Variety's Scores

For 1,422 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 8.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 Five: Season 1
Lowest review score: 10 Painkiller Jane: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 550
  2. Negative: 0 out of 550
550 tv reviews
  1. Ray and his brood--either extended or related by blood--simply aren't interesting enough to merit more than a one-off.
  2. Life Is But a Dream simply plays like a video diary, a less-salacious version of the brand of self-confessional "celeb-reality" shows overpopulating cable TV, albeit with lower-octane stars.
  3. The shiny exterior and show-within-a-show construct can't obscure the pilot's general incoherence--or nagging questions about where any of this might be heading.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    There's not a lot of originality being shown here, which is distressing to see in an initial effort that's so glacially paced. The audience literally knows what's coming and is forced to wait for the conclusion for the scenario to come to fruition.
  4. Phil Spector is watchable, but given the lofty expectations raised by HBO movies, it’s also the cinematic equivalent of a bad hair day.
  5. Other than enjoying Maslany in multiple characters, wigs and accents, there’s nothing so distinctive about the plot as to provide an incentive to hang around long enough to sort out all the gory details regarding who might want to eliminate them.
  6. The cloak-and-dagger stuff, however, proves terribly mild, and the romance stiff and hackneyed.
  7. Other than having an African-American woman as the protagonist, though, this feels like any number of similar movies and series, where cops must decide how far they’ll go (do cocaine? Shoot a guy the boss has tied up?) to protect their cover and get the job done. More fundamentally, the show’s naughty bits feel particularly gratuitous.
  8. It’s hard to escape a sense that in a slightly earlier era, this sort of enterprise would have been offered as Saturday-afternoon syndicated filler as opposed to a ready-for-primetime player.
  9. Defiance isn’t any worse than some of the so-so international imports Syfy has picked up to add original spice to its lineup, but the ingenuity that went into the process of conceiving the game and show together--as well as the nifty look, visual effects and makeup--simply aren’t matched by similar effort regarding story and plot.
  10. The Borgias remains a serious letdown as well, so grim and joyless it’s hard to derive much satisfaction from seeing Jeremy Irons in a role he was seemingly born to play.
  11. If the underlying formula is as old as “Dark Shadows,” there’s still a need for more narrative momentum than the 13-episode series initially delivers.
  12. With a concept and general feeling this tired, when it comes to forging any lasting bonds, Family will likely discover water is thicker than blood.
  13. Instead of mining the opportunity to expand its view of a meaty topic, Newlyweds falls back on the sort of bad habits that can ruin a relationship (made-for-TV or otherwise), and far from being fabulous in its design, has instead recycled Bravo’s same old pattern.
  14. For anyone engaged in this discussion, merely capturing how the Constitution remains relevant can’t help but feel a trifle wishy-washy and simplistic.
  15. Lehman’s character is allowed to exhibit a bit of a personal life, but for the most part the series doesn’t stray far from its criminal motif. Nor do other members of the squad have enough material to register beyond a blip.
  16. Beyond the central duo’s initially sparsely connected threads and the splendid addition of Peter Sarsgaard as Ray Seward, a hollow-eyed Death Row inmate, much of the narrative meanders--so slow, bleak and dreary, it’s difficult to muster much interest as to when (inevitably) it’s all going to begin to intersect.
  17. Forgive TNT for returning to the ampersand well (following “Rizzoli & Isles” and “Franklin & Bash”), but creatively speaking, this is all fairly stale & mediocre.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Has a heart of gold, but ends up delivering no big laughs and leaving no lasting impressions. [6 Oct 2000, p.24]
  18. Any guilty-pleasure potential is spoiled by the unsettling aftertaste of a real person losing his life to make the movie possible.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Fahey could turn into an appealing lead if given more opportunity to loosen up. [1 Feb 1995]
  19. Ultimately, one needn’t be a purveyor of snark to view The Newsroom as a disappointment--too smart to be dismissed, but so abrasive as to feel like Media Lectures for Dummies.
  20. Unfortunately, Allison is such a passive heroine that it's hard to get too involved with her, and Arquette doesn't bring much life to the role. Moreover, the episodes made available are virtually devoid of supporting players or any workplace tension to augment her relatively staid (by TV standards, anyway) home life. [3 Jan 2005]
  21. As a director, Nigel Lythgoe works the judge's reaction shots, often forgetting wallflowers enjoy watching the dancers, not other wallflowers. [22 Jul 2005]
  22. There’s still a distinction to be drawn between “light” and “weightless,” which is roughly where this new show registers--in part because the Olivia-Jack relationship is the only aspect with any resonance.
  23. All told, the gags are as indistinguishable from a dozen other cable or Web shows as the generic look is.
  24. Visually uninspired and stiffly animated, the show indulges in lots of talk and little action.
  25. Funny in parts, overlong and out of steam in some taped bits and generally very inside in the humor department. Late night's a good spot for it, but the push for cult appeal in this six-seg series feels forced. [20 Feb 2003, p.10]
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    What you get for the most part is a "thirtysomething" minus the years, the wit, the plot complexities and the rapport between ensemble members. [8 July 1992]
  26. There’s precious little in the two-part premiere to suggest much room for growth, creatively or ratings-wise, in season two.

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