Slate's Scores

For 368 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 38% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 60% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 7.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 57
Highest review score: 100 Louie: Season 4
Lowest review score: 0 The 1/2 Hour News Hour: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 160
  2. Negative: 0 out of 160
160 tv reviews
  1. It's a silly, sweet-natured waste of time, and (unlike the tortured caterwauling of the American Idol contestants) it's utterly irresistible.
  2. The show works only because Woods is a honey-baked ham playing a character who lives to be a showman.
  3. Preferring to redomesticize Mildred Pierce, Haynes arrives at a film--a five-part, five-hour miniseries--that is merely pretty good.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Party Down, which is funny, would seem even funnier if it were not so heavily indebted to the funniest TV shows of recent years. It's also problematic that the show is so highly inconsistent.
  9. At various points, Bored to Death seems nicely restrained, curiously deadpan, and just flat. It is moderate, and it is middling.
  10. Virgin Territory tries to get into psychological explanations for all of this unwanted virginity, because like the participants’ friends, MTV thinks it’s weird.
  11. Its achievement rarely matches its ambitions, but the effect is still pretty dope.
  12. When the show talks about crime literature, it's quite dull, but when it shows instead of tells, it's something to see.
  13. Alpha House is about men caught up in a crazy-making system; even with all of its concrete details, that means it feels very similar to the (for now) much funnier Veep.... Alpha House may be Amazon’s first original program, but it doesn’t feel all that original.
  14. With the drama so thin, it must be the richness of Alicia's situation that makes 13 million people a week want to enjoy her company.
  15. Crisis needs to lean more Blacklist: If you’re going to be dumb, at least be a good time about it.
  16. CrazySexyCool is a not a particularly well-constructed biopic, hopping from moment to moment like moviemaking was just a matter of checking scenes off a list, but it does everything that Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, the two surviving members of TLC, could ask for: It will absolutely convince you that TLC was amazing.
  17. It’s just adequate, but adequate noir can really enliven an otherwise tedious gangster story.
  18. The show makes Granthams of all of us: content with what we have now (a middling costume soap opera) because we can still remember its glorious past (that first season). It’s safer and cozier than a show about open class warfare.
  19. Ambiently amusing but generally inert, the show is badly in need of a hard-edged producer to tell the series' creators that they cannot get by on charm, no matter how much of that precious quality is imported by such guest stars as Lily Tomlin, Rashida Jones, and Bob Balaban.
  20. This is a goofy docu-reality show about the sex lives of settled married couples.
  21. A tolerably flavorsome ball of crimson bubblegum.
  22. This Countdown isn't terribly televisual and might gain in force and intimacy if it were transferred straight to radio, though it would suffer from the loss of light-hearted video clips that serve to cleanse the palate of bile.
  23. Each of them rolls the creative process, the finished work, and her public performance as an artist into an eager consumer package. They're all operators with soundbites on line one.
  24. A typical episode of Terriers jolts abruptly from cutesy escapades to head-cracking fights, from loud escapism to misty tenderness, from easygoing comedy to strained seriousness. The tonal unevenness feels less like the conscious product of an ambitious design than the unplanned consequence of an exceedingly ambitious one.
  25. Though the seeming intent of Lock 'N Load is to glorify firearms--in one scene, a pastor takes target practice to the tune of "Amazing Grace"--it's sometimes tough to tell which consumers are motivated by valid concerns and which are unreasonable fruitcakes. Consequently, the show is something an ink-blot test.
  26. In a time span shorter than a T.G.I. Friday's commercial, we saw a pungent contrast between two sets of cultural values. This was all very funny and more than a bit embarrassing.
  27. Late Night with Seth Meyers felt totally professional and not at all embarrassing--which means it also felt standard and boilerplate.
  28. Diggs has considerable magnetism, but it would take the charisma of a cult leader to disguise the fact that this show sometimes reads like a '70s conspiracy thriller as interpreted by the makers of Bad Boys II.
