Slate's Scores

For 291 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 37% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 61% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 9.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 Masters of Sex: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Roseanne's Nuts: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 116
  2. Negative: 0 out of 116
116 tv reviews
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    As viewers, because of the incalculable talents of the actor Gervais, who also helped create the show, we must choose to humor David or to loathe him—and that choice is exciting, somehow, and challenging.
  1. A gorgeous period drama that swiftly establishes its risqué themes.... Masters of Sex is the best new show of the fall season.
  2. The Returned is very good. Let it have your brains.
  3. Creepy, gorgeous, unsettling, and searching, it has--for lack of a better word--a literary quality, an accretion of meaningful detail. You can push on any aspect of the show--every line, every shot, every bruise--and it bears up.
  4. Unexpectedly sweet-spirited.
  5. A return to classic form.
  6. Even if Extras never accedes to The Office's heights of comic sublimity, it's still a rare find on American TV: a series that combines the ascendant genre of cringe comedy with Gervais' rich comic gifts, and his trademark humanism.
  7. It smoothly toggles between working as a crime melodrama and a coming-of-age tale, as a harrowing piece of social commentary and a gentle bit of farce.
  8. The most engrossing new drama of the fall season.
  9. It's a breath of fresh air even for those of us who find our allergies stimulated by the countless particles of whimsy suspended in its thick atmosphere.
  10. At the outset, this show aimed for hilarity and hit the mark, consistently and cathartically, while also trafficking in provocative sidewalk philosophy, achieving moral seriousness amid masturbation jokes.
  11. Using new audio-only interviews with the Stones as invisible tape, [director Brett Morgen] splices 50 years of footage into a 110-minute education, remixing the work of earlier filmmakers with splendid editing and a critical eye.
  12. There isn't a scene in the two-hour pilot of Paul Haggis' crime drama EZ Streets that hasn't been done in movies, but perhaps because EZ Streets is on television... its cinematic brio feels unconventional, even startling.
  13. In the context of other television, American Horror Story is perverse and refreshing, proof that a great show doesn’t have to be self-serious to be smart.
  14. The third season is looser, funnier, more emotional and also significantly less logical than what has come before.
  15. Watching, it is almost impossible not to root for these two Communists as they do any and everything they can to undermine America. In this regard, The Americans works its American audience as effectively as its heroes work their marks: It makes double agents of us all.
  16. The show is sometimes sweet and wry, sometimes crass and vicious, and, though often subtle, it embraces that embarrassing title and flings itself boisterously into a hacky premise
  17. Back to You doesn't have a mandate to be inventive--to try new comedic beats or to attempt daring flights of absurdity. It just needs to be uninventive in a snappy way, a feat readily accomplished.
  18. Their new show has both the nerve to link up twentysomething malaise and 21st-century terror-angst and the good nature to make the proposition look endearing.
  19. Sarah Corvus has arrived to haunt and to taunt, to give our plucky heroine a sinister contrast that the show can't do without.
  20. The tempo, thus far, is notably deliberate; the show's got mortality on its mind.
  21. Costello, unlike public television, asks viewers like you for nothing but your attention, which he rewards with intimate assessments of songcraft and the underappreciated architects of modern pop.
  22. Now comes Grey Gardens, largely enjoyable in spite of being almost entirely superfluous.
  23. The show gets under the skin, somehow, with its loose Web-clip vibe and looser philosophy of life.
  24. Falco has the strength to sell the overwrought cliches and to force each important moment to its crisis.
  25. At its best, Glee is not just entertaining but elating, dramatizing Breakfast Club-quality teen angst with the aid of tight production numbers covering new and classic popular songs.
  26. The pacing of the show's jokes, which heralds a welcome respect for the quickness of the audience, helps all the humor pop. Of course, good-old dumb physical juxtapositions don't hurt, either.
  27. Steadfastly crass in content, The League is generally subtle in execution.
  28. Covert Affairs is a zippy character study, and it puts Perabo's features to playful use in the earliest moments of the pilot, filling the screen with them in a context where they're begging to be studied.
  29. The writing is as crisp as Brooks' perfect raincoat, and the partners share a father-son chemistry unseen elsewhere in the franchise, and anyone exhibiting the faintest traces of Anglophilia will delight to see the crown prosecutor and the defense counsel talking trash in the changing room while donning and doffing their barristers' wigs.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Downton Abbey manages to be reassuringly familiar and yet surprisingly fresh.
  30. In the suspenseful early hours of The Killing, Rosie's family goes about its bereavement in muted tones, and a subplot about a mayoral candidate drawn into the crime's eccentric orbit flashes with potential, and, primarily, our expectations for cop shows are teased, gratified, and artfully upended.
  31. Pan Am's easy whirl fits the bill, when its chatter is snappy and also when it's not.
  32. Over three nights and five and half hours, Prohibition provides a very fine analytic survey of the noble experiment, and most criticisms of it are quibbles.
  33. What Surburgatory lacks in novelty, it compensates for with a steady stream of gags, splashes of nuance (and nuance's vivid opposite), the comedic flow of Ana Gasteyer and Chris Parnell as the Altmans' neighbors, and an undercurrent of sweetness.
