Variety's Scores

For 1,678 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 35% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 61% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 8.4 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 Ten Commandments
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 657
  2. Negative: 0 out of 657
657 tv reviews
  1. The sheer acid-trip-style quirkiness coupled with Baruchel’s perpetual confusion make this a worthy addition to the FXX lineup, with the disclaimer that even the FX networks’ most-admired comedies (see “Louie”) haven’t gained much traction ratings-wise, certainly compared with the dramas, perhaps because of their off-kilter tone.
  2. As with many of these European crime yarns, the real fun resides less in the who-or how-dunnit than simply getting there.
  3. There’s a hit-miss quality to these second-season episodes, but the show remains noteworthy for its ambition and spare storytelling style, offering some much-needed, understated perspective to a world of hyperventilating sports coverage.
  4. Granted, the writers recycle so many gags--from the stirring pledge speech to a loopy pot-hazed discussion about time being "a fluid concept"--that there's a temptation to wince at Glory Daze's brazenness. Still, it's all done in such an unabashed way it's sort of hard to stay mad at them.
  5. 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.
  6. Mostly, The Job plays like a clever throwback to TV's youth.
  7. 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.
  8. The series remains an immersive experience, and the cast has been gradually upgraded with the addition of players like Jimmy Smits.
  9. Grohl’s style as a director is much like his style as a conversationalist: highly earnest, highly caffeinated, and sometimes a tad on-the-nose. However, it’s his interest in the practical details of recording--from consoles and instruments to the masonry work in the studio walls--that most distinguishes him from his less technical fellow rockists.
  10. This more comicbook-y entry could be another solid anchor from sibling DC Comics.
  11. The pilot certainly looks great, and it's hard to imagine better choices for the leads than Goodwin and Parrilla.
  12. Garner played Felicity's new friend in that series' first two years, and here she replaces character's earnestness with ferocity, confusion and concealed pain. She plays the more human side with aplomb, but gets stuck in fight scenes that are so stagy one can count out the steps.
  13. Despite only marginal spring in the exposition-heavy pilot, the promised mix of action, angst and serialized mystery should make for a purr-fect little summer escape.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The key, as with all action series, is turning repetitive, predictable outcomes into suspenseful beats, and at this, the series seems to have a genuine flair. [5 Oct 2000]
    • Variety
  14. [It] already feels like it's been on air for three seasons... in a good way.
  15. [The] pilot is cleverly written giving the characters a heady, just-specific-enough mix of mystery, intrigue and charm.
  16. After a slow start, the second and third chapters become pretty absorbing, showcasing a first-rate cast--including original series creators Eileen Atkins and Jean Marsh--and an interesting subplot regarding the growing Nazi threat in 1930s Britain.
  17. A Poet in New York is constrained in both its ambitions and rewards. That said, viewed strictly in terms of the poetry of the words and power of Hollander’s portraiture, it’s not a bad way to commemorate, as Thomas put it, the dying of the light.
  18. Interesting and small in scope, the 47-minute doc is relaxed, unhurried and not a bit longer than it needs to be.
  19. At this point, the show's creative team has earned the latitude to trust that it knows where it's heading, as unpredictable and soapy (times three) as that path might appear. So while the series has so many plates spinning as to feel messy at times, the course of true "Love" never did run smooth.
  20. Midwife delivers enough poignant moments to be worth the investment.
  21. 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.
  22. Stacey represents one of those too-good-to-be-true movie teachers, but VanCamp possesses such innate likability that she can make that sense of commitment believable. Nor does it hurt that the producers did an impeccable job casting the various students, including Liam McKanna and Paola Andino as two of Stacey's more significant pupils.