  29. "Six Feet Under's" Peter Krause plays the role with a sense of detachment that represents either the artistic choice of an actor playing it straight amid interminable clowning or the weary resignation of a dude who didn't know what he was getting into.
  30. Hit & Miss has so many ups and downs that it cannot dodge the critical judgment any hack might deliver by quoting its title.
  31. Boardwalk Empire is as good-looking and well-acted as ever, but it still has bullet holes where its head and heart should be.
  32. Eleventh Hour is ambitiously shameless in patterning its counterintuitive crank of an ill-socialized hero on the Hugh Laurie character. We sent it down after nine minutes as yet another generic detective drama.
  33. The results are scattershot. A few of the storylines work beautifully.... But Dorian Gray’s tryst with a tubercular prostitute (Billie Piper) reaches no such heights, delivering the nudity that pay cable customers apparently require, but not much else.
  34. The show's success may depend on whether the public's fascination with Slater trumps its collective attention-deficit disorders.
  35. It plays like it's been built for antisocial boys--mchair heroes in love with guns and in search of demented adventure.
  36. Indeed, if the show is to have the symbolic import that we expect from a science-fiction story, this is the only possible way to read V as a coherent text. The only problem with this analysis lies in its generous presupposition that the text is, in fact, coherent.
  37. The prosecutors on this new show--led by actor Peter Coyote, who hauls loads of Adam Schiff gravel in his voice--are given to putting whole systems on trial, metaphorically and otherwise....Though [Detectives] Rex and T.J. do, in fact, dig for clues, it somehow feels that they're just watching them erupt.
  38. NBC’s Rosemary’s Baby, which premieres Sunday night and finishes up on Thursday, is a not-great remake, but it is also a not-entirely-horrible miniseries, a beneficiary of the soft standards of low expectations.
  39. Better Off Ted, which feels more devoted to establishing its cool than earning some laughs, is hardly so bad to deserve a bleh from halfway-discerning viewers. Eh or meh would be closer to the mark.
  40. A middling documentary about a major actor-director-buffoon.
  41. The illustrated title sequence of Comic Book Men depicts these guys as musclemen in tights, but the scenes that follow are strictly mild-mannered.
  42. For all of Tyrant’s big themes, it can feel oddly small.
  43. All of these characters and all of these stories frequently add up to something handsome, funny, and weird. But Fargo is missing the spark of originality that would make it great.
  44. Through seven episodes there is nothing wildly different about the two shows, but Gracepoint has a facsimile’s faded quality. Something about it is less sharp, less bright, less keen, and you are left with a washed-out flier you have seen before.
  45. The show--a sporadically excellent adaption of a British teen drama--is superlative teensploitation, enabling youth to rejoice in the fantasy of their corruption, among other things.
  46. Once you get past the fact of the producers' milking more than the usual volume of pathos from scenes of pre-elimination anxiety and post-dismissal distress, More To Love is much the same as its slimmer sisters.
  47. Common Law, with its storylines moving forward in broad strokes and an airiness in its exposition, does not demand too much of you or of anyone, beyond its own efficient technicians and unshowily inventive actors.
  48. The show was pleasant without being particularly funny or memorable, odd without being urgent or edgy, scattershot without taking any big swings.
  49. While it is completely watchable, it is also, unlike Scandal, not distinctive in any way.
  50. All the care that Soderbergh has taken with the colors, the camera, the blood--all his masterfully deployed aesthetic choices--stand in stark contrast to the care taken with the scripts.
  51. Add all this up, and what results is not an elegant, adult, psychologically astute miniseries. Instead, The Slap is a bulldozer: bluntly, gracelessly effective.
  52. The show rises to mediocrity on the strength of the occasional snappiness of the dialogue.
  53. Naturally, Happy Town is excessively sudsy in its soap-opera aspect, just as its atmosphere is a bit too atmospheric.
