Variety's Scores

For 1,470 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 Game of Thrones: Season 4
Lowest review score: 10 The Ten Commandments: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 568
  2. Negative: 0 out of 568
568 tv reviews
  1. "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
  2. 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
  3. 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
    • 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
  4. While it’s fun to see the band Chicago drawn into a subplot about the sexual history of Nathan’s ex (Amy Ryan)--or savor an in-joke playing off the name of HBO CEO Richard Plepler--even some of those intricately woven gags feel like a bit of a distraction.
  5. This ABC comedy is the equivalent of a big fat pitch over the heart of plate, and will need to get mileage out of more characters, but what’s here has the potential to hold its lineup spot between leadoff hitter “The Middle” and ratings slugger “Modern Family.”
  6. These latest episodes represent a tentative first step toward seeing whether the show can re-ascend to those heights or, conversely, plummet into an abyss of implausibility. Like so much else pertaining to Homeland, at this point, it could go either way.
  7. Kelley is no stranger to writing comedy, even if it’s traditionally been in service of hourlong shows, and between his gifts as a wordsmith and Williams’ frenetic energy (best displayed in a closing-credits outtake sequence), The Crazy Ones has potential beyond what the pilot demonstrates.
  8. Yes, it’s worth watching for the historical moment it represents--particularly since that moment continues to echo through to the present--but it’s less compelling than it might have been.
  9. Wonderland is equally handsome [as "Once Upon a Time"], but behind those virtual sets lurk many potential flaws. An appealing Alice certainly helps matters, but past performance reduces the likelihood of a fairy-tale ending.
  10. Part of that shortcoming relates to the structure, which deals with one story unfolding across all six hours, with a self-contained “B” player in each. Ultimately, the series is worth a look if not necessarily worthy of the whole journey, as Death doesn’t completely become Showtime.
  11. [Ground Floor] yields an occasional chuckle; it’s just more of a slacker than an overachiever.
  12. It’s a welcome respite from some of the network’s noisier fare. The main problem here is that even when they’re not being whiny, the kids (beginning with Breeanna, our ostensible tour guide) simply aren’t articulate enough to trigger a genuine discussion about the sometimes-thorny issues surrounding procreation via test tube or the nature of being “a sperm donor kid.”
  13. Occasionally beautiful and emotional, but also bleak and frustrating, Treme certainly hasn’t sullied that reputation. Yet despite the writer’s contention that it’s his best show, for all but those few who savored every note, this rumination on a beleaguered The Big Easy doesn’t belong in the august company of those earlier gems.
  14. The well-traveled Beghe nevertheless convincingly sells the gravelly voiced tough-guy routine, and Chicago PD plays to the cathartic aspects of crime-fighting, provided one tries not to think too much about terms like “enhanced interrogation techniques.” And the show is aided by having the likes of Jon Seda, Elias Koteas and Sophia Bush on the case, even if most of the plotting has a musty and manipulative aroma.
  15. Good actors pop in and out of their lives (including Richard E. Grant as another rehab patient, and Bob Balaban as a shrink), but Dunham’s narrow field of vision doesn’t accommodate much beyond her core. That’s fine, in most respects, except that as played, it tends to sap the reality from situations.
  16. 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.
  17. While certainly not bad, the series would be better if it came with fewer built-in speed bumps, and a little more narrative momentum.
  18. Clever, if familiar. [2 June 2005, p.8]
    • Variety
  19. Mostly, it’s another throwback to the twin notions that writers like tackling what they know, and adolescence--with all its potential for humiliation and exultation--offers fertile if not particularly original ground for comedy.
  20. 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
  21. Still fun on its own terms, the encore takes an unexpected little gem and transforms it into “Murder, She (and She and She and She) Wrote.”
  22. Adapted by Hilary Winston from the movie, the show quickly falls into a predictable pattern.... Still, taken on its own terms, the series is pretty amusing.
  23. Everything about Last Week Tonight felt like another spin of the latenight-satire wheel, with nary a new groove in it.
