Washington Post's Scores

For 1,025 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 10.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 54
Highest review score: 100 The Corner: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Identity: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 424
  2. Negative: 0 out of 424
424 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. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Television's greatest drama series has only gotten greater.
  12. Enlightened comes through with a triumphant eight-episode arc that broadens its characters, quickens the pace and finishes strong.
    • 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.
  13. Watching this season’s first three episodes, one is struck by how sumptuously far this epic now spreads.
  14. 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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  15. Each episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" flies by in a dizzying blur of neurotic delight. [14 Sep 2002]
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  16. 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.
  17. As full of wit and mischief as it was last year. [11 Oct 1990]
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  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Transparent is the best streaming-network pilot since Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black.”
  21. 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.
  22. "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]
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  23. 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.
  24. It joins "Planet Earth" and "Life" to reign as a triumvirate in Best Buy showrooms. Nothing looks better, sounds better.
  25. "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]
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  26. Game of Thrones is like no other TV show around right now--brilliant, exasperating, enthralling, and, if you let it become so, hard work.
  27. 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]
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  28. 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.
  29. There also aren’t many words left to describe why Veep keeps working as well it does.
  30. 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
  31. It is intelligent, witty, quick-paced and surprising; it is tragic without being emotionally devastating.
  32. It’s a gloriously thoughtful wallow in the subtle and sometimes even insecure ways that families and friends relate to one another.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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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  37. 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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  38. Cleverly constructed and invigoratingly ambitious in design ... '24' has tension and density that set it well apart from the pack. [6 Nov 2001]
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  39. 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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  40. "Extras" lives up to expectations and to its own lunatic traditions.
  41. 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.
  42. "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]
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  43. 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
  44. As television, Girls is disturbing, sharply honed and even wickedly funny.
  45. 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).
  46. 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.
  47. The lovingly and imaginatively produced pilot has to be the most gorgeous piece of television airing anywhere tonight.
  48. Absorbing and deeply inspiring.... The film ably transitions to and from its parallel stories of uplift and defeat.
  49. 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
  50. 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
  51. By the third episode, Fargo confidently stretches in a direction that is uniquely satisfying.
  52. 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]
  53. Nashville never strays too far from its real story--the ups and downs of glitzy stardom, with Britton and Panettiere performing their own vocals.
  54. 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.
  55. The pilot (the only episode made available to critics at press time) has some difficult scenes, including an act of marital rape (or something like it), yet the acting is strong and the story is compulsively intriguing. The first thing you want from The Affair is to see where it leads.
  56. You needn't be the least bit interested in sports to enjoy Sports Night, the best new ABC sitcom of the season. [22 Sept 1998, p.E01]
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  57. American Crime is an intentionally exasperating viewing experience; sooner or later, every character does something that’s just flat-out wrong. And yet I can’t remember the last time a network drama had my rapt attention and respect on this many levels at once.
  58. A compelling and sometimes harrowing hour of high-tension urban trauma, different from Bochco's "Hill Street Blues" and at least as good as any other drama series now on the air. It delivers a good, stiff shock now and then, and what's wrong with that? It's surely preferable to shows that lull you into numbness. [21 Sept 1993, p.D1]
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  59. It’s a precise, sharply executed sendup of the high-tech, billionaire-making culture and economy of Facebook/Google/Apple/Amazon/Yahoo that has infiltrated (“disrupted,” as they say) contemporary life. Better still, Silicon Valley is also here to make you laugh.
  60. Hauntingly effective.... Going Clear’s only small problem is how much of Wright’s book it tries to cram into two hours.
  61. So rousingly well done that it seems to come from a different solar system than most contemporary episodic television shows, and yet too many rapturous panegyrics could spoil some of the fun. The two-hour pilot for the series...is so terribly and industriously entertaining that you hate to see the program lumped in with things that are supposedly "good for you." This isn't a John Chancellor commentary. This is living, breathing matter -- clever, thoughtful, ribald and hard-boiled. [15 Sept 1986, p.B1]
    • Washington Post
  62. Former fans of "Twin Peaks" who feel that show has become too ridiculous to bear may find the snowy terrain of Northern Exposure a pleasing substitute. The series seems to have struck a happy balance: just ridiculous enough. [8 Apr 1991, p.C2]
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  63. The reason it works so well is that performers and script are ideally matched; they join forces to obliterate resistance. [14 Sept 1985, p.C1]
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  64. Community stands on its own intangible excellence.
  65. The Honorable Woman is a slow-building but gripping story, regardless of where you stand on Mideast politics; Gyllenhaal delivers a remarkably measured and moving performance.
  66. Boardwalk Empire is doing what I wish Prohibition had done--it's tempting me to stick around for one more.
  67. 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.
  68. 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.
  69. 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.
  70. 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]
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  71. 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.
  72. 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.
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. 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]
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  76. Gripping ... It sure gets off to a spine-tingling, heart-pounding start. [19 Sep 1994]
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  77. 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.
  78. 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]
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  79. 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]
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  80. 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]
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  81. 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]
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  82. Great Migrations lets us be amazed rather than telling us to be, and the amazement quotient is, yes, amazingly high.
  83. 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.
  84. 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.
