Slant Magazine's Scores

For 551 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 35% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 60% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Spartacus: Vengeance: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Red Widow: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 355
  2. Negative: 0 out of 355
355 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. That the episode feels somewhat uneventful only belies the intriguing, subtle shifts that have taken place since last season.
  5. Like many an episode, it has a way of unexpectedly disarming you with the way man and woman arrive as if by abstract accident at a place of mutual understanding, and the effect is almost cosmic in its good-heartedness.
  6. 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    For all its faults, from some off-kilter performances and sometimes clumsy articulations of overarching themes, Orange Is the New Black feels as sublime as ever for so intuitively recognizing that even the little joys that prison life can bring to an inmate are deceptive, as they too hinge on a relinquishing of power.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. What's ultimately so refreshing and thrilling about Ash vs. Evil Dead, whose premiere episode is helmed by Raimi, is how charmingly and giddily scrappy it feels, in both narrative and aesthetic, and the zooming, seemingly effortless pace at which Raimi keeps the bloody, widespread mayhem going.
  10. A lurid, textured soap opera with an understanding of finance as a rarefied ecosystem that rules unto itself at the cost of most everyone else. The literate macho zingers often suggest a modern-day Sweet Smell of Success, compellingly merging with the casually worn cynicism.
  11. Despite some tweaking in the main storyline, Chuck's tone remains generally affable.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Luther feels just a bit more ordinary than usual this season, though it serves as another reminder of how magnificently, expressively physical Elba is as a performer.
  16. 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.
  17. Vice Principals is the story of an unlikely partnership, and Goggins and McBride prove deliriously entertaining in evoking Neal and Lee's rocky relationship and oft-guarded passions.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Santa Clarita Diet is a charmingly goofy lark, revealing itself to be a comedy of remarriage hidden in zombie's clothing.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. Season three provides a frequently amusing but cursorily developed spectrum of characters for Fiona to rebound off of, as she sorts through the detritus created by various implosions at the end of the second season.
  36. Maron portrays a war against self-pity that's unusually resonant for its willingness to plumb the legitimately pitiful.
  37. The cast is perfectly matched to this material.
  38. In its second season, Mark and Jay Duplass's Togetherness blooms into a stirring study of modern parenting as an experiment in creation and imagination.
  39. While it's impossible not to love the competent and principled new Leslie, the character is at her funniest when she breaks from the show's easygoing pace and frenetically attempts to discharge her own anxieties by talking at the camera and protesting too much that her idealism is intact.
    • 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.
  40. Lights Out isn't a knockout, but it's got enough grit and sweat to keep viewers on their toes.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Every once in a while, these characters seem to care about each other enough to justify enduring their unchanging world, keeping the show's skillful comedy of repetition from veering too often into misanthropy.
  41. 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.
  42. True, Gotham has more than its share of monologuing villains and expository or portentous lines (Lee to Gordon: “You wanna be a cop so bad you'll break the law?”), but it undercuts those conventions often enough to make them feel like a conscious homage, not just clunky writing.
    • 63 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).
  43. Luke Cage succeeds where so many Marvel ventures have failed in finding a unique, if not perfect, pitch between seeing the hero at its center as an icon for social good and understanding him as a human being, and it's important that the writers don't ignore or sublimate the fact that he's also African American.
  44. Where the second season ultimately improves on the first is mainly in its sense of scope, of extending the already vibrant existing world of the series.
    • 69 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.
  45. Funny, endearing, and studded with little truths about family life and race relations, the series tackles topics network TV rarely dares to touch--but says little we don't already know.
  46. 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.
  47. The series loses some of its drive by its dreary fourth episode, when a labored love triangle between Carroll's disciples mars the overall flow of the central arc. ... Until that point, though, The Following is mostly engaging, even if it never truly substantiates its antagonist's godlike stature in the eyes of his worshipers.
  48. It remains to be seen whether Eric Carter will deepen as the series goes along; for now, though, Hawkins, like 24: Legacy itself, brings just enough intensity to get the heart-pounding job done.
  49. Despite even their most reckless actions, the remaining Rayburn family struggles and strives to keep up appearances alongside [Kyle Chandler's John], and Bloodline similarly feels the need to stress the maturity of its characters and the seriousness of their situation. In doing this, the creators fail to fully survey the storm of feral impulses hiding beneath the postcard image of both the Florida Keys and one of its supposedly most celebrated families.
  50. 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.
