Variety's Scores

For 1,466 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 36% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 61% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 8.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 The Larry Sanders Show: Season 6
Lowest review score: 10 The Hills: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 568
  2. Negative: 0 out of 568
568 tv reviews
  1. Limited animation, uninspired character design and ho-hum writing conspire to keep this all on a rudimentary level.
    • 39 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.
  2. "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.
  3. 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.
  4. [A] grim, brooding, utterly muddled crime series.
  5. The more you see of it, the less there is to like.
  6. Although not the mess that "Dirt" is, the series is conceptually problematic, and seemingly ill-equipped to go the episodic distance.
  7. [It] feels like a Hallmark movie stretched into series form.
  8. Hit-miss in the way improv almost invariably is, the show feels flabby at an hour.
  9. There's no sign of passion here; it's all awkward.
  10. 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.
  11. A stereotypical sudser that wants to be "From Here to Eternity" but feels like "All My Children: Military Edition."
  12. This is decidedly slim and rarely funny fare.
  13. 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.
  14. Actually, this comedy-reality concept is rather quaint.
  15. The show is as directionless as its stars.
  16. [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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Balancing comedy and drama within this sort of framework requires a delicate touch, and precious little about In Plain Sight achieves that equilibrium.
    • 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Little Britain's laughs are as puny as its ambitions.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. "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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. The result is tonally uneven, too-rarely funny and rehashes material that isn't as relatable as it should be to the average parent.
  34. A show so fastidiously old-fashioned as to feel assembled from pieces of '70s family sitcoms.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. Actually, it's really just more of a bore (bore ... bore).
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. [It] isn't terrible but doesn't pack much of a comedic wallop.
  41. 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.
  42. Just think of There Goes the Neighborhood as another brick in the (reality-competition) wall--one that's frankly becoming a bit of an eyesore.
  43. While Hank doesn't promise to add much cachet to those Hall of Fame credentials, this is a show transparently designed for paychecks, not posterity.
  44. While it's nice that Spike is seeking to widen its narrow unscripted profile, by hewing so closely to its formula, the net has simply made this too-blue Mountain into a comedic molehill.
  45. 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.
  46. While Wootton's irreverent antics are sporadically funny enough to win him a cult following, the memorable moments ultimately prove too few and far between.
  47. The program does a poor job of capturing exactly what distinguishes Cutrone's form of publicity, other than kissing the asses of designers and hobnobbing with Ashley Dupre.
  48. These latest entries--"The Hills" times two, on the ground and at 30,000 feet--manage to make glamorous settings appear wan through the sheer banality of those occupying them.
  49. The ingredients in this old-fashioned remedy have a modest shot at working, but if the network wants to find a critic who'll deem such a mundane operation golden, it'll have to seek a second opinion.
  50. There's potential in a show devoted to Average Joes achieving their dreams, but even with "Top Chef" currently in the midst of one of its weaker seasons, there's no reason to sample what Masterchef is serving.
  51. These situations are undeniably emotional, and the Stegners' situation is certainly relatable. Yet that very authenticity is what makes Breakthrough aggravating--presenting, as it does, serious hardships before addressing them with the depth of a Hallmark card.
  52. It's a particularly galling group--one that, alas, will probably reward Bravo's misdemeanors in aiding and abetting this sorry exercise.
    • Variety
  53. Melissa & Joey, by contrast, represents a decided lurch back toward the bland old days, grasping at "TGIF's" ostensible niche while offering precious little for which to be thankful.
  54. All of Jimmy Smits' considerable charisma can't come close to making a convincing case for Outlaw, a jaw-droppingly simple-minded legal procedural that's improbable on most every level.
  55. The documentary device is often stifling to and distracting from the drama, and using labels as shorthand to introduce the characters makes them feel even more one-dimensional--a device that's acceptable in reality TV, perhaps, but potentially fatal to scripted fare.
  56. Told in flashback that implies things have gone terribly, terribly wrong, the ensuing gags are either lame or (for a U.S. audience, anyway) or culturally confusing--frequently falling back on blue language in lieu of being genuinely clever. A more fundamental problem lies with Cross, whose mixture of wide-eyed innocent/ugly American/myopic moron has no nuance to engender even a trace of sympathy for his plight.
  57. Soboroff seems positively amazed in the premiere when he lands an interview with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, asking who and what was responsible for the school's dilapidated condition. The not-exactly-press-shy governor rattled off a laundry list of factors: "Labor, special interests, a lack of parent participation, a lack of funding. Clearly, I would say government." Hey, his term's almost up. Let's give him a show. Maybe that will at least have more substance to it.
  58. If "Hot in Cleveland" demonstrated there's life in comfort-food comedy beyond the major networks, Retired reminds us that while it's possible to triumph in TV with reheated concepts, poor execution remains the surest way to get unceremoniously put out to pasture.
  59. Portlandia, a vanity project from "Saturday Night Live's" Fred Armisen that plays like an awful night at the Groundlings, or worse, a collection of the most uninspired sketches from "SNL's" final half-hour.
  60. All Class ought to do is make CMT viewers pine for more "Hee Haw" reruns.
  61. All told, the whole thing plays like a bad telenovela filtered through a "History for Dummies" text.
  62. A cartoon version of pregnancy and modern-day Marie Antoinettes, the program's exaggerated view of expectant moms bloated by their sense of entitlement should still resonate, sitcom-style, with a female audience, while making a pretty strong case for higher tax rates, if not outright class warfare.
