Variety's Scores

For 1,543 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 35% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 62% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 Murder One: Season 1
Lowest review score: 10 The Showbiz Show with David Spade: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 601
  2. Negative: 0 out of 601
601 tv reviews
  1. The premise, in other words, lacks heft, which leaves not much more than admiring Simmons--a highly versatile actor — as he does what he can with gags about his character’s insistence on doing things like driving and cutting down trees.
  2. The Oprah Winfrey-Discovery network and the tabloid-plagued actress are using each other, the irony being that if Lohan stays on the straight and narrow, she’ll yield a show as boring as Sunday’s not-screened-in-advance premiere.
  3. After the plodding premiere, though, all I could think was wake me around the time they get to the snake dance. And maybe not even for that.
  4. For all those neatly appointed trappings and period touches, Turn simply feels hollow at its core. And that, ultimately, is something even an accomplished spy ring can’t disguise.
  5. Ultimately, improv is always going to be a hit-miss proposition. But despite being inordinately literal about its hits, Riot proves too liberal with its misses.
  6. Steeped in gore but deprived of atmosphere, this update on the Satanic classic suffers from its contemporary setting and attendant improvements in obstetrics, while feeling closer in tone to a remake of “The Omen” than of its namesake.
  7. It's all pretty lame stuff, tainted further by Mario Azzopardi's frenetic direction. The effects are seamless enough, but pretty much beside the point in a story that feels not just reheated but terminally lukewarm. The primary problem with Total Recall 2070 is that we can't work up much in the way of enthusiasm or concern for its leaden protagonists, especially when the evildoer (Mancuso) is so much more interesting. [8 March 1990, p.58]
    • Variety
  8. The central mother-son dynamic and its moments of warmth can’t overcome the weariness that permeates the rest of the show and cast.
  9. Gang Related is a dense serial about loyalty and betrayal, but without enough redeeming qualities to offset its high quotient of ugliness and mayhem.
  10. Not surprisingly, the producers assemble a sizable, attractive and appropriately diverse cast, albeit without giving many of them much to distinguish their characters, who--whatever the color of their scrubs--simply blend together.
  11. Granted, the women--mostly in their early 20s, and seemingly chosen to reflect every bad stereotype harbored about their demo--do their part to inspire viewers to root for those aiming to deceive them.
  12. For the most part, cable series haven’t been as guilty as their network brethren of overstaying an invitation, but this is one hit show that probably should have breathed its last a couple of years ago.
  13. While the subject matter certainly feels timely given chaotic events abroad and the show possesses a strong creative pedigree, it also suffers from a sense of self-importance that drags at the whole exercise.
  14. The name recognition notwithstanding, there’s precious little to distinguish Girl Meets World from a parade of similarly themed Disney Channel live-action series, built around life on the cusp of puberty, featuring stars slightly older than the girl demo apt to watch.
  15. The resulting series is a bit of a snooze--handsome, yes, but about as dramatically compelling as the cover of a Harlequin Romance, and too flaccid to make hearts go pitter-pat.
  16. The goal of establishing them as a mismatched pair in the pilot (written and run by sitcom veterans Robert L. Boyett and Robert Horn), as well as a subsequent episode, proves stale and weakly defined from the get-go.
  17. Despite flashes of what initially made the Danish adaptation so intriguing, this stretch drive can’t escape the feeling of a show ready to be put out of its misery.
  18. There’s just not enough life in the concept thus far to prevent The Intruders, like its namesake, from hiding in plain sight.
  19. The premiere feels less inspired than cynical--a project where the motivation seems not so much inspired by creativity as by demographics, and the potential to reel in a younger audience.
  20. There is, inevitably, the promise of chemistry developing between the central duo, but even that only makes the series feel more mundane than its concept.
  21. The series--adapted by Daniel Cerone with an assist from genre specialist David S. Goyer--nearly chokes on its mythological mumbo-jumbo, and frankly, yelling at demons in foreign tongues seemed a whole lot scarier back when “The Exorcist” first turned heads.
