Variety's Scores

For 2,199 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 36% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 60% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 Better Things: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Marvel's Inhumans: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 902
  2. Negative: 0 out of 902
902 tv reviews
  1. At times, seemingly in order to undercut how serious the show’s criticisms really are, it feels as if sketches and bits are pushed far past their natural punchline to reduce everyone, not just the oligarchs, into stilted and ridiculous parody. It’s unclear based on the four episodes sent to critics if that’s just a midseason reprieve or evidence of things to come. But with so few out there to compare it to, even a broad parody of the workplace is a satisfying one.
  2. The good news is that, after a somewhat bumpy start, the drama gains momentum over time, especially when Petra Neill (Jennifer Ferrin) turns up to ask residents and local cops the kinds of awkward questions they’d rather not answer. As the mystery gets juicier and the implications for the town’s elite become more serious, Garrett Hedlund’s hapless handyman character becomes believably frayed, and the proceedings are further enlivened by excellent supporting performances from Beau Bridges, Allison Tolman, Jeremy Bobb and Maya Kazan. Mosaic, like many of the best mystery tales, provides some unsentimental social commentary along with the solution of a crime.
  3. Better late than never; Black Lightning--with its promise of Anissa becoming Thunder in short order--is a good, satisfying, layered addition to the CW canon.
  4. The celebrity guests ensure that the interviews retain a bit of the fluffy sweetness of broadcast TV. It seems highly likely that there are thorny topics his high-profile guests rule out, and the fact that the episodes were taped last fall mean that the questions can feel a bit stale. ... But overall, Letterman’s new effort isn’t bad, and it’s great to see that beard getting the screentime it richly deserves.
  5. All in all, Electric Dreams contains more hits than misses and a couple of real gems. Let’s hope that it is the shape of things to come: a sign that television is going to invest heavily in science-fiction storytelling that is diverting, eye-catching and dramatically pleasing.
  6. More saliently, the heavy-handedness slows down the story--or belies the fact that compared to “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” has much less story to tell. ... But with an array of fantastic performances and an eye to exploring the complexity of contemporary queerness, American Crime Story has produced another interesting history play to chew on--one with a lingering, intriguing aftertaste.
  7. A interesting intriguing mixed series that is more than just a collection of of-the-moment sketches, it falls short. The characters are hard to invest in, the relationship is really hard to invest in, and the show offers no narrative propulsion aside from their cutesy, vulgar dynamic. This feels like an amateur effort from two comedians on their way to producing better work.
  8. After a long buildup to the awards, and a successful opening monologue, the awards just kind of... kept going, without much fanfare or pizzazz. It seemed as if the energy of the preamble couldn’t quite match with what is a pretty boring format of handing out awards and listing nominees. ... It turns out, the #MeToo, #TimesUp, and #WhyWeWearBlack soundbites on the carpet and onstage were just the canapés preparing the audience for the main course: Oprah Winfrey accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award and delivering a rousing speech that seemed to reach every remaining doubt and fear, boiling down to nothing less than a mission statement for the future.
  9. It’s funny, and it’s sweet; it’s violent, and it’s romantic. Its leads are both reprehensible and totally sympathetic; both scared kids and responsible adults. It seems the mark of an honest production that the characters are arrestingly recognizable--and revealed so thoroughly to the audience that judging them feels impossible. By the end I was unsure if I wanted them rounded up by the authorities or free to go out in a blaze of glory; the only thing I was sure of was I wished there were more episodes.
  10. If its ambitions sometimes outstrip its execution, the drama’s generosity and seriousness of purpose give heft to its most successful storylines.
  11. Carter’s mythology for the series as a whole has never seemed more superfluous, and the episodes still linger too long on the confabulations of the paranoid. But even when stripped down to its bare bones, The X-Files has plenty to offer its audience. ... It’s not just the vivid backdrop [of the current world] that makes this season of The X-Files work, though. The episodes released for critics are just better episodes than the first time around.