  63. To underscore her hypocrisy in this heavily staged exercise--which features voiceover narration that makes any "unscripted" label a misnomer--Hilton simultaneously complains about a lack of privacy and allows a camera crew to watch her bathe.
  64. It's not a particularly inspired serial, replete with tired situations, stiff dialogue and male characters possessing less dimension than those populating "Sex and the City," if that's possible.
  65. Maybe central casting is wearing thin, but aside from being beautiful (naturally), there's not a personality in the bunch more interesting than the crocodiles, ants or bats on display.
  66. The series lacks the sort of connective tissue that provides at least a modicum of narrative coherence to the "Real Housewives" franchise, or any number of programs that have beaten Dolls to the punch.
  67. As constructed by writer John Enbom ("Party Down") and director Todd Holland, Free Agents leaves its leads adrift with scarcely a genuine moment to be found, and other than Head, not a single supporting character worth mentioning.
  68. Clearly, responsible parents will put the kids to bed early, unless they want to brave exposing their offspring to an uninspired if harmless piece of (bleep).
  69. It's such a tepid effort it's almost a shame to waste harsh adjectives on it.
  70. This CW show is so silly and lightweight it might possess unexpected appeal for its sheer camp factor, as well as the opportunity to see the South depicted as a place as exotic as the dark side of the moon.
  71. With most of the near-laughs coming from the supporting players, Hornsby (also a producer on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") and Dillon are reduced to set-ups and groaning rim shots.
  72. Mostly, it's an excuse to watch Allen occupy an Archie Bunker-like role 20 years after he began raking in cash for ABC. Good luck catching lightning in a bottle twice.
  73. That foundation [of reality-based underpinnings], however, pretty much crumbles amid the broad tone, constant squabbling and improbabilities.
  74. Another King production that begins with glimmers of promise and winds up being bad to the Bones.
  75. As premises (and ratings metaphors) go, the disappearing floor isn't the only part of this cheesy exercise with several holes in it.
  76. This series aims so low, to paraphrase another artifact from the "Bosom Buddies" era, it could practically play handball against the curb.
  77. It's an awfully thin construct, and either too FX in its tawdriness or, alternately, not HBO enough in its execution.
  78. The incomplete nature of the story (based on a book by Joseph Hosey) doubtless handicapped the filmmakers, but even so, the movie withers due to its inability to get under Peterson's skin.
  79. Pauly's home-state hangers-on simply aren't a very interesting bunch.
  80. As usual, Rhimes' workplace characters talk very fast, but the manic visual style can't obscure a series flawed on most every level.
  81. [The show] awkwardly winds up immersed in the "drama" of mid-teenage girls being showcased and married off, which can't help but feel creepy.
  82. Multiple battles ensue, most of them pretty tepid, as this Treasure Island kills more time than pirates.
  83. The cast is cheerful enough--and a lot younger than Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg--but there's really not much to be done with a concept this stale, or characters this thinly defined.
  84. It's a skeletal construct, all right, but there's nothing lovely about it.
  85. Disturbingly condescending and almost irresistibly cheeky.
  86. It's somewhat offbeat, yes, but all played at such a cartoonish level as to feel like a distant throwback, a la "My Favorite Martian" or "I Dream of Jeannie," since there's no one akin to Mork or ALF to enliven the festivities.
  87. While the paper-thin revival might benefit from the presold title, its approach sidesteps any such dilemma--and as constructed, should be hard-pressed to get under viewers' skin.
  88. Every beat of the new show is so stale and familiar the audience can practically sing along to the punchlines--which, perhaps, is the point.
  89. In terms of the bar on reality-TV standards, though, Amish Mafia, in particular, effortlessly limbos beneath it.
  90. A taxidermy version of "Top Chef," so overblown it could only work as parody.
  91. It blends fleeting moments of inspiration with lengthy stretches of utter banality.
  92. The celebrity-produced effort plays like an excuse to assemble marquee talent in short films, but not in a way that yields much coherence or resonance.
  93. There’s scant evidence the swimming star can keep this sort of vehicle afloat on his personality, and the show’s a little too G-rated in the early going (unless one counts tight Speedos) to qualify as a guilty pleasure.
  94. The main issue, which isn't necessarily detrimental from a promotional standpoint, is the inherent distastefulness of turning someone's dismissal--especially in this economy--into entertainment.
  95. Johnson clearly has fun playing up his motivational role as host, and there is one harrowing-looking stunt in the early going that involves hanging from the side of a building. That said, the participants (who include a pro wrestler and a cheerleader) are a straight-from-central-casting bunch, and before we’ve even gotten to know them, they engage in an inordinate amount of bickering.
  96. It’s all beautiful to look at for the sullenly landlocked, if rather tedious in the familiar trappings employed to build suspense and create a sense of jeopardy.
  97. Primeval, by contrast, makes the original series look like “King Kong” by comparison--not because the visual effects are bad, but because the plotting is so wooden that the human characters are about as interesting as impalas grazing in an open plain.
  98. Frankly, if you’re going to waste time on something this silly, why not put it to more community-minded use and support your local dinner theater?

Top Trailers