  22. Far from any inspiration, this show feels not just like it was created by a committee, but a Senate subcommittee at that. And in TV terms, that’s a pretty sorry state of affairs.
  23. The show's cast is potentially likable; once they're given a script that doesn't feel so derivative and stuck on a single note, show could blossom. [23 Sept 2002, p.22]
    • Variety
  24. The Newsroom continues to represent a failed experiment--a series that won’t win any converts and too often risks irritating what should ostensibly be its allies.
  25. The expansive, kaleidoscopic sets and swiveling camerawork--including an aerial view--didn’t really serve to enhance any of that. At times, Neverland appeared less a magical place than a cut-rate throwback to the days of Sid and Marty Krofft. Stretched to three hours to “eventize” and amortize the proceedings, Peter Pan also had the misfortune to peak early--about 30 minutes in.
  26. The fact all three have fairly large broods of kids turns the children into props, a tried-and-true TLC formula, which makes the show not much of a risk, development-wise, and still mostly a snooze, TV-viewing-wise.
  27. It blends fleeting moments of inspiration with lengthy stretches of utter banality.
  28. Some of the flourishes that work on "Survivor" feel over-produced here ... The overriding problem, however, is simply too much Trump. [5 Jan 2004]
    • Variety
  29. As in "Family Guy," MacFarlane and company rely on a fast-moving formula predicated on the mindset that if a joke doesn't work, another will be along momentarily. There's something to that for small fry, but the low batting average and scatological emphasis conspire to narrow the program's appeal. [4 Feb 2005]
    • Variety
  30. Aaron McGruder's anger comes through loud and clear in this adaptation of his comicstrip into an Adult Swim animated series, but the dearth of humor reflects another awkward and disappointing transition from three-panel glory to TV series.
  31. Lifeless and uninspired.
  32. Its humor is simple and, at times, degrading.
  33. Gilbert at least brings some human dimension to the otherwise relentless silliness.
  34. None of it is particularly convincing.
  35. The best thing about "Surface" thus far is NBC's promo campaign, which, sliced into bite-sized bits, actually makes the program look considerably better than it is.
  36. Remember those scenes on "The West Wing" when the Joint Chiefs assemble in the "situation room" to tackle some faraway threat? Reprise the tension with none of the intelligence, inject flag-waving machismo and high-tech imagery, and what's left is this Jerry Bruckheimer drama.
  37. About 10 years too late to qualify as provocative.
  38. Cultural distinctions notwithstanding (will U.S. viewers double over at a Tongan accent?), Summer Heights High seldom rises above silliness and mostly proves just plain irritating.
  39. The U.S. version of "Teachers" has lost much of its grit and feels thuddingly conventional.
  40. [It] isn't terrible but doesn't pack much of a comedic wallop.
  41. Brings too little that's fresh to a format already exhibiting signs of wear and tear.
  42. The producers of this NBC wish-fulfillment show have endeavored to out-schmaltz ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," and for those who can stomach this level of manipulative fluff, damned if they haven't done it.
  43. "Fox attitude" in this genre demands that if a show's worth producing, it's worth overproducing, from the music to the faux tension to the various back stories (injuries, struggles, pain) designed to gin up drama.
  44. This isn't to say what these folks experienced isn't harrowing, but these hybrids mixing dramatic and documentary techniques only enjoy a sense of authenticity if both halves work, which isn't the case at least in the maiden voyage.
  45. Granted, the smaller time frame makes it more difficult to chronicle an 80-some-odd-year life, but what emerges is a CliffsNotes version that fastidiously avoids crowd shots (presumably to keep costs down) and struggles to create drama with its worshipful tone.
  46. [A] grim, brooding, utterly muddled crime series.
  47. This overly broad storybook project feels painfully dated.
  48. It doesn't help that the producers shape the episodes as if they were little sports movies, peddling cliches about the nervous rookie, the veteran making a comeback or the underdog team. That might work with a real sport, but it's kind of a buzzkill when dealing with a staged one.
