Variety's Scores

For 1,467 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 Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 3
Lowest review score: 10 The Bachelor: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 568
  2. Negative: 0 out of 568
568 tv reviews
  1. While the cast is fine, some of the banter they exchange (courtesy of Whedon, who also directed the pilot, brother Jed and Maurissa Tancharoen) occasionally feels a little precious and clunky.
  2. The no-frills approach--people sitting around a table BS-ing--relies heavily on the wit of those participating, but in terms of celebrating TV’s best and brightest, it’s still an interesting exercise of navel-gazing about the creative process.
  3. Like “Hannibal” (another NBC drama built around an antihero with a peculiar diet), this series pushes boundaries in terms of gore, torture and sex, flourishes that feel both organic and perhaps a bit less jarring given the fantastic setting and situations.
  4. The series remains an immersive experience, and the cast has been gradually upgraded with the addition of players like Jimmy Smits.
  5. 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.
  6. Thanks to Kinnear, most of this works, although there are touches that feel a tad too precious.
  7. While some of those made-for-TV encounters feel a little stilted, they do tend to pull you along, wanting to see how the drama plays out.
  8. In a way, Gervais himself is the weakest link in what’s otherwise a thoughtful, sometimes-moving seven-episode run.
  9. While Masters of Sex might not be a great show as yet, viewed strictly in terms of giving consumers something worth paying for--or at least an experience they couldn’t receive in quite the same way in many other places--it’s the equivalent of a master class in pay-TV development.
  10. West doesn’t much resemble Burton, but he embodies him, capturing a proud man who is both battle-scarred and spent, like a bullfighter who’s been gored a few times too many.... Directed by Richard Laxton and written by William Ivory, Burton and Taylor can’t help but feel somewhat slight, due to its structure and focus.
  11. Even with some shaky performances, there’s enough happening--including a few genuine surprises in the first half-dozen episodes--to sustain interest.
  12. CrazySexyCool doesn’t bring anything fresh to the narrative.... Still, the story and central players are intriguing enough that the combination of music and melodrama pretty well speaks for itself, without requiring much embellishment.
  13. 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.
  14. Strictly in TV terms, Lee has done an admirable job of bringing the 86-minute performance to the screen, for the most part avoiding tight close-ups because Tyson’s body and movements are such a part of the show, working up a noticeable sweat as he prowls the stage.
  15. While Rick and Morty isn’t necessarily the stuff dreams are made of, in its buoyant flights of fancy, it does betray a welcome attempt to dream just a little bigger.
  16. While watching the show isn’t particularly enjoyable, once drawn into Stevens’ story, it’s also difficult to turn away.
  17. It’s always challenging to capture the essence of such artistry on film, and Lapine comes pretty close.
  18. A scripted eight-part miniseries from a subdivision of ABC News, “The Assets” is an unexpectedly good placeholder for regular time-period-occupant “Scandal,” if perhaps a little too slow-going to connect with that show’s “OMG TV” crowd.
  19. The casting should be a modest draw, though again, the nature of the exercise feels better suited to Web shorts than even half-hour episodes. That said, the show is fitfully funny, and while perhaps unworthy of Jonrosh’s full daylong opus, as ways of idly killing time go, hey, it beats dying.
  20. Adapted from its Web format, Broad City is hardly a fully formed exercise just yet, but with a clear comic voice (Jacobson and Glazer are also the writers) it merits the time to find itself.
  21. What makes it all work, moderately, is Union, who manages to portray Mary Jane as relatable, sexy and vulnerable, without being a saint or goody-two-shoes.
  22. Dense and smart, Cards is still partially skating by on reputation--and for Netflix’s purposes, that’s good enough.
  23. 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.
  24. If the lavish production doesn’t quite strike gold, it comes close enough to encourage further exploration.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. For now, it’s an intriguing enough premise to warrant continued attention.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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]
    • Variety
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. Cleaned up, with violence relegated mostly to comic-book action, the pilot proves a semi-hoot.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. This companion series warrants further monitoring. And while it’s premature to say I can’t get enough Satisfaction, at this point, I definitely want more.
