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 The Wire: Season 4
Lowest review score: 0 Red Widow: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 264
  2. Negative: 0 out of 264
264 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. [A] starry-eyed, badly acted, occasionally stirring series.
  6. The series manages to serve up a legitimate fright or two, but it needs to slow down.
  7. If last season was The Empire Strikes Back, though, season three is slightly more Revenge of the Sith than Return of the Jedi.
  8. Nurse Jackie's pleasures lie in the smaller moments and interactions that are buried in a morass of contrived narrative threads.
  9. 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.
  10. Episodes continues to tread much of the same ground it covered last season, serving mainly as a satire of Hollywood liars who can't act and actors who don't know how to lie.
  11. 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.
  12. Suits seems perfectly tailored to make its characters all look good, which is simultaneously its most attractive asset and its most discomfiting drawback.
  13. If you found the parallel universe in Lost perplexing, Political Animals's sheer optimism might leave you utterly baffled. Yet Weaver's grounding performance goes beyond maternal warmth and shrewdness, because Barrish doesn't just see the best in people; she demands it.
  14. The second season revealed artistic ambition, reaching for a certain amount of depth in characterization and storytelling. Assessed on that level, the last two seasons have fallen far short of the mark and it seems season five will only repeat the pattern.
  15. Unfortunately, the season's primary threat is an unimaginatively depicted Ukrainian mob faction.... Still, there's enough potentially promising material in the evolution of Debra and Dexter's relationship, and the first few episodes of the season contain glimpses of the morbid playfulness that animated the show's initial seasons.
  16. While plenty of Nashville is compelling, detailed, and beautifully acted, plenty of it feels boilerplate.
  17. While it's not as consistently cheeky as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the show does provide enough self-satirizing jabs to satiate cynics.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    In spite of Ben and Kate's charms, its propensity for subduing the idiosyncrasies of its characters in the service of a simple emotional payoff makes it disappointing.
  18. It'll take every ounce of writer/creator Joe Weisberg's strength to keep this from seeming like a watered-down Homeland, or, worse, a film idea stretched across 13 hours.
  19. 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.
  20. While it's easy to forget the show's shortcomings whenever McPhee or Hilty belt out one of Bombshell's stellar original songs or Jimmy croons a heartfelt power ballad, that's ultimately not enough to absolve the series from failing to let its most tenable narrative take center stage.
  21. When Da Vinci's Demons is barreling at top speed, unapologetically defiling history with its macabre absurdity, as in the surprisingly exciting second episode, "The Serpent," which ditches the disconnected structure of the pilot for a full-on detective yarn with an unexpected last-minute twist (think Sherlock Holmes set in the Renaissance), the show's faults, however obvious they may be, gradually fall by the wayside.
  22. Jordan favors intimacy in his shooting; he prefers discussions behind closed doors or hidden in plain sight and affairs built on whispers of secrets. This visual tendency blunts the sharp edge of the series, as does his understandable but limiting focus on the eponymous family.
  23. Like Lisa Kudrow on the heinous The Comeback, Parker brings a great performance to a less than one-dimensional part.
  24. 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.
  25. It's a bumpy ride, but at its best, Hello Ladies understands the demoralizing fear that turns so many men into insufferable jerk-offs.
  26. 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.
  27. [Toback is] an uneven director, yes, but a frequently brilliant interviewer.
  28. While there's plenty of potential fodder for a pulpy potboiler spread throughout the rest of the nine episodes, it's these more mundane, increasingly transient plotlines that come to define the latest installment of the series.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
    • 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.
  31. With an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to storytelling that drags the focus away from the one relationship worth watching. Indeed, much of the credit for the show's kooky appeal falls solely to Farmiga.
  32. Judge clearly likes his characters, and his charismatic actors often justify that affection, but it's disappointing to see so much of an episode's running time spent, for example, on the homophobic implications of a piece of street graffiti, when we could be in the inner chambers of Hooli, or even in the incubator watching as the nerds bicker their way through code to realize the compressor's greatest potential.
  33. Fargo commands one's attention in the tradition of a pretty good yet ultimately impersonal beach read, but it offers an unqualified triumph in its reworking of Marge Gunderson, the character Frances McDormand played in the film.
  34. 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.
  35. Masters of Sex remains passingly enjoyable, thanks largely to the cast, including Caitlin FitzGerald, Keke Palmer, and Allison Janney, all of whom help to refocus the series on the crucial role of women in sexual and scientific exploration.
  36. It's ardently conventional, even corny--and yet, against all odds, it's sort of winning too.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    If the producers of Smith could have chosen to focus on character development instead of a revolving door of action scenes, they might have had a top-notch show on their hands. As it stands, however, it looks as though Smith will be another victim of a good idea given a poor execution.
  37. Dirt's not just dirty, it's messy.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    If only the creators sought fit to put as much detail into their character development as their history, the show might have earned itself a third season.
  38. Despite lacking the trashy allure of "House" or "24," its sporadic inventiveness within the realm of the Terminator universe makes it agonizingly interesting--moderately brilliant in spurts before reverting to the same old clichés.