  24. While St. Clair and Parham play well off each other, they also affect almost the exact same comedic voice. In other words, there’s no Lucy and Ethel in this pairing, with each being a little bit of both.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    While the pilot packs a lot of story into a half-hour show, most of it is comprehensible to those who saw the movie, presumably the core audience for the TV series. Although many of the actors have a tough act to follow, particularly McMurray in the Tom Hanks role, the performances are good, with slick-talking Lovitz a standout. [12 Apr 1993]
    • Variety
  25. While The Address is laudable, based on how loudly Burns’ voice echoes across the network, this one-off amounts to little more than an understated bit of throat-clearing before the next event.
  26. 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).
  27. There are certainly enough moving parts here (pardon the expression) to merit further attention, but there’s also a feeling that the whole thing is running in mud (or at least sand).
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Show is cast better than it deserves, with Williams gamely in for film's Susan Sarandon, Polly Holliday nicely restrained as Momma Love and Ossie Davis noble as the friendly judge who pops up all over the place. [15 Sept 1995]
    • Variety
  28. At its best The Sixties is admirable, but to riff on an old promotional slogan, it isn’t all that it could be: Yes, it’s an exercise that might capture the magic of landing on the moon, but doesn’t take the extra step that would send viewers over it.
  29. It ain't bad by basic cable standards. That is to say, Langton is a poised female lead, sufficiently alluring to make you forget the fact that what's going on is all pretty implausible. [13 July 1998, p.34]
    • Variety
  30. A standard cowboys ‘n’ Indians, good vs. evil horse opera where good looks and good shots come together for the good of mankind.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Don't expect Dave's World to be as funny as the Dave Barry newspapercolumns that the series is supposedly based upon, but there are enough chuckles and a solid cast, led by former "Court" jester Harry Anderson, to keep this one going.[20 Sept 1993]
    • Variety
  31. So as starts go, this one picks up speed, but still feels a little rocky. That said, there’s enough here to want to hang around for a spell, waiting to see whether this crew can find its sea legs--and what dangers lurk just over the horizon.
  32. 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.
  33. While this latest version of the show remains above that sometimes-toxic mix [stories of missing women, murderous husbands (or did he?) and obviously staged moral dilemmas], these hours prove that it is not, alas, immune to its influence.
    • 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.
  34. Aside from the coup of landing Berry--a woman, apparently, irresistible to sentient life throughout the galaxy--the show’s strong cast hints at more promise than the premiere ultimately exhibits, racing as it does to establish a foundation for what’s to come.
  35. As derivative as it is, Seed is perfectly harmless, and might even deliver an occasional smile. Yet even with the Harry-Rose relationship offering a small serialized thread, it’s just hard to see any part of Seed ever developing into much.
  36. Ultimately, there’s more ambition in the concept than ingenuity in the execution.
  37. Manhattan certainly isn’t a bomb creatively speaking, nor is it yet the bomb, in latter-day vernacular. And perhaps appropriately, as admirable as some of its elements are, what’s missing in the opening hours is the elusive spark necessary to make them genuinely pop.
  38. The Honorable Woman certainly doesn’t evoke any enmity. The problem, rather, is that it doesn’t provide enough thrills or momentum to completely reward the viewing commitment of its friends.
  39. The Quest doesn’t entirely dodge the obvious potential for cheese, but the surprisingly impressive production values help keep things on the right side of ridiculous.
  40. Such extremes are out there, and the series is riveting in a way, if slightly uncomfortable when contemplating that the kids have been innocently drawn into an entertainment that invariably sets up their parents as objects of curiosity and derision.
  41. 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
  42. To its credit, Legends goes a bit beyond the expected stings, as a shadowy figure prompts Martin to doubt everything he knows and question whom he can trust. For the most part, though, almost everything here feels culled from earlier variations on this theme.
  43. Created by Barbara Hall, Madam Secretary has enough interesting pieces, as well as a great big world of trouble to mine, to have significant potential. The premiere, however, doesn’t bode particularly well for being able to maximize those assets, and as they say in diplomatic circles, the devil is in the details.
