Variety's Scores

For 1,410 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 Office (UK): Season 2
Lowest review score: 10 Modern Men: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 548
  2. Negative: 0 out of 548
548 tv reviews
  1. Thanks to Kinnear, most of this works, although there are touches that feel a tad too precious.
  2. Naturally, Idol is still heavy on crying mothers, the thrill of victory and agony of defeat, Ryan Seacrest saying things like “This ... is your show,” and an on-air script resembling a heart-disease public-service announcement that reads, “Life Can Change in a Heartbeat.” All told, though, the show feels brighter and breezier, and initially avoids some of the heavier-handed pomposity “X Factor” exhibits during these rounds.
  3. Dense and smart, Cards is still partially skating by on reputation--and for Netflix’s purposes, that’s good enough.
  4. The series is anything but ordinary, a cosmic blend of high school angst and otherworldly intrigue.
  5. Series creator Joe Weisberg--who wrote the Thomas Schlamme-directed season premiere along with Joel Fields--and company have done about as well as is possible in keeping the plates spinning while adding new ones to the act. Even so, it’s hard to escape a sense that if this series runs much beyond a second season, it’s less about serving up art than it is about bowing to the needs of old-fashioned capitalism.
  6. The show succeeds, to the extent it does, thanks to the braininess of its characters, Mikkelson’s positively reptilian approach to Lecter--taking a character with which the audience is so familiar and making it his own--and the clever use of a bracing season-opening sequence that frames essentially everything to come as an extended flashback.
  7. Mosley and Daniels bring an easygoing banter to the central roles, and the series has considerable fun with the bluer aspects of the job. That said, the show’s preoccupation with below-the-belt comedy risks growing a trifle tedious even after the three previewed episodes.
  8. If Resurrection fulfills even half its potential, it could easily become the most compelling drama on an ABC lineup that has become almost comically soapy.
  9. For now, it’s an intriguing enough premise to warrant continued attention.
  10. Even with some shaky performances, there’s enough happening--including a few genuine surprises in the first half-dozen episodes--to sustain interest.
  11. Mortimer and Wells are both fine, juggling dramatic moments with more farcical ones, but this is still a fairly slight project even by HBO’s less-exacting standards.
  12. In short, myriad things are going on all at once, some of them barely making sense, but all played with gusto by the talented (mostly British) cast.
  13. Much of the tone is supplied by an acting ensemble that keeps it light and unforced, combined with some sharp editing. There's a bit too much voiceover, all from Duhamel's McCoy, but it is effective in establishing his mindset. Las Vegas, like the city itself, has guilty pleasure written all over it.
  14. Veep remains pretty well defined by its protagonist’s inherent plight: noteworthy, yes, but still a significant step away from true greatness.
  15. The start to the bifurcated final season feels more indifferently paced than most--and thanks to the gradual push further into the 1960s, perhaps too groovy and scattered for its own good.
  16. Messy, unruly but occasionally quite funny, "Barbershop" doubtless could use a trim here and there, and perhaps a little extra styling. Yet in its unassuming way, the series breezily picks up where the movie and its sequel left off. [12 Aug 2005, p.2]
  17. Solidly entertaining, well cast and oozing with atmosphere, it’s a shrewd genre stab for the network, albeit by hewing closer to the sort of pulpy terrain to which Starz has, er, staked a claim.
  18. By alternating significant time between Cathy, Christopher, Carrie and Corinne, the ADD storytelling in Petals ensures there’s never a dull moment--or a sensible one either--and the events retained from Andrews’ novel are just bonkers enough to make the approach pay off.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Yes, it's sentimental and often strains credibility. But Dangerous Minds is also keenly humane, a belligerent bulwark against cynicism. Moreover, Potts heads a terrific ensemble that makes you care about these kids and this teacher. [30 Sept 1996]
  19. The previewed hours establish the series as crisp and watchable, while perhaps shrewdly shifting and expanding the earlier show’s lens from defense attorneys to the detectives assigned the case.
  20. This handsome production takes too long to get going, but eventually generates considerable suspense, even if its parallel plots brush up against each other in only the most glancing fashion.
  21. Through three episodes the series manages to mine the arbitrary nature of her predicament without being cloying--no small feat, given the venue and subject matter.