  23. Debut is plenty funny yet Fox has a tough job ahead trying to lure ["Beavis & Butt-head"] audiences, which may grow tired of the comic targets, or "The Simpsons" crowd, which may find the antics too restrained. [10 Jan 1997]
    • Variety
  24. While the kids are alright, Pietz alone makes the series recommendable
  25. If the lavish production doesn’t quite strike gold, it comes close enough to encourage further exploration.
  26. Familiar as it all sounds, series creator Michael Rauch plucks most of the right chords.
  27. Based on the two episodes available for preview, Restaurant is admirably low on trash-TV antics, lending it additional family-friendly appeal in the 8 p.m. hour leading into another competition, "Celebrity Apprentice."
  28. Oxygen's The Glee Project--designed to give an unknown performer a seven-episode arc on the Fox series--debuts amid a glut of music-related TV contests, including "The Voice," "America's Got Talent" and "Platinum Hit." Still, undeniable Gleek appeal should be enough to make the fun if formulaic show a basic-cable breakout.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A serviceable thrills-and-chills skein that stands out as one of the cabler's more ambitious projects thanks to the subject matter as well as ace production values. [14 June 2002, p.18]
    • Variety
  29. 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.
  30. Far from running out of tricks, the fifth season of "24" opens with a bang, incorporating an element of mystery that promises to be more satisfying than the somewhat disappointing fourth day in Jack Bauer's very busy life.
  31. The idea Selfridge was a serial philanderer adds an interesting layer to the character who, despite being the boss, actually blends into the large cast, in a series that’s full of romantic triangles, hunger and striving, and where good-looking waiters are urged to cater to the needs of wealthy socialites.
  32. It’s all fairly lightweight and nonsensical, but in an entertaining way.
  33. The show's polished exterior, however, has seldom scratched the surface hard enough to find anything deeper underneath. Vince's career odyssey back from "Medellin" could provide just that--the season-long hook to make a show already on Hollywood's A-list match that with an actual A-game.
  34. Charmed has an entertaining little way about it, with Spelling and company mostly striking a solid balance between escapist slap-schtick and mild horror. If the opening hour isn't terribly concerned with issues of believability, relatability and self-parody (pilot is notably short on humor), it's likely a saucy enough brew for the WB's target 12-24 demo to swallow. [7 Oct 1998, p.5]
    • Variety
  35. Hostages has a polished feel to it, and the limited-series approach certainly makes the prospect of committing to the show more palatable, inasmuch as it won’t be able to explain away its central predicament forever.
  36. The series has a good deal of fun with what such notoriety might have been like in the late-19th century, with children jumping rope to Lizzie’s name, and all the locals casting sideways glances at her in church.
  37. Legit proves periodically funny, and oddly charming. And as elusive as both of those qualities are in primetime, that alone makes it too legit to quit.
  38. The River is one of those pilots it's hard not to admire, even if the longterm prospects for its journey remain shrouded in mystery.
  39. 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.
  40. As presented, Dating in the Dark mercifully makes the orchestrated search for TV romance a little less deaf and dumb than it could have been.
  41. Assuming this is ramping up toward the finale, the key players are engaged in ways that prove occasionally shocking and disarmingly funny.
  42. Told with great earnestness and a Hans Zimmer score, The Bible hits only a few conspicuously awkward notes.
  43. New Girl possesses ample energy, even if it almost instantly violates "Seinfeld's" old "No hugging, no learning" rule. Then again, heart is part of its DNA.
  44. Although Julianne Moore's uncanny mimicry of Palin's verbal tics will surely attract praise, the movie revolves around an equally compelling performance by Woody Harrelson as GOP strategist and campaign operative Steve Schmidt.
  45. It's a familiar formula, to be sure, but handled with enough panache and conviction to invest the BAFTA-honored pic series with an element of freshness.
  46. Although the cynical part of me wants to mock it, [the] series definitely taps into the feel-good reality wave, and strictly from a practical standpoint the procedures are far more laudatory than augmented boobs or, in the case of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," a new porch.
  47. It’s always challenging to capture the essence of such artistry on film, and Lapine comes pretty close.
  48. While this sci-fi lark is essentially just another cog in TV’s annual invasion of mindless summer escapism, as we’ve seen time and again, capturing that tone and feel isn’t nearly as easy as it looks--one reason it’s nice to see Wyle and company soldiering on.