  43. This live-action series from “The Boondocks'” Aaron McGruder and director Mike Clattenburg is also disarmingly and pretty consistently funny, buoyed by Gerald “Slink” Johnson’s portrayal of You Know Who.
  44. Spurlock and his collaborators (he created the show with Jeremy Chilnick) have a good eye for the absurd, and for presenting what amount to carnival-sideshow acts without engaging in excessive smirking.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer plays like an uneasy cross between "The X-Files" and "Clueless," with a slightly harder edge than the original, if less outright gore.
  45. Works a little too hard to be everything to everyone. However, beyond the carefully calculated diversity of the pilot lies a pleasant and heartwarming series that may bridge the generation gap at the WB. It's still a chick show, but at least Gilmore Girls could attract women well past the N' Sync phase. [4 Oct 2000, p.7]
    • Variety
  46. Concept is OK, but the humor's less sophisticated than expected from the exec producers of HBO's comedy series "Dream On," and the dialogue is not exactly snappy. Ross: "I honestly don't know if I'm hungry or horny!" Chandler: "Stay out of my freezer."
  47. The show does spring out of the box boasting snappy dialogue ... What the show doesn't have is an original premise... or a compelling dynamic between [Debra] Messing and co-star Eric McCormack. [16 Sep 1998]
    • Variety
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There's a laid-back nature to the performance that sometimes slows down the proceedings. [4 Jan 1993]
    • Variety
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    "NewsRadio" features a group of caustic neurotics that many viewers will find entertaining. But nothing especially creative is introduced.
    • Variety
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    While some of the humor scores, too much is of the red-herring variety one-liners that don't really have anything to do with anything. And anyone even mildly versed in Gotham politics will find Spin City low on the believability scale, which is probably a good thing, as you'd need a Robert Altman to find much humor in the real thing. [16 Sept 1996]
    • Variety
  48. While this sci-fi spoof saunters onto the Fox midseason sked feeling a tad uninspired at first blush, the promise is clearly there. [29 Mar 1999]
    • Variety
  49. A standard cowboys ‘n’ Indians, good vs. evil horse opera where good looks and good shots come together for the good of mankind.
  50. Both undeniably clever and utterly bizarre --- not always for the better. [28 Jan 1999]
    • Variety
  51. "Family Guy" begins its new life with a slightly more assured mix of satire and non sequiturs while still displaying the kind of hit-miss joke ratio that doesn't quite belong in the major leagues. [28 Apr 2005]
    • Variety
  52. Surprisingly witty...Hardly great comedy, program still has spirit and Asher and Manasseri, who are good, developing comedians. [4 Mar 1994]
    • Variety
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The kids are allowed to be smart, one consequence of which is that the show features the most literate p.c. kids, black and white, on TV; their references are as likely to be to John Keats as to Jim Carrey (often in the same sentence).
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Ultimately, though, the familiarity of the story might work against the show. As with last season's decent entry "The Fugitive," people may feel they've already seen this before and know where it goes. [16 Oct 2001]
    • Variety
  53. '24' isn't getting off to the spectacular start that it did in its debut season when the focus was singular and clear-cut. [29 Oct 2002]
    • Variety
  54. There’s a good possibility the first two “Watching Ellie’s” won’t generate more than four out-loud chuckles, but that’s no reason for audiences or networks to give up on this series’ prospects.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Unoriginal but brisk and occasionally poignant, its biggest selling point is Ritter himself, who can still turn minor problems into charm points via stammers and double takes.
