Slant Magazine's Scores

For 414 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 35% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 61% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Damages: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Anger Management: Season 2
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 264
  2. Negative: 0 out of 264
264 tv reviews
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Milch has a keen eye for his actors' untapped resources--he doesn't so much cast against physical types as he does psychological ones--and this is what makes Deadwood's expansive ensemble so continually exciting to watch.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    David Simon and his writers... aren't out to change the world; the slippery slope of civilization is already in place on The Wire and Simon is just out to document how each and every person survives. Or doesn't, as this season quite devastatingly proves.
  1. The writers have shown that letting the characters drive the story can make a form as tired as the sitcom new again.
  2. The Wire is as true as television gets.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Not since HBO's "The Wire" has a show juggled so many conflicting and diverse issues like race, money, and class with such staggering insight.
  3. The seeds planted in the earliest episodes of the season promise a narrative as rich and complex as season one.
  4. Ideas became embedded into character and each member of the ensemble was given complex motivations within situations that challenged their natures. As the third season begins, we see that Weiner is committed strongly to going in this same direction with closeted homosexual Salvatore Romano.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Finishing each episode is like closing up a really great, gritty, little crime novel.
  5. Treme puts everything into every scene. The camerawork is rich and the direction squeezes every nuance from the actors. The city's history has been painstakingly researched and effortlessly inserted into the writing. As a result, the moments-or notes-that make up this show are all that much richer, that much livelier.
  6. This is one of the rarest finds on television: a show where cast and character are so perfectly matched by a creator who understands exactly what journey he wants take his audience on.
  7. Well written and acted, almost perfectly paced, and entirely unlike anything else on television, Spartacus isn't just bloody good, it's bloody excellent.
  8. Breaking Bad continues at the same disciplined, regimented pace, fussing over small details and picking at new threads, even with the end looming.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Hunted balances its cheesy dialogue and gratuitous sex and violence with an overarching narrative that dramatizes endemic moral rot and the dark money pulling strings from behind the curtain.
  9. Justified is the strongest, liveliest, and most tonally accurate adaptation of the writer's work to date, and the latest season bracingly suggests that isn't likely to change anytime soon.
  10. That Enlightened's propagandist and activist message is tinged with irony only makes it more perfectly tooled to our times.
  11. Despite the formidable technical mastery applied and the demanding sprawl of the multifaceted narrative, Campion's series has the unmistakable timbre of daring art made naturally.
  12. For its authentic engagement with despair, Hannibal earns its wrenching nihilism: It's a great, epic vision of American horror.
  13. Even if the radiant humor occasionally tends a bit toward the local, as in the brilliant season opening involving members of the DSNY, the point of view is so effortlessly relatable in its humble assertions.
  14. Steven Soderbergh's The Knick is exhilaratingly alien.
  15. It's an honest tearjerker that treats its characters with respect, according them a great sense of wounded, tattered dignity.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Not quite The Office II, not quite a wholly different breed, Extras should nevertheless please Gervais aficionados and newcomers alike.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    This season holds promise, not lacking in the detail that makes the series so enjoyable.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The duo's knack for a peculiarly modest zaniness is shared with the brilliant supporting cast.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Breaking Bad is at its most entertaining when it's taking us into the drug culture of the street.
  16. It might seem like grilling an A+ student for B- work, but the fact remains that this is among the few times the show has spun its tires.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    As in the show's third-season creative peak, the attention to continuity and timely plot devices is well balanced by the focus on character and actual comedy.
  17. On a whole, the new season of Friday Night Lights manages to retain its depth and heart-wrenching warmth despite a sea change in its structure and characters.
  18. The chemistry of every television show should have as rapid a half-life as Breaking Bad, transforming into something new while building off the critical elements of the past.
  19. Only by tuning in on Sundays will we discover if the tone of upheaval herein will define season four; regardless, Mad Men continues to hit its stride most indelibly while rendering the off-kilter uneasiness of transition.
  20. Most of the episodes so far have ended with a simulacrum of a group hug, an acknowledgement that, even though they don't always get along, this family loves one another. So far, these moments have worked on the show, but the formula could get tired.
