Slant Magazine's Scores

For 468 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 33% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 62% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Spartacus: Vengeance: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Zero Hour: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 301
  2. Negative: 0 out of 301
301 tv reviews
  1. After three seasons, a satisfyingly dense layering of history and tension has been built into the relationships between the main characters.
  2. Game of Thrones's second season is not as wholly engrossing as its first, and the blame for this rests solely on the source material, that, while commendable, isn't as altogether vital as the initial novel.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  3. 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.
    • 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.
  4. Regardless of some of its structural weaknesses, The Americans's second season brims with subtle psychological insight into the grinding machinations of Cold War espionage.
  5. The series isn't jaw-droppingly hilarious, but the writing is self-assured and full of punchy, Tweetable one-liners; its thin skein of a concept is enough to lend the proceedings some narrative structure, but not enough to make it feel programmatic, and its central performances are confident right out of the gate.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Though Lena Dunham's characters are far more sympathetic, she takes pains to debase them, and makes them both funnier and more recognizably human in the process.
  6. Like Modern Family at its best, the series thrives on putting easily legible characters into clear-cut conflicts that are resolved through a capitulation to familial affection; the domestic space is the source of and solution to most of the show's problems.
  7. 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.
  8. While it's not apparent that the show's personalities add up to anything more than themselves at first, they ultimately prove to be compelling studies of people trying to work through glaring mistakes and obvious limitations to fashion some sort of livable present.
  9. The season premiere alone places SAMCRO in three progressively darker, increasingly self-destructive set pieces sparked from confusion and ending with the gang indulging in some misguided retaliation.
  10. Better Call Saul is a nifty and promising comic noir, but it also allows you to ponder certain missed opportunities.
  11. The 50 Year Argument resembles a reader-centric Behind the Music only on the surface; underneath, Scorsese and Tedeschi have fashioned an American cultural hall of mirrors that speaks of the chaotic exhilaration of fostering discourse that might initiate real social engagement. If that's naïve, screw it: This pop culture could use more of Scorsese's naïveté.
  12. It's a reliably engrossing hour of television, capable of switching gears from relaxed banter to shocking violence in a split second.
  13. What's most remarkable about Bob's Burgers is how improbably poignant it can be while shamelessly indulging in the peculiar environs and dreamscapes that emerge from small-town livin'.
  14. If the insights into modern existence on Portlandia never seem quite as profound as those on Louie, the series continues to brandish a view of gender that's almost casually radical.
    • 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.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The Philanthropist proves compassionate and insightful, never didactic, and heartily entrenching.
  15. While Rectify's slow-burn progression may lessen the impact of its sparse anecdotal twists, the series is nevertheless peppered with an array of beautiful wide shots of rural Georgia.
  16. In its eighth season, It's Always Sunny doesn't try very many new things, but the writers are smart enough to know not to mess with a successful formula, and the series carries itself with an air of aplomb that many comedies rarely come close to exhibiting.
  17. In an era when cable TV writers can focus their talents on just 10 or 12 episodes at a time, 24 exceptional installments of a network comedy is an increasingly tall order, even for the creators of a show that remains the best family sitcom on TV.
  18. The amiable, unlikely empathy and neuroses that separate the members of the Pied Piper family from the pack are the same elements that give this gleefully sardonic comedy its distinct, bittersweet tone.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    A great movie is always a bit of a mystery, and that creative mystery is missing from the center of Haynes's Mildred Pierce, which cannot be faulted for craft or intelligence, but cannot be felt on the gut level of Cain, Crawford, or Curtiz, who might not have had a thought in his head about the story, but directs the hell out of it in pure visual and visceral movie terms.
  19. The cultural references feel a bit dated (the bubble-bursting housing-market collapse, Herman Cain proxy Herbert Love, The Blind Side, and The Social Network among them), and there's too much miscalculated racial humor and preoccupation with sex offender-related jokes, but there's still a plethora of fresh homonym-friendly wordplay, surprising parallels, and witty allusions to delight and preoccupy us until the series pulls off its next magic trick.
  20. 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.
  21. The Newsroom is a message-driven delight--at least for liberals--that's bogged down by uninteresting characters.
  22. 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.
  23. It's effective, finely realized genre work from a notoriously dark and idiosyncratic director and it speaks directly to the show's reenergized interest in exuding its own distinct personality.
  24. If Game of Thrones still feels like it's just a bit weighed down by the sheer heft of its narrative strands, to say nothing of the seemingly endless backstories and mythologies, the series at least now feels like it has some firm footing and a newfound sense of certain direction that was lacking intermittently in the second season.
  25. Although the show lacks the frenzied cadence of the aforementioned Archer, the depth of Bob's Burgers's relationships holds more promise. The forgiven failures and flaws of the Belchers remind us that families are often most tightly knit when they're at their most pathetic.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    In spite of this art-school eagerness to please, there's an appealing lyricism that permeates Southland.
