Slate's Scores

For 499 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 39% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 57% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 5.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 The Leftovers: Season 3
Lowest review score: 0 The 1/2 Hour News Hour: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 244
  2. Negative: 0 out of 244
244 tv reviews
  1. It is still psychologically astute, but it has become a much more straightforward, and largely effective, spy show. If you do not want to let Homeland back into your heart, that’s understandable. But maybe let it crash on your couch for a probationary period.
  2. At this point, its plot development feels as ruthlessly competent as its characters. It’s not revelatory, but it’s also much better than most shows in their sixth seasons can claim to be.
  3. 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.
  4. Girlfriends’ Guide, loosely based on the series of books by Vicki Iovine, is, like most of Bravo’s shows, extremely entertaining, the TV equivalent of a great beach read.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It lacks the nuance and cleverness that Star brought to Sex and the City while also missing all the chaotic joy that Broad City and Girls find in this slice of millennial life.... That’s not to say it isn’t compulsively watchable.
  5. A show with broad appeal led by a still sparkly and high-strung Fox that is pretty good, a shade too predictable and manipulative to be excellent, but neither excruciating nor embarrassing.
  6. 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.
  7. It's funny and cute.
  8. 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.
  9. Justified is slumming it: not nearly as sharp or rich as it has been or could be, but still much more clever and enjoyable than its procedural peers. It’s begging to be graded on a curve, when it should be setting it.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Dallas may not always compel your attention, but it does a good job of telling you what you missed.
  13. Its greasy-spoon spunk is regularly palatable, good for a cheap chuckle.
  14. As a thriller, Manhattan mostly works.
  15. As with J.J. Abrams’ ode to Spielberg, Super 8, Stranger Things is extremely watchable and a little empty, a paean to the Duffer brothers’ own youth masquerading as a compliment to a master.
  16. The success or failure of Little Britain USA will depend on the prevalence of a particular strain of Anglophilia.
  17. The show is almost entirely unoriginal, from the plot to the fight scenes, but it wears its unoriginality with a certain panache.
  18. It's an ambitious if occasionally pushy effort.
  19. 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.
  20. Provocative, hammy, absurd, and irresistible—so far. ... [But] Boston Legal would do well to limit the narrative hocus-pocus and concentrate on its strength—the chemistry between the two fine main actors.
  21. Sitcoms, far more than dramas, are about chemistry rather than premise. Faxon and Greer have chemistry, with each other and with the very strong supporting cast.... [The characters] may not like their circumstances, but at least they like each other, and that makes them good sitcom company.
  22. 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.
  23. I appreciated the miniseries’ willingness to reach beyond moral satire. There are glimmers of big cosmic tragedy in this Vacancy, when the camera swings away from two characters arguing (or hooking up) in order to highlight some mythic element in the landscape.
  24. If Lucious and Cookie and Jamal’s dynamics seem unique and complex, other parts of the show are messy and flat.... Generally speaking, the arc of the soap opera is long, and it bends toward insanity. But, one episode in, Empire feels insane in exactly the right measure.
  25. The long play of television is supposed to give writers, and audiences, time to get to know characters more intimately, but Hap and Leonard repeats itself, pleasantly enough, instead of going deeper.
  26. 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.
  27. In all, Oprah's Big Give is a triumph of virtue, which leaves only the question of who would want to watch it.
    • 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.
  28. 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.
  29. No one element of this show feels original, and yet I would totally watch more, even if just to peep at the sleek futuristic garbage cans again.
  30. The Honey Boo Boo clan often transcend the narrow condescension of the series’ producers--between-scene interludes include shots of humping dogs and the sound of a toilet flushing--with a deep familial affection and a rousing, Amelia Bedelia-esque esprit de corps.
  31. The new season of True Detective is, especially given the burden of expectations, remarkably solid. It’s not a belly flop. It lacks the obvious hook of its predecessor, but I still am eager to see how it develops.
  32. The new Cosmos starts slowly and reverently enough: deGrasse Tyson, a warm, avuncular presence, standing on the same cliffs Sagan did, talking about the universe, our place in it, and preaching the gospel of the scientific method in a glossy episode, which, scientifically speaking, doesn’t advance much beyond middle school.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. Billions is quintessentially Showtime: It uses its of-the-moment premise and its blue-chip cast to tell a story that is both thoroughly enjoyable and completely eye-rolling.
  36. Confirmation is not a particularly good production, but it is gripping.
  37. The Strain has a kind of earnest and respectful fanboyishness, in which every single ridiculous element mandated by the genre is rendered seriously but not exactly unknowingly.
  38. When the show works as a comedy--which it does at about a 30-70 ratio--it’s all about an accumulation of silliness, delivered with a straight and yearning face, rather than clear-eyed observation.... But a comedy that inspires more pathos than laughter isn't necessarily failed. It just might be mislabeled.
  39. Brooklyn Nine-Nine isn’t uproarious yet, but pilots, even of good sitcoms, rarely are. (It took Parks and Recreation an entire season to figure out its tone.) What Brooklyn Nine-Nine has, unlike many of the other new fall comedies, is intelligent design.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Compared with the Simpson family, the characters on Futurama still seem a bit thin. ... But boy, is their environment fun to look at!
