Slant Magazine's Scores

For 423 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 2.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Hunted: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Zero Hour: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 271
  2. Negative: 0 out of 271
271 tv reviews
  1. Breaking Bad continues at the same disciplined, regimented pace, fussing over small details and picking at new threads, even with the end looming.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    David Simon and his writers... aren't out to change the world; the slippery slope of civilization is already in place on The Wire and Simon is just out to document how each and every person survives. Or doesn't, as this season quite devastatingly proves.
  2. Even when the spy-thriller plot gears are audibly grinding, the acting remains expertly calibrated.
  3. This is one of the rarest finds on television: a show where cast and character are so perfectly matched by a creator who understands exactly what journey he wants take his audience on.
  4. That Enlightened's propagandist and activist message is tinged with irony only makes it more perfectly tooled to our times.
  5. 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.
  6. There's quite a bit going on underneath the show's deceptively raw, on-the-fly simplicity. It's also often a hilarious, exhilaratingly dangerous mixture of the broad, macabre, and political.
  7. Even if the radiant humor occasionally tends a bit toward the local, as in the brilliant season opening involving members of the DSNY, the point of view is so effortlessly relatable in its humble assertions.
  8. Only by tuning in on Sundays will we discover if the tone of upheaval herein will define season four; regardless, Mad Men continues to hit its stride most indelibly while rendering the off-kilter uneasiness of transition.
  9. When it gets past such clunkiness, Homeland is eerily effective.
  10. Justified's rich vein of gallows humor, convincing sense of place, and twisty hillbilly-noir narratives are all selling points, but it's Olyphant's devilish grin that seals the deal.
  11. 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.
  12. For every Mrs. Patmore, the cook who wants nothing more than to stay in service the remainder of her life, there is a housemaid such as Gwen (Rose Leslie), who dreams of becoming a secretary in a modern office. It's these dichotomies, and the way they exist within both the Abbey itself (half the rooms have electricity and half don't) and its multifaceted inhabitants that make Downton Abbey not only the best soap opera currently on television, but one of the most relevant as well.
  13. Justified is the strongest, liveliest, and most tonally accurate adaptation of the writer's work to date, and the latest season bracingly suggests that isn't likely to change anytime soon.
  14. Louie is smart, cinematic, and bitterly honest, constantly dancing between revelatory moments and hysterical bursts of humor that are both surprising and touching.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. The Mags's-money plotline masterfully brings together Boyd's crew, featuring Raylan's farther, Arlo (Raymond J. Barry), Limehouse's camp, an incarcerated Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies), the dimwitted Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman), and Raylan, along with fellow marshal Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) in a string of energetic scenes boasting some tremendous acting and increasingly clever dialogue that truly carries the lively spirit of author Elmore Leonard's original work.
  18. The chemistry of every television show should have as rapid a half-life as Breaking Bad, transforming into something new while building off the critical elements of the past.
  19. 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.
  20. It's an honest tearjerker that treats its characters with respect, according them a great sense of wounded, tattered dignity.
  21. 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.
  22. The Wire is as true as television gets.
  23. For its authentic engagement with despair, Hannibal earns its wrenching nihilism: It's a great, epic vision of American horror.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    [Sherlock's third season] at last settles into its own assured rhythm, simultaneously honoring the swift escapist roots of Doyle's writing while also mounting a heady meditation on friendship and brotherhood.
  26. 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.
  27. The writers have shown that letting the characters drive the story can make a form as tired as the sitcom new again.
  28. Treme puts everything into every scene. The camerawork is rich and the direction squeezes every nuance from the actors. The city's history has been painstakingly researched and effortlessly inserted into the writing. As a result, the moments-or notes-that make up this show are all that much richer, that much livelier.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    This season holds promise, not lacking in the detail that makes the series so enjoyable.
  29. As always, there's no predicting where all of this is headed, but if one last reference to The Divine Comedy is any sign, this season's journey toward the final act of Mad Men's American epic promises to be its most challenging and rewarding.
  30. It's a reliably engrossing hour of television, capable of switching gears from relaxed banter to shocking violence in a split second.
  31. Armisen, Brownstein, and Krisel are effectively crafting a multi-faceted comedy art project, the unfolding of which is both exciting and hysterical to watch.
  32. Ideas became embedded into character and each member of the ensemble was given complex motivations within situations that challenged their natures. As the third season begins, we see that Weiner is committed strongly to going in this same direction with closeted homosexual Salvatore Romano.
  33. Despite the formidable technical mastery applied and the demanding sprawl of the multifaceted narrative, Campion's series has the unmistakable timbre of daring art made naturally.