  44. Although the show works a little too hard at being quirky, "Head Cases" does deliver a pair of well-defined protagonists, but initially not the kind of obsessive-compulsive magnetism it will need to flourish in a pretty inhospitable timeslot.
  45. It's Don Johnson's irascible charm as a boozing, bottom-feeding barrister that occasionally elevates this hour above its mundane legal jockeying.
  46. Despite laudable elements -- particularly the magnetic Oded Fehr as the cell leader -- [the] series is too uneven to dub this ambitious mission a complete success.
  47. [The] first episode of this weeklong experiment does a creditable job building suspense, but it's hard to imagine the premise... possessing much staying power.
  48. A model of midseason mediocrity, an hourlong that neither excites nor bores, driven by professional if uninspired acting, writing and direction.
  49. An inoffensive but not particularly distinguished half-hour.
  50. The second flight of episodes shares much with year one -- showy [performances] tethered to uneven writing and a less-defined premise than those of other top pay TV dramas.
  51. Wildly uneven.
  52. Having four women with sufficiently distinct personalities and a pleasant tone should help the show secure some viewership, but it really belongs on a specialized femme-oriented cable net.
  53. "Psych" isn't nearly as much fun as it ought to be, offering a breezy but not particularly captivating twist on a very well-worn buddy formula.
  54. A high-octane cast brings some promise to the show.
  55. Woods is such a compelling presence that he might be able to elevate even procedural fare.
  56. This is... one of those concepts seemingly destined to leave a small but outspoken fan contingent grumbling next summer at Comic-Con about its cancellation.
  57. Even if the material is a trifle slight, pairing of John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor brightens matters, serving up smiles if not outright guffaws.
  58. There's a fine line between mysterious and just plain mystifying, and "Day Break" lurches over it.
  59. "Flight" is pretty much a snooze until the music starts, at which point the show kicks up into something quite weird and occasionally wonderful.
  60. ESPN's eight-episode mini-series plays remarkably flat despite a sharp portrayal by John Turturro as the eye at the center of the storm.
  61. Jon Harmon Feldman’s naughty script doesn’t develop much chemistry among the guys.
  62. In Treatment's intensity does build as the weeks progress, but it's never completely absorbing, and you wonder how many viewers will commit to such a demanding regimen even with multiple plays to catch up on missed half-hours.
  63. The result is a series that wants to do good and still have enough "edge" to do well in the rough-and-tumble, less-nurturing environment of reality TV, which feels out of step with all the good vibrations.
  64. Easy to dismiss at first glance, the series does exhibit some possibilities in its second episode, though it's still a relatively uninspired time-killer for those of us with just one life to live.
  65. It's understandable why CBS would take its own low-risk shot with "Flashpoint" as summer filler. Yet as viewing experiences go, the series itself possesses so little flash, finally, that it's difficult to see the point.
  66. Despite fine elements, then, the show feels a trifle rudderless--content to deal in edgy high-school archetypes (a gay kid, an irreverent Muslim youth, even one boy with a "Dawson's"-like crush on his teacher), but archetypes nevertheless.
  67. Perhaps appropriately, the period trappings and costumes are impeccable, part of a miniseries that weaves six production logos into its hemline--suggesting more commerce than art in its conception.
  68. Baker does possess a certain roguish charm, and writer Bruno Heller ("Rome") and pilot-directing guru David Nutter mine that--as well as the central character's slightly menacing backstory--to try and invest the series with a bit of depth, mostly to little avail.
  69. Ultimately, it's harmless but pretty stupid, which generally describes most of actor-producer Ashton Kutcher's forays into primetime.
  70. Clone Wars--the "Star Wars" animated series that amounts to an "interquel" between Episodes II and III--is vastly superior to the advance theatrical movie. That's mostly beacuse the half-hour episodes are so jam-packed with action the clunky dialogue flies by less obtrusively, and the irritating characters have less time to annoy.
  71. Throw a bouquet, then, strictly to the casting folks for the assortment of types they've assembled. Beyond that, Stylista qualifies as fierce, to borrow producer Tyra Banks' phraseology, only in its steadfast commitment to copying the same old models.