  54. Related has some strengths, particularly the understated performance of Kiele Sanchez.
  55. In the new miniseries’ opening installments, 24 makes some half-hearted efforts to contend with its own legacy.
  56. Occasionally sharp as an epidural needle, often dumb as a pea pod, sometimes half decent.
  57. Teen sexuality is tricky subject material. Teen sexuality manifested in incest is trickier still. And the new Lifetime movie is not up to the job.
  58. There's something lazy about this show's refusal to choose a target. It's easy to feel feminist when you're deploring the plight of '50s-style birds in a gilded cage. But why do we need to invoke this simplified formula to be interested in exploring women's lives?
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Why does it seem so much worse than it is?
  59. Hemingway & Gellhorn's daft romanticization of its subjects proves central to its overwrought sense of self.
  60. The show's focus remains frustratingly narrow.
  61. Depicting their triumphs and setbacks with imperfect sincerity, smooshing together various reality-show formulae with an awkwardness that is at times touching, the series sheds light on a corner of the psyche where the princess-y obsessions of the wedding culture meets a mutation of the great American tradition of self-improvement.
  62. It is a terrible sign when a show has no sense of humor, but Believe almost has too much of it. It looks great--Cuarón, who just won an Oscar, directed, after all--but there is something off-puttingly cutesy about it.
  63. It is both an active agent of moral depravation and a total hoot.
  64. While no one beyond the show's target audience--teens in need of something to squeal over until Gossip Girl returns next season--would claim that Pretty Little Liars has a voluminous body, I must concede that it has a lustrous shine.
  65. Abrams and his co-creator Damon Lindelof ("Crossing Jordan") do a terrific job of piling on the plot twists, but they neglect to provide a believably textured world, or any time for the characters to interact between crises. As a result, Lost is at once heart-stopping and strangely dull.
  66. The jokes never got any better than that, not even when the girl-moppet later waxed ecstatic about Zac Efron in High School Musical.
  67. The Newsroom's focus is on putting on a show, and because its weak points are howlers and it will be a hoot to laugh not with but at them.
  68. If you get your news from anywhere other than The Newsroom, to watch the show is to be harangued by opinions you have heard many, many times over, just polished with Sorkin’s trademark linguistic flourishes and passed off as shiny and new.
  69. Soto helps the mood of the show with his wry attitude and occasional gee-whiz-ardry, and he helps to move the plot along by stating facts that Rebecca would otherwise have to pause and look up.
  70. At certain moments, when Coyle and Malkovich banter about god, the devil, and England, Crossbones is almost the kicky fun it was meant to be.... But a few sentences later, Blackbeard returns to growling clichés.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    There’s no bite to anything in this show.... The sketches that Crystal and Gad perform in are all solid B-minus to C-plus. Their stop-and-start friendship is utterly unremarkable. Nobody seems willing to go anywhere remotely risky.
  71. The series' approach to violence against woman is the only complex thing about it. Otherwise, you cannot even call Rizzoli & Isles run of the mill, it being that mills usually run more smoothly.
  72. On the bright side, no one is in danger of having to watch this inert action show.
  73. It should be evident that Same Name is as warm and mindless as an idyllic Sunday in idlest July.
  74. Though No Ordinary Family bears many hallmarks of an interesting failure, it falls slightly short of the distinction on account of its resistance to being consistently interesting.
  75. The Jay Leno Show is of course not the "brand-new hour of comedy" its promos claim; it is brand-old to the bone. But the notion of Leno running some combination of pop-culture confessional booth and prime-time torture chamber has some real appeal.
  76. I don't exactly know what to say to [a quote from the Updike book], nor did the 1987 film adaptation starring Jack Nicholson, nor does the predictably bland and totally adequate Eastwick.
  77. What Powers is, from the start, is something stranger, more convoluted, and a bit grandiose (at least in the three episodes shared with critics).
