Variety's Scores

For 2,142 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 7.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 Transparent: Season 2
Lowest review score: 10 Tuesday Night Book Club: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 874
  2. Negative: 0 out of 874
874 tv reviews
  1. Despite mining what appears to be a played-out lode (yet another showbiz-insider comedy, complete with self-effacing celebrity cameos), the pair find hearty laughs in discomfort, elicit riotous turns from their guest stars and even manage a touch of pathos in the travails of the show's hapless hero.
  2. The lows are low, but the highs are very high, and truly affecting.
  3. A finished, cinematic, and beautiful production that may be one of the best new shows of the fall.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Wonderfully irreverent. [6 Jan 2000]
    • Variety
  4. Spooning out details and forcing close audience attention to track how events have unfolded on a dual track, it’s the kind of premium drama any network would be proud to have--one in the mold of “True Detective” or “The Killing,” only from the grieving parents’ perspective.
  5. Directed by Adam Bernstein, the 90-minute premiere is particularly taut and effective, with three subsequent episodes slightly less so; nevertheless, there’s enough going on (indeed, almost too much) and such a weird string of dominos that it’s hard not to imagine those sampling the opener won’t want to see things through to the finish.
  6. As animation, it's substandard, primitive dreck; as comedy, however, it's gloriously subversive art. [12 Aug 1997]
    • Variety
  7. With Keith David again serving as narrator, and Jamie Foxx providing Robinson’s voice reading correspondence and from his autobiography, Jackie Robinson exudes class--unhurried, stately, yet never dull. And while Burns’ formula hasn’t really changed over the past quarter-century, it can and should be savored even more compared with the tactics broadly employed in so much similar fare these days.
  8. Featuring wild swings in tone, Louis C.K.’s deeply personal, frequently melancholy vision of life opens with what amounts to a mini-masterpiece of awkwardness, then proceeds to deal with his ongoing peculiar romance, a troubled friend and finally an unexpected encounter that’s both raw and disturbing. Almost nothing else on TV--certainly in half-hour form--rivals the particularity of C.K.’s approach.
  9. In short, coming off the first season's solid ratings, Justified pretty much looks like a home run for FX, which has been getting by lately on singles and doubles.
  10. Pregnancies, parenthood and the costs of family ties: These are the matters that Top of the Lake injects with both urgency and hope. It’s a potent, and at times deeply poetic, concoction.
  11. What’s best of all about A Series of Unfortunate Events is how every element of it--from the performances and set pieces to the detailed production design and steady pacing--come together to form a complete, considered vision.
  12. One of the sharpest-looking comedy pilots in recent years.
  13. “Riveting” is an overused, even lazy, term in criticism, but it’s hard to think of one that better applies to Making a Murderer, Netflix’s stunning 10-part documentary.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's a clever melding of real-life and on-camera stuff that's down and dirty and diabolic in its intent. ... An absolute gem. [14 Aug 1992]
    • Variety
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With faith in its own inspired goofiness, the net's newest Sunday entry reinvents what works --- and mocks what doesn't --- within the confines of the undernourished sitcom world. Critics and viewers clamoring for something unique since the sesh began back in August finally have something to champion ... and boy, is it funny.
    • Variety
  14. This hour finds the cast in fine form, but the most interesting crumb to emerge might be Weiner's apparent rumination on the program's success and--speaking through his protagonist--his own heightened profile since the series took off.
  15. Not all "The Sopranos'" flights of fancy pan out... but it never fails to fascinate, creating a completely organic world in which it's easy to forget the art and artifice that go into realizing Chase's vision.
  16. Crisp and tense, this Sci Fi Channel staple looks destined to make a headlong plunge toward the finish line in pursuit of that elusive place called Earth.
  17. If you're not enamored of jazz, Treme's extended musical interludes will play like something of a slog, and keeping track of the disparate stories is nettlesome at first. Fortunately, the talent on display--particularly Goodman, Alexander, and "Wire" alums Pierce (a New Orleans native) and Peters--is such that watching them read the phone book would be superior to much of what's on TV.
  18. Each cathartic confrontation near the end of the short but powerful season is meticulously earned, as is the weird sense of optimism that follows Tig around like the boxes of old clothes and mementos she can’t quite get rid of. The absorbing season finale is a fitting culmination of a show that is exceptionally assured in its debut season.
  19. The experiences of Issa and her best friend Molly (Yvonne Orji) are given such specificity, depth and nuance that each episode of Insecure is like a well-made cocktail--sweet, powerful and gone too soon.
  20. Anchored by Mark Rylance’s towering central performance, Wolf Hall is a very quiet “Masterpiece.”
  21. Around the middle of the season, the show takes aim at a couple of easy targets in an episode set at a silent retreat full of huffy New Age types, but then it skirts past some of the obvious jokes to conclude with scenes that are both warmly goofy and ever-so-slightly earnest. In its home stretch, it also gains depth and unexpected power, and its first-season finale is not to be missed.
  22. A show that cannot help but carry with it the burden of being a standard-bearer for diverse voices on television, even as it attempts to be, you know, funny. Insecure proves to be ably up to the challenge. The show marries specific issues with universal questions to create situations that are both precise and affecting. ... Issa herself is a profane, brilliant lead character.
  23. All told, it's an impeccably rendered piece, down to the smallest details--the kind of lush, meticulous little parcel that relatively few outlets these days have the means or latitude to cultivate.
  24. GLOW takes this arena of artifice and turns it into a story of feminine coming-of-age with a bright, engaging energy that balances tones with masterful skill.
  25. The most entertaining new comedy premiering in primetime this fall, precisely because it doesn't look or feel like anything else the networks are tossing against the wall. It cleverly defies all of the dreary fall sitcom trends: black people moving into white neighborhoods, single parents struggling to hold housefuls of screaming brats in line, gay men yearning to make sense of a straight world, and young adults basically acting like idiots. [21 Sept 1998, p.44]
    • Variety
  26. Beggars has the earmarks of a savage gem in its own right, slashing as it does sacred cows and spoofing TV's executive culture with wickedly sophisticated abandon. It's the best kind of farce in that, like "Sanders," it keeps reality percolating just underneath the surface while nearly always defying expectations.
  27. "The Larry Sanders Show" returns for another season with a full barrel, taking exact aim at backstage eccentricities, connivances and weaknesses. [20 Jun 1994]
    • Variety

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