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 The Shield: Season 1
Lowest review score: 10 Painkiller Jane: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 562
  2. Negative: 0 out of 562
562 tv reviews
  1. "The Daily Show" spinoff has gotten off to an impressive start with a topnotch premiere followed by a respectable second outing that underscores just how challenging it will be to sustain this half-hour high-wire act four nights a week.
  2. Smart, tense, intellectually provocative and, perhaps most of all, unpredictable, this is popcorn TV of the highest order--even if the final act doesn't entirely measure up (albeit not for lack of trying) to the splendid opening installment.
  3. Lights proves not only that it's possible to produce a smart drama with teenage characters, but that a series can be better than the movie (itself inspired by a bestselling book) that spawned it.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The show's minscule budget has turned into one of its greatest assets, using real-life Austin locales and citizens to bring an authenticity that only adds to the drama.
  4. His exploration of an aging latenight franchise is so bracingly smart it's sure to hook discriminating viewers.
  5. FX has often made its bones by seeking to push the pay-cable envelope in terms of standards, sometimes gratuitously so; Damages demonstrates that envelope-pushers needn't be edgier, necessarily, just smarter.
  6. The challenge, structurally, will be finding a way to keep these characters interacting (logic that already seems a bit strained in the pilot) as the incident drifts into the distance.
  7. Somewhat plodding through its opening hour, "Elizabeth I" gains steam and then soars through its concluding installment.
  8. With the larger narrative diminished, what remains are the smaller moments. There Hall's terrific performance--full of sly wit and contradictions--elevates the show
  9. A slickly produced and irresistibly engrossing docu series that offers a multilayered look at various forms of politics.
  10. If this prequel can maintain the quality of its initial salvo, that will likely motivate at least those viewers to beseech whatever gods they pray to that Caprica be blessed with a prolonged stay in this place called Earth.
  11. State of Mind is a smart and edgy series featuring a fresh and talented cast, solid writing, good music and a great premise.
  12. While the characters here haven't yet had the chance to become as interesting as Carrie Bradshaw and company, this great adaptation of Gigi Levangie Grazer's story should help fill the void left by "Sex and the City."
  13. The facts, then, are these: Pushing Daisies isn’t perfect, but there’s no other dance on TV remotely like it. And to echo last season’s review, that alone is reason to hope it finds a way to avoid death’s touch.
  14. Well cast, with a sturdy central presence in Jimmy Smits as the adopted son handed the keys to the kingdom.
  15. This series about suburban angst circa 1976 exhibits rare depth for the procedural-packed web, and includes plenty of nifty touches, from the pop-song score and "Boogie Nights" fashions to the first-rate cast.
  16. Under director David Nutter and show-runner Josh Friedman, the first two hours roll a slick brand extension off this profitable assembly line.
  17. Kitchen Nightmares is shockingly good storytelling and hilarious. This may be the most compelling show of the new season
  18. Although this series isn't for everybody, it's the kind of solid single HBO can use while waiting for a new batch of heavy hitters to arrive; it's a refreshing favorite within the YouTube quadrant that won't leave their elders muttering about the crap those damn kids watch.
  19. There are still moments when the writers' Geppetto-like manipulation is too apparent, but the revelations that pile on week to week help smooth over those excesses--as does the simple pleasure of watching the intellectual tennis match as Byrne goes toe-to-toe with Paul's resistant, each-damaged-in-their-own-way clientele.
  20. Chuck possesses modest charm, impressive stunt work and another mildly appealing reluctant hero.
  21. Crews quirky mannerisms don't overwhelm the plot, and the show does strikes a nice balance between whimsy and its much darker backstory.
  22. In pulling these tried-and-true elements together, Smith and series creators Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters also garnish Reaper with several deft little touches--like pegging the Dept. of Motor Vehicles as a hiding-in-plain-sight portal to Hell, or the appropriate strains of Blue Oyster Cult's 'Don't Fear the Reaper.'
  23. Year two is actually more compelling and fun, morphing from the twin themes of bachelorhood and longing into tackling the challenges of monogamy--especially when one partner's lurid past keeps colliding with the present.
  24. Life on Mars offers fine performers, some arresting images, sly satire and a terrific song score.
  25. Proving that lightning can and does strike twice, High School Musical 2 actually surpasses the first movie in sheer energy and verve.
  26. The show's blessings, however, are more earthy - beginning with Hunter, who oozes anger, sexuality and irreverence, sometimes all at once. San Giacomo is perfectly cast as her friend and sounding board, and Johnson, Rippy and Woodbine all deliver solid support, with the jailhouse sequences among the show's best.
  27. The intriguing pilot takes its time, leaving an element of mystery surrounding the show's direction, but if the entree remains equal to this appetizer, the cable net may have a prestige show on its hands.
  28. Foremost, the series operates on a number of levels, beginning with its effortless, nostalgic cool and subtle re-litigation of the culture wars -- revealing how the pre-Vietnam era wasn't always so grand for women and minorities. Those tiers smartly coexist with big-business shenanigans and sudsy family drama--an intoxicating stew for demanding viewers, but one likely forever destined to blunt the show's broad mainstream appeal.
  29. Mind Control is much cooler than your average foray into this realm, and by whatever methods its host employs, he has pretty well convinced me to watch again

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