  21. If FlashForward can keep the momentum it set in its premiere episode, the show's apocalyptic tone and fate-bending intrigue should prove deeply fascinating.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The storytelling gifts of writer-producer Rob Thomas, the creator of another under-seen show, Veronica Mars, prove innumerous, as these wholly original, vital characters practically bleed insecurities, coming off as tenderly funny and human.
  22. Rather than waiting for a future payoff, Fringe is cashing in with every episode, showing us the escalating war between worlds-and with likeable characters and compelling cases to boot. Ironically, it's by branching out in two different directions that the show has become, more than ever, the centerpiece of a hypercompetitive Thursday night lineup.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    In the first half of director-screenwriter Frank Darabont's impeccable pilot episode for AMC's new adaptation, you feel the weight of time passing in ways that Kirkman always struggles with. To say that Darabont has kicked his series off with a bang would be a serious understatement.
  23. For every Mrs. Patmore, the cook who wants nothing more than to stay in service the remainder of her life, there is a housemaid such as Gwen (Rose Leslie), who dreams of becoming a secretary in a modern office. It's these dichotomies, and the way they exist within both the Abbey itself (half the rooms have electricity and half don't) and its multifaceted inhabitants that make Downton Abbey not only the best soap opera currently on television, but one of the most relevant as well.
  24. Justified's rich vein of gallows humor, convincing sense of place, and twisty hillbilly-noir narratives are all selling points, but it's Olyphant's devilish grin that seals the deal.
  25. Archer is sleekly animated, has a cool retro design, and writing that manages to be both smart and bawdy all at once, but most of all, it has a fantastic voice cast.
  26. Knowing but not pretentious, snarky but not sneering, Portlandia succeeds both as farce and as faithful representation of a population for whom the dream--of the '90s or anything else, for that matter--is still alive.
  27. Treme gives you the best, then, of dramas and documentaries: a moving snapshot of a city, and its flesh-and-blood people, in transition.
  28. The show, on the model of other epic sci-fi programs like Battlestar Galactica and The X-Files, still has the potential to break ground. But for now, it's telling a gripping, well-made story; it might not be ready to be appreciated as art, but it's impossible not to love it as entertainment.
  29. Louie is smart, cinematic, and bitterly honest, constantly dancing between revelatory moments and hysterical bursts of humor that are both surprising and touching.
  30. It's arresting and criminally entertaining.
  31. [The] disappointment, and the full-hearted yet misguided ways Amy imagines she might transcend it, are the real subjects of the series, and Dern and White have both seemingly spent long careers in preparation for a project exactly as ambivalent, humane, and beautifully contradictory as this.
  32. In lieu of this transcendent attention to detail, however, there's still Brownstein and Armisen's magnetic and mysterious central relationship.
  33. The Mags's-money plotline masterfully brings together Boyd's crew, featuring Raylan's farther, Arlo (Raymond J. Barry), Limehouse's camp, an incarcerated Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies), the dimwitted Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman), and Raylan, along with fellow marshal Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) in a string of energetic scenes boasting some tremendous acting and increasingly clever dialogue that truly carries the lively spirit of author Elmore Leonard's original work.
  34. Asking viewers to simply look his characters in the eye, Milch has created an infuriatingly but genuinely moving drama.
  35. There's quite a bit going on underneath the show's deceptively raw, on-the-fly simplicity. It's also often a hilarious, exhilaratingly dangerous mixture of the broad, macabre, and political.
  36. Girls is still undergoing ultimately minor growing pains, but it's frequently poignant and audacious, and actors who made little impression in the first season are allowed to flower.
  37. Archer is a wonder in that its most fiercely flawed characters are its inextinguishable heroes, and their stylized comeuppance arrives in ways that are perpetually unpredictable and altogether resonant within the show's singular, emotionally unhinged universe.
  38. As the tactics of these two characters [Marcus Crassus and Spartacus] grow all but indistinguishable, it becomes clear why this final season is labeled War of the Damned, and all but guarantees that while their fighting will lead to a bitter end, it will lead viewers to the most savory of conclusions.