  49. A pastiche of disaster movies past with everything from tidal waves to erupting volcanoes, the some-star cast gamely waltzes through writer-director John Lafia's silly plot beats, which pass at such breakneck speed there's barely time to giggle at them.
  50. The show seems as if it desperately yearns to be a worthy companion to "Housewives" but lacks the requisite bite, despite political references meant to feel edgy that prove mostly banal.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    With too many one-note jokes and characters, insufficient barrel laughs and too much controlled chaos, "Big Day" will be lucky if it even makes it to the afternoon let alone a walk down the aisle.
  51. If "30 Rock's" going to survive, Baldwin's comedic chops will be tugging the lifeline.
  52. All sizzle and no steak, producer Jerry Bruckheimer's latest hour occasionally feels like a parody of courtshows, what with its hyperactive pace, pointless "CSI"-type visual bells and whistles and misdirected premise depicting high-priced defense attorneys as semi-good guys.
  53. "Lovespring International" goes for the obvious gags and seems to find itself a lot cuter than most viewers are apt to.
  54. Put it this way: Any comedy that milks multiple jokes from a character being named "Woodcock" is pretty much running on fumes.
  55. The more you see of it, the less there is to like.
  56. While [Danson's] old-pro timing gives the show a modest lift, "Help Me Help You" provides more of an incentive to get off the couch than to plop down on one.
  57. With the quirky tone and lead character's voiceover, this all feels a little too much like "Anne's Anatomy," with neither the wit nor whimsy necessary to sustain a concept that would likely fare better as a romantic comedy feature than an ongoing series.
  58. There's no sign of passion here; it's all awkward.
  59. [It] feels like a Hallmark movie stretched into series form.
  60. Beyond its educational footnotes for potential buyers and sellers, this six-part series is mostly a cartoon, reducing its rotating "stars" to labels like "the Blond Bombshell" and "the Schmoozer."
  61. Silly, poorly cast and full of clunky dialogue.
  62. Limited animation, uninspired character design and ho-hum writing conspire to keep this all on a rudimentary level.
  63. "A Perfect Day is a Christmas movie" only in the sense the movie's denouement coincides with Christmas. Otherwise, it's just a run-of-the-mill contrivance where problems are easily rectified and life can be distilled into greeting card sentiments.
  64. A stereotypical sudser that wants to be "From Here to Eternity" but feels like "All My Children: Military Edition."
  65. Its convoluted story and rising body count strain credibility in a project that doesn't coalesce until its final installment, and not fully even then.
  66. Balancing comedy and drama within this sort of framework requires a delicate touch, and precious little about In Plain Sight achieves that equilibrium.
  67. Although not the mess that "Dirt" is, the series is conceptually problematic, and seemingly ill-equipped to go the episodic distance.
  68. [Mick and Beth's] across-the-decades bond, however, doesn't compensate for how pedestrian the initial story is -- playing like a conventional detective show, with Mick showcasing his otherworldly powers (strong, and very, very fast) only during a passable action sequence in the final act.
  69. Jezebel James might have fared better shaped into an hourlong dramedy, instead of being shoehorned into a lightly serialized sitcom format that plays poorly to her strengths as a writer.
  70. The show feels completely derivative, it's wholly unconvincing that the central quartet would hang out together, and I'm frankly still fuzzy (mostly because after 10 minutes it's difficult to give a damn) on what connects them beyond the not-that-jarring status of being single again in their 30s and, well, "Seinfeld" did it.
  71. Hit-miss in the way improv almost invariably is, the show feels flabby at an hour.
  72. Even a hard-hearted critic would find it difficult not to coo at the lion cub that wanders onto the grounds, but the series can deliver only so many Animal Planet moments before leaving auds to grapple with its trite elements and annoying characters.
