For 613 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 23% higher than the average critic
  • 6% same as the average critic
  • 71% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 9.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Mike Hale's Scores

Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Springsteen on Broadway
Lowest review score: 10 Amish Mafia: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 34 out of 613
613 tv reviews
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    “Hightown” loses some of its momentum in later episodes — the story bogs down a bit and the pieties about addiction and taking control of your life move more into the foreground. But it never entirely loses its flavor. It’s good enough that if it were a little better — a little quirkier, a little more urgent — there’d be nothing to complain about, and that’s pretty good.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Mike Hale
    The action is routine, the drama tends toward the banal and sentimental, and the social symbolism of class division and technocracy, while cleverly worked out, isn’t compelling or coherent enough to tie it all together. ... Connelly’s performance as a tightly wound, fiercely competent woman bearing a crushing responsibility is so good that it’s almost enough reason to watch.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    While “I Know This Much Is True” pulls you along on the strengths of its soap opera mechanics, its smoothly downbeat vibe and Ruffalo’s performance, it promises more than it delivers — eventually the story collapses in on itself, settling for the sentimental formulas it’s been pretending it was above.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    It’s an ambitious attempt to combine a mystery with a faulty-parenting drama. ... It all goes on too long, though. Part of the problem is repetition. ... The series has a consistent tone of somber deliberation that might just be Tyldum’s style but plays as a way to hold together a story that’s been stretched too far. “Defending Jacob” has great ingredients, but the portion size is off.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Some of the action clichés the show uses are getting harder to tolerate. The serious effort the show makes to humanize its Palestinian characters is continually undercut by their inability to shoot straight. ... Stollman and his fellow writers have labored to give the season’s narrative a little more structure and thematic heft. ... The notion of endless cycles of pain is embedded in a season that begins with a man leaving prison and ends with another walking in.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    “Bosch” is a show of small but persistent pleasures, and they remain intact. The writing is literate but natural. ... [Storylines] dip in and out of one another seamlessly. Welliver and Hector, and Welliver and Lintz, create relationships so quietly believable, it’s as if they’re in the room with you.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    “Killing Eve” isn’t a bad show now, but it’s a different show, in depressing ways — less vital, more ordinary. It is still shocking here and there but largely devoid of surprise. A mordant and sexy comic thriller edged with terror has become a competent psychodrama bordered with sentimentality. The air has gone out of it.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The themes and outlines of “World on Fire” are firmly middle of the road — you imagine a good share of the audience watching it over tea and a biscuit — but Bowker has worked conscientiously to make the manifold subplots a little different from the norm for World War II dramas.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The mystery story and the family drama of “Home Before Dark,” both wildly inflated from the facts of Hilde Lysiak’s life, push the limits of implausibility and sentimentality even by the standards of a soapy, sins-of-the-parents family melodrama. ... That the show speeds by not just painlessly but engagingly owes in part to a darkly handsome production and to some appealing adult performances. ... But the main attraction, from start to finish, is the insouciance and conviction that Prince brings to her portrayal.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    The film marshals a fine roster of scholars and journalists to talk about the politics, and the sociology, of public housing. Its heart, though, is in the reminiscences of the former residents.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Unfortunately, the inspiration inherent in Walker’s story is in short supply in the script. ... Spencer’s intelligent, restrained performance is faultless but a little dry — with the exception of one early scene in which the tyranny of light skin and straight hair bring Walker to tears, she doesn’t really grab us. Ejogo, on the other hand, is fully alive as the O.M.G. (original mean girl) Munroe.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    “Brockmire” is essentially sentimental — baseball stories nearly always are — and as it angles toward a happy ending, the machinery of the plot can get a little obvious, like an outside slider on a 1-2 count. You can also start to weary of Jules’s repeated and increasingly improbable willingness to forgive Brockmire for his outbursts and reversals. But you’ll probably stay for the dialogue, still an uncommon concoction of literate, clever and rancid.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Rather than presenting characters in the round and then developing them, it presents characters as terms in a moral and cultural equation and then slowly reveals their pasts. For the viewer, the surprises are in the revelations and not in the choices the characters make, and rather than seeing the characters grow and change, we just see them being moved around the game board.