Variety's Scores

For 1,567 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 35% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 62% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 8.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 The Shield: Season 1
Lowest review score: 10 Dane Cook's Tourgasm: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 611
  2. Negative: 0 out of 611
611 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. [Ground Floor] yields an occasional chuckle; it’s just more of a slacker than an overachiever.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.”
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. While certainly not bad, the series would be better if it came with fewer built-in speed bumps, and a little more narrative momentum.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.”
  12. 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.
  13. Everything about Last Week Tonight felt like another spin of the latenight-satire wheel, with nary a new groove in it.
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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).
    • 50 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
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Ultimately, there’s more ambition in the concept than ingenuity in the execution.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.

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