  49. James Gandolfini lends his celebrity to the project, which would have benefited from either greater focus or more time, but nevertheless delivers a sobering message regarding the psychological wounds war inflicts even on survivors.
  50. Always fun, the first two hours of the FX drama's fourth season are also meandering, introducing several new players, but as yet failing to betray much about how or when they'll intersect. Fortunately, star Timothy Olyphant by himself remains ample reason to tune in.
  51. 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.
  52. 24" works best when the show doesn't take itself too seriously -- incorporating just enough sobering geopolitics to establish a credible foundation before indulging in wild flights of counterespionage fancy. Moreover, having one villain drive the plot for a handful of episodes before being supplanted by another has added greater satisfaction and closure to the program's high-wire storytelling.
  53. The selections in the first two episodes possess compelling strength, whimsy and ambiguity in both the stories and the characters, providing a solid transformation from radio to TV.
  54. Saving Grace is less about its procedural storytelling than it is about simply creating a venue to showcase Hunter's undeniable smallscreen star quality.
  55. For all the talk about tech, nothing here reinvents the wheel, but the action is crisp and the dialogue breezy.
  56. Light and breezy, Hotel Babylon is a fairly simple conceit, built around the employees at a high-class London hotel and the guests they serve.
  57. Whitechapel can be enjoyed for what it is--an excuse to take another bloody stroll down memory lane, while tacking on yet another cinematic addition to the house that Jack built.
  58. There's enough comedy content in this first seating to warrant keeping Mike & Molly on the TiVo menu, even if it's not quite love at first bite.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Strange and clever, "The Lost Room" is full of winding corridors, peculiar twists and wry, oddball humor, set against a mystery that recalls TV's better Stephen King productions.
  59. The kids' concerns and apprehensions feel poignant and real.
  60. Admittedly, the premise is a little fragile for syndication--who ever heard of a five-year remodel?--but Bent is so breezy as to sort of beg for more.
  61. 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.
  62. [The} New Normal won't be for everybody, but there's enough here to suggest it can connect with a loyal core, enticing some to stick around and see what develops.
  63. Surrounded by a solid supporting cast, it's a workable if not quite prime piece of development.
  64. So far, so good, but while writer-director Graham Linehan (working with "The Office" producer Ash Atalla) has created a vivid trio of oddball characters, his ingenuity doesn't extend to finding consistently amusing situations in which to put them.
  65. While covering a good deal of ground, the filmmakers don’t linger over the ordeal of the Crucifixion in the way, say, Mel Gibson did in “The Passion of the Christ,” and the program benefits from that sense of economy. Still, the three-hour telecast (about three-quarters that length, sans commercials) must recover from a truly terrible opening.
  66. While the concept is hardly original (and probably hews closest to the movie “EdTV”), the series still feels fresh and timely.
  67. A solidly crafted if mostly undemanding piece of summer entertainment, shifting to a new high-profile case with a ripped-from-the-headlines quality.
  68. The good news is if you’ve enjoyed the shows in the past--and perhaps felt New Girl lost a bit of its fastball--the kickoff episodes suggest there might be more to like in the year ahead.
  69. Compared with Martin Scorsese's exhaustive docus about Bob Dylan and George Harrison, Crossfire feels almost too brisk and workmanlike. But like a good concert, it ably balances major hits, back-catalogue oddities and plenty of showmanship.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Down deep, however, this is the old, highly workable stuff, tidily refurbished. [12 Sep 1994]
    • Variety
  70. The series still remains a trifle weak in terms of the support staff.... Still, the interplay between Kaling and Messina is actually quite good--much better, in fact, than their squabbling when they were at each other’s throats earlier in the run.
  71. Ellroy's potboiler style will be off-putting to many people, but the lurid subject matter actually feels like a pretty good fit with Investigation Discovery's unabashed immersion in crime.
