Washington Post's Scores

For 1,303 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 40% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 57% 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 Big Little Lies: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 The War at Home: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 577
  2. Negative: 0 out of 577
577 tv reviews
  1. It's a handsome study in perfect mediocrity.
  2. Nothing if not serious, and nothing if not good, NBC's Law & Order nevertheless seems a victim of one particular TV tyranny. Its stories are too long for the one-hour format into which they are stuffed. Otherwise the series... has all the ingredients associated with quality television: strong scripts, relevant themes and a cast that qualifies as first-rate-plus. [13 Sept 1990, p.D1]
    • Washington Post
  3. For a cartoon, it's defiantly slow, sometimes a virtual still-life. And yet there's something curiously compelling about its utterly trivial everyday goings-on. [11 Jan 1997]
    • Washington Post
  4. The result: extreme silliness but more than enough laughs to make the half-hour investment worthwhile. [23 Jul 2003]
    • Washington Post
  5. A sharply-made if slightly off-putting reality series that follows different advertising agencies each week as they compete for new accounts.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. A lavish, exciting, well-acted and admirably thorough movie adaptation of Herman Melville's 1851 classic.
  9. "Sons & Daughters" turns the banalities of family life upside down and inside out and finds something new, and even something cherishable, in many of them.
  10. CW’s engrossing and remarkably adept drama Riverdale, a twisted but often satisfying alternative spin on the Archieverse
  11. 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    With what appears to be an infinite number of deadly viruses out there, viewers can only hope the FBI can pinpoint them all.
  12. Ostensibly an objective inquiry into the tragedy, the film is perhaps better interpreted as a study in the infinite and even seemingly inappropriate ways that people experience profound grief.
  13. Whatever it is, it's fascinating, the television equivalent of the book you can't put down and maybe the jigsaw puzzle you never quite complete.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. I just don't root for any of them, nor can I seem to work up the froth required to root against them. It's never been about how well they cook; it's about how well they cook with cameras around.
  17. The film is overwrought and wearying, salvaged mainly by its occasional gory details and a few enjoyably hammy performances.
  18. Wilfred would appear to be crafted from a can't-miss, indie-hipster aesthetic, which may be part of the problem: The show is cool to the point of being cold. The bark is all snark. It doesn't work.
  19. Despite the origins, the situations and dialogue are less infantile than a lot of shows that aren't based on comic strips, and the hero is given enough complexity that adults can conceivably be as engaged in his shenanigans as kids. [20 Sept 1990, p.D1]
    • Washington Post
  20. I Am Cait is, on some level, the most respectful melding of television’s notion of cinema verite and Hollywood’s highest form of top-notch, controlled publicity. Rarely could a show be so completely about the management of reactions.
  21. Once you strip down the predictable jokes (Will teaching Marcus about “the bro code of silence”; letting Marcus eat forbidden barbecue ribs), you’re left with a banal arrangement of gender and social stereotypes.
  22. Buoyed by scalpel-sharp writing and even keener performances, The Big C (created by comedian and sitcom writer Darlene Hunt) walks a fine line of having it both ways. It's for people who are repelled by the warm-fuzzy, disease-o'-the-week dramas of cable television.
  23. So far, several story lines of small-town secrets and drama have fanned out and fizzled, making it hard to tell if “Bates Motel” wants to be compellingly chilling or just tediously unnerving.
  24. For all the rewriting and reworking, the show needs a better premise and funnier dialogue and, most of all, a more commanding performer in the starring role.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Bravo is gambling that there's at least as much interest in the rooms we live in as the food we eat and the clothes we buy. And judging by this show's high points, that's one safe bet.
  25. Predictable to the bone--and at times maddeningly redundant--Victoria too often feels like a period drama about the making of a period drama, rather than a deep, authentic breath of rarefied air.
  26. HBO's The Sunset Limited--faithfully adapted from Cormac McCarthy's 2006 play and directed by its co-star, Tommy Lee Jones--more than overcomes the challenge of getting a satisfying piece of theater to work on a TV screen.
  27. Too Big to Fail has momentum and a certain wonky remove, but is too epic in scope, as Gould's script struggles to match the breadth of the original journalism while the actors try to convince us that they understand all their lines.
  28. Sometimes it’s fun to get utterly lost in a drama like this; sometimes it’s better to turn around and keep driving.
  29. The old clips are still a hoot, but there's a limit to how much compressed air a viewer can take, listening to a bunch of old men talk about how funny their friend was.