  34. On a whole, the new season of Friday Night Lights manages to retain its depth and heart-wrenching warmth despite a sea change in its structure and characters.
    • 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.
  35. 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.
  36. In addition to embarking on a substantive season-long story arc, these new episodes also tread fresh emotional territory.
    • 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.
  37. 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.
  38. Most of the episodes so far have ended with a simulacrum of a group hug, an acknowledgement that, even though they don't always get along, this family loves one another. So far, these moments have worked on the show, but the formula could get tired.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. If last season was The Empire Strikes Back, though, season three is slightly more Revenge of the Sith than Return of the Jedi.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Milch has a keen eye for his actors' untapped resources--he doesn't so much cast against physical types as he does psychological ones--and this is what makes Deadwood's expansive ensemble so continually exciting to watch.
  44. While plenty of Nashville is compelling, detailed, and beautifully acted, plenty of it feels boilerplate.
    • 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.
  45. 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.
  46. HBO's The Normal Heart is a boldly corporeal expression of gay political consciousness.
  47. This is farce with a heart, shot through with unlikely moments of grace and warmed by an aura of bemused acceptance.
  48. That the episode feels somewhat uneventful only belies the intriguing, subtle shifts that have taken place since last season.
  49. 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.
  50. Treme gives you the best, then, of dramas and documentaries: a moving snapshot of a city, and its flesh-and-blood people, in transition.
  51. United States of Tara smothers its characters and situations in layers of quirk and sarcasm, like an expensive steak drenched in Velveeta.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Breaking Bad is at its most entertaining when it's taking us into the drug culture of the street.
  52. Girls is still undergoing ultimately minor growing pains, but it's frequently poignant and audacious, and actors who made little impression in the first season are allowed to flower.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The storytelling gifts of writer-producer Rob Thomas, the creator of another under-seen show, Veronica Mars, prove innumerous, as these wholly original, vital characters practically bleed insecurities, coming off as tenderly funny and human.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. The show's characters, whether major or minor, skirt familiar archetypes, but the writing and performances consistently subvert accepted lowlife caricatures, finding something less pointedly foreboding than odd and irrefutably human in Harlan County's heroes and villains.
  56. Enoch clearly loves the drink, and enjoys the bad work he does, and the final season of Boardwalk Empire suggests that no matter what cloaking his ilk partially hid under, it's nothing compared to the whitewashing that's about to come.
  57. Nurse Jackie's pleasures lie in the smaller moments and interactions that are buried in a morass of contrived narrative threads.
  58. Downton Abbey thrives when tackling plotlines that are confined to the personal and social conflicts of the estate, both upstairs and downstairs.
  59. 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.
  60. 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Not since HBO's "The Wire" has a show juggled so many conflicting and diverse issues like race, money, and class with such staggering insight.
  61. 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.
  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. Behind the Candelabra is powerful, funny, and emotionally rigorous, and though it might act as a fiery and forceful resignation, in conjunction with Side Effects, it also serves as an uncommonly heartfelt Dear John letter.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    In the first half of director-screenwriter Frank Darabont's impeccable pilot episode for AMC's new adaptation, you feel the weight of time passing in ways that Kirkman always struggles with. To say that Darabont has kicked his series off with a bang would be a serious understatement.
  67. 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.
  68. 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Not quite The Office II, not quite a wholly different breed, Extras should nevertheless please Gervais aficionados and newcomers alike.
    • 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.
  69. 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.
    • 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.
  70. The seeds planted in the earliest episodes of the season promise a narrative as rich and complex as season one.
    • 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.
  71. Treme imparts a feeling, however small in scope, of real transformation in the Crescent City, but it comes with an insensitivity toward the city's traditions.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Finishing each episode is like closing up a really great, gritty, little crime novel.
  72. 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.
  73. If the characters are a bit weak, The Walking Dead still has a compelling scenario going for it.
  74. 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.
  75. 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The duo's knack for a peculiarly modest zaniness is shared with the brilliant supporting cast.
  76. 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.
  77. Archer is a wonder in that its most fiercely flawed characters are its inextinguishable heroes, and their stylized comeuppance arrives in ways that are perpetually unpredictable and altogether resonant within the show's singular, emotionally unhinged universe.
  78. 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.
    • 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.
  79. 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.
  80. Mr. Dynamite may finally be Gibney's most psychologically and socially perceptive film to date, at once a refreshingly even-handed view of one of the great musical minds of the 20th century and a near-pathological study of the rise of modern conservative thinking, seen through one of it's most unlikely yet dynamic supporters.
  81. Lights Out isn't a knockout, but it's got enough grit and sweat to keep viewers on their toes.
  82. [A] starry-eyed, badly acted, occasionally stirring series.

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