  39. There's certainly enough story here to develop into a strong series were it centered around interesting characters, but Ball has populated it with one stereotype after another.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    What The Beast most clearly has going for it is its main ingredient: Swayze....[Because] it's as though the writers don't trust their audience to understand what's going on or they don't trust their own ability to convey it. In either case, it's sloppy.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The series is set in a world that praises the lie, and if the creators can mine that vein for inspiration and avoid falling for the conventional TV drama traps, they could have a better show to sell to their advertisers.
  40. When a TV show is going to run the length of Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz, these people have to be more than expendable, and this "All-Non-Star Cast" doesn't have the instant audience identification required to fill in the blanks.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Lacking the poetic and poignant touch that might help make the ridiculous sublime or the sublime ridiculous, HBO, under cover of a dangerous and racy premise, has created a middlebrow comedy that, like its main character, looks good but has little to say.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    It's now little more than a puppet act bouncing through history to get to its end.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    With an abundance of pre-taped video segments and satellite interviews, Jay Leno wraps a very old-fashioned sensibility within a modern package. It's an interesting presentation.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    In its current attempt to capture the meandering lifestyle and mindset of thirtysomething losers, Bored squanders its noir framework and aesthetic prospects, consequently inducing yawns.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The Middle is just a show about a quirky family, and their quirks simply aren't that interesting.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    With such a talented writer on board, Parenthood deserves a few more episodes to iron out some of its more trite, movie-of-the-week storylines, allowing its multifaceted characters, and all their routine tribulations, to organically manifest as life consequently unravels.
  41. The show's dry humor, mixed with a rather troubling visual style where everything is stiff and vaguely deformed, mostly just makes you feel uneasy.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Despite occasional moments of solid acting on the part of Peregrym and Okuma, Rookie Blue sinks under the weight of its cheesy montages, references to the rookies as "fresh paint," and the lack of chemistry between the main characters.
  42. With all of the main characters and supporting players involved in more and more peripheral pursuits, there is little time for the four friends to get together to shoot the breeze, meet some babes, or just have some fun.
  43. The result is both good and bad: On the one hand, Weeds feels fresh again. On the other, the writers still don't know what sort of show they're making, and the supporting cast keeps getting shoehorned into new roles.
  44. Hopefully the hyperactive series will mellow into a slightly less frenetic version of itself--out of budget necessity, if nothing else.
  45. The characters are gently sarcastic with one another, clearly in love, and exhibit great respect for their unique skills. What's missing is a stronger supporting cast and the right narrative vehicle for their adventures.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    To reduce talents as large as Gervais and Merchant to caricatures seems absurd. The vitality and enthusiasm that passes between them, and the unfettered joy implicit in that, demands a human face, and without that, HBO is missing the point, creating a show that's easy to listen to, but actually hard to watch.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Skins is, alas, many types of teen drama to many types of teens--a raunchy good time and an Afterschool Special on The Way Youth Live Now rolled into one. It's a viewing experience akin to going to a coke party only to be given a lecture. Where's the fun in that?
  46. The Borgias is merely the network's most recent, shallow exploration into precisely how murderous, horny, and fabulously costumed the wealthy were at the turn of the 16th century.
  47. It's not easy, with all the silly one-liners, oddball plot twists, and frat-party ambience, to get terribly invested in who will win the power struggle that Camelot dramatizes. But if Fiennes and Green could stage a coup, wresting control of the show from its tawdrier impulses, then that might just be something worth watching.
  48. United States of Tara smothers its characters and situations in layers of quirk and sarcasm, like an expensive steak drenched in Velveeta.
  49. We're ostensibly supposed to see Eaton Place as a warm haven holding out against the cold wind of history, but a show built around the humanity of strangers would be more convincing if the characters displayed more humanness.
  50. The chilling threat of Miracle Day involves a power strong enough to "force people into life," and one can only hope that in future installments, Davies and company are smart enough to realize that they shouldn't try to force square actors into circular plots.
  51. Some of last season's morose attention to addiction has crept into the new episodes, signaling, possibly, that our band of brothers is on the road to disillusionment or even disaster. But the occasional insertion of a bitter pill in with all the uppers, more often than not, comes off as disingenuous.
  52. The show largely treads disappointingly familiar territory.
  53. The show's extravagant, aggressive joy about the friendly skies sometimes makes even that pinnacle of historical romance seem like a Lars Von Trier film in comparison.
  54. It's no mystery how the overproduced Terra Nova managed to turn out so drastically underwhelming.
  55. That Living in the Material World shines scant illuminating light on Harrison's story is all the more frustrating for its immense length.
  56. Grimm is neither a very strong police procedural nor a supernatural drama, as it sacrifices the intelligence required to construct smart, puzzling crimes in order to spend more time attempting to enunciate its fantastical elements, which aren't all that fantastical, with amateurish CGI.
  57. Now, if Alcatraz would only ditch Michael Giacchino's melodramatic score, go all-in on the lingering gloom, and give Sam Neill something to do besides scowl, it'd be a show worth watching.