  73. This is decidedly slim and rarely funny fare.
  74. Watching the show brings to mind attending the wedding of someone you barely know or don't really like: Sure, it would be better if everything went well, but after awhile, all you really want is for it to be over so you can get out of there.
  75. Even in this sporty new vehicle the old codger looks a little unsteady on his pins--lacking the requisite wit, excitement or sense of adventure to survive for long in this dimension, much less the next.
  76. The result is tonally uneven, too-rarely funny and rehashes material that isn't as relatable as it should be to the average parent.
  77. The show is as directionless as its stars.
  78. Heavily produced, the series has some ratings potential by CW's chicken-feed standards but doesn't feel distinctive or titillating enough to keep 'em down on the farm.
  79. Actually, this comedy-reality concept is rather quaint.
  80. Even with the promise of a Ferrell cameo in future episodes, it's a tired premise--a more profane version of the kind of low-swinging sitcom that could easily have wound up on TBS.
  81. Whatever lingering debt the show owes to its original template has also resulted in some awkward elements, including occasional internal monologues by both title players that are as empty, banal and unfunny as when they're actually talking.
  82. Dushku does wonderful things to a tank top, but her grasp of this vague, personality-changing character is a bit of a muddle. What's left, then, is a series with a hollow center that doesn't initially make you care about its mentally malleable protagonist.
  83. Her latest showcase suffers from an increasingly common reality-TV deficiency: It's too staged to be convincing, and too unscripted to be reliably funny.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    This series could still do some reasonable ratings by summer standards, though those viewers that do sit will have very little reason to stay; still, the shame is that the producers took what could have been an amusing lark and initially sucked most of the life out of it by following the same-old unscripted-competition script so closely.
  84. Unfortunately, there's not a test tube's worth of difference between this and CBS' other new drama, "The Mentalist" (that one features an advisor to the California Bureau of Investigation)--or the Eye net's procedural dramas in general.
  85. Admittedly, the poetic joys of hairstyling elude me, but even if Coffey's all that, the new agey platitudes ("She feels this business") grow tedious rather quickly, and the solutions are predictably simplistic.
  86. Actually, it's really just more of a bore (bore ... bore).
  87. A&E bet heavily on "The Sopranos" reruns to brand the channel, but its grit and blue language notwithstanding, The Cleaner doesn't represent the kind of hour destined to build on that foundation.
  88. The glowering White--with his brooding eyes, tennis shoes and Three Stooges' Larry Fine haircut--is more pretentious and irritating than most.
  89. "I don't want it to end, but it did," the host gushes at the hour's close. Even for those who enjoy Mandel's puerile brand of comedy, that qualifies as a clear case of Howie overdoing it.
  90. TV Land has made a concerted push to achieve a younger profile with original reality shows, but The Cougar manages to feel neither original nor real.
  91. All told, it's the most familiar of reality concepts with all the usual tricks--barely deviating from established programs, patterned after a movie ("Monster-in-Law," anyone?) and relying upon a pithy name to spare the marketing guys from working too hard selling it.
  92. A show so fastidiously old-fashioned as to feel assembled from pieces of '70s family sitcoms.
  93. Little Britain's laughs are as puny as its ambitions.
  94. Despite some nebulous personal baggage involving a mysterious woman from his past, the character's simply not interesting enough to carry the show virtually alone.
  95. The main problem with NYC Prep is that the show never gets better than its title--lacking the sociological insight to score as a documentary or the hyper-real situations and "characters" that would make it sizzle as a soap.
  96. The Halmi factory has a certain genius for packaging these kind of projects, built around terse titles and big concepts. If only they put as much effort into producing them, The Storm might amount to more than another soggy tempest in a teapot.
  97. Even nightvision lenses and up-the-nose video, however, can't create a real sense of jeopardy until the final challenge, when two finalists are "buried alive." At least that's semi-interesting, though until then 13 is pretty much a snooze--more scatter-brained than scary.
  98. To be fair, the program does improve marginally after the premiere, but by then the bar's set so low a three-legged horse could clear it.

Top Trailers