• Network: TNT
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 1, 2008
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Metascore
48

Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 23
  2. Negative: 5 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    75
    Good show with fine cast, but it all still feels a little too familiar and old-fashioned.
  2. 70
    The series seems to always eschew Hollywood-style courtroom theatrics and gotcha moments for resolutions that seem truer because they involve mistakes, bad timing, compromises, dubious ethics and sweated-out smarts.
  3. 63
    Bar is so slow to start, it might as well be in reverse. The first episode is, simply, flat-out terrible. Which is why, if you're a Bochco fan, you'd be wise to wait for the fourth episode, when Bar moves to mediocre.
  4. Bochco delivers instead a solid lawyer show that fits comfortably into the mold formed by dozens of lawyer shows before it.
  5. 60
    What it isn't is very dramatic. If watching attorneys haggle like rug traders was all that interesting, Feige probably would still be doing it. Nonetheless, there are worse ways to spend an hour than watching Raising the Bar, especially since the cast members are all quite pretty.
  6. Reviewed by: Jennifer Armstrong
    58
    Charge this one with trying too hard.
  7. Although the cases in Raising the Bar are apparently influenced by real-life cases, they tend to be either predictable or predictably unpredictable, however you want to look at it. In combination with the characters, this makes Raising the Bar about an average law series. That's pretty good for TNT, but less than expected from Bochco - fair or not.
  8. 50
    While the particulars of these cases are not uninteresting, they are mostly lost amid the swirl of Jerry and Michelle’s careening between romance and competition, betrayal and “crossing the line.”
  9. Raising the Bar is professional television, but no more than that. Passion and purpose are among the missing.
  10. It's not all bad, but nothing in it argues that it needed to be made other than to give the people who made it something to do. It's a mediocre misfire in which the odd good parts beg for a better home.
  11. Despite its updated gloss and cast, in fact, Raising the Bar doesn't really break a mold.
  12. 50
    Seriously, it is hard to take the show very seriously. It does traffic in issues and hot topics--and protests, in its way, the general corruption of the legal system--but not in particularly fresh or original terms.
  13. Too often, though, plots are contrived and coincidental (how many times can Kellerman defend clients against the same prosecutor, who just happens to be his girlfriend?) and lack the wonderful surprises that are trademarks of a Bochco production.
  14. Bar still feels like an attempt at a '90s-era edgy prime-time drama whose time has past.
  15. Part of what makes Raising the Bar so loopy is its commitment to this peculiar politics of personal responsibility and to a sappy liberalism that means none of the accused represented by Jerry Kellerman (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and his compatriots in the public defender’s office are ever all that bad. They are just mentally ill, or poor and struggling, or innocent.
  16. Reviewed by: David Hiltbrand
    40
    All the characters appear to have emerged from the stockroom.
  17. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    40
    There's no escaping a nagging sense that the series springs from a well-worn playbook.
  18. So why would TNT settle for warmed-over Bochco? Because that's what they're getting.
  19. 38
    The second episode is 30 percent better than the first. Maybe by episode six, it will actually be watchable.
  20. 30
    Bochco has made the most cutting-edge drama--of 1994. These thinly drawn characters aren't compelling, and the entire production feels dated and stagey.
  21. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    30
    This shockingly ordinary new legal drama from Steven Bochco should seem right at home amid TNT’s ubiquitous Law & Order reruns. It feels like something you’ve seen before, maybe from way back when L&O was new.
  22. 30
    These are some of the most lackluster, unimaginative trials brought to TV in years, as every defendant's guilt or innocence is written all over his or her face from the get-go.
  23. It's not just familiar, but lazy.

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