  58. The muddled and recurrently tedious Larsen case, littered with irrelevant conspiracy-theory subplots (what the hell is up with Holder's AA "sponsor"?) render The Killing a mystery show whose mysteries agitate and bore rather than mesmerize and astound.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    With this season's allotment of episodes at a premium (10, down from the previous seasons' 13), it's a shame The Big C doesn't make the most of each one of them.
  59. True Blood has never been a show with a conscience, so it's awkward watching it try to get one in a hurry.
  60. The strain that comes with continuing to care about Ryan's sad-sack existence, one that's a direct result of his own insecurities and poor decisions, vastly outweighs the amusement packed away within the incidental laughs the series intermittently provides.
  61. For all its frippery and misfiring, Bullet in the Face manages to intermittently excel at being garbage for garbage's sake.
  62. The cast is so uniformly excellent that one's seduced into following the narrative despite the show's rather glaring narrative flaws.
  63. It's not that these are shoddily crafted personalities, it's that their predicaments have been done to death, and frankly, executed with much more thoughtfulness on other shows.
  64. The writers, for their part, certainly inspire confidence when it comes to the sturdiness of their vehicle, and that's no small feat. It's the intervals between the intrigue, however, that feel regrettably squandered, and the characters' rare moments alone reveal little more than the actors' lack of direction.
  65. Neither a clear message nor steady mood can be properly discerned amid the taxing commotion.
  66. Their life sucks--and most likely always will, but the trick is learning to live with that fact. Out There believes its characters can prosper in doing so, but doesn't collectively make an honest effort to portray their compassed journey in an imaginative fashion.
  67. Nicholas Wootton's uniformly by-the-book series quickly eradicates itself of any authentic tension by unwisely depicting its hero alive and well (despite a slight limp that has yet to be thoroughly explained) seven years in the future.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Despite the more honest pleasures of something like You Don't Know Jack, Phil Spector's nominal entertainment value proceeds almost entirely from its status as an explosive camp object, buoyed by the promise of seeing Pacino yell his way through Mamet's dialogue as the eccentric record producer turned convicted murderer in an overstated wall of sound.
  68. The cast deserves praise for finding small moments of comedy in a glance or gesture even amid the show's frantically paced dialogue.
  69. The visionary environments are without blemish, and the sound design is on the level of some of Hollywood's heavy-hitters. Yet the stodgy inaction between each explosive set piece is so often bereft of substance that to endure Defiance is to lamentably scour its orbit for any exiguous points of engrossment.
  70. The Goodwin Games isn't a sophisticated comedy by any means, and memorable quips are few and far between, but its overall lightheartedness manages to save it from becoming completely dull.
  71. Ironically mirroring Dexter's strict adherence to Vogel and Harry's carefully drawn guidelines, the series abides by a strict set of narrative routines that it only marginally alters in the hopes of replicating the wild success and catharsis of its inaugural season again and again.
  72. Low Winter Sun too often lingers on Detroit's colorless evil more than its spirited righteousness, resulting in an overwhelmingly bleak narrative that feels as cold and lifeless as a corpse.
  73. Gervais's efforts to adhere to a coming-of-age formula with a bit of regard for life as it's actually lived are admirable, but his vision is incomplete and often borders on smug.
  74. The Goldbergs's ostensibly endearing premise is sadly also its biggest flaw. Goldberg's on-screen representation as prepubescent Adam (Sean Giambrone) fails to complement the voiceover narration and meaningful asides of adult Adam (Patton Oswalt) in any substantial way.
  75. Between Leigh's sexually graphic ventures into young-adult lit and Ian's misguided search for an intern for his practically nonexistent web startup, it seems like many of the subplots are going to prove more interesting, if not more adventurous, than the main story arc.
  76. Hostages feels as if it's impulsively running on autopilot, periodically checking off boxes on a laundry list of genre clichés.
  77. Coming from J.J. Abrams's aptly-titled Bad Robot Productions, Almost Human certainly has the means to develop into something more innovative, but as it hardly makes an effort to differentiate from the material it habitually duplicates, it's a series that repeatedly finds itself on the fritz.
  78. It's slight, short, and ultimately forgettable, and if you happen to find its purposefully obnoxious catchphrases and satirically blithe racism funny, a pretty good gauge of whether or not you're a terrible person.
  79. Adapted from the British series of the same name, Getting On is billed as a comedy, but the show's setting, a neglected geriatric rehabilitation ward, is such an overwhelmingly depressing environment that much of the offbeat humor ends up flatlining.
  80. Laughably unoriginal, the greatest novelty of creator Glen Morgan's series is that his predictably troubled detective is a woman rather than the usual thirtysomething white dude with three-day stubble and a morning hankering for bourbon.
  81. Penny Dreadful is too neat, too tasteful and narcotizing, for a work that's full of diseases and serial killers and classist atrocity; not a single monster, lantern, fog cloud, cobblestone, corset or candle is out of place. This kitsch leaves no marks.

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