Variety's Scores

For 2,067 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 7.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 57
Highest review score: 100 Downton Abbey: Season 1
Lowest review score: 10 Testees: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 833
  2. Negative: 0 out of 833
833 tv reviews
  1. Kitchen Nightmares is shockingly good storytelling and hilarious. This may be the most compelling show of the new season
  2. Breathless is a pretty near flawless condensation of soap-opera conventions into a delicious little package.
  3. Like plots on "Hustle," "24" and "The Shield," there's a bit of incredulousness that comes with each caper. But with persuasive writing, sharp visuals and editing, as well as a steady directorial hand, "Thief" is always convincing.
  4. Perhaps it is a little over-the-top to remind our audience of B-movie thrillers in the midst of what is otherwise a negotiation between several rich adults. But the lingering taste of fear makes The Arrangement into a dark, delicious fantasy, one that feels voyeuristic even when it’s telling a scripted story.
  5. The Walking Dead clearly appears bigger than any of its expendable parts, and unlike those zombies, has a whole lot of life left in it.
  6. Billions is shamelessly entertaining. Don’t come to it looking for an in-depth commentary on the stratification of American society or the pitfalls of late-stage capitalism. This is a generally well-crafted soap opera about rich people, one that crackles with energy and insider knowledge of its well-heeled territory and the narcissistic insiders who live there.
  7. TNT's take on the classic primetime serial is exactly as it should be: Texas-sized, frothy and unwilling to settle for a double-cross when a triple can be executed.
  8. At least within Ullman's cutting overview of America, in fact, it can be reported without reservation that the "State of the Union" is strong.
  9. While light on laugh-out-loud moments, this clever half-hour earns the gold in the category of "wry and bemused."
  10. Buoyed by a riveting supporting performance from Jon Voight, it’s a dense, highly organic world--at its best, playing like a present-day “Chinatown.” More often, it’s eminently entertaining, if not initially quite worthy of a spot alongside TV’s velvet-roped A-list.
  11. While the docu would have benefited from being fleshed out beyond its 40-minute running time, as is, it’s still an effective calling card for the animal-rights agenda.
  12. For anyone familiar with the history--or who even just saw the movie--a lot of this will feel familiar.... Yet even those interludes are played well enough to work in this context, and will certainly come as revelations. And there are several lump-in-the-throat moments in seeing loved ones have to endure watching a husband or father blast into the unknown.
  13. Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds is a droll, spirited, and disarmingly intimate documentary that now feels karmically timed.
  14. Based on two episodes, it’s premature to give the show an unqualified endorsement. But it does represent the kind of drama that should appeal to a sophisticated palate if the ongoing quality justifies first impressions.
  15. The League comes close to the goal of creating a TV show with "The Hangover"-type appeal.
  16. The first installment of the drama does a truly impressive job of establishing a mournful atmosphere, as it sketches out an array of characters worth following on what promises to be a very challenging journey.
  17. Girlfriends’ Guide is for the most part a pleasure, and unlike a lot of the network’s series, there’s nothing guilty about that.
  18. 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
  19. The cast has terrific chemistry, and the second season of the show ably builds on the strengths of the quite enjoyable first.
  20. What makes it work beyond the sitcom-ish sound of that, to the extent it does, is primarily the genial camaraderie between Cam and Reggie, and the genuine warmth among the characters, even when they’re sniping at each other. Give part of the credit to director Ken Whittingham, who brings a natural, unforced quality to those scenes.
  21. Toy Story That Time Forgot--which will be paired with the perennial “A Charlie Brown Christmas”--actually fulfills that time-honored tradition of delivering genuine family fare around the holidays.
  22. The series has settled into a nice groove thanks to the clever writing and strong interplay among the cast.
  23. 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.
  24. At its best, what Homeland achieves better than most is tapping into not just the apprehensions raised by terrorism--and the sacrifices undertaken by those who combat it--but also the moral and political tradeoffs associated with that struggle.
  25. This technically superior project intriguingly mirrors territory the producers explored in tackling Baltimore's mean streets, and while Baghdad's avenues are even meaner, the producers' impeccable craftsmanship is roughly the same.
  26. The pulpy style and brutality (torture is one of Daredevil’s tools) clearly seek a higher sense of realism, which must be balanced against the notion of a blind superhero who can shimmy up walls and whose spectacularly hearing lets him to function, among other things, as a human lie detector. Helpfully, Cox brings the necessary mix of grit and Marvel-esque self-doubts to the dual role.
  27. Simple, low-key (read: cheap) and a great deal of fun, Penn & Teller: Fool Us manages to wed some of the pizzazz associated with old-fashioned variety shows with the peeking-behind-the-curtain quality of “Breaking the Magician’s Code.”
  28. No one will mistake this well-produced but inevitably dialogue-driven piece for pure cinema, but Leon and adapter Paris Qualles open up the play just enough to avoid the usual stage-to-screen claustrophobia.
  29. As written by Sam Esmail, this has the jittery feel of a British thriller, and an absurdist sense of entrenched interests vs. a weird insurgency: a conceit that vaguely recalls Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil.” While commercial prospects appear hazy, it’s hard to remember the last time USA put on anything more intriguing.

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