The show is point-blank, but somewhat brilliantly so.
  94. It's sweet, touching and deliriously cheerful -- the best new show of the year and a great big blast of happiness.
  95. I'm slightly more taken with Fox's sweeter absurdedy, Raising Hope, though I still mourn the original title: "Keep Hope Alive."
  96. Angel abounds in the kinds of frills, luxuries and extras that make it a cheerfully guilty pleasure--and also, on occasion, a very bloody mess. [5 Oct 1999, p.C01]
    • Washington Post

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