  85. Extraordinary in just about every conceivable way.
  86. 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.
  87. 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.
  88. Southland is a show of high caliber and riveting brilliance, instantly one of the finest hours of TiVo-worthy drama anywhere on the tube.
  89. The caliber is very, very high, a gangbusters idea executed with skill and sensitivity. [26 Sep 2002]
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  90. The most electrifying new main character to hit television in years. [16 Nov 2004, p.C01]
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  91. Six Feet Under establishes from the start that it will be unflinching and brazen and, as it happens, scorchingly brilliant. [3 June 2001, p.G01]
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  92. It's a beautiful downer of a show that becomes more revealing and absorbing as it moves along.
  93. Elementary exhibits enough stylish wit in its mood and look to quickly distinguish itself from the latest British "Sherlock" series.
  94. Judging only the pilot episode, the banter between them (Dean Winters and Josh Duhamel) can be fun and Gilligan’s influence lends a nice, creepy sheen to the notion that menace lurks anywhere, even (or especially?) in the upper Midwest.
  95. Brings new energy and respectability to the "reality" genre popularized by the same network's "Survivor" -- and surpasses it in spectacle and human drama. Great TV lives. ... There is so much more to this show than there is to most of its ilk. [5 Sep 2001]
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  96. Thanks to Louis-Dreyfus, and the show's remarkable knack for dialogue and timing, Veep is instantly engaging and outrageously fun.
  97. Another satiric triumph from Matt Groening. [27 Mar 1999]
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  98. A stand-up, standout piece of work, one that works wonders on a seemingly tired genre.
  99. Gotham respectfully riffs on the DC canon, but it’s a whole lot better when it experiments with--and even subverts--the oft-trod territory of Batworld.
  100. Virgin Territory isn’t lurid or easily embarrassed. That’s (sometimes) the wonderful thing about this social-network generation: They’ll talk openly about anything, everything.
  101. Everything about The Mindy Project is so very Kaling and happily spot-on, starting with the strength of the jokes and dialogue.
  102. Sparse, tough, nuts-and-bolts, hit-and-run TV. You'd need a magnifying glass to find a nuance. But it works, and grippingly.
  103. 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
  104. A particularly taut and well-structured pilot episode lays out McCord’s essential struggles, while Leoni delivers a calm, cool and wry performance.
  105. Although Recount is a smashing success on almost every level, it's also a brutally disheartening experience for the story it tells.
  106. Once Upon a Time is a smartly-crafted reward for fans of light fantasy, with the right mix of cleverness, action and romance.
  107. Lie to Me seems an unusually meaty, thoughtful and thought-provoking crime drama--another police procedural, yes, but one with a dramatic and mesmerizing difference. The strength of the premise combined with first-class production make this easily one of the season's best new shows.
  108. A refreshingly taut and well-executed futuristic sci-fi series about a group of 100 jailed juvenile delinquents who are banished from an orbiting space-station colony and sent to live on Earth--97 years after a nuclear apocalypse.
  109. Queer as Folk gets off to a triumphantly provocative start. The least that can be said is that there's nothing else like it anywhere on the air. [2 Dec 2000, p.C01]
    • Washington Post
  110. Though imbued with epic sweep, Hell on Wheels is a western at heart, even if that heart is cold.
  111. Overdoing things is one of Murphy's trademark flaws, but this show has a captivating style and giddy gross-outs.
  112. “House” comparisons will surely abound, but Rake is easily one of the more confident network dramas to come our way of late.
  113. Beyond its gimmicky concept and fantasy angle, Quantum Leap -- from "Magnum, P.I." creator Donald P. Bellisario -- touches on forms of alienation that grip everybody at one time or another. For Sam, it's one time or several others...The premise holds out a prospect even more attractive in the late '80s than it would be in many other eras: escape from the present. [25 Mar 1989, p.D1]
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  114. Working something of a miracle, Danny McBride, who plays Kenny and is one of the creative talents behind the show premiering tomorrow on HBO--the most recklessly funny comedy of the year--makes us kind of like Kenny Powers.
  115. Bartha and Rannells's characters display yin/yang neuroses that keep their characters interesting, but as Goldie, the would-be surrogate, Georgia King is unfortunately bland.
  116. Cristela resembles past attempts to graft multiculturalism onto the vanilla-fied vapidness of the American sitcom format. But Cristela wins the day with its easygoing attitude and superbly smooth cast. Alonzo has a bite to her wit that is reminiscent of the earliest, best days of “Roseanne.”
  117. With a “Homeland”-style mastery of momentum and a “Traffic”-esque multi-narrative premise, Odyssey passes the biggest test of all when it comes to trying out new TV shows in today’s glut of offerings: As soon as the first episode was over, I was eager to see more.
  118. You may groan at the premise -- a young woman helps the police solve crimes through use of her psychic intuition -- but it's brought off with so much storytelling skill and so few voguish gimmicks that it might as well be the first show of its kind. [3 Jan 2005]
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  119. The show truly teeters on wonderful. This is probably TV's most poignant half-hour comedy in years, a masterfully modulated combination of shrewd satire and a tender, even tearful, central story. [5 June 2005, p.N01]
    • Washington Post
  120. Big Bang is the funniest new sitcom of the season.

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