Slant Magazine's Scores

For 561 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 2.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Enlightened: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Zero Hour: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 364
  2. Negative: 0 out of 364
364 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. The stories, though personal for each subject, aren't just a voyeuristic peek at famous people's lives and ancestries, but a look inside the human heart.
    • 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.
  3. 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The duo's knack for a peculiarly modest zaniness is shared with the brilliant supporting cast.
  4. The series indulges in heightened emotions and inanity, but never fails to regard its characters' outsized feelings with affection and understanding. No other series on TV right now feels like it, and as even the prestige show start to mine the same atmosphere, that makes Bob's Burgers all the more vital.
    • 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.
  5. Hannah and most of her friends share a quick-witted, sardonic millennial sense of humor, but their banter is at its funniest and most revealing when the characters are oblivious to the effect of their words.
  6. In lieu of this transcendent attention to detail, however, there's still Brownstein and Armisen's magnetic and mysterious central relationship.
  7. Treme gives you the best, then, of dramas and documentaries: a moving snapshot of a city, and its flesh-and-blood people, in transition.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. This is farce with a heart, shot through with unlikely moments of grace and warmed by an aura of bemused acceptance.
  11. When it gets past such clunkiness, Homeland is eerily effective.
  12. The Returned is little more than a nimble translation, but the material is strong enough to reward its staunch fidelity.
  13. What Billions offers is vicarious revelry in stylish power, exuding a trashy, toxic purity.
  14. The actors are charismatic enough to compensate for the self-consciousness.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. The show's large ensemble is mostly free of stereotypes, and nearly every narrative shift feels authentic and punctual.
  18. 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.
    • 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.
  19. What started as a refreshingly female-centric yet awkward comedy has grown into a strange and oddly mature study of how Hannah and her ilk come to terms with the labor that goes into art after years of fantasizing about the façades and lifestyles of bohemian artists.
  20. Daredevil's story does get a bit repetitive at times, but is broken up by an increasingly broad swath of subplots.... Though [show creator] Goddard never lets the cynicism of this world override the joy and wonder of Daredevil, it's clear that he's spoiling for a good fight.
  21. 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.
  22. After three seasons, a satisfyingly dense layering of history and tension has been built into the relationships between the main characters.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    By the time Oswalt presses “the button” and the new orchestral version of the end-credits music plays, it's impossible not to give into the energy and love that went into recreating this strange, vital, and adorable piece of pop-culture history.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Better Call Saul is a nifty and promising comic noir, but it also allows you to ponder certain missed opportunities.
  32. As an artist, Maron appears to relish the idea of breaking his fictional self off from a path paralleling his own. In the two episodes screened for the press, Maron reveals a newfound presence as an actor, deepening the punchlines, which are almost entirely at his expense.
  33. 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.
  34. It's a reliably engrossing hour of television, capable of switching gears from relaxed banter to shocking violence in a split second.
  35. 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'.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. Exquisitely nostalgic, it's as comfortable, and as complicated, as a reunion with an old friend, poring over the past in search of its promise and risking the sharp pang of regret.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. The series is one of the more emotionally complex and intermittently bleak Marvel adaptations to date, a kind of melodrama about the fight for self-assurance and personal strength in the wake of immense psychological abuse.
  43. Broad City exudes a warm empathy, however selective, that distinguishes it from the more openly misanthropic Seinfeld.
    • 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.
  44. Director Melanie Aitkenhead manages to weave Franco and Coney's allusions and themes seamlessly, and both the sex scenes and action sequences are executed with a kineticism and style that the dull 1996 version lacked.
  45. 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.
  46. Creators Alexandra Cunningham (who lit slow fuses on Desperate Housewives) and Kem Nunn (who played a similar long game on John from Cincinnati) have crafted a tersely cerebral drama in which not a single frame feels unintentionally out of place.
  47. 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.
  48. The Newsroom is a message-driven delight--at least for liberals--that's bogged down by uninteresting characters.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. 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.
  52. 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.
  53. Hardy's showmanship is nearly matched by many of his costars, particularly Jonathan Pryce as the head of the villainous East India Company, a prototype for the corporatization currently eating this world alive. ... Yet, there's something conventionally nagging about Taboo: The series never entirely tumbles down the rabbit hole with its characters into the mouth of chaos and madness, as the best expressionist TV shows do.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  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. Girls remains just as disaffected and misanthropic as ever.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. Even as the series begins to show its age, Archer's commitment to character ensures that these episodes never feel too familiar.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. If the characters are a bit weak, The Walking Dead still has a compelling scenario going for it.
  65. 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.
  66. 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.
  67. Downton Abbey thrives when tackling plotlines that are confined to the personal and social conflicts of the estate, both upstairs and downstairs.
  68. More than ever before, The League is full of unusually affecting moments.
  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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Ben's Silicon Valley culture shock, Dan's power struggle with his mercurial co-star, and Jonah's congressional hazing provide new fodder for Veep's beyond the claustrophobic halls of power. After five seasons, the show's limited context began to constrain comedic potential; now its characters are free to wreak havoc in an exponentially larger environment.
  70. Like Lost, the show seems predicated on an unsustainable premise, but Prison Break is moving along more briskly.
  71. 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.
  72. 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.
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. 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.
  76. 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.
  77. 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.
  78. 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.
  79. The Pee-Wee Herman Show is manic, crazy, and most of all, a whole lot of, ahem, "fun."
  80. 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.
  81. 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.
  82. [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.
  83. 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.

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