  30. Well, here's "24" again, with a renewed sense of dot-connecting purpose (fictional, yet symbolic) and a two-night premiere, Sunday and Monday -- a rollicking four-hour chunk in which the series seems on track to rediscover some of its original verve.
  31. Here and there, The Company is so evocatively dark and creepy it approaches the artistry of a John le Carré thriller, at least as adapted for TV back in the '80s and '90s.
  32. 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.
  33. Ozark is simply too busy to contextualize its story and surroundings. Having swum out too far in its own murky waters, the show frantically kicks and flails its way to an open-ended conclusion that doesn’t quite feel like it was worth all the trouble.
  34. Encumbered by a script that is nearly breathtaking in its imbecilic banality, The O.C. makes one long for the cold comforts of a sleazy-minded "reality" show. Fox is trying to pass off this moody, moon-faced trifle, a drama about rich young brats in Orange County, Calif., as the first series of the new fall season (in August?). But if there's any justice left in television, "O.C. will be canceled by the time the actual fall shows premiere. [5 Aug 2003, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
  35. As you binge along, you’ll notice that things seem to gel nicely around episode 4-ish through 7-ish, as Santa Clarita Diet finds a balance and settles down. Even Barrymore’s struggling performance takes on a certain charm. But that momentum falters as the series searches for a suitable climax.
  36. 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.
  37. All of these characters and situations are mildly interesting, but it's difficult to know from just a couple of episodes if they're ever going to become desperately interesting.
  38. One of the most endearing new comedies of the year.
  39. 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?
  40. Moving up to the big time, and relocating to the earlier time slot, seems to have robbed Conan of much of his charm. Much--but not all.
  41. The film lasts an agonizing 41 minutes a demonstrates a lack of tone, which means you’re never quite sure if you’re watching a comedy that intends to be purely absurd (such as “Zoolander”) or comically realistic (such as “Best in Show”). Even the tennis humor is badly served.
  42. Lilley's script and performances are rife with recognizable personalities, neuroses and human absurdities.
  43. A largely dreary dirge.
  44. The Wizard of Lies is determined to play things straight and footnoted, which would be fine if viewers had tuned in for a documentary. When what we’re really here for is De Niro, Pfeiffer and some drama. Things don’t really get good until a flashback to a company dinner Madoff threw for his employees the summer before everything came tumbling down.
  45. If it isn't pure gold, it still has bright, shiny moments--and unlike so much of what's on TV these days, it's much more likely to make you laugh than cry.
  46. 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
  47. It’s a live-action comedy that often moves and thinks like a cartoon, to great effect.
  48. 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).
  49. It wasn’t perfect, but everyone seemed to be having a good time.
  50. Hawaii Five-0 is a big bag of dumb fun, with a story told as tautly and smoothly as the surface of a Polynesian drum.
  51. A particularly taut and well-structured pilot episode lays out McCord’s essential struggles, while Leoni delivers a calm, cool and wry performance.
  52. 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.
  53. In the first four episodes, there isn't anyone or anything to root for, other than history's corrective hand.
  54. Go On moves quite breezily--much like an NBC-flavored take on premium cable dramadies such as "The Big C" and "Enlightened." It's not as good as either of those, but it has the same happy-sad aura, with just a dash of "Community"-like absurdity to keep the speed limit up.
  55. Beyond its breakneck speed and miles logged, Citizen U.S.A. couldn't be more easy or straightforward: From tiny ceremonies in county courthouses to massive arena-sized gatherings in big cities, Pelosi presents a surprising collage of that essential moment when people who've immigrated to the United States become official Americans.
  56. It seems an imaginative improvement over previous sequels "Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine." [16 Jan 1995]
    • Washington Post
  57. The cast is adequately charming (if completely cliche), and the show is perky and occasionally sharp, but “A to Z” is also a prime example of the sort of perfectly acceptable yet thoroughly mediocre fall TV show that’s all too easy to ignore.
  58. Although Recount is a smashing success on almost every level, it's also a brutally disheartening experience for the story it tells.
  59. 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."
  60. Shots Fired is thoughtful and ambitious, but dutiful in a way that renders its social commentary less compelling than, say, that of “American Crime.”
