Variety's Scores

For 2,234 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 7.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 The Shield: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Marvel's Inhumans: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 920
  2. Negative: 0 out of 920
920 tv reviews
  1. Ozark is smart, well-crafted, and says something.
  2. While the show is lightweight and enjoyable in all the right ways, it’s more of this same well-trodden genre.
  3. The show’s main issue is that it demonstrates little ability to create or deepen characters who are worth watching, despite their personal deficiencies.
  4. The result is a wildly anachronistic historical drama with tons of flair, albeit flair that is neither original nor meaningful. In its defense, however, it manages to be fun--eventually.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The Defiant Ones tells a compelling story and tells it effectively and well, but its bloated length is a bit hard to justify.
  5. Though the show is very skillfully made and impeccably performed overall, it suffers a little from the bloated storytelling issues that are currently endemic to the industry.
  6. Admittedly, it’s not exactly a novel idea to flip the racial narrative. But “F—k the Police” is surprisingly effective, noting how pervasive the structure of racial oppression by how carefully it works to make its conceit credible. It’s a slightly melodramatic approach, but it’s difficult to stop thinking about, too.
  7. It is likely to be the year’s most painful example of streaming drift. It strands a capable cast in a diffuse, predictable drama that seems less necessary with every minute that ticks by.
  8. Installments runs past the 80-minute mark in order to tell a meandering, unexceptional story that could have used far more ruthless pruning and honing. A bigger problem is the casting of Stefanie Martini in the lead role. The writing does her no favors--it’s obvious and superficial throughout--but Martini brings nothing but a wide-eyed innocence and a bland, earnest tentativeness to the role.
  9. It’s fun, if this type of fun is your cup of tea. ... Kat especially makes for a charming, bold character--and the chemistry between the girls is neither saccharine nor unbelievable. It doesn’t have the streak of darkness that Freeform’s flagship “Pretty Little Liars” does. But The Bold Type makes up for it with a lot of go-girl vim that would make Helen Gurley Brown proud.
  10. 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.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The musical numbers were lively and engaging and the flow of the show was well-paced. The biggest shortcoming was host Kevin Spacey, who just didn’t deliver the same kind of engaging effort as his recent predecessors.
  11. In its fifth season, the most important takeaway is that Orange Is the New Black” is a show that continues to take gutsy, filthy risks--port-a-potties are a major plot device this season, with all the scatological torture that implies --when it could be resting on its beige-uniformed laurels. It works.
  12. Even with a subject as great as Cary Grant, and a take on him that appears to have all its metaphysical Old Hollywood signifiers in place, Becoming Cary Grant is a murky and rather disappointing biographical portrait. T
  13. The first four episodes of Season 2 are focused and fun.
  14. The Putin Interviews is a destabilizing documentary that challenges Americans’ narratives about ourselves and asks the viewer to engage in a conversation with a slippery subject. It’s riveting in how dangerous and intimate it feels, leveraging its multiple camera-angles and hand-held shots to make the viewer feel as if they, too, are in the room with Vladimir Putin.
  15. For all the attempts to make Kelly’s interview of Putin into a dramatic showdown, it was actually very short on dramatics and long on repetition. The next two pieces were reasonably good, but not really up to the level of “60 Minutes,” which is still the reigning champ in the newsmagazine game. ... The final segment was an embarrassment. It was, essentially, a “Kids Say the Darndest Things” type of diversion.
  16. Like “Orange Is the New Black,” Claws is impressive primarily for how genuinely it engages with a disenfranchised underclass (without making it feel as boring or academic as that sounds). ... And though Claws admirably avoids judging this world, it still struggles with tone. The drama can’t quite decide how funny, smart, or pathetic it wants to be, and that can make for a jarring viewing experience.
  17. Its characters are, for the most part, fictional composites. And too often, a number of them are a good deal less interesting than the show’s version of Pryor.
  18. The relevance doesn’t redeem the execution. Plot points take interminable hours to come to fruition, and if the show ever had any sense of fun before, it’s lost it almost entirely. ... At the same time, House of Cards continues to be adept at mimicking and critiquing media narratives, with a facility that tends to transcend the plot of the show.
  19. Twin Peaks: The Return is weird and creepy and slow. But it is interesting. The show is very stubbornly itself--not quite film and not quite TV, rejecting both standard storytelling and standard forms. It’s not especially fun to watch and it can be quite disturbing. But there is never a sense that you are watching something devoid of vision or intention. Lynch’s vision is so total and absolute that he can get away with what wouldn’t be otherwise acceptable.
  20. In the main, The Keepers is a solid work, one whose immediacy and visceral power is not clouded by tendencies toward the exploitative or prurient.
  21. A sappy, passionless, schlocky remake of the original, without even the iota of imagination necessary to expand upon the 1987 film. Nearly every element of the film that caught worldwide audiences’ imaginations has been sanded down into an advertisement-ready imagining of the swinging ‘60s.
  22. Like a number of recent TV movies emanating from HBO, this film is dutiful without being essential.
  23. While there’s pageantry aplenty, the dialogue is littered with too many lumpy Shakespeare-lite lines and some jarring uses of slang.
  24. With its sickly sweet flashbacks to home movies and public-event footage showing the mother-daughter duo as best friends, this slickly packaged documentary combines true-crime material with a certain tonal element of cruel domestic black comedy.
  25. Anne With an E has made a few perplexing choices in how it is adapting “Anne of Green Gables.” But when it comes to bringing Avonlea’s atmosphere to life, and adding depth to a relatively simple story, it succeeds admirably. It’s an adaptation that looks back on a childhood story with adult eyes, to interpret more than just the lines on the page. And fortunately, it is taking its time.
  26. Master of None is keen to integrate this niche experience [first-generation immigrants] with the wider world, which is not hard in this nation of immigrants. It makes for a particularly moving second installment of Dev’s wanderings through the world, asking always the immigrant’s sad and beautiful and perpetual question: “Who am I going to decide to be?”
  27. There is merit to The Sinner, but it remains to be seen if the story will find a way to transcend its hokier elements to tell a larger story about mental illness or post-traumatic survival. Hopefully at some point the show will also explain who the titular sinner is supposed to be.
  28. Episodes one and two jump around to a few different periods in the Nobel Prize winner’s life, but in the early going, Genius quite doesn’t land on the most interesting time frames, or find consistently thoughtful ways to illuminate the eras it does explore.

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