• Network: NBC
  • Series Premiere Date: Feb 17, 2014
  • Season #: 1
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: Darren Franich
    Feb 18, 2014
    83
    Even though Fallon is a big fan of The Tonight Show, you get the pleasant vibe that he is unencumbered by any extraneous anxiety of influence.
  2. Reviewed by: Michael Starr
    Feb 18, 2014
    80
    Fallon made it clear that he’s fashioned The Tonight Show in his own image--so fasten your seat belts for what promises to be a fun, fresh late-night ride.
  3. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Feb 18, 2014
    80
    While [Will] Smith is an easy interview because of his star wattage and engaging personality, the conversation between the two men was just that. A conversation. The kind of conversational interview Johnny Carson used to do, where the host in genuinely interested in listening to his guest as well as being funny.
  4. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Feb 18, 2014
    80
    This performance was the spectacular centerpiece of a confident opening night for the boyish Fallon. He quickly reminded us how different of a host he'll be from his immediate predecessor, Jay Leno.
  5. Reviewed by: Kristi Turnquist
    Jun 24, 2014
    70
    Even with its first-night caution issues, his inaugural Tonight Show makes me think that Fallon is the perfect choice to take over a TV institution, giving it both tender loving care and a much-needed shake-up.
  6. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Feb 21, 2014
    70
    Fallon complies, respectfully and skillfully, with The Tonight Show's apparently inviolable formats (the opening monologue of jokes; the fact that at least part of the show must be conducted from his desk) as a bridge to the more goofy and innovative sketch comedy he prefers. He keeps looking for ways to delight us, surprise us. It can so easily stray into irritation--and the yawning brought on by all the fawning--but you can’t really fault the guy for trying to send people to bed happy.
  7. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Feb 18, 2014
    70
    A lot worked from this first show. The set looks great, and legendary house band the Roots were, as usual, flawless. When U2 asked them, impromptu, to join in their acoustic jam from the couch, they didn't miss a beat, and the up-tempo atmosphere told the audience one clear thing: Hey, this is fun. You might want to come back and check it out again.
  8. Reviewed by: Mark Dawidziak
    Feb 18, 2014
    70
    Fallon, 39, made an energetic and charming debut Monday night as the Tonight Show host. But providing the real rocket fuel for this high-profile launch were the many stars dropping by to wish him luck.
  9. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Feb 18, 2014
    70
    While gratitude and humility are admirable traits, there were times in Monday's opening moments when Fallon risked taking them to uncomfortable extremes.... Luckily, he rescued the moment with one of the show's better bits. A seemingly offhand remark about an unnamed star owing him money for betting him he'd never get the Tonight Show job led to a surprise-guest parade.
  10. Reviewed by: Gail Pennington
    Feb 18, 2014
    70
    Jimmy Fallon welcomed viewers to his Tonight Show Monday, introducing himself as "your host--for now." That was about as edgy as Fallon got on his first show, which seemed designed to reassure fans of Jay Leno that Tonight wouldn't change too much, while also giving "Late Night" followers some of the bits they enjoyed on Fallon's old show.
  11. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Feb 18, 2014
    70
    Just about everything worked, and worked well, from the opening credits to the final ones. The energy and beauty of New York City was incorporated in a way that exceeded even my expectations--happily exceeded them. Meanwhile, The host: A bit nervous, understandably, he nonetheless reminded fans and people who have never heard of him why he's here.
  12. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Feb 18, 2014
    60
    A very far cry from O’Brien’s lanky swagger or Leno’s self-confident poise and, to be frank, the whole "who, me? host 'The Tonight Show?'" seemed laid on a bit thick in parts.... Once Fallon moved behind the desk, and in front of a truly fabulous wooden miniature of New York, he seemed more comfortable.... After presenting Fallon with his own (red) guitar, [U2] sang an acoustic version of their Oscar-nominated “Ordinary Love,” which sounded, as so few late-night performances do, just fabulous. And that is where Fallon will make his mark on the show.
  13. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Feb 18, 2014
    60
    For whatever reason, probably no more complex than plain old first-night jitters, Fallon didn’t bring his A-game to go with his A-list of guests.
  14. Reviewed by: Todd VanDerWerff
    Feb 21, 2014
    50
    Fallon fits into that dichotomy as a sort of older brother who’d really like to get everybody together just this once, because it would make mom and dad happy. There’s a way to make that work within the more stringent requirements of The Tonight Show, but Fallon hasn’t found it just yet.
  15. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Feb 19, 2014
    50
    Buoyed by two blow-away performances by U2, Fallon got past a rather obsequious start in which he walked viewers through the basic mechanics of a monologue and said he’d be doing 10 minutes worth every night in case the Jay Leno faithful might have thought otherwise.
  16. Reviewed by: Bruce Miller
    Feb 18, 2014
    50
    It's a safe bet he’ll get his legs here in a matter of weeks. Now, though, it’s very much a shake-down cruise. The boat is loaded. It just needs to get up to speed.
  17. 50
    That lack of originality pervaded the episode--even though, generally speaking, I found Late Night With Jimmy Fallon to be original and exuberant.
  18. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Feb 18, 2014
    50
    Mr. Fallon is a charming and gifted comedian who on his first night chose to be subdued and at times even serious. That said as much about the uncertain future of Tonight as it did about its new host.
  19. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Feb 18, 2014
    50
    For all his skills as a performer, though, Fallon is still a question mark in terms of his ability to make magic out of nothing at the desk, the place where Johnny Carson and David Letterman thrived--and endured. And frankly, his “Aw shucks, I’m just so happy to be here” posture in Monday’s maiden interviews with Smith and U2 got a little tedious even before the night was over.
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 57 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 12
  2. Negative: 4 out of 12
  1. Feb 24, 2014
    0
    Are you kidding me? It's truly sad what people see as talent these days. Am I reading Jimmy Fallon reviews because I thought I saw some decent reviews and that baffles me. Allowing this unfunny person to continue insulting comedic integrity is appalling. You can cover him up and surround him with all the talent in the world but you cannot polish a turd. I'm 24, educated and have comedic taste, something lacking in the unexplainable success of this self amused talentless suck up. Full Review »
  2. Feb 25, 2014
    0
    To take a bit from LNJF, and TSJF....My thank you note addressed to AnnaP:

    Dear AnnaP, Will you marry me? You fulfill me with such blatant
    and honest criticism of Fallon. I appreciate and value your opinion. Full Review »
  3. Feb 18, 2014
    8
    Jimmy Fallon! I hope you're reading this because I am a huge fan of yours! But since it's a review, I decided this to be like a fan letter but also point out about my thoughts as well, so here goes.......

    This is basically like Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, only with a new name, a new set and a new timeslot, so it doesn't make a difference for me other than him taking over Jay Leno's seat, which I wished for a long time since Conan stepped down.

    While I still wished for Conan to stay with NBC with him hosting The Tonight Show and Jimmy hosting Late Night, I am happy that one of my biggest inspirations is hosting the holy grail of late night television.

    Sure, I watch other late night comedians as well especially Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O' Brien and Craig Ferguson. But Jimmy Fallon is the only late night comedian that made me to go his YouTube channel in the morning and watch clips on YouTube while drinking coffee.

    I am also aware with some of the hate he is getting but I am sure Jimmy has brushed it off already, but I'd like to see him taking those unbiased criticisms into consideration as well. That's what a humble comedian is.

    I am optimistic that Jay Leno won't steal his job (again) like he did with Conan so Jimmy, if you're reading this, you will go far in your career with this show.
    Full Review »