  72. [ABC's] infatuation with translating the [country music] genre to series still appears questionable. Despite that, credit Nashville with crafting a reasonably catchy hook.
  73. As the show progresses, the stronger moments indicate that Showtime has a more durable commodity here than just the sales pitch for "Sybil: The Series." That's in part because the producers have done an exceptional job of casting beyond the central roles.
  74. 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.
  75. Playing to the cameras, even many elements that feel slightly staged (including convenient intra-housewife feuding) prove nearly irresistible, again reminding us that horrible people you'd never want to associate with are often the spice of reality. This show puts the Bada-Bing in Bravo.
  76. For now, it’s an intriguing enough premise to warrant continued attention.
  77. At first blush, though, give Alphas high marks for effort and ingenuity, demonstrating a TV show needn't provide major pyrotechnics or a reinvented wheel to lay the groundwork for solid summer entertainment where the characters, somewhat refreshingly, are only sort-of super.
  78. Has the potential to be a real guilty pleasure.
  79. The show is a shrewd if not terribly exciting bet on upping the network's hip quotient without straying far from its procedural wheelhouse.
  80. Carter's dialogue is fresh without being self-conscious, and the characters are involving. Series kicks off with drive and imagination, both innovative in recent TV.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A sound drama that does for father-son relationships what "Gilmore Girls" does for the women of the family. As quirky as it is comfortable. [16 Sept 2002, p.45]
    • Variety
  81. While Liz & Dick is wobbly at times, the movie ultimately stands on its own.
  82. While watching the show isn’t particularly enjoyable, once drawn into Stevens’ story, it’s also difficult to turn away.
  83. That NBC has bought into this concept reflects network TV's lowered expectations, but the series' two-hour premiere is a respectable effort--handsomely shot and offering old-fashioned end-of-the-week escapism, albeit with a character unable to escape his own island purgatory.
  84. Tim's world is so consistently outlandish as to be difficult to resist, especially since Dildarian plays the whole thing with the understatement of Bob Newhart's old phone routines.
  85. What emerges is surprisingly compelling, if decidedly constricted take on the singer’s life, focusing squarely on her relationship with Bobby Brown, and ending well before her untimely death at age 48.
  86. Great it’s not, but the fizzy mix of soapy elements, screwy comedy, high-society hijinks and romance dovetails with where the netlet has been heading programming-wise.
  87. 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.
  88. All those plot threads could be beneficial in sustaining the series on a serialized basis, but Parenthood's multifaceted vision of family risks feeling too precious in places.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    But as for the overall approach, it's hard to nick any latenighter that actually tries to say something and doesn't have a sidekick or a bandleader. From the Twin Tower reconstruction efforts to duct tape mania to his ceremonial kick in the ass after ABC dumped him, Maher alone is ready to take on the universe, and that's a gutsier fight than most.
  89. It’s to the credit of all concerned, frankly, that Kingdom is more compelling than it sounds, conjuring a gritty atmosphere (you can practically smell the gym through the TV) around its fractured family ties, along with familiar questions regarding redemption and second chances.
  90. The show’s assemblage of pint-sized personalities demonstrates enough natural charm to sustain a season and potentially give both Fox and Ramsay another reliable reality franchise.
  91. The episodes don't really go anywhere, but the star-writer-producer has a genial Everyman presence and surrounds himself with a rich array of characters.
  92. The telepic has an old-fashioned quality, from building the movie around one of the ostensible good guys (Anthony, played by Virginia Welch, is featured only sparingly) to the prosecution assembling its case to the simple yet effective urgency of Richard Marvin's score.
  93. Those who got on board last year have enough reason to continue flying these not-so-friendly Skies.
  94. Inevitably, there are stereotypical aspects on both sides of the age gap--from the flakiness of Kelsey’s contemporaries to Diana too often coming across as a bitter scold--but the series seldom pitches so far across those lines as to be unable to find its way back.

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