  39. As always, there's no predicting where all of this is headed, but if one last reference to The Divine Comedy is any sign, this season's journey toward the final act of Mad Men's American epic promises to be its most challenging and rewarding.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Even at its most desultory, when the show is happily proceeding through legal drama conventions or even high-concept schlock, the execution, from the writing to the acting, resonates with virtuosic polish.
  40. Behind the Candelabra is powerful, funny, and emotionally rigorous, and though it might act as a fiery and forceful resignation, in conjunction with Side Effects, it also serves as an uncommonly heartfelt Dear John letter.
  41. [Futurama has] eccentric yet oddly sympathetic characters, scores of clever pop-culture homages, and a unique visual aesthetic that isn't afraid to experiment with a variety of styles both vintage and modern.
  42. Hannibal is richer and more ambiguous than prior Harris adaptations; it's an exploration of social decay that's rife with literal and figurative cancers eating everyone alive from the ground up.
  43. Luther embodies almost everything that's refreshing about the traditional British crime drama.
  44. Showing us the long-term impact of the attack on the lives of these characters, whose deep-seated motivations and fears have gradually been revealed to us over the last two seasons, allows Homeland to transcend its tendencies toward the hyperbolic and gives us a reason to suspend our disbelief.
  45. The Walking Dead never feels as if it's just creating new obstacles to make these characters squirm. Indeed, what makes the series so consistently fascinating beyond its horrific thrills is a sense of rebuilding life down to the little details, which brings us to the latter song in "Infected."
  46. Treme imparts a feeling, however small in scope, of real transformation in the Crescent City, but it comes with an insensitivity toward the city's traditions.
  47. The show's characters, whether major or minor, skirt familiar archetypes, but the writing and performances consistently subvert accepted lowlife caricatures, finding something less pointedly foreboding than odd and irrefutably human in Harlan County's heroes and villains.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    [Sherlock's third season] at last settles into its own assured rhythm, simultaneously honoring the swift escapist roots of Doyle's writing while also mounting a heady meditation on friendship and brotherhood.
  48. Armisen, Brownstein, and Krisel are effectively crafting a multi-faceted comedy art project, the unfolding of which is both exciting and hysterical to watch.
  49. Doll & Em turns out to be unerringly fair-minded in its view of popular filmmaking, if only because concerns about Hollywood's shallowness are secondary to ideas of age and, inevitably, death.
  50. In addition to embarking on a substantive season-long story arc, these new episodes also tread fresh emotional territory.
  51. In its fourth season, Game of Thrones finally strides with the purpose and fearlessness of a great battle-tested behemoth through the sprawling, violent landscapes of Westeros.
  52. HBO's The Normal Heart is a boldly corporeal expression of gay political consciousness.
  53. Enoch clearly loves the drink, and enjoys the bad work he does, and the final season of Boardwalk Empire suggests that no matter what cloaking his ilk partially hid under, it's nothing compared to the whitewashing that's about to come.
  54. Mr. Dynamite may finally be Gibney's most psychologically and socially perceptive film to date, at once a refreshingly even-handed view of one of the great musical minds of the 20th century and a near-pathological study of the rise of modern conservative thinking, seen through one of it's most unlikely yet dynamic supporters.
  55. Like Lost, the show seems predicated on an unsustainable premise, but Prison Break is moving along more briskly.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    While the actual comedy being prepared for the variety show isn't often a success... the drama behind the scenes is clearly what's worth watching.
  56. The cast is perfectly matched to this material.
  57. Season four curiously picks up exactly where last season left off, providing little explanation for Shane's sudden growth spurt and the body mass indexes of several other characters, and the hurried pace of the season premiere, "Mother Thinks the Birds Are After Her," is a little disorienting, but the show finds its footing by the next episode.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Should we actually trust his actions over what he says as a true indicator of who he really is? It does not seem that the writers of the show have discovered this apparent problem in their storytelling, but it certainly could be something worth exploring in the coming season.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The show's flashback/forward structure has provided an interesting commentary on the relationship between time and narrative, but it also struggles against its 40-minute playing time and the expectations of a weekly network audience.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    If the show treads a little more softly, there could be greatness; radical conformity is always lampoon-worthy, no matter the setting.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Ball has brushed up on his Buffy reruns, opening up the show's universe to far more devilish creatures and ideas, and it seems the further he steps away from the vamps, the closer he gets to the beating heart of the human.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The Philanthropist proves compassionate and insightful, never didactic, and heartily entrenching.
