Slant Magazine's Scores

For 400 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 34% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 61% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Extras: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Anger Management: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 254
  2. Negative: 0 out of 254
254 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. Shaw and her adherents are poised to bring some critical leavening to a series that maybe could use it. Season four still might end with the introduction of a band of lusty minotaurs or cokehead sasquatches, but, as it begins, we should be encouraged-and thanks to Shaw's boffo performance, delighted-to see True Blood thinking, even for a moment, about controlling itself.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. When it gets past such clunkiness, Homeland is eerily effective.
  7. If the characters are a bit weak, The Walking Dead still has a compelling scenario going for it.
  8. 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.
  9. Downton Abbey remains an extremely reliable television show. The appeal of the series is its pastness, its portrait of a completely foreign culture from a land before time.
  10. 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.
  11. 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'.
  12. It's a reliably engrossing hour of television, capable of switching gears from relaxed banter to shocking violence in a split second.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. The Newsroom is a message-driven delight--at least for liberals--that's bogged down by uninteresting characters.
  18. Weeds does manage to maintain the dry humor that made it a hit to begin with, and this isn't the brand of listless cynicism we get from lesser comedy writers content to appear savvy and hip.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. The series manages to be both entertaining and self-reflexive, populist and purposeful, and that's a rare thing in and of itself.
  25. Even when the spy-thriller plot gears are audibly grinding, the acting remains expertly calibrated.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. The Girl doesn't aim to match Hitchcock's thrills or entertainment value, and its psychological insights are never truly cathartic. As a solidly well-measured portrait of a caged and ambitious young actress, however, it has a way of staying with you, especially the parts you'd rather erase.
  29. Downton Abbey thrives when tackling plotlines that are confined to the personal and social conflicts of the estate, both upstairs and downstairs.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. The show's large ensemble is mostly free of stereotypes, and nearly every narrative shift feels authentic and punctual.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. [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.
  45. 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 clich├ęs, but also reinterpret them with a fresh and idiosyncratic comedic point of view.
    • 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.
  46. Girls remains just as disaffected and misanthropic as ever.
  47. 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.
  48. At its wildest moments, the series feels as frighteningly nervy and furious in its delivery and intent as prime David Lynch. More times than not, however, it defers to an earnest, rote view of bad religion, only marginally enlivened by the appearance of Shea Whigham as a big-tent preacher.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. That the episode feels somewhat uneventful only belies the intriguing, subtle shifts that have taken place since last season.
  52. 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.
  53. Maron portrays a war against self-pity that's unusually resonant for its willingness to plumb the legitimately pitiful.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. A good drama but an average psychological study.
  58. The all-star cast, which includes Hector Elizondo as the patriarch of the Duque family and Jimmy Smits as the adopted son who inherits principal control of the old man's sugar cane business in a contentious handover, bring authenticity to what is otherwise a hysterical, Dynasty-style vision of Cuban-American experience set in and around kitschy Miami.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    This is hour-long material forced into a 30-minute timeslot, though some of its plots are strung together--at times held up by--Piper's silent, meaningful looks at the camera.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Fringe attempts something similar [to "Lost"] (with an opening scene involving a plane, no less) but can't quite match the primal thrill of vehicular destruction.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    It's "Ghost Whisperer" for adults, the equivalent of a movie you're happy you didn't pay to see at the theater, but content enough to have rented--amiable, distracting, and professionally crafted.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Staying largely on track as a dramedy rather than a sober drama with light laughs, Castle's plot holes can be forgiven more easily when they're at the expense of a good gag.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Sensitive and well acted as this new Grey Gardens is, it feels like a wish-fulfillment fantasy that gives Little Edie a happy ending; the truth of this woman's life must have been much grimmer and messier.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Despite the increasingly incredulous scenarios, Weeds's writers have nevertheless managed to maintain a compelling tone that makes up for all the outrageousness.
  59. Even with its quirky charm, though, the show's formula begins to wear thin.
  60. As the season progresses, it is very possible that Fringe will find its footing. But right now there is far too much padding in the form of substandard plotlines.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Appearing to Dexter in one of many visions, Harry (James Remar) tells his son that he has entirely too many plates spinning at once, and the same can be said of the show itself.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Regardless of whichever cathartic moment wins out this season), no intervention at the level of systemic injustice will have transpired, even allegorically. In such a thoroughly and inescapably capitalist vision of the world, structural injustice is not only profitable, but necessary to the maintenance of the system of the series.
  61. Ultimately, what a series like this aims to do is to pay homage to the marines who sacrificed their lives. The Pacific succeeds at that task, asking its audience to imagine what those battles must have been like from the ground level, and for that alone, it's worth watching. But The Pacific fails by trying to wrest big emotional moments from its already compelling narrative.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    In the Gregson family she celebrates an individualist, nonconformist spirit in a decidedly orthodox way, ending up with a diverting rather than affecting product.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    The jarring, awkward humor is similarly facilitated in the pilot as well. It's now just a waiting game to see if this patchy episodic specimen can gradually move past its Office-inspired roots and trudge toward developing its own individual, winning skin.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    The series too often relies on oddly placed broad humor, which entirely deflates the weightier moments.