  78. Rolling the wars on terror, drugs, and illegal immigration into one rhetorical package, Homeland Security USA plays partly like a pumped-up recruiting film, partly like a public-affairs outreach video for hard-core video gamers.
  79. It offers a vision of dinner as a special effect, and its appeal is akin to that of the freeze-dried ice cream available at finer space-museum gift shops. It's a novelty item that makes no claim to please discerning palates.
  80. The way things turned out, it was no worse than rather bad, and Fallon, if he can quit squirming long enough, should take a modest bow.
  81. Reunion doesn't seem to get how important character is to carrying a show.
  82. Glory Daze is a frathouse-of-mirth comedy and so generic in its particulars that it is barely even necessary to describe its characters and their situation.
  83. Vaughan, writing and directing these lines, is hauling the Stephen King brand into risky territory. The risk is boredom—the half-puzzled, half-irritated sort of boredom elicited by later seasons of Lost.
  84. The way things are going, I would pay $100 if the purchase exempted me from having to watch any more of the show itself.
  85. Farmer Wants a Wife moseyed onto the air last week bearing the best title of any pop-culture commodity of the year to date and, given its standard-issue inanity, a surprising subtextual richness.
  86. Fantasy plots require fantastic details, but the show, rolling steadily downhill from a compelling premise, is utterly casual about the particulars of its speculative time-tripping and post-catastrophe atmospherics.
  87. Mulaney, a bland new Fox sitcom from former-SNL writer and stand-up comedian John Mulaney, has a laugh track. This is, by far, the most interesting thing about it.
  88. Grimm is most alive in the scenes where Nick teams up with Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), a monster who is trying hard to walk the straight path. These moments introduce some much-needed levity to a drama where every echoing slam of a file-cabinet drawer amounts to a portentous groan.
  89. The series, fueling itself with folklore, proceeds as if no characterization is required.
  90. A document of cruel self-delusions, an index of unusual realities, virtually a postscript to the body of Western literature about romantic love, and an extraordinarily fine opportunity to exult in the suffering of your fellow human beings, Catfish is a TV show.
  91. The next four episodes are nowhere near as patient and controlled as that cinematic pilot, but, man, are they Irish: the wakes, the neon shamrock, the epigraphs from W.B. Yeats and D.P. Moynihan. And the show keeps this magnificent blarney up even as it swipes half its ideas from the playbooks of Scorsese and The Godfather.
  92. While the two shows both contain bereft parents, law enforcement officials with personal agendas, pastors with painful backstories, quiet and sometimes spooky small boys, and newly reanimated criminals, the atmosphere in which Resurrection places them is thinner than Mt. Everest’s. Compared to The Returned, Resurrection’s performances, eeriness, themes, its production values, storylines, and opening credit sequence are all similarly weak.
  93. Dracula flirts with camp, without quite committing. Unlike Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, in which Ichabod Crane finds himself alive in the present day, Dracula does not seem to be in on the joke of itself.
  94. Instead, The Kennedys is blandly admiring when paying due respect, mildly cheesy when hauling out the trash, and understaged at every turn, the better for viewers to project their own fantasies onto it.
  95. Even as Utopia promises to never, ever live up to its name, its funhouse-mirror reflections of the fault lines--religion, class, politics--in our own larger, obviously imperfect society make for fascinating TV, if only occasionally.
  96. The shame is that a series about a band of heroes trying to hunt down more potential heroes could be the perfect antidote to TV’s own overly dark cliché: the anti-hero. But instead it resists the call, too self-serious to be really goofy, and yet too fan-boyish to rescue even one hour of television from mediocrity.
  97. Despite this highly dramatic premise, Turn feels small and dull: if you want to have some fun learning about the Revolution, wait until Fox’s cheeky Sleepy Hollow returns.
  98. This is ultra-soft porn--softer than Charmin, softer than lingerie ads.

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