Variety's Scores

For 1,938 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 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 57
Highest review score: 100 Gideon's Crossing: Season 1
Lowest review score: 10 Cavemen: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 768
  2. Negative: 0 out of 768
768 tv reviews
  1. Outsiders is slow going in its opening chapters, and the best hope for the 13-episode run is that the series does generally improve as it progresses, by the fourth and fifth episodes finding moments of dark humor, while hostilities between the corporate interests and the family gradually escalate. Although Morse is compelling as always--boozing, scheming and defiant by turns--the real standout is Wright as the stammering, weary sheriff.
  2. House could well be one of those development stories where the operation is successful but the patient still dies. A well-made medical hour with an intriguing star, the show feels somewhat mismatched with Fox's lineup and instantly stale based on its resemblance to NBC's "Medical Investigation," which was clearly grown in the same Petri dish. [15 Nov 2004, p.4]
    • Variety
  3. A series that departs from past pay TV heavyweights in possessing no more heft than a pleasant breeze. Then again, amid all the tumult in today's busy and bustling dramas, that may be just the sort of soothing balm that could make both HBO and an acceptable swatch of its viewers happy.
  4. The series is anything but ordinary, a cosmic blend of high school angst and otherworldly intrigue.
  5. Michael C. Hall's portrayal of the title character remains a towering achievement, one that eclipses the show's other shortcomings and rough patches.
  6. It’s plenty interesting stuff, including the various creative forces at play in the era, as well as its seamier aspects. Yet even with the benefit of a two-hour launch, the premiere unfolds in a manner that can feel as scattered and undisciplined as the headlining acts--not just in its bouncing chronology, but the extended, dreamlike sequences that seek to convey.
  7. Promising ... The comic timing by limber Malick and by SNL's Spade, Segal's nifty interp[retation] of Gallo, the warm self-assurance of San Giacomo and a bright premise concocted by Levitan and director MacKenzie add up to something worth checking out. [4 Mar 1997]
    • Variety
  8. Savage is just fine as the sharp boy with lots of ideas, and Daniels is excellent in what might have been a routine role. Writers Michael Jacobs and April Kelly have even included a message in the format -- the value of love, something Cory presumably learns. [23 Sept 1993]
    • Variety
  9. Created by Ted Griffin and produced with "The Shield's" Shawn Ryan, Terriers is all about atmosphere. The individual cases aren't particularly enthralling, the characters are kind of a downer, yet each hour ended with enough momentum to drag me somewhat grudgingly into the next.
  10. Mosley and Daniels bring an easygoing banter to the central roles, and the series has considerable fun with the bluer aspects of the job. That said, the show’s preoccupation with below-the-belt comedy risks growing a trifle tedious even after the three previewed episodes.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Taut and tense, show boasts the twists, turns, gadgets and gimmicks made famous by its Las Vegas-set progenitor. It could, however, use a dash of personality --- everybody is relentlessly dour. [20 Sep 2002]
    • Variety
  11. Distinguished by a top-flight cast, including Joan Allen and Andrew McCarthy, this soap is a slow but reasonably compelling burn, with abundant possibilities wrapped in its opening hours.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Yes, it's sentimental and often strains credibility. But Dangerous Minds is also keenly humane, a belligerent bulwark against cynicism. Moreover, Potts heads a terrific ensemble that makes you care about these kids and this teacher. [30 Sept 1996]
    • Variety
  12. Through three episodes the series manages to mine the arbitrary nature of her predicament without being cloying--no small feat, given the venue and subject matter.
  13. Briskly paced if relatively unimpressive in its sets and effects (one "alien" more than anything resembles a Vegas showgirl), Torchwood has the fixings of a thinking-man's sci-fi series that doesn't take itself too seriously.
  14. There's a breezy charm to the show.
  15. While certainly not bad, the series would be better if it came with fewer built-in speed bumps, and a little more narrative momentum.
  16. Goodman does a fine job of helping the experts to explain the science, from the use of graphics to the way news footage is woven into the film. But Emperor of All Maladies also stalls at times along the way, to the point where a more focused treatment and fewer anecdotal stories, condensed to two nights, would have likely been beneficial all around.
  17. Girls continues to operate in a very limited range, both benefiting from, and in some ways handcuffed by, its generational specificity.
  18. Filled with arresting imagery, much of the action takes place in a beyond-creepy L.A. hotel.... There’s almost an indifference to story--after the premiere, it’s hard to see a huge motivation to watch in order to unlock the show’s lingering mysteries.
  19. Brotherhood certainly has its moments and does an especially artful job conveying violence in a brutal but not gratuitous way--one that's often more harrowing precisely because of its restraint. Ultimately, though, once you get past the brothers, the whole thing's a bit too grim.
  20. 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Main problem: Skein's star, Kathryn Morris, is a puzzle. She's unique and capable, but her energy is low and there's zero warmth.
  21. This is a template as well-worn as "Marcus Welby, M.D.," albeit with greater visual style and an accelerated pace--as well as an underlying "pay it forward" message about organ donation.
  22. "Family Guy" begins its new life with a slightly more assured mix of satire and non sequiturs while still displaying the kind of hit-miss joke ratio that doesn't quite belong in the major leagues. [28 Apr 2005]
    • Variety
  23. Credit Jones and MacArthur with wringing about as much mileage as they can out of scenes where the two are thisclose to kissing before experiencing some spectacular interruption, but there’s only so far one can go on jokes that feel so well worn.
  24. Tyrant finds more nuance in these episodes, as well as some pretty overt biblical overtones in Barry’s emotional arc. And while the character remains a rather tepid protagonist, his role in driving the story is mitigated by the unfolding events in Abbudin.
  25. [It] lacks the flavor of the original and would have worked better under a different title.
  26. Rhimes (who co-wrote the premiere with Marti Noxon) weaves the dense web of life-or-death medicine and romantic whimsy well enough, and the program is so slickly written and performed it's easy to overlook the familiar patterns that are emerging; still, it would behoove both the characters and show to take a deep breath and find the key players some kind of extracurricular hobby--even if that just means lusting after strangers, perhaps, instead of co-workers.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    By the end of night one, however, the show grows intriguing, and the second and third episodes are more engrossing. Then episode four begins to drag, and the fifth hour feels like filler until the inevitable reveal, which, alas, isn't equal to the build-up.

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