  72. There's nothing howlingly bad here (except perhaps for a few of the supporting performances), but nothing particularly distinctive, either.
  73. Although the program has never wasted much time developing characters, the banter between detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) seems even more disposable than usual.
  74. As is so often the case, however, it's difficult to invest real-life police work with the sense of excitement that television doles out in scripted programming--even with music whose urgency borders on the comical.
  75. The series does feature some solid performers in supporting roles, including Kevin J. O'Connor and "The Wire's" Larry Gilliard Jr., and the close of the second hour offers a modest tug to see where the story arc might be heading. The actual cops-and-robbers stuff, however, remains mundane at best.
  76. While it's nice to see McCormack and Cavanagh back in episodic form, their similarities diminish their interplay, inasmuch as it's not a reach to envision both in either role. Everyone else pretty much falls into predictable archetypes, from the nerdy young creative team to Griffin Dunne as the constantly frazzled boss.
  77. Alex's gender does open the door to further explore the era's sexual politics, but much of that was still addressed in the first show, and Hawes' dry performance doesn't seriously alter the dynamics.
  78. Cupid remains a rather wispy premise, with this second go-round bookending other similarly themed premises, such as NBC’s “Miss Match,” which failed, too--and in that case also featured a female lead who couldn’t quite follow her own romantic advice.
  79. The series has assembled a promising cast, including Perrineau, Goldberg and Terry Kinney as the unit's snarling captain. In addition, there are vague hints at more sober storylines to come--if, thus far, little reason to emotionally invest in them.
  80. Harper's Island too often indulges in slasher-movie absurdities, with a murderer who seems to be everywhere at once and genuine clues in too-short supply.
  81. Diva has potential, but just as when the revived Jane first squeezes into Deb's old clothes, it's an awkward fit.
  82. All told, it's a rather ignominious birthing process for a movie that isn't painful, necessarily, but delivers little that's worth paying admission to see, either.
  83. The pilot is breezy enough, and there are solid supporting players, including Ashley Jensen and Grant Show. Those ingredients, however, are thus far more promising than what first comes out of the oven
  84. It all makes for an intriguing setup that doesn't quite gel, even by the end of the third episode.
  85. Demons isn't bad, and some of the makeup effects are reasonably effective; still, compared with the better angels in BBC America's portfolio, it's as weightless and disposable as the fog that enshrouds its most dramatic moments.
  86. Sure, it's mildly intriguing to unearth details about your ancestors, but even allowing that the stars are being good sports here, their reactions often reflect off-putting degrees of self-absorption.
  87. So thus far, anyway, it's a promising concept inconsistently executed, and perhaps a trifle miscast.
  88. Series creators Greg Daniels and Michael Schur provide the show with moments of dry wit, and Poehler certainly has acting oblivious down to a wide-eyed science. Yet there's no escaping that this feels like "Office Lite," thrown together as a vehicle for the star rather than out of any grand inspiration.
  89. Directed by Mikael Salomon from Masius' script, the debut hour proves busy but not particularly distinctive.
  90. Community embraces the traditional sitcom notion of “family” being what you make of it, but it’s a little too self-conscious about the genre’s cliches--or at least, feels that way because its satirical elements aren’t as crisp as they need to be.
  91. Grading on a curve amid TV's viral nurse outbreak, the series proves more engaging than "Hawthorne" and less dour than "Nurse Jackie." Initially, though, it just doesn't quite possess the requisite spark that would leave people begging for Mercy.
  92. For those who buy into the MacFarlane formula this is all riotous fun. For the rest of us, it's a bit like Dane Cook's stand-up act--a reminder that what tickles current teens and twentysomethings is often markedly different from the satirical material that amused their parents.
  93. The Middle appropriately falls somewhere in the middle, in a zone where the immediate challenge has less to do with being flown-over than flipped-away from.
  94. Despite its modest merits, Life ultimately spends most of its time paddling in the shallow end of the dramatic gene pool.

Top Trailers