  34. Boss is electric with self-importance, and that is in itself is a hoot, given its particular combination of thematic pomp and expressionistic pulp.
  35. Appropriate to the pace and the space of series television, it welcomes you into its intrigues at a walking pace.
  36. Clever with its gaudiness, the new soap opera proceeds as if that invitation is gilt-edged, tackily engraved, and sealed inside an oversized envelope with a kiss of frosted-pink lipstick.
  37. A brisk film extracted from the campaign-trail saga of that title--has delivered to Julianne Moore the meatiest role of her career.
  38. Doors are opening. Mind the gap.
  39. It offers memorable looks at rehearsals, auditions, ballet-company competitions, and dreams of names in lights.
  40. When Boardwalk Empire is dealing with the consequences of the 18th Amendment, it plays like a sound and steady drama. When addressing the energy around the 19th, it begins to jazz things up.
  41. Nashville feels fresh because it catches a different tone. The few ironic winks it makes do not disfigure its straight face for quality pulp, nor does the sincerity harden into hokum.
  42. Too jaded to lament the backroom maneuvering of politicians, the creators of House of Cards instead take that state of affairs as a given, tart it up, and fashion a wry piece of escapism--a backstabbing procedural delivered in a sophisticated style.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The premiere of The Bachelorette was good!...Appealingly, Trista is also filled with desire herself. Nothing about her is aloof; she's upfront about her lifelong loneliness, her wish for a husband, her fantasies of motherhood. [9 Jan 2003]
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    However sensationally the show has been marketed, it focuses, like the designers, on the work itself-which, perhaps surprisingly, is as riveting as the few catfights.
  43. It’s not just that Broadchurch demonstrates that it is possible to reinvigorate something as tired as the hunt-for-a-killer genre with solid, engaging craftsmanship--though it does--but that unlike so many in the genre it is inordinately emotionally generous.
  44. Luther is a great example of all of the annoying a TV show can do and still be worth watching, so long as it gets some essential things right. Luther’s saving graces are that intense, gloomy mood and Elba’s performance.
  45. Mom is more than what it appears. The hectoring laugh track grates, but don’t let it fool you, this show’s got brains.
  46. Trophy Wife is nominally about a marriage, but if its very polished and sure-handed pilot is any indication, it is just as focused on Kate’s dynamic with Pete’s ex-wives.
  47. It’s almost as impossible to believe, without seeing it, that such a show could be both very funny and occasionally uplifting without ever resorting to cheap sentimentality. But it is.
  48. Judging from the first three episodes of this fifth season, Harmon is vindicated and triumphant, but also still pretty torn up about everything. Community is no longer a zombie, but the new episodes feel plenty funereal.
  49. [A strange, zany, funny, and very star-studded six-episode series.
  50. Girls and its girls are funnier and more cartoonishly sociopathic than ever. The show continues to engage with and undercut criticism about its characters’ myopia and flaws by owning it.
  51. Patrick’s moment of light self-flagellation didn’t feel boring to me. Like the rest of his show, it felt real.
  52. Broad City has a more pronounced DIY vibe, a more surreal, sloppy and affectionate nature: The episodes are more narrowly focused on its two leads getting up to haphazard mischief.
  53. The first four episodes fly by in a blur of cheeky maxims, convoluted plot twists, and storylines about the deep Web.
  54. [A] sharp, very funny new HBO comedy.
  55. It's less a vision of what a real female presidency might be like than an extended allegory about gender politics in the workplace. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.
  56. By its very nature, the position Colbert occupies—the butt of his own show's joke—seems more difficult to sustain than Stewart's role as the eternal observer.
  57. It's neither wildly innovative nor sidesplittingly funny, but it has a warm, cozy group vibe and no flagrant casting mishaps.
  58. It's an ambitious if occasionally pushy effort.
  59. Some us also go in for TV shows that have the potential to ripen into astringent Billy Wilder-style examinations of what lust can do to the white-collar soul.
  60. The details of the play between Hunter and her co-stars are engrossing enough that you're glad to let the big arc sail over your head.
  61. Because the show is sidling up to its premise very gently, it looks more like a sweet-natured high-school comedy than the risky riff on tolerance it teases us with.
  62. Like "Alias" or "The X-Files," Jericho has enough wheel-within-wheels, double agents, and ad hoc alliances to draw in viewers who love a long-playing puzzle.
  63. In all, Oprah's Big Give is a triumph of virtue, which leaves only the question of who would want to watch it.
  64. Ben Franklin (Tom Wilkinson ) enlivens the painterly prettiness and dutiful solemnity of John Adams with a healthy sense of the vulgar, as in the vernacular, as in the native voice of America.
  65. The relative tameness of Swingtown makes the unease it provokes more inviting: You tune in to see the bodies and stick around for the minds.
  66. This being Disney product, these issues are dealt with in primary colors, uplifting tones, and production levels that aim for exact competence—a workaday professionalism that's never too slick to alienate anyone.