  22. Cleaned up, with violence relegated mostly to comic-book action, the pilot proves a semi-hoot.
  23. Plenty spicy series “Soul Food” dishes up even more sex and drama than the 1997 hit movie it is based on, while retaining the look and feel that made the saga of the Joseph family so appealing on the bigscreen.
  24. Suffice to say the legal jockeying and cat-and-mouse games are mildly juicy and suspenseful (thanks in part to Kebbell’s unsettling performance as TV’s latest deranged lunatic with a pleasant face), provided one doesn’t work too hard at seeking to decipher them.
  25. Result is more a series of entertaining parts than a substantial whole. But it’s smoothly assembled, with a solid tech package and lively pace.
  26. While Poehler’s wide-eyed exasperation probably renders him the weakest link, there’s enough high-class support around him that he’s more than adequate to meet the role’s modest demands.... It’s the one genuinely recommendable show to reach our shores amid an NBC wave of summer flotsam.
  27. At times the portentous dialogue can sound hokey, but for the most part, the slick pilot and three subsequent episodes set the tone for a series with enough of a hook to get under one’s skin.
  28. While the series possesses enough pleasures, guilty or otherwise, to warrant a secure place in the DVR queue, it still feels like a program that is finding its way--seeking a balance between the seedy underbelly of L.A. glamor and the most dysfunctional of family dramas, connected by a fixer who’s mostly a downer.
  29. Yet even with the premiere sprinkling enough tantalizing bread crumbs to warrant a return visit, there's insufficient evidence as to how the more muddled aspects will unfold over future installments.
  30. A child's quizzical utterance near the end of "Invasion" provides enough of a chill to warrant a return visit to what's otherwise a mildly intriguing pilot.
  31. It has a few points going for it: Mandy Patinkin's onscreen magnetism; some truly eerie episodes; and a smartness that it wears on its sleeve. On the downside, it draws on too many other recent hits -- "CSI," "Crossing Jordan," "Medium," "House," "Law & Order: SVU""Law & Order: SVU" -- for visual style, character tics, mind games and an ability to find the truth in confounding evidence.
  32. An affable new sitcom.
  33. All told, the movie's a respectable and mostly watchable recounting of this notorious chapter in Stewart's storied career, despite being so stiff and formal that it never really comes alive.
  34. "Close to Home" lives up and down to its title -- staying very close to what's worked for CBS before.
  35. [It] won't earn many points for subtlety, but for aficionados of the horror genre it's the kind of stylish gorefest that should keep them up nights.
  36. A solid cast and marquee auspices make this effects-heavy exercise watchable enough even when "The Triangle" grows obtuse.
  37. Breezy and fun, there are several reasons to sample "Emily," but also plenty of room for skepticism over whether this witty half-hour has the depth to survive a highly competitive timeslot.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Granted, the lack of punchless punchlines was a welcome change of pace, but the canned self-introductions that replaced them were jarring in terms of pacing -- not to mention the awkwardness of the blatant self-referencing involved.
  38. There's a breezy charm to the show.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    "Conviction" does exhibit a bit more creative promise than "Trial by Jury."
  39. A half-hour firmly ensconced in the "witty" zone that seldom crosses all the way over into funny.
  40. While "What About Brian" strikes some of the familiar chords about love, angst and the terror of young adulthood that have viewers swooning over "Grey's Anatomy," the show does so in a more laid-back tone, which should make its leap from a post-"Desperate Housewives" launch to its regular Monday moorings a commercial challenge.
  41. While this "Trail" ain't exactly broken, some judicious editing could have fixed it.
  42. The idea itself... is pretty damn good, even if the execution doesn't quite live up to it.
  43. Lacking "Prison Break's" tough milieu and its initial narrative drive, "Vanished" doesn't exactly scream "Watch me." Nevertheless, it's polished enough and very much a work in progress.
  44. Interesting but not fully compelling, it's a long shot to make a big score.
  45. Despite sharp casting, the real trick will be to develop Cold War-style fear while dribbling enough clues to elevate this above being just a post-apocalyptic "The Young and the Restless."
  46. Ferrara... is consistently endearing, bringing heart and soul to a character that could easily be a cartoon. Too bad that doesn't extend to the rest of the series, which oscillates from screwball comedy... to florid soap elements.
  47. "Friday Night Lights" ultimately feels like one of those family programs middle America and conservatives pine for that too few of them actually bother to watch -- a portrait of decent, God-fearing folks wringing joy from America's game as an escape from their hardscrabble lives.
