Variety's Scores

For 1,451 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 36% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 61% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 8.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 Breaking Bad: Season 3
Lowest review score: 10 Dane Cook's Tourgasm: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 562
  2. Negative: 0 out of 562
562 tv reviews
  1. Virginia Madsen cuts a fine figure as the matriarch trying to hold her family of four kids together while their dad goes to prison, but the fanciful tone makes the show a little too pastel-colored when a bolder palette would seem to be required.
  2. Aside from the lurid nature of the crimes and some salty language, though, Rizzoli & Isles is just what the title sounds like--a place for second-hand goods at reasonable prices.
  3. Still, the raw materials--from the island setting to the underused Kim and Park--have more potential than punch in the pilot, resulting in just another crime procedural with a nifty blue-sky backdrop.
  4. Despite its modest merits, Life ultimately spends most of its time paddling in the shallow end of the dramatic gene pool.
  5. What's left, then, is Danza playing (and there's really the operative word) at being a teacher, with the show employing the customary musical cues and editing tricks to try to generate suspense about whether he can actually teach the kids to appreciate "Of Mice and Men."
  6. Undercovers has its moments, but the show itself in some respects mirrors the initial problem with the central duo's relationship--comfortable, perhaps, but failing to spark the kind of passion necessary to elicit fidelity from viewers.
  7. This latest legal franchise appears to harbor no such ambitions [as "The Good Wife"]--and the gambling, booze and sexual debauchery associated with the town is inevitably going to be rather tepid and implied, even in a 10 p.m. timeslot. The show would be more defensible, oddly, if its characters could be a trifle sleazier.
  8. Better With You fits in with that lesser two-thirds of ABC's returning sitcom block, and while it's by no means an eyesore, it hasn't done anything to improve the neighborhood.
  9. The Big C gets an "E" for admirable effort but still feels like a squandered opportunity. Given the chance to explore what truly matters in life, the show ultimately provides little more than a showcase for a terrific actress, while treating death like the next slightly zany frontier.
  10. The production has grit, yes, but for all its poking and prodding at what makes the title character and his quarry tick, Thorne never gets under your skin.
  11. It's just that we've seen this movie (or rather, reality-TV show) before, dozens of times, in more glamorous settings. And having each half-hour (two will air back to back) conclude with an auction doesn't really foster much suspense.
  12. Once he got past the opening, very little in the premiere could be called inspired. The set didn't break any ground cosmetically, and director Allan Kartun's fondness for shooting O'Brien from behind during the monologue seemed perplexing, if not distracting.
  13. As handsome as the production is, the nature of Boyd's novel makes the miniseries episodic, and the tone of those encounters tends to be highly uneven. While experiencing abundant tragedy in his life, the protagonist's vulnerability doesn't translate very well in carrying the story, even with such a stalwart trio of actors playing him.
  14. Gold Rush brims with can-do spirit, but such an exercise is only as good as its characters, and after two installments, it's hard to distinguish one prospector from the next.
  15. For the most part, there's nothing here to be ashamed of. It's just that at a time when TV drama is so flush with riches, Shameless plays like a poor relative.
  16. While the varied events coming to the center each week do create comedic possibilities, Sunshine will wax or wane less on what passes through that revolving door than on the underwhelming occupants of its regular offices.
  17. This feels at best like a utility player--a hodge-podge of gameshows past. In other words, if there's anything else compelling to watch on another channel--Whoosh!--look out below.
  18. Halfway through episode two, anybody with a feel for such material will see where every beat is heading, even if the trip there isn't always unpleasant.
  19. Taken on its own terms, this eight-part series--which begins in the middle, months after aliens have invaded Earth, thus turning a ragtag New England band into modern colonial resistance--has its moments action-wise, but the soapier elements mostly fall flat.
  20. Assembled through an open call, the cast (many of whom are 17 or 18) is extraordinarily natural. Where Elsley stumbles--especially in the opener--is the exaggerated dialogue, often more borscht-belt comedian than actual kid.
  21. All told, Fairly Legal feels as if the network--despite riding a nifty string of successes by placing a light spin on familiar genres--has dipped into this particular shallow pool once too often.
  22. Although Harrison's baffled newcomer, Slater's mysterious honcho and the elaborate CalTech-style pranks have potential, there's cause to fear the gizmo-driven plots will become repetitive quickly. And while the pilot is fast-paced--with rapid-fire flashes to visual gags, almost like one of Seth MacFarlane's animated Fox comedies--it's not like the nerd-spy-girl template has enabled "Chuck" to hack its way into the hearts of Nielsen viewers (or at least, their peoplemeters).
  23. Joining the story a decade into the colonists' stay does provide series creator Ben Richards ("MI:5") an opportunity to gradually putty in the backstory, but other than Tate--thanks mostly to Cunningham's commanding presence--it's difficult to determine who we should care about here, beyond the littler matter of the human race's collective survival.
  24. While the playful banter among cops and robbers thrown together on the same side has its moments, the characters aren't strong enough, initially, to set off any alarms.
  25. As is, South Riding (named for its fictional community in Yorkshire) is a handsome production, but not an especially memorable one--conjuring only a few moments worthy of the "Masterpiece" pedigree before riding into the sunset.
  26. What Secret Millionaire has no time to explore, conveniently, are the causes of poverty or any larger issues. It is, essentially, all about creating a cathartic experience, where the millionaire's checks affix band-aids to everything from soup kitchens to kidney-dialysis patients.
  27. That restraint, if that's the right word for it, leaves the program feeling muddled, spending too much time with the younger Borgias--who only live up to the "bore" part--and the labyrinthine workings of Vatican politics.
  28. Happy Endings isn't unpleasant, certainly, but might face the same dilemma as its characters: An inability to make--or at least keep--enough new friends.
  29. So while The Crimson Petal is tough, grim and explicit--and by the last measure provocative, at least relative to those accustomed to Dickens or Austen--the production finally feels unworthy of its length or leading lady.
  30. Cinema Verite harbors some merit, and is worth seeing if only for Lane. That said, it's a disappointingly shallow treatment considering the wealth of potential within the premise and period.

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