  58. The inventiveness of the gadgetry and the wild sense of humor that sneaks into the show give it the potential to develop into an adventure that's both funny and exciting.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Runway remains the most delicious of junk foods, and with the added pleasure of occasionally baring witness to unique, well-crafted garments, this must-see program might even be considered educational.
  59. There are still some forced situations (Joe gets hit on by a drunk businesswoman and panics) and forced dialogue (the friends compare the number of medicinal creams they each use), but there are also more throwaway scenes with shoot-the-shit dialogue that do more to flesh out the men's lives than anything in the overwritten pilot.
  60. Despite some tweaking in the main storyline, Chuck's tone remains generally affable.
  61. While fans of Battlestar should be happy to hear inventive use of the word "frak" again, they might be put off by Caprica feeling like Moore's own version of Dallas.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    It works—maybe because the group is so likeable, or because writer Adrian Hodges puts so much faith in his main characters (it's nice, for once, to see a work that doesn't fault us for our reliance on technology, but rather shows how easily people can persist without it).
  62. Being Human doesn't quite achieve that show's [Buffy] giddy levels of entertainment, but it's smart enough to know that vampires, werewolves, and ghosts are more interesting when they exist in our familiar, everyday world.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    In spite of this art-school eagerness to please, there's an appealing lyricism that permeates Southland.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    For those who miss the romantic entanglements of Lipstick Jungle or long for an adult fairy tale free of vampires, Eastwick is the place to be.
  63. True Blood lives up to another one of its character's promises: "I can protect you. Or have passionate primal sex with you. How about both?" Both it is.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Watching how the Wests attempt to navigate the straight and narrow could be hilarious.
  64. Hung grows more penetrating with every episode. There are still throwaway scenes (like between Ray and the rich neighbor whose having an affair with him), but they contribute to the way in which Ray is coming to terms with his lifestyle.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    His chronic pessimism may grow harder to tolerate over the course of a 13-episode season, but for now, Louie provides brooding wit and genuine pathos in substantial enough doses to eclipse any shortcomings.
  65. The show creates a fascinating and wonderful hyperreal world of shadowy figures, secrets hidden in codes, and perhaps even the revelation of a giant conspiracy. It's not completely original, but there's currently nothing on TV even remotely like it.
  66. Aside from a tangential take on gay marriage that devolves into a matrimonial free-for-all full of regrets and dead teeth, the episodes wisely examine the gang as an awkwardly functional community--and, surrealistically, it's a dynamic of alienation and destruction rather than fraternity that ensures this collective's longevity.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Finally, we have a show with all the memorable wit of Bill Lawrence's previous series, Scrubs, minus the inner monologues.
  67. We are led to believe there is something faintly honorable about these characters, and that their extreme intelligence justifies their slaughter of those who are "beneath" them. There's something distasteful about this archetype, but Wilson, a canny actress, rises above the material. Together they make Luther the most absurd and enjoyable police show to come along in a while.
  68. These episodes are mini-dramas that could work on any theatrical stage and yet there's nothing theatrical about the way they're presented here. The episodes work primarily because of how carefully and subtly they're acted, photographed, and most crucially, edited.
  69. Thanks to the exciting new chemistry on the show, Human Target can now find complications within the ensemble, and not just within each week's set piece.
  70. As you watch the look of quiet determination spread across his player's faces, it becomes clear that the show's final season may not be perfect, but it still has the power to make you feel like storming the football field yourself.
  71. Lights Out isn't a knockout, but it's got enough grit and sweat to keep viewers on their toes.
  72. This season, the writers have taken her even further away from the cliche of the incompetent boss--currently being flogged to death by The Office. Leslie is now both realer and more amusing, the humor of her character stemming from the fact that she's good in a profession that no one, including her boss and her subordinates, seems to care too much about.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    As a result, what began as a quasi-voyeuristic family drama about polygamists trying to find a place for themselves as suburban, middle-class American citizens has transformed into an allegory of the growing place of libertarianism in mainstream politics.

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