  48. Breezy, smart and occasionally funny.
  49. If the series doesn't generate any grand creative magic, it at least possesses a certain old-fashioned charm.
  50. Two of the first three episodes [reveal] an assured, risque, semi-cynical air that should dovetail nicely with "Two and a Half Men."
  51. This is a series for people with a reasonably high TV IQ, but not a particularly challenging formula.
  52. The overall approach, though, inevitably yields a series of individual images as opposed to a cohesive perspective, relying upon various directors to capture the sometimes harrowing, sometimes heartbreaking scope of the problem.
  53. "The Tudors" is not the great series that it might have been, but it's certainly a watchable and diverting one.
  54. At first blush, anyway, Californication isn't necessarily a bad place to be, but unless the series finds viable avenues to pursue beyond wallowing in Hank's self-pity, it'll be Showtime subscribers before long who wind up feeling screwed.
  55. In short, if you come for the sex, you'll only stay for the characters, and those represent an intriguing but decidedly mixed bag.
  56. Grammer and Heaton spar like old hands, but the punches (and punchlines) are so consistently telegraphed, the series seldom rises above the mundane.
  57. Gossip Girl hardly breaks any new ground.
  58. Despite promising elements, then, Journeyman has set itself up with the daunting task of mastering a very tricky high-wire act
  59. That said, there are some qualms surrounding how long the producers can mine the Leonard-Penny aspect of the show, a shallow vein if there ever was one. More promising is the interaction among the key duo and their Mensa-worthy friends.
  60. Yet despite an unusually high-octane (and yes, reasonably sexy) cast ably led by "Six Feet Under's" Peter Krause, the pilot doesn’t quite gel--feeling too determined to be quirky and provocative, and baited with a mystery that lacks the allure of the suicide that set "Housewives" in motion.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    By the end of night one, however, the show grows intriguing, and the second and third episodes are more engrossing. Then episode four begins to drag, and the fifth hour feels like filler until the inevitable reveal, which, alas, isn't equal to the build-up.
  61. Strictly viewed on its merits, though, Cashmere Mafia suffers from a too-familiar feel.
  62. It focuses on twentysomethings and employs the tired device of a character speaking to the camera, producing a video blog about herself and her equally self-obsessed friends.
  63. Mixing equal parts court intrigue with Calvin Klein ad, the series falls short of greatness.
  64. Like "High School Musical," it's a painfully simple but efficient fairy tale for a generation that never heard of Frankie and Annette, blending music with teen angst about fitting in--all built around a likable protagonist, multiethnic cast and hot pop trio.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The humor is sexist, racy and often falls flat, but when it does work, it connects in a way a male-centric audience--and that's Spike's bread and butter--will appreciate.
  65. Working with directors Allen Coulter and Michael Dinner, Sutter does bring a visceral quality to the violence, while detailing the club's code and commitment to functioning as an extended family; there's just so little dimension to the characters early on that it's difficult to care.
  66. The supporting players aren’t nearly as interesting initially as the intense bond between Sookie and Bill, though they do keep the first few installments busy, including some nicely gratuitous sex, adventures in the Viagra-like effects of vampire blood and a tepid murder mystery.
  67. Nothing here really pops, even with Torv holding her own as the tough femme protagonist, the welcome presence of "The Wire's" Lance Reddick as her hostile boss and Noble exhibiting alternating strains of brilliance and psychosis.
  68. At some point, though, a program this reliant on workplace sexcapades begins to run out of combinations, and the writers haven't done much more to address the problem than pad on new layers of interns (starting with Meredith's younger sister, played by Chyler Leigh) to further confound things.
  69. The competent but uninspiring two-hour pilot doesn't deliver the kind of thrills destined to rock anyone else's world.
  70. The pilot gingerly lays out most of the elements My Own Worst Enemy will need to survive--leaving it to the show to either make its strange case or live down to its name.
  71. Chocolate News is a moderately tasty, low-nutrition snack--the kind that, with apologies to perhaps the next ethnic frontier, will leave you hungry a half-hour later.
  72. Brotherhood certainly has its moments and does an especially artful job conveying violence in a brutal but not gratuitous way--one that's often more harrowing precisely because of its restraint. Ultimately, though, once you get past the brothers, the whole thing's a bit too grim.