  26. Having too many compelling directions to take a series in is far better than having too few, even if the writers make a wrong turn every once in a while.
  27. The strength of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is in the way it summons the communal spirit of those shows [Parks and Recreation, The Office, and 30 Rock] to not only poke fun at crime-show clichés, but also reinterpret them with a fresh and idiosyncratic comedic point of view.
  28. Creator Hugo Blick, who wrote and directed every episode, displays a knack for precisely parceling out bafflingly vague innuendos with the occasional nugget of undiluted exposition that comes as a sweet relief, not just for the viewer, but for the characters who are often as clueless as we are.
  29. Girls remains just as disaffected and misanthropic as ever.
  30. With the exception of the premiere's ingeniously disorienting first half, which is best left a surprise, the episodes that follow blend this communal melodrama with the flashback structure developed in season one.
  31. 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.
  32. Even as the series begins to show its age, Archer's commitment to character ensures that these episodes never feel too familiar.
  33. Right off the bat, this new season strongly hints that the series will continue to ruminate on primal sensations of fear and survival, but that it will be more content to allow action, as opposed to a plethora of argumentative moral debates, to speak to such existential matters.
  34. 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.
  35. Weiner still manages to steer clear of the trite "greed is bad" moralizing that sunk films like Oliver Stone's disastrous Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, as Mad Men still allows the characters' temptations to be authentically seductive.
  36. If the characters are a bit weak, The Walking Dead still has a compelling scenario going for it.
  37. 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.
  38. The Spoils of Babylon is a dada high-wire act presided over by quasi-satirical nutters, and the chaos they invoke is oddly life-affirming.
  39. Downton Abbey thrives when tackling plotlines that are confined to the personal and social conflicts of the estate, both upstairs and downstairs.
  40. More than ever before, The League is full of unusually affecting moments.
  41. 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.
  42. Like Lost, the show seems predicated on an unsustainable premise, but Prison Break is moving along more briskly.
  43. Many will still watch and wonder, "Is that all you got?" But those who get down in the groove with Treme's own unique rhythms may be surprised to find it's got more than enough.
    • 49 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.
  44. 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.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Watching how the Wests attempt to navigate the straight and narrow could be hilarious.
  45. It's sleek, smart, but doesn't take itself too seriously, managing to present what could have been a mere caricature wrapped up in the mythos of the Holmes character as a singular personality in his own right.
  46. Though the series has its share of larger-than-life moments that ring hollow, its knack for extracting quiet beauty from all the mayhem lends Boss's best scenes the precision and artistry of a monstrous ballet.
  47. Charlie (Charlie Day), Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Dee (Kaitlin Olson), and Frank (Danny DeVito) are as magnetically dysfunctional as ever, and their neurotic efforts to scheme their way to happiness, fame, and fortune continue to coincide with skewed views on a variety of real-world issues that blend well with the show's onslaught of crude, scattershot humor.
  48. New characters open up intriguing new avenues to investigate Carrie's ability to operate effectively.
    • 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.
  49. The Strain is a refreshingly bold deviation from TV's obsession with literal-minded crime shows that self-consciously flaunt their social relevance while wallowing in soap-operatic macho tropes.
  50. Yes, there's the same theatrical, slightly on-the-nose symbolic imagery, the recurrence of familiar narrative structures like legal depositions, and the grandiloquent speechifying of a comfortably centrist liberalism that sounds more progressive than it acts. Yet for those attuned to the Sorkin style, those excesses have their own kind of virtue, and season two of The Newsroom salvages the promise of becoming something urgent and vital.
  51. The Pee-Wee Herman Show is manic, crazy, and most of all, a whole lot of, ahem, "fun."
  52. The pilot's strength was neither accidental nor fleeting: Each subsequent episode has evocative moments that flirt with that early greatness, even if they're not as riveting.
  53. It's by no means a flawless show, and there's no certainty that even a trio as strong as this one can float the series by sheer force of will, but if the last 10 minutes are any indication, Up All Night may just find itself the most elusive trophy of all: an audience.
  54. [Lieutenant Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) and Ichabod Crane's (Tom Mison)] sharp banter, coupled with campy scenes of the horseman riding around town severing peoples' heads, makes for a mutually reinforcing combination of amusing and absurd TV.
  55. 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.
  56. The series manages to be both entertaining and self-reflexive, populist and purposeful, and that's a rare thing in and of itself.
  57. Even when the spy-thriller plot gears are audibly grinding, the acting remains expertly calibrated.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    American Horror Story has always been a series that loves its characters and still isn't afraid to put them through hell, and it seems like there are more layers down there than expected.