  40. His first night in a very high-pressure situation, Noah seemed entirely at ease, starting with a little earnestness, segueing into material that he capably handled even though it still felt built to Stewart specs, and finishing with an entirely toothless interview with Kevin Hart.
  41. BrainDead is zippy and witty, a thinking person’s beach read, but there is something not quite enough about the premise. Our political culture is so crazy it is nearly un-satirizable. BrainDead knows this: Its point--not a joke at all--is that a Washington infested with extraterrestrial creepy-crawlies is indistinguishable from a pest-free D.C.
  42. We bailed after the first of these dudes entered the frame, jolted by his frankly cheesy display of torso--"infomercial abs" was the damning phrase. But, until that moment, The Ex List had commanded our full attention in a way that the previous shows hadn't.
  43. Failing to realize high ambitions, High School Confidential skims across the lives of 12 teenage girls growing up in placid Kansas.
  44. Indeed, it is hard to knock Terra Nova overall, such does it succeed on its own terms, which involve working over the pituitary brain and the sympathetic soul.
  45. It's pretty decent hokum--fast, corny, genial, honest in its schlock.
  46. The show relied heavily on pre-taped sketches: First came an overlong, cameo-heavy bit about Corden’s unlikely path to the late-night lineup.... Corden bears an odd resemblance to a golden retriever—friendly, approachable, and desperately eager to please.
  47. Storage Wars--trivial and magnetic, sociologically peculiar and elementally creepy-gives the reality-show treatment to a class of merchants slinking beneath the radar of many a solvent citizen.
  48. It is a show about a high-school superheroine--a Catwoman without the camp or the S&M gear--and it enables longtime fans of the subgenre to watch with pride as their children digest its venerable tropes for only the fourth or fifth time.
  49. Vinyl is made in the spirit of a great party, rather than a great TV show.... Not so dissimilarly from Boardwalk Empire, it has prestige everything--sets, talent, camera work, visuals--but an ersatz essence. The Scorsese hallmarks are thick as the rails.
  50. The Voice (NBC) is a horrifically entertaining vocal competition produced by Mark Burnett.
  51. It’s handsomely shot, and smartly acted, and ingeniously constructed enough to suggest there’s something mind-blowing lurking at its center. But as Hawley pushes from jazzed-up origin story to psychodrama, it starts to feel like a show with a Rubik’s cube where its heart should be.
  52. Ms. Q's Nikita is only half so crush-worthy as Bionic Woman's Jaime Sommers or Dollhouse's what's-her-name, but her predicament is no less tasty.
  53. It takes us to the South and to a class-conscious frame of mind and then introduces a web of complicated relationships that the eye recognizes as cross-racial but the dialogue does not. For now, it seems that this is a tale of collegiate self-discovery and hand-spring liberation that just happens to be set in the post-racial America I keep hearing about it.
  54. The cast is stacked, the timing is jaunty, the jokes are good, especially for a pilot.... And yet the show is still four shows jammed into one, with each segment almost entirely self-contained. The series feels neurotically aware of all the other things you could be doing instead of watching it.
  55. Alphas proceeds with a relative sobriety that will prove attractive to some and simply unintoxicating to others. If there are any grown-up fanboys left in America--people who can bring themselves to admit that this summer's blockbusters-in-tights are meager gruel--then Alphas may have enough beta charm to see them through the season.
  56. Viewers will have to decide how much good faith the show earned with its redemptive fourth season as its fifth one crawls in the direction of a plot. If this is the season in which Homeland aims to resolve its own contradictions and to deliver to its tortured characters some measure of understanding or peace, it would benefit, as my colleague Willa Paskin has noted, from a little bit more crazy.
  57. The production's appeal is all on the surfaces--in a moment where a killer's image is reflected in a fresh pool of blood, say, or a megalomaniac catches his own eye in the mirror.
  58. Blood & Oil is not a realistic drama but an out-and-out soap opera.
  59. The show, warm and cheesy, fits right in as another nacho plate on the network's menu of comfort food, another new sitcom that plays like a re-enactment of an old one.
  60. [A] serviceable heist drama.
  61. [Love is] a perfect example of an OK show that gets better the more of it you watch.
  62. On average, the viewer must wait through two tossed-off fart jokes in order to savor one lovingly crafted one. Bob's Burgers is done medium well.
  63. Ding ding ding went the bell, and up went an agreeing groan, six minutes in. Perhaps this was less a judgment of Kath & Kim's general quality--it was one of the better shows we screened, or at least one of the not-as-bad.
  64. Comfort food to its core, the show is a retro casserole tapping into a popular appetite for leftovers.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The premise involves a few too many levels of meta humor, perhaps.... So yes, the plot is sparse and the jokes are old, but, honestly, if you’re watching this Samsung ad disguised as a Web series, you don’t really care about the plot.
  65. This is a civil servant who has yet to be jaded, and the show is just good enough to keep you turning back in to see her unwarranted optimism curdle.