  73. Aside from an easygoing quality and mild comic flair, there's not much here to steal the hearts of viewers; instead, it's another modest, lightweight addition to TNT's diner-style menu of comfort food for a weary nation.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Like "Saturday Night Live," "Important Things" is often hit and miss, but the simplest way for Martin to smooth over the bumps would be to become more comfortable in the stand-up segment.
  74. Viewers will have to survive a rocky, at-times jarring first hour before the series begins coalescing into something interesting--flawed but unpredictable, with a characteristically intense Ian McShane at its core.
  75. It's perhaps inevitable that this project will range from sobering and moving to, at times, feeling a bit too much like homework.
  76. The whole Chuck-Sarah relationship has been played from so many angles as to have grown a bit tedious--how many longing looks can two characters exchange?--and the actual capers are generally pretty slim. Despite a semi-serialized riff involving a shadowy organization, the stakes never feel particularly steep.
  77. The show has already received considerable acclaim in the U.K. (including the 2008 British Comedy Award), a level of praise that seems a bit generous; still, in the long continuum of teen comedies, "Inbetweeners" does qualitatively register toward the high end of the scale.
  78. What the production most sorely lacks, though, is a strong sense of cohesion, which often makes the hours play more like loosely assembled snapshots of the war without a compelling hook to pull the audience along. Nor do any of the key performers really distinguish themselves, dwarfed as they are by the general sense of pageantry--the sound and fury--that usually surrounds them.
  79. Tara" also acquires some new supporting players, but the show feels more disconnected in scattering to pursue these various plots. In addition, the evolving interaction between Tara and her alters as she becomes "co-conscious" with them feels like little more than split-screen gimmickry.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There's something intriguing about a summer show that is at once too complicated in storytelling and too simplistic in aesthetics to comfortably mesh with CBS' flashy procedural-stacked lineup.
  80. [It] lacks the flavor of the original and would have worked better under a different title.
  81. ABC's eagerly awaited spinoff of "Grey's Anatomy" initially qualifies as a disappointment -- hitting completely familiar medical-drama beats while pursuing a whimsical tone it never fully achieves.
  82. Rhimes (who co-wrote the premiere with Marti Noxon) weaves the dense web of life-or-death medicine and romantic whimsy well enough, and the program is so slickly written and performed it's easy to overlook the familiar patterns that are emerging; still, it would behoove both the characters and show to take a deep breath and find the key players some kind of extracurricular hobby--even if that just means lusting after strangers, perhaps, instead of co-workers.
  83. Simply being quirky, however, only goes so far, so my preliminary diagnosis is that these Pains don't amount to much more than a second-degree "Burn."
  84. While the title character is consistently rough and the language blue, in subsequent episodes (Showtime sent six out for review) the series increasingly feels like all style and limited substance--a star showcase that's less "triumphant return" than "Nice to have you back, but ..."
  85. These women aren’t looking for steady gigs on MTV, and they cry at the drop of a hat. That somehow makes them more real, however contrived the situation might be. The weak link, actually, is Conley, who sounds far too determined to make a positive impression and say all the right things.
  86. All told, there's still plenty here to hold an audience through the first two hours. Fulfilling that six-year charter, however, will depend on exhibiting a clearer directional sense, because in both TV and space, gravity can be a real bitch.
  87. At this point, about all one can definitively say is whether the cast has potential (they do) and the situations are involving (they aren’t, unless you’re predisposed to such nonsense). On the plus side, the producers pay sly homage to the program’s roots without appearing beholden to it, indicating that the show will have the latitude to evolve into its own entity.
  88. This is a template as well-worn as "Marcus Welby, M.D.," albeit with greater visual style and an accelerated pace--as well as an underlying "pay it forward" message about organ donation.
  89. Fitfully funny, there's undeniable energy but also obvious limitations to this approach, which perhaps explains each half-hour's segmentation into back-to-back 11-minute episodes.
  90. Collision wins points for ambition, perhaps, but as the quaint little stopovers on PBS' highway of British drama go, it's one of those rare rest stops that's just as easily skipped.
  91. The resulting half-hour offered a breezy, inexpensive approach to comedy that brought to mind the panel shows of yesteryear.
  92. Yet while Jackie remains a fascinating conundrum--a woman who takes noble stands and cuts corners on behalf of her patients, while hanging by a tenuous thread in her personal life--the brooding tone can become stifling.
  93. The episodes are certainly watchable, but as constructed by writer-producers Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg, the train also takes its time getting out of the station.

Top Trailers