  58. Community is at its most watchable not when it's tackling some real-world hot-button issue via the guise of a Greendale Community College campus event, but when it's examining the interactions of its main characters.
  59. Person of Interest is at its best when sticking to cutting-edge topics, be it Root's philosophical extremes or ethical discussions of surveillance (as in "Nothing to Hide," which introduces a group of privacy-seeking terrorists), and in demonstrating the limitations between what the Machine can accomplish on its own (hacking just about anything) and what only someone like Shaw can manage (infiltrating a trophy wife's boozy bookclub).
  60. Strike Back isn't brilliant television, but it's plenty entertaining, and by fitting the action of 24 with the grit of The Unit (and the nudity of Cinemax), it fills a .22 caliber hole in American television.
  61. That the episode feels somewhat uneventful only belies the intriguing, subtle shifts that have taken place since last season.
  62. Like the characters who occupy Guest's best work, particularly A Mighty Wind, Tom and his friends have real stature, and the jokes often gracefully comment on their yearning to puncture the bubbles of their own self-concern to connect to others.
  63. Nucky has long been the king in this regard, but for once his throne seems like it's in real jeopardy, and it's a joy to watch him squirm.
  64. It's a funny episode, boisterously so in parts, but it's difficult to shake the feeling that we've seen this before. After eight seasons, it's started to become too easy to spot Curb Your Enthusiasm's patented ironic twists and callback gags coming a mile away.
  65. Despite some tweaking in the main storyline, Chuck's tone remains generally affable.
  66. The Bridge doesn't have the forceful originality of other socially conscious dramas such as Justified and Hannibal, but it's off to a promisingly lurid start.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Fortunately, the series is able to carry on making the ebb and flow of life at Litchfield matter even in spite of the writers' efforts to keep Piper at the center.
  67. It's in the relationships that these men come home to that defines Inside Men as markedly more engaging and effective than a great deal of its ilk.
  68. More times than not, this loving obsession with the details of lower-middle-income life makes up for the show's competent but overly plain production design and cinematography. Even more so, the show's symbology is often breathtakingly simple yet resonant.
  69. This Casual Vacancy is a little too earnest, which renders the depictions of the class warfare trite and preachy.... [Abigail] Lawrie disrupts the coziness that occasionally threatens to calcify The Casual Vacancy into another lush, prestigious book-on-film, imbuing it with an authentic cry of the damned.
  70. The cast's highly attuned instincts for knowing when to press complicated dialogue into kinetic banter and when to dial back to find the subtlety in a one-liner joke is what keeps Veep's humor vital.
  71. It's less intensely fixated on the city from which the series derives its name, and Armisen and Brownstein's willingness to expand the scope of its satire has ultimately led to something more sustainable, if a little less local.
  72. Flush with vivid characters, immaculate set design, and increasingly fluid storytelling, Boardwalk Empire keeps getting better, but still feels a few distinct steps short of greatness.
    • 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.
  73. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia already has its target audience locked in, and if you aren't a fan of the show as it is, season seven will do little to change that.
  74. The result is a leaner, scrappier 24 that is both firmly within its comfort zone--the unstoppable Jack, unflinchingly facing interrogators and taking down three guards while handcuffed--and somehow outside it, with Jack and the other returning characters more readily showing the wear and tear of their profession.
  75. Though its narrative structure and atmosphere take a markedly different tack, Maron presents itself as a fair complement to Louie in that both shows concern themselves with refreshingly substantive masculine types.
  76. 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.
  77. While the show's certainly grown more tightly plotted in the last several seasons, especially after cutting the number of episodes down to 10 and reducing (often via murder) the number of secondary characters, Damages is still suffering from some seemingly needless bloat.
  78. 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.
  79. Even if House of Cards is a cartoonish depiction of American politics, it's also a juicy, pulpy, entertaining thriller, and can easily be enjoyed on that level.
  80. Community has always been a series that wears its badge of snappy creativity proud, and it's fourth season doesn't shy away from that.
  81. 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The balance of story potential is more evenly spread this time out [compared to Coven].
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The characters are caricatures of their dope-smoking, wine-swilling, Gore Vidal-quoting selves, falling into ever-more absurd scenarios and playing a kind of intellectual high-wire act that allows us to laugh along with the antics, but also, importantly, observe them from a safe remove.
  82. The Killing is both new and old, on-trend and deeply unfashionable. But, throughout the first couple of episodes, we watch as the show masterfully transforms its anxiety of influence into a propulsive anxiety.
  83. How to Get Away with Murder screams "Shondaland" through and through, a sudsy primetime potboiler rooted in a belief that the experience of adulthood can be just as sexy as the bloom of youth.
  84. The most interesting thing here is the show's willingness to take risks: killing off major characters, running about 18 different plot lines at once, incorporating racy psycho-sexual and religious undertones, asking more questions than it intends to answer.

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