  12. The emphasis on snap over story trips up the pilot. There’s a surprising lack of narrative coherence from the beginning of the hour to the end; two major emergencies and several minor ones are scattered through the episode with no real connection to one another. Only young firefighter Buck has an arc.
  13. Yara Shahidi takes full advantage of the expansion of her screen time, and the kind of piquant, culturally relevant storytelling that “Black-ish” has honed is on display here too. All in all, Grown-ish is a smart, breezy expansion of the “Black-ish” family.
  14. The sitcom has all the makings of a witty, fun half-hour.
  15. Blatancy is even worse a problem in this season of "Black Mirror" than in seasons past. The beautiful productions and performances serve to mask the fact that the stories’ twists are often cheap shots.
  16. It’s a choppy, flashy affair, with so many different sets that it struggled to cultivate a sense of place.
  17. It’s disappointing that such a beautiful show, with such fine performers, could not have offered more than an outdated fairy tale.
  18. "David Bowie: The Last Five Years," which premieres Nov. 10 at the DOC NYC film festival (it will then be shown on HBO), is a singular and haunting pop documentary.
  19. In an age in which thin stories are often stretched on the rack to produce 10 or 13 hours, Gunpowder lives fast, dies young, and doesn’t overstay its welcome.
  20. Meloni’s performance and the strength of the source material will keep the show afloat for interested viewers. But based on the first two episodes, it’s an acquired, specific taste.
  21. Its brand of zany, self-referential comedy isn’t for everyone. But those who enjoyed the USA series in the past will likely revel in more of the same in this fizzy outing, in part because the main characters actually care about each other, and the cast does a fine job of conveying that.
  22. This handsome comedy is uneven, but like Sherman-Palladino’s “Gilmore Girls,” it contains gifts that will appeal to fans of verbal combat and realistic depictions of complicated friendships among whip-smart women.
  23. Foy is doing the best performance currently on dramatic television in her Elizabeth. ... There are few shows currently on air that convince you of how carefully considered its vision is, but The Crown does it constantly--whether that is the way the light streams through the window onto Philip’s shoulders, or the set of Elizabeth’s jaw as she addresses her prime minister. For that alone it is remarkable.
  24. Ultimately, Runaways seems a little too tentative for its own good--which is weird, given that the drama is about wielding power, for both good and ill.
  25. The new She’s Gotta Have It is smart, refreshing, and trenchant in some specific ways. Lee, who directs all 10 episodes, is well able to create memorable and even stunning set pieces throughout the season. ... Even with Lee’s directorial skill, there’s something almost mediocre about the reboot; his style has become so iconic--and has been so thoroughly imitated--that his signature style feels less like his muscular vision and instead another attempt to be like Spike Lee.
  26. Despite the game energy of its cast, Future Man is mostly routine homage, with very little substance shoring up its derivative foundations.
  27. In all, The Punisher is not just satisfying but surprising--an interpretation of Netflix and Marvel’s tried-and-true partnership that offers more depth and challenges to the audience than even the gritty world of “Marvel’s Jessica Jones.”
  28. Characterization is not the strong suit of The Long Road Home, but the actors do their level best, and directors Phil Abraham and Mikael Salomon excel at depicting the camaraderie of the soldiers as well as the chaos that envelops them at several key moments. But The Long Road Home could have trimmed its overlong running time by cutting out all the home-front storylines.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    There’s plenty in Stories From the Edge that gets to the heart of what the real scene was. But ultimately, it’s four hours of them talking about themselves.
  29. The two halves have wildly different strengths. “Bria” is cinematically stunning, with a few sequences that are going to be hard to forget anytime soon. “Erica & Anna” is a much more straightforward story, with a chilly aesthetic that makes “House of Cards” look upbeat. But the relative opacity of “Bria’s” story beats — and the oddly pat metaphors of “Erica & Anna”--left me with the wish that these two well-matched directors might, you know, collaborate.

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