For 44 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 45% higher than the average critic
  • 0% same as the average critic
  • 55% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Caryn James' Scores

Average review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Undeclared: Season 1
Lowest review score: 30 Firefly: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 44
  2. Negative: 2 out of 44
44 tv reviews
    • 98 Metascore
    • 90 Caryn James
    'The Wire' has become one of the smartest, most ambitious shows on television. With its attention to detail and its shifting points of view -- we spend equal time inside the heads of cops and criminals -- it is also one of the most novelistic, now more than ever before. [19 Sep 2004]
    • The New York Times
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Caryn James
    Even this early 'The Sopranos' has displayed the depth that is its most stunning quality.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Caryn James
    Display[s] more wit, emotion, humanity and brutality than ever. Even measured against insanely high expectations, the series is as good as it has ever been.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Caryn James
    The Shield does not quite have the depth to make Mackey's actions more than a shock tactic. It doesn't have the moral or artistic complexity of "The Sopranos," the obvious model for a series whose hero does indefensible things. But it echoes reality closely enough to create a chilling resonance and an often gripping show. The Shield is a mix of daring accomplishment, obvious cop-show strategies and orchestrated envelope-pushing, down to its cable-ready reliance on rough language and nudity. But the smooth mix makes the series intriguing, and its energy is relentless even when its freshness lags.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 60 Caryn James
    Assuming the perspectives of its characters, the series avoids cliches and condescension; the performances are remarkably free of the cheap mannerisms actors often resort to when playing addicts. But this insiders' view is still undermined by the tone of a cautionary tale. The fact that the series makes a plea to understand the characters' humanity, rather than a judgment about them, doesn't make it less didactic.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    An inventive, likable comedy. [7 Jan 2000]
    • The New York Times
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Caryn James
    Combining dark comedy and psychological drama, the show achieves a fresh tone to match its irresistibly winning concept. [8 Jan 1999, p.E1]
    • The New York Times
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    With her clear-eyed gaze and Pre-Raphaelite hair, Felicity (Keri Russell) is immensely likable yet down to earth as she struggles to stand up for herself. Ms. Russell's sincerity and naturalness take the curse off the series' calculated, prepackaged feel.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Caryn James
    An extraordinary 10-part series that masters its greatest challenge: it balances the ideal of heroism with the violence and terror of battle, reflecting what is both civilized and savage about war. [7 Sept 2001, p.E1]
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Caryn James
    What it lacks in depth and rigor, though, it makes up for with the wealth of fascinating photographs and videos, compiled without narration and with a graceful flow.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Caryn James
    At times "Freaks and Geeks" tried too hard to create jolts of recognition. Here the frantic characters regularly call one another idiots, yet Undeclared always seems smart and effortless.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    "EZ Streets" may sound depressing, but its fiercely dark vision keeps viewers off-kilter and engaged and makes this one of the season's most exciting new series. [26 Oct 1996]
    • The New York Times
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    The series is acted with razorlike timing. [21 Sept 1998, p.E5]
    • The New York Times
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    The real-time approach can't seem as innovative the second time around, but it is still used to great effect ... The glaring weak spot is Jack's teenage daughter, Kim (Elisha Cuthbert). [29 Oct 2002]
    • The New York Times
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Caryn James
    Erratic but promising ... So far the series lacks the sharp writing to match its actors' unflappable delivery and deft physical comedy. [9 Jan 1996]
    • The New York Times
    • 81 Metascore
    • 30 Caryn James
    Dharma and Greg are so cloying they make the happy, well-adjusted Buchmans on "Mad About You" seem like Bonnie and Clyde.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Caryn James
    Oddly, its realism works better than its imagination. The series suffers greatly from the flaws of so many pet projects: a tunnel vision that assumes, rather than asserts, the fascination of its subject. If you're a space junkie -- automatically drawn to the scientific measurements, the code of personal courage, the final seconds of a countdown -- you may be enthralled. But if all that sounds too familiar, the series has a problem: it fails to generate the sense of wonder its creators take for granted.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 30 Caryn James
    This time the wrenching together of genres is tortured. In its rough first episode on Fox tonight, Firefly is even more of a confusing mess than the description makes it sound. It's a crazy quilt of "Star Wars," "Mad Max" and "Stagecoach," just to mention the most obvious films it calls to mind. [20 Sept 2002, p.E26]
    • The New York Times
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    [A] sleekly made, absorbing series.
    • The New York Times
    • 79 Metascore
    • 40 Caryn James
    That still makes the series more daring than most of what's on television; the problem is, its creators know that and the show's self-satisfaction becomes annoying. The floundering first episode (the only one available for preview) is sometimes smart, sometimes stupid, eventually gooey and, despite its sharp cast, not often entertaining. One of the season's most hyped and anticipated series, The West Wing is by far its biggest disappointment.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Caryn James
    With a deep and perplexing hero, a wide social reach and uncommon eloquence, it instantly takes a place among the best dramas on television.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Caryn James
    [Its] sharp writing elevates it above its strained concept.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Caryn James
    If Queer as Folk worked better as drama, its characters would be more fully defined and would speak to both straight and gay viewers more easily. The series is not harmed by its gay perspective but by its limited aesthetic reach.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Caryn James
    All the actors are wonderfully credible, even when forced to deal with the occasional creaky line. (Brenda says Nate doesn't know her, and he answers, "Yeah, because you won't let me.") Freddy Rodriguez adds humor as Federico, so talented at restoring corpses that he puts the Humpty Dumpty who was chewed up in the mixing machine back together. And Ms. Conroy's portrayal of the mother is subtle, funny and painful. [1 June 2001, p.E25]
    • The New York Times
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Caryn James
    Offering prefab middle-of-the-road stardom, "American Idol" is entertaining, but not for the reasons its producers like to pretend. The open secret that the show's creators and its fans choose to ignore is that the music and arrangements are trite, full of wannabe Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder wails. Originality is a losing strategy. But the series does have a stroke of commercial genius, as it shrewdly combines elements from a smattering of other series into one big marketable soup. It's "Survivor" with a soundtrack.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Caryn James
    This first episode won't grab new viewers by the throat either, although it does reveal David Boreanaz's immense attraction as the brooding, hunky, laconic vampire. [5 Oct 1999, p.E7]
    • The New York Times
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Caryn James
    Absolutely ordinary. [21 Sep 1998]
    • The New York Times
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Caryn James
    The secret of "The Practice" is that it cloaks these workaday attitudes in just enough glamour and heroism to make an entertaining drama. [4 Oct 1997]
    • The New York Times
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Caryn James
    This quirky new Fox drama, with traces of wry comedy, sometimes tries so hard to be clever that it turns silly.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Caryn James
    Though the show happens to be about sports, it works even better as a shrewd sendup of the culture of money, hype and celebrity.

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