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    What we mainly get in the early episodes (four of the season’s eight were available) is a pretty straightforward version of Los Angeles corporate noir, with debts to “Blade Runner” and the films of Michael Mann. ... The returning cast, though, still offers the value that the show’s writing and plotting can’t consistently deliver. ... That they can’t always jolt the show to life, or overcome its tendency toward a critical mass of self-consciousness and ponderous seriousness, isn’t their fault.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    A decent fix. It’s not the pure stuff, but it will tide you over. ... The American story line is the strength of “Zerozerozero” — when it’s onscreen, there’s more to watch than a coolly efficient international crime thriller.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    Between the speeches about colonial legacies and about historical atonement, there are plenty of throwdowns and chases and shootouts, staged with competence if not much flair. They tend to show up arbitrarily, on what feels like someone’s idea of an action-show timetable. When it’s time for a fight, there’s a fight. The pleasures of “Queen Sono” come outside of the action and the highly basic presentations of espionage and police work. They’re in the generally engaging performances.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    The best thing about “Better Call Saul” is still its minimalism, its quiet spaces, its willingness to linger on details, like a frazzled prosecutor’s struggle to get a bag of chips out of a courthouse vending machine.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Having gotten Pacino, though, “Hunters” doesn’t do much with him, or with its premise or the rest of its stellar cast. He’s fine. ... But there’s something generic about Meyer, and about “Hunters,” even as the show tries very hard to be singular.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    Some of that nuance is down to Steinberg, who wrote the first three episodes, and to sure-handed direction from George Tillman Jr. and Russell Fine. But a lot of it has to do with casting, beginning with the steady, measured performance of Nicholas Pinnock as Wallace. ... The viewer is on Wallace’s side, of course, but so far the show doesn’t try to tell us how we should feel about his tactics, and that’s a winning strategy.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    Picard, the second streaming “Star Trek” series (after “Discovery”), is a peak-TV experience, and it immediately feels — on the surface, at least — as if it could be the franchise’s best small-screen offering.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    One of the show’s major problems, through four of the season’s nine episodes, is that it’s hard to tell what the targets are. ... These characters banter and kvetch and berate one another in dialogue that’s cutting and foul-mouthed and largely flat, or at least not as sharp as we’ve come to expect from these writers.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Some of the most dramatic images in the “Seven Worlds” scene are the very same shots that were in “Our Planet.” That’s an extreme example. But throughout “Seven Worlds” there are scenes that trip the déjà vu meter. ... That doesn’t stop me from enjoying the amazing things in them. “Seven Worlds” is full of the usual beauty and spectacle.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    The payoffs of “The New Pope,” whether you enjoy them or not, are mostly in the visual flourishes and conceits, often set to pointedly secular pop songs. ... It has strong elements of workplace sitcom, but it even more closely resembles another venerable genre: the Mafia movie. Voiello and his ecclesiastical associates, bickering and maneuvering, are like the members of a crime family, making offers that maybe, with eternity in mind, you shouldn’t refuse.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    It takes King’s spooky, jokey, thinly characterized plot machine and turns it into a psychological workout. If that lines up with your taste, “The Outsider” will be perfectly watchable and probably even enjoyable. ... Just settle in for a very slow boil.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Mike Hale
    It’s as tasty, and as bad for you, as ever.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    Having foreshadowed the mystery to come, the show spends much of the season presenting us with suspects for a crime that hasn’t happened yet, and that isn’t always an exciting process ... The show generally succeeds, though, in approximating the dreamlike quality of the book.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Mike Hale
    It’s more of a Saturday-morning adventure than a Sunday-night prestige project. ... If it sounds like that could be fun, you’re right.
    • The New York Times
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    If you like the combination of violent action, sentimental fantasy, literary pretension and periodic slapstick humor that “Reprisal” offers, you may enjoy it well enough. Or you may wish you were watching something with the energy of “Banshee,” the clammy atmosphere of “Quarry” or the charm of “Hap and Leonard.”
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Mike Hale
    Kebbell, Grint and the brilliant Ambrose (whose performance settles down after some first-episode histrionics) do their best to sell the story. ... Enjoyment also requires some patience, as Basgallop pipettes the suspense over five hours, egregiously stretching out the flashbacks that eventually explain what really happened.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Mike Hale
    At this point “The Mandalorian” is, like more than a few franchise films, pretty good. A prototypical space western with a laconic hero in the Clint Eastwood-John Wayne mold (John Ford’s Wayne-and-a-baby film “3 Godfathers” comes to mind), it’s well paced and reasonably clever, with enough style and visual panache to keep your eyes engaged.

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