  67. We like to fantasize, every now and then, about rich people looking good while behaving badly. That kind of escapism will never go out of business, and Gossip Girl delivers it in of-the-moment fashion.
  68. Its detective plots are cozily formulaic, its defining twist cheerfully preposterous. As cop-show comfort food, it's a kind of California fusion cooked up to appeal to people fed up with techno-beat lab scenes.
  69. The success or failure of Little Britain USA will depend on the prevalence of a particular strain of Anglophilia.
  70. In the 3-D digital animation of this series, [Yoda's] skin glows a healthy shade of moss, and his sprightliness helps this latest George Lucas diversion achieve some commendable action-adventure zip.
  71. Viewers of a particular sensibility--that is, mine--will find themselves unwholesomely engaged by the tone Stylista brings to scenes about laying out sidebars and rethinking silly hats.
  72. Even the most ardent fans of 30 Rock will concede that it doesn't look its sharpest as its third season opens. Only the most churlish will be much put out by this, though. A relatively flat episode of Tina Fey's backstage farce is still the fizziest thing in prime-time comedy.
  73. Though the show is quick and exciting in its particulars, slick and captivating in its details, it is unfolding slowly as a whole, with perhaps one too many investigations, conspiracies, return-of-the-repressed traumas, and busy backstories curling leisurely into view.
  74. This show makes a virtue of vice in its own way. Co-imagined by Alexander Payne, who directed the pilot, Hung is a purposeful lark about emasculation.
  75. After watching the first four episodes, I'm content to settle on the euphemism deliberate and to note that the performances-centrally that of James Badge Dale as an intelligence analyst named Will Travers-have so far been sharp enough to ward off outright drowsiness.
  76. Though she isn't quite a credible character, she's a thoroughly fun one, for which much credit is due to the actress's steady subtlety and elastic wit.
  77. It borrows indiscriminately from hazy magic realism, sketch-show Dada, and underground-comics allegory according to alternating whim. If you don't give a hoot about such logistical issues--and if you're willing to forgive the half-hearted crudity that fills the space between good crude jokes and the bizarro non-jokes-then you have come to the right place.
  78. A fine summer show is launched, slick but with feeling, and all the orange-and-red football-season foliage on-screen contributes to a diverting brisk breeziness.
  79. Perhaps it's best to consider The Hour as a kind of retro Broadcast News that is most alive when Freddie and Bel banter like Beatrice and Benedick and especially when getting inside of Hector's talking head.
  80. Though the Up All Night pilot falls short of great hilarity, the series demonstrates considerable potential.
  81. Its greasy-spoon spunk is regularly palatable, good for a cheap chuckle.
  82. It's funny and cute.
  83. So far, American Horror Story isn't the great American horror story but rather a pretty good fright night.
  84. A black comedy working many shades of gray, Enlightened is about dark mornings of the soul and the fool's-golden glow of the new convert, and it measures the weight of the world with an eccentric scale.
  85. Rhimes hustles the audience into episodes in the middle of things. Pope and her colleagues speak at a clip suggesting years of study at the West Wing School of Elocution and Composition. In the rush, I scarcely had time to scoff at the over-the-top content of the pilot.
  86. The Pitch is like an all-you-can-eat buffet of salesmanship.
  87. Dallas may not always compel your attention, but it does a good job of telling you what you missed.
  88. There are just enough witty lines and interesting choices, such as in the editing of the bulimia scene, to create fleeting sensations that all is not dross.
  89. Less scary than freaky, it's deliberately unhinged-light horror about low camp, a showcase for scenery chewing and giddy blasphemy, an exploitation chamber piece.
  90. Despite and because of its many points of disconnection from the reality of the industry it purports to illuminate, I liked it and quite enjoyed biting my thumb at its cast (like a Capulet servant) while watching the pilot.
  91. Aided by snappy editing, these people express feelings of tedium, frustration, and contempt in a generally amusing fashion, and the series succeeds as light comedy.
  92. Like Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, the paranoid screenplays of Andrew Niccol, and the absurdist horror of Black Sheep (an ovine analog of The Birds), it gets beneath the skin by examining the state of isolation at the bottom of the world.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    American Idol... has been excellent Tuesday-Wednesday entertainment this summer. ... The individual efforts at star turns have been genuinely exciting. ... For our part, American Idol fans, who watch chiefly to see if we can pick a winner, have become accustomed to the show's tackiness, its repetitions, and its garish product placement.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Despite the depressing implications of having to appear on a reality show to find gainful employment... the show is a lot of fun, in part because of its theatricality.
  93. Dancing With the Stars is an improbable, goofy delight, more fun to watch than the bombastic American Idol for at least two reasons. The first: Unlike Idol wannabes, contestants on DWTS know they're amateurs. ... The second reason DWTS makes for better watching than American Idol is purely kinetic: Bad dancing is simply more fun to watch than bad singing is to listen to.
  94. Weeds is still trying a little too hard—trying, by turns, to be edgy and HBO-ish or campy and ABC-ish. But if it hasn't yet quite achieved the self-confident swagger of HBO flagships like The Wire or The Sopranos, it's certainly a lot more fun to watch than Desperate Housewives.