  55. An absolute visual stunner with compelling freak-show characters --- but the series unfortunately takes a leisurely approach toward getting to a point. [12 Sep 2003]
    • Variety
  56. The series is again intriguing but less than satisfying --- a concept more notable for the unusual time and space the show occupies than what it achieves dramatically. [7 Jan 2005]
    • Variety
  57. Another sumptuous-looking hour based on a famous hero, infused with scads of potential but also some problematic underpinnings. [1 Oct 2003, p.7]
    • Variety
  58. As trite as it sounds, the series plays it all earnestly enough for its target audience, and the show is beautifully shot in North Carolina, the basketball mecca where the fictional town is set. Even the sports scenes are well staged (in the pilot, anyway) and less schlocky than "The White Shadow" norm, with Lafferty, at least, looking like he's actually got game. [23 Sept 2003, p.13]
    • Variety
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Main problem: Skein's star, Kathryn Morris, is a puzzle. She's unique and capable, but her energy is low and there's zero warmth.
  59. Slow-going in developing its web of interconnected plots, this latest demonstration of cable's series-for-every-interest-group strategy is watchable enough, but probably not likely to be the sort of buzzworthy addiction-in-waiting Showtime would like and certainly could use. [13 Jan 2004, p.06]
    • Variety
  60. At its best in the boardroom and still flabby in the buildup to it. [9 Sep 2004]
    • Variety
  61. The competent but uninspiring two-hour pilot doesn't deliver the kind of thrills destined to rock anyone else's world.
  62. The well-traveled Carell is a very talented guy, from "The Daily Show" to "Anchorman," but understatement and restraint are hardly his forte. As a consequence, he plays Michael bigger, and therefore harder to endure, than Gervais did --- a fine line that's significant in such a delicately balanced comedy. [24 Mar 2005]
    • Variety
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    What's missing is some reality; comparatively, "NYPD Blue," "Homicide" and so many other cop skeins offered more authenticity, while this comes off as something made to please a focus group. [22 Sep 2004]
    • Variety
  63. 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.
  64. "Boston Legal" suffers from the pervasive feeling of been here, seen this. The show's closer to "Ally McBeal" than "The Practice," which provided the Petri dish to nurture and grow it. Kelley's fertile mind still disgorges occasional gems, but for the most part here, he's delivered more rhinestones than diamonds. [1 Oct 2004]
    • Variety
  65. seven episodes in, I'm still not entirely sure what it's "about," in a big-picture sense. That Huff manages to stay interesting says something about its topnotch cast and occasional surprises, though at times the writing risks becoming too precious for its own good. All told, it's something less than the water-cooler show the network is seeking.
  66. Interesting but not especially funny. [1 Aug 2005]
    • Variety
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    "Conviction" does exhibit a bit more creative promise than "Trial by Jury."
  67. "Close to Home" lives up and down to its title -- staying very close to what's worked for CBS before.
  68. 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.
  69. Clever, if familiar. [2 June 2005, p.8]
    • Variety
  70. 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.
  71. 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.
  72. A solid cast and marquee auspices make this effects-heavy exercise watchable enough even when "The Triangle" grows obtuse.
  73. [It] lacks the flavor of the original and would have worked better under a different title.
  74. 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.
  75. 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.
  76. Recruiting Danny DeVito to play the estranged dad to half the show's central quartet might have seemed like a good idea, but the result is a more uneven and mean-spirited show that overreaches and forces some gags. [29 Jun 2006]
    • Variety
  77. An affable new sitcom.
  78. There's a breezy charm to the show.
  79. A half-hour firmly ensconced in the "witty" zone that seldom crosses all the way over into funny.
  80. [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.
  81. 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.
  82. If the series doesn't generate any grand creative magic, it at least possesses a certain old-fashioned charm.
  83. Breezy, smart and occasionally funny.
  84. 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.
  85. 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."
  86. Interesting but not fully compelling, it's a long shot to make a big score.
  87. Two of the first three episodes [reveal] an assured, risque, semi-cynical air that should dovetail nicely with "Two and a Half Men."
  88. "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.
  89. This is a series for people with a reasonably high TV IQ, but not a particularly challenging formula.

Top Trailers