  51. If Kaling focused more on playing her characters off each other and less on her heroine's mishaps, The Mindy Project would make for a smoother, more consistently engaging series.
    • 67 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.
  52. Whether or not the creators of Web Therapy intended the series as anything resembling a cohesive statement, they seem to have made one thing clear: We're all just a little bit insane.
  53. 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    The series too often relies on oddly placed broad humor, which entirely deflates the weightier moments.
    • 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.
  54. Kinnear's particularly comfortable, perhaps too comfortable.... Roy could've been a cartoon thug, but instead he's allowed to gratifyingly embody the demons that truly threaten to carry an addict away into a realm of chaos. He gives this fun but smug series a little bite.
  55. For a series dedicated to supposed historical realism, Downton Abbey wraps things up with a bow of pure fantasy.
  56. 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.
    • 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.
  57. 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.
  58. The film's conception of Bessie is sentimental, but the visceral sensuality of Latifah's presence eclipses it, as she informs every gesture with body language that's subtly graceful in its bluntness, clouding where Bessie's sense of overcompensation for her early family life ends and where her biological hungers begin.
  59. If discovering the sinister particulars of how they'll get there [the film Psycho] is the driving force of Bates Motel, the surfeit of subplots might be seen as a series of speed bumps or potholes, slowing an otherwise ferociously entertaining two-hander at every turn.
  60. 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.
  61. Even with its quirky charm, though, the show's formula begins to wear thin.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Toning down Jules's freakouts, [and] we have the makings of a truly enjoyable sitcom.
    • 77 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.
    • 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.
  62. 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.
  63. House of Cards is at its best when investigating the uneasy balance of studied, built-up political performance and personal dogmas, obsessions, gripes, and fears, but as many of these masks begin to give way in the story, the series noticeably struggles to keep up its addictive tension.
  64. With little exception, MacMillan is the sole character given scenes that seek to bring out his antic inner life, the most memorable of which being his meltdown in an electronics store, where he tries to find a hold of his ambition in a torrent of comingled rhythms emanating from various speakers.
  65. [Toback is] an uneven director, yes, but a frequently brilliant interviewer.
  66. Where Mad Men branches out its individual narratives in a variety of ways, letting its characters deal with problems not related to the workplace, Masters of Sex seems rigidly anchored to its basic premise.
  67. 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.
  68. The tone is consistently thrilling, even as the story goes through predictable “everyman finds new hope to fight evil” motions.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    As opposed to a more mainstream comedy like The Mindy Project or Two Broke Girls, Broad City sits at the margins of comedy and doesn't muddle its humor by sticking its conclusions about the human condition right under the audience's nose.
  69. Shades of new angles to the zombie genre fleetingly emerge, but too often they're smothered by the writers' slavish devotion to their own established norms.
    • 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.
  70. Looking carries with it the potential to pick up the baton from something like Travis Mathews's explicit I Want Your Love, another gay short that was later expanded (in this case, into a feature film), but time will tell if it can't look beyond those hypnotic treasure trails.
  71. While there's no doubt that The League's third season is off to an entertaining start, the show's main problem remains that it's a comedy about friendship that lacks sympathetic and emotionally identifiable characters.
  72. The series manages to serve up a legitimate fright or two, but it needs to slow down.
  73. Like Lisa Kudrow on the heinous The Comeback, Parker brings a great performance to a less than one-dimensional part.
  74. Man Seeking Woman possesses a devil-may-care creativity that marks it as a series to follow even as it occasionally stumbles. At its best, it turns the ritual humiliations of modern romance into a hilarious pop-culture pastiche, refreshing for its willingness to go for the hard laugh even if the result is a resounding thud.
  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. The Comedians boasts razor-sharp performances, but is ultimately toothless.
  77. If you're able to get past the inconsistencies of tone, the first eight episodes of the season are still a lot of black-and-blue fun, which is to say they're darkly humorous, prolifically sexual, and purely entertaining.
  78. 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.
  79. [A] starry-eyed, badly acted, occasionally stirring series.
  80. Portlandia has always smartly shown how relationships built on emotional closeness are more sustainable and fulfilling, and ultimately the ease, comfort, and intimacy of the original relationship here wins out. The series is less successful in its depiction of the young and hip as airheads.
  81. The newer additions to the cast don't have much of a presence beyond their plot roles, yet somehow manage to occupy a majority of the screen time. As a result, the new Dallas acquires the brashness of an impostor laying claim to a vast family fortune.
    • 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.

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