Variety's Scores

For 1,934 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 The Wire: Season 3
Lowest review score: 10 Category 7: The End of the World: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 765
  2. Negative: 0 out of 765
765 tv reviews
  1. The net effect, though, has a slightly tired feel to it--or at least, one that doesn’t feel wholly worthy of Netflix’s premium-TV niche. Indeed, in terms of laughs, the show essentially peaks in its first few minutes.
  2. Surprisingly witty...Hardly great comedy, program still has spirit and Asher and Manasseri, who are good, developing comedians. [4 Mar 1994]
    • Variety
  3. The competent but uninspiring two-hour pilot doesn't deliver the kind of thrills destined to rock anyone else's world.
  4. The show is mildly likable, with Chris Geere and Aya Cash as the grudgingly involved central couple, who chafe at any suggestion they might settle down or become boring like, well, other people. The central joke, however, has a repetitive quality, and if series creator Stephen Falk brings a singular voice to the proceedings, it’s partially dulled by the fact that every character essentially speaks with it.
  5. The well-traveled Carell is a very talented guy, from "The Daily Show" to "Anchorman," but understatement and restraint are hardly his forte. As a consequence, he plays Michael bigger, and therefore harder to endure, than Gervais did --- a fine line that's significant in such a delicately balanced comedy. [24 Mar 2005]
    • Variety
  6. While the title character is consistently rough and the language blue, in subsequent episodes (Showtime sent six out for review) the series increasingly feels like all style and limited substance--a star showcase that's less "triumphant return" than "Nice to have you back, but ..."
  7. As trite as it sounds, the series plays it all earnestly enough for its target audience, and the show is beautifully shot in North Carolina, the basketball mecca where the fictional town is set. Even the sports scenes are well staged (in the pilot, anyway) and less schlocky than "The White Shadow" norm, with Lafferty, at least, looking like he's actually got game. [23 Sept 2003, p.13]
    • Variety
  8. Agents of SHIELD remains a flawed construct, but the less viewers thinks about that, the more they’re apt to enjoy it.
  9. Given the acerbic nature of Savage’s commentary, in fact, the tone of the series seems to offer a window onto the edge-blunting nature of ABC’s development process. That doesn’t invalidate the show, necessarily, but it does render it somewhat toothless.
  10. At this point, about all one can definitively say is whether the cast has potential (they do) and the situations are involving (they aren’t, unless you’re predisposed to such nonsense). On the plus side, the producers pay sly homage to the program’s roots without appearing beholden to it, indicating that the show will have the latitude to evolve into its own entity.
  11. In short, if you come for the sex, you'll only stay for the characters, and those represent an intriguing but decidedly mixed bag.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    "Conviction" does exhibit a bit more creative promise than "Trial by Jury."
  12. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright remain splendid as the central couple, but with their quest for power having succeeded, series architect Beau Willimon seems forced to resort to unconvincing contortions to maintain the drama. Even then, the first half of Season 3 feels flimsy.
  13. What the production most sorely lacks, though, is a strong sense of cohesion, which often makes the hours play more like loosely assembled snapshots of the war without a compelling hook to pull the audience along. Nor do any of the key performers really distinguish themselves, dwarfed as they are by the general sense of pageantry--the sound and fury--that usually surrounds them.
  14. If it’s a flawed exploration of the old nature-vs.-nurture debate, the players and Mei’s predicament consistently make it interesting.
  15. For reality TV’s survival subgenre, the inside of a jail is one of the last frontiers, the claustrophobic flip side of stranding people on a remote island or in the Alaskan wilderness. That A&E somehow managed to deliver that experience with 60 Days In--an undeniably compelling if highly questionable concept--is a dubious achievement, from the ethical concerns to the thought process that inspired the Indiana officials who gave the go-ahead to this idea.
  16. The loony group conjures some witty moments, but the tiny conceptual wrinkle differentiating these half-hours--which ABC will air back to back--tends to yield diminishing returns.
  17. This ABC comedy is the equivalent of a big fat pitch over the heart of plate, and will need to get mileage out of more characters, but what’s here has the potential to hold its lineup spot between leadoff hitter “The Middle” and ratings slugger “Modern Family.”
  18. It has a few points going for it: Mandy Patinkin's onscreen magnetism; some truly eerie episodes; and a smartness that it wears on its sleeve. On the downside, it draws on too many other recent hits -- "CSI," "Crossing Jordan," "Medium," "House," "Law & Order: SVU""Law & Order: SVU" -- for visual style, character tics, mind games and an ability to find the truth in confounding evidence.
  19. The early episodes, moreover, are too chaotic and scattered (the Wachowskis’ Netflix series “Sense8” comes to mind), even with the framing device of the month-long countdown to impact. Stick with it, though, and the series begins to throw in some peculiar twists.
  20. Fitfully funny, there's undeniable energy but also obvious limitations to this approach, which perhaps explains each half-hour's segmentation into back-to-back 11-minute episodes.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    What's missing is some reality; comparatively, "NYPD Blue," "Homicide" and so many other cop skeins offered more authenticity, while this comes off as something made to please a focus group. [22 Sep 2004]
    • Variety
  21. 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.
  22. Producer/director/co-writer Jeffrey Roth spent extensive time with the man and endeavors to humanize him, but ultimately delivers a film long on biography and short on insight.
  23. 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.
  24. The show does spring out of the box boasting snappy dialogue ... What the show doesn't have is an original premise... or a compelling dynamic between [Debra] Messing and co-star Eric McCormack. [16 Sep 1998]
    • Variety
  25. Lacking "Prison Break's" tough milieu and its initial narrative drive, "Vanished" doesn't exactly scream "Watch me." Nevertheless, it's polished enough and very much a work in progress.
  26. A standard cowboys ‘n’ Indians, good vs. evil horse opera where good looks and good shots come together for the good of mankind.
  27. 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.
    • 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

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