  62. While the cast delivers solid, funny performances, they're mostly just playing caricatures of themselves, and the rest of the supporting players range from forgettable to obnoxious, especially Danny Pudi, whose rambling Abed is about as endearing as stepping on a nail.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Toning down Jules's freakouts, [and] we have the makings of a truly enjoyable sitcom.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    With run-of-the-mill storylines and likeable doctors, Three Rivers is neither adrenaline-pumping, like NBC's Trauma, nor genre-busting, like House. Instead, the show appears to be a friendly study in hard work and good manners.
  63. Despite the concept of Visitors infiltrating the ranks of humans feeling uncomfortably similar to that other successful sci-fi reboot, Battlestar Galactica, the terrorism angle boasts some of the update's most enticing intrigue.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    As a portrait of struggling Manhattanites, How to Make It effectively hones in on that hope-filled effervescence historically associated with the idealized American dream.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Nurse Jackie no longer feels realistic.
  64. While it's nowhere close to brilliant, Happy Town's unpredictability makes it watchable--at least for now.
  65. There's something pleasing about the old-fashioned drawn-from-farce quality of Hot in Cleveland. It fits in perfectly on TV Land since it already feels like a relic, a show from an alternate reality where Seinfeld never happened, let alone the likes of single-camera mockumentary-style sitcoms like The Office and Arrested Development.
  66. For all the talk about the expense of recreating the boardwalk for the show, Atlantic City isn't a character the way it could or should be; most of the action takes place in back alleys and hotel rooms.
  67. The pilot offers up the promising and the bland in about equal measure. With its accomplished adult cast, and writers from Chuck and Smallville, the show could go on to make for a pretty fun adventure series, but the looming threat of boring teenage gloom and the hints of a convoluted plot involving Stephanie Powell's sinister employer could sink whatever potential there is.
  68. When it's at the top of its game, Dexter brings True Blood to mind, subverting conventions of horror and violence to mock the various accoutrements of "normal" suburban life. With stepchildren Astor (Christina Robinson) and Cody (Preston Bailey) relegated to their grandparents' house, and with an Irish maid, Sonya (Maria Doyle Kennedy), caring for Harrison, the show loses some of its charm.
  69. The narrative structure of the series is not at all as ambitious as its price tag may suggest. Benioff and Weiss have chosen the easiest way to tell this story, and the show suffers from it. Following from that stunning close-up that opens the show, Game of Thrones does its best work in the close-up mode. The reason to keep watching this show lies in a handful of intricately drawn, engagingly performed characters.
  70. Looks notwithstanding, these TV and movie vets fashion thoughtful, flesh-and-blood individuals whose efforts at achieving happiness seem locked in a perpetual reach for self-awareness. Too bad they're nearly wasted in this hour and a half of paint-by-colors television.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Unsurprisingly, HBO's Lady Gaga Presents the Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden raises more questions about Stefani Germanotta than it answers, which is probably as it should be.
  71. While squirrel-eating jokes are all well and good for now, if Wilfred is going to make it, Wood and Gann will have to develop some real chemistry and comic rhythm, especially if the show's writers continue to be so reliant on the inherent novelty of their premise.
  72. It remains to be seen whether this season's Nancy will be more Daphne or Thelma, more damsel in distress or more protective mama bear, but by the end of the first episode, it's clear she's back to her old tricks.
  73. Even as tropes arrive in full force, exceptions to boilerplate good-versus-evil scenarios make occasional appearances.
  74. It has the advantage of a veritable galaxy of stars at its disposal, but all that sparkle too often comes together as a gaudy mess.
  75. Each season of Dexter has started slow before building momentum, and this season is no exception. Hall continues to impress with his sly comic skills and unreadable face, while Carpenter continues to enrich a character whose emotions--contrary to Dexter's--are completely transparent.
  76. As stunning, seamless, and well-curated as this particular mixtape is, the viewer is haunted by the constant anxiety that, in the end, there's nothing holding it all together other than good taste.
  77. The series isn't very original (at one point, it even steals Lost's now-iconic eye-opening shot), but that doesn't stop it from being relatively satisfying on its own terms.
  78. Despite growing out of a plot conceit that involves Craigslist, New Girl--from its characters to the Felix the Cat-like predicaments in which they land--doesn't seem rooted in reality of any kind.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    The second season of Showtime's aptly titled Shameless often feels less like a new season and more like a sequel, in which the major players remain the same, but the volume is amplified and the ante doubled.
  79. [A] starry-eyed, badly acted, occasionally stirring series.
  80. The series manages to serve up a legitimate fright or two, but it needs to slow down.
  81. If last season was The Empire Strikes Back, though, season three is slightly more Revenge of the Sith than Return of the Jedi.

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