  66. Sure, the re-enactment technique is cheesy by its very nature, but at the heart of this show is the ancient art of storytelling. The verbal accounts of the survivors are so vibrant, their evocation of extreme experience so precise, that the viewer huddles before the TV like a child listening to ghost stories around a campfire, undistracted even by the indignity of commercial interruptions.
  67. Watching these post-Lost sci-fi-mytho-mystery series, you also watch yourself watching, and the thrill of alertness passes for decent entertainment even when other pleasures are in short supply. When Sean returned from a day trip to find that his girlfriend had vanished as if redacted from the file of life, I was kind of glad to see her gone. With her murky disappearance out of the way, we were on our way to achieving clarity-or at least toward failing to achieve it.
  68. The show would probably be too ponderous to enjoy if Braugher weren't an actor of tremendous restraint.
  69. Judged by the standards of the form, it is totally OK. There is a soothing mundanity to it, and voyeurs will come away gratified. Though this is hardly an intimate portrait.
  70. The show's an entertaining provocation, but it's also only skin-deep.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    While the new series isn't Angels in America, neither is it entirely without merit. It, too, is capably acted and competently shot, and its main conceit—that proceeds from the global drug trade serve as liquid capital for global villains—strikes you as less far-fetched than it might have three or four years ago.
  71. It plays, for better and worse, like a slightly elevated version of one of those issue-of-the-week telefilms of the old school, with their teen traumas and kitchen-sink melodramas.
  72. Appetizingly pulpy and yet not at all crass, the series presents a new angle on the phenomenon of shows-so-bad-that-they're-good: It sucks hard and thus plays very well.
  73. [Scott's] playfulness is essential to making this show a pleasurable trifle instead of a sodden one.
  74. A perfectly serviceable, occasionally adorable, utterly predictable period drama.
  75. The prep-school soap opera Gossip Girl is not as good--that is, not as bad, not quite so fabulously trashy--as the best-selling series of young-adult novels on which it's based.
  76. Not content to exploit their subject's inherent themes, the series' fraternal creators, Joe and Tony Gayton, have adhered them promiscuously, pasting neon Post-it indications of symbolic import in a way that obscures moments of straightforward drama.
  77. This is up-to-the-minute celebrity kitsch--zippy, knowing, and joyfully hollow.
  78. As one would expect from a Seth Meyers cartoon, The Awesomes can be knowing and clever, with a positive attitude that skews a bit arch.
  79. The Fairy Jobmother, adapted from a British show of the same name, follows the model of Supernanny--that child-rearing-rehab spectacular--with a diligent slavishness.
  80. Celebrities interviewing celebrities is a promising concept, in that it upsets the power balance of the typical suck-up interview. But the downside is that once people get past a certain level of fame, they seem to lose the internal monitor that reminds them that not everything they do and say is worth recording.
  81. For a smart take on a dumb summer dating show, join the millions tuning into Dating in the Dark.
  82. The show is at its worst when straining to be provocative and, in so doing, incorporating various Hollywood clichés (Hogwarts meets Gossip Girl, one review blared). But in terms of establishing a world and getting the plot going, the show’s first episodes are actually pretty promising.
  83. The early episodes are a mix of lesser world-building and sometimes dull, sometimes trite, sometimes appealing fish-out-of-water tales as Claire’s knowledge of the future gets her into and out of scrape after scrape.
  84. Everybody already knows everything there is to know about this maverick make of stock figure and the ready-made tone of cop shows where all the barroom jukeboxes play only electric blues.
  85. The very special scheduling is one of several ways the network has been signaling that it means serious business with this light and passably witty supernatural drama.
  86. While You’re the Worst is eventful, its emotional beats are not exactly original. It feels like watching the first 20 minutes of a rom-com over and over again, a notion that I find not entirely unpleasant.
  87. It’s a competent and cute drama that benefits from being served up after a fall of horse meat.
  88. This HBO original [is] clean and smart and dull.
  89. It's a silly, sweet-natured waste of time, and (unlike the tortured caterwauling of the American Idol contestants) it's utterly irresistible.
  90. The show works only because Woods is a honey-baked ham playing a character who lives to be a showman.
  91. Preferring to redomesticize Mildred Pierce, Haynes arrives at a film--a five-part, five-hour miniseries--that is merely pretty good.
  92. Too Big To Fail adapted by director Curtis Hanson and screenwriter Peter Gould from a book by journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, is a decent movie with a stellar title.
  93. This is, without question, the oddest show to arrive on television in quite some time. ... [But] unlike the best musicals and fairy tales, it never once transports you to a land far, far away.
  94. The confrontation between Raylan and Boyd, in the works since the series began, imbues the series with some of the urgency it has lacked in recent seasons while it wasted time in the backwaters of Florida and in Detroit high-rises. And yet as rejuvenated as Justified feels, it can still be uncomfortably enamored with Raylan’s bad behavior.
  95. Tara doesn't yet show the same emotional depth as Juno--not in its first four episodes, at least--but if you have the fortitude to make it through the tonal assault of its first 10 minutes, then you'll get to see some recognizable human feeling seep up through the wisecracks.

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