Slant Magazine's Scores

For 453 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 2.4 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 295
  2. Negative: 0 out of 295
295 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. 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.
  3. That Enlightened's propagandist and activist message is tinged with irony only makes it more perfectly tooled to our times.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Working with a uniformly subtle and expressive cast of players, the writers sneak in small, unassuming truths about family life and the benefits of modulated pride.
  9. The turmoil of such [relationship] arrangements, the anxiety and surprising limitations of being personally unbound by societal norms, has been a key part of Louie's inimitable perspective since its inception; here this anxiousness stirs up new perspectives on Louie's ability to forgive and his unique style of courting.
  10. The unforeseeable effects and ostensible curse of murdering have always proved key to the show's tension, and as the story continues to build a kinetic rhythm and streamline the drama, the thunderous chaos stirred up by each life taken resonates all the more loudly.
  11. 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.
  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. The series reserves its most blistering humor for the universal narcissism on display, always distracting from the real work at hand. For all the brilliant, tossed-off insults and uniformly excellent performances, including Patton Oswalt as a "hands-on" aide to the vice president, the season's through line is its treatment of politics as a con artist's medium.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. It's an honest tearjerker that treats its characters with respect, according them a great sense of wounded, tattered dignity.
  19. Season six is comparatively slow, and obsessive, which is a relief from the convolutions that had grown to characterize Justified. We're allowed to savor those great dialogue exchanges between lovers and antagonists that ultimately define the series.
  20. As with the first season, the organization of each episode is loose, less a tightly plotted chain of events than a constellation of sketches organized around a central premise.... It's that exuberant depiction of female kinship as being inextricably bound to the anarchy of daily living that gives the series its unexpected sweetness.
  21. The Wire is as true as television gets.
  22. For its authentic engagement with despair, Hannibal earns its wrenching nihilism: It's a great, epic vision of American horror.
    • 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.
  23. 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.
  24. The writers have shown that letting the characters drive the story can make a form as tired as the sitcom new again.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Armisen, Brownstein, and Krisel are effectively crafting a multi-faceted comedy art project, the unfolding of which is both exciting and hysterical to watch.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
    • 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.
  33. HBO's The Normal Heart is a boldly corporeal expression of gay political consciousness.
  34. Treme gives you the best, then, of dramas and documentaries: a moving snapshot of a city, and its flesh-and-blood people, in transition.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Breaking Bad is at its most entertaining when it's taking us into the drug culture of the street.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. Going Clear distinguishes itself by tying that material into a coherent framework that provides a concise, scholarly context within which Scientology can be understood as a real system of beliefs, with roots in a specific time and place.
    • 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.
  39. 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  40. The seeds planted in the earliest episodes of the season promise a narrative as rich and complex as season one.
  41. 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The duo's knack for a peculiarly modest zaniness is shared with the brilliant supporting cast.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
    • 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.
  45. Showing us the long-term impact of the attack on the lives of these characters, whose deep-seated motivations and fears have gradually been revealed to us over the last two seasons, allows Homeland to transcend its tendencies toward the hyperbolic and gives us a reason to suspend our disbelief.
  46. Luther embodies almost everything that's refreshing about the traditional British crime drama.
  47. Rather than waiting for a future payoff, Fringe is cashing in with every episode, showing us the escalating war between worlds-and with likeable characters and compelling cases to boot. Ironically, it's by branching out in two different directions that the show has become, more than ever, the centerpiece of a hypercompetitive Thursday night lineup.
  48. [Futurama has] eccentric yet oddly sympathetic characters, scores of clever pop-culture homages, and a unique visual aesthetic that isn't afraid to experiment with a variety of styles both vintage and modern.
  49. Steven Soderbergh's The Knick is exhilaratingly alien.
  50. The Walking Dead never feels as if it's just creating new obstacles to make these characters squirm. Indeed, what makes the series so consistently fascinating beyond its horrific thrills is a sense of rebuilding life down to the little details, which brings us to the latter song in "Infected."
  51. Asking viewers to simply look his characters in the eye, Milch has created an infuriatingly but genuinely moving drama.
  52. [The] disappointment, and the full-hearted yet misguided ways Amy imagines she might transcend it, are the real subjects of the series, and Dern and White have both seemingly spent long careers in preparation for a project exactly as ambivalent, humane, and beautifully contradictory as this.
  53. In lieu of this transcendent attention to detail, however, there's still Brownstein and Armisen's magnetic and mysterious central relationship.
  54. If FlashForward can keep the momentum it set in its premiere episode, the show's apocalyptic tone and fate-bending intrigue should prove deeply fascinating.
  55. Knowing but not pretentious, snarky but not sneering, Portlandia succeeds both as farce and as faithful representation of a population for whom the dream--of the '90s or anything else, for that matter--is still alive.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Hunted balances its cheesy dialogue and gratuitous sex and violence with an overarching narrative that dramatizes endemic moral rot and the dark money pulling strings from behind the curtain.
  56. 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.
  57. Hannibal is richer and more ambiguous than prior Harris adaptations; it's an exploration of social decay that's rife with literal and figurative cancers eating everyone alive from the ground up.
  58. Empire coasts with the chutzpah of a series that knows exactly what it wants to say and how to say it, leaving viewers no quarter except to pick their jaws up off the floor between commercial breaks.
  59. It's arresting and criminally entertaining.
  60. Doll & Em turns out to be unerringly fair-minded in its view of popular filmmaking, if only because concerns about Hollywood's shallowness are secondary to ideas of age and, inevitably, death.
  61. Well written and acted, almost perfectly paced, and entirely unlike anything else on television, Spartacus isn't just bloody good, it's bloody excellent.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Gravity feels like just another bit of quirky telly, an attempt to be distinguishable and different in a way that just upholds the status quo. Yet it's also actually very good. Gravity knows exactly how to make you laugh and when you should cry.
  62. As the tactics of these two characters [Marcus Crassus and Spartacus] grow all but indistinguishable, it becomes clear why this final season is labeled War of the Damned, and all but guarantees that while their fighting will lead to a bitter end, it will lead viewers to the most savory of conclusions.
  63. 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.
  64. This is truly a minor complaint; for a convivial quarter hour each week we're whisked away from the countless quandaries of everyday existence into a universe where princesses are made of otherworldly clouds and man's best friend stretches for miles and miles, as far as the mind's eye can see.
  65. With a cast as ostensibly close-knit and in-tune as these actors are, season four of Parks and Recreation illustrates just how far the series has come from its mediocre beginnings, and could very well take it to even greater, and funnier, places.
  66. Like Dunham's film or IFC's Portlandia, this show prioritizes its faithfulness to the cultural moment. And, anchored by gorgeous production design and the pop naturalism of its performances, How to Make It in America dramatizes this particular cultural moment with uncommon style and a little grace as well.
  67. Futurama is typically about its crew of 30th-century misfits tackling a common-day problem in a futuristic environment, one that usually starts rather trivially and grows into total chaos. This formula is untouched in the excellent season premiere.
  68. The L.A. Complex manages to be far more relatable and honest than other self-referential shows about "the biz."
  69. For a comedy whose bag of tricks is so transparent, it's gratifying to see that Fey hasn't written herself into a box.
  70. Perhaps most engaging, though, is the cheery, earnest tone that permeates the series, a refreshing sense that laughter rooted in snark or irony can be a drag, and that sometimes a silly play on words can be enough to move you with its humor. In this way, Comedy Bang! Bang! is as much a mindset as it is a TV show.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    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.
  71. The series has always been prone to creative experimentation, but it's never been as pervasive, or as successful, as it is here.

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