  61. A solid prime-time soap with a burnt-crisp soul.
  62. The first three episodes are all hints and shadows and squandered time, while the show’s most intriguing context and premise--life in a forgotten and neglected tribe--gets lost in all the meandering.
  63. The new series is compelling in its own way, but it will take a while to see how it congeals. Or, more aptly, if it coagulates.
  64. Bates Motel turns out to be a worthy reimagining of the Norman Bates story.
  65. Margulies rises so grippingly to the challenge that whatever else it is, "just another" courtroom show Canterbury's Law most definitely is not.
  66. Boy, has she pulled the bangs over everyone's eyes with this atrociously cutesy sitcom.
  67. Since the show steadily improves as the first few episodes progress, Hung can hardly be written off as a failure.
  68. Once Upon a Time is a smartly-crafted reward for fans of light fantasy, with the right mix of cleverness, action and romance.
  69. This show is so bad, it’s beneath even MTV.
  70. As revealed by the first four episodes of the second season, even a tweaked Newsroom is a still pretty much a bore.
  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. As smart and topical as this show could be, the plot begins to sputter and wheeze way too soon; in trying to come up with the scariest thing it can think of, Cult is oddly low on the sort of chills that would keep a viewer up at night.
  73. It’s a serious and stylishly watchable drama, thanks mostly to Dhavernas’s capable performance of a morally ambiguous person with too many dangerous irons in the fire, and Ryan’s portrayal of a hurt-and-handsome lawman struggling to do his job, even though he’s in love with his suspect.
  74. The facetious drama series--not quite a comedy, not quite not one--gathers together an annoying collection of eccentrics and misfits, all of them rich and greedy, few of them worth knowing.
  75. A conceptually smart but only moderately funny comedy.
  76. 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.
  77. It’s the ideal summertime distraction.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The cable network might have found "Chappelle's" worthy replacement in Chocolate News.
  78. The crime (and the crime solving) can’t hold a candle to the delight of watching Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy drift apart and then back together in a refrain of their story of obstinate love--a task Rhys and Maxwell Martin acquit themselves of quite well.
  79. The fun here comes without that extra layer of philosophical fanaticism. In that sense, The Strain is an enjoyable (and sufficiently sicko) episodic diversion.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    Bakula gives the Capt. Kirk thing his best shot, but the script is riddled with clunkers and jargon. Worse, "Enterprise" has a bargain-basement feel that lands just this side of camp; the space fights aren't much more convincing than PlayStation offerings. And everything is wrapped in a trite message about unity and the importance of getting along. [26 Sep 2001]
    • Washington Post
  80. Insufferable ... for the most part a stylish and incomprehensible bore. [15 Sep 2003]
    • Washington Post
  81. Perfectly respectable family fare, yet not so perfectly respectable that it's drippy. [27 Sept 1996, p.D01]
    • Washington Post
  82. 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.
  83. Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, which is based on a book by Howard L. Bingham and Max Wallace, is best when it revels in the astonishing whiteness and occasionally ridiculous ways of yesterday’s high court.
  84. Although it has some nice moves and the occasional tense moment, the show's visual allure quickly leads to aggravation.
  85. Blindspot is a textbook TV exercise in the preposterous.
  86. It’s hard to tell whether Ballers means to make the high life seem as rote and empty as it does (my hunch is that the producers and writers are given more to bouts of envy than sermonizing), but the show and its actors are so much better when zooming in on serious matters.
  87. Baker and his wily line readings and intimidatingly sly stares can snap the show out of occasional stupors.
  88. Bring your 80-cents-on-the-dollar outrage here, for an entertainingly upright tale of the fight for equality.
  89. You’re the Worst immediately finds what all comedies hope for: character chemistry and a certain zing to the writing, transcending its naughtiest nature with a disarming taste of sweetness.
  90. Maria Bello was convinced to star as Det. Jane Timoney, bravely attempting to make up for a so-so script by donning a fedora and laying things on about 10 times too thick.
  91. One of the reasons it’s difficult to keep up is that Berlin Station is boring, as is its central character. As the spy we’re supposed to be rooting for, Armitage might as well be a cardboard cutout.
  92. Thanks to Adams and Kreskoff's delightfully wicked power struggle, Hung feels fresher now than it felt last summer and more textured.
  93. 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.
  94. 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.
  95. Pitifully awful.
  96. No one can survive Surviving Jack’s hollow and formulaic dialogue, which is bursting with jokes that are half-funny at best.

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