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. One of the sharpest-looking comedy pilots in recent years.
  2. It could be a "Wonder Years" for a new generation.
  3. Not all "The Sopranos'" flights of fancy pan out... but it never fails to fascinate, creating a completely organic world in which it's easy to forget the art and artifice that go into realizing Chase's vision.
  4. This is the jewel Showtime has sought for years.
  5. Despite mining what appears to be a played-out lode (yet another showbiz-insider comedy, complete with self-effacing celebrity cameos), the pair find hearty laughs in discomfort, elicit riotous turns from their guest stars and even manage a touch of pathos in the travails of the show's hapless hero.
  6. Standing head and shoulders above this fall's other seedlings.
  7. Based on the seven episodes previewed, it's every bit as cynical, riveting and brilliant as the four flights that preceded it--a searing look at the decay of a major American city that puts most of what's on television to shame.
  8. Crisp and tense, this Sci Fi Channel staple looks destined to make a headlong plunge toward the finish line in pursuit of that elusive place called Earth.
  9. As with any great series, Mad Men is becoming richer as these plot strands grow, establishing an engrossing serialized life beyond the hip, reverberating cultural references that demonstrate the smoking-drinking-closeted '60s aren't necessarily "good ol' days" to be mourned, despite the cheery Norman Rockwell image that cultural conservatives proffer.
  10. All told, it's an impeccably rendered piece, down to the smallest details--the kind of lush, meticulous little parcel that relatively few outlets these days have the means or latitude to cultivate.
  11. This hour finds the cast in fine form, but the most interesting crumb to emerge might be Weiner's apparent rumination on the program's success and--speaking through his protagonist--his own heightened profile since the series took off.
  12. If you're not enamored of jazz, Treme's extended musical interludes will play like something of a slog, and keeping track of the disparate stories is nettlesome at first. Fortunately, the talent on display--particularly Goodman, Alexander, and "Wire" alums Pierce (a New Orleans native) and Peters--is such that watching them read the phone book would be superior to much of what's on TV.
  13. Dexter will be hard-pressed to match the big twists that punctuated last season, but the latest campaign is off to an impressive--and impressively unpredictable--start.
  14. If Beyond is deficient in any respect, it's in the minimal follow-up....Still, that amounts to a quibble regarding a series that, unlike most of what passes for "reality TV," feels truly authentic--and sobering.
  15. In short, coming off the first season's solid ratings, Justified pretty much looks like a home run for FX, which has been getting by lately on singles and doubles.
  16. Game of Thrones excels on multiple levels--with its splendid ensemble cast (able to sell even the clunkier fantasy dialogue), intricate palace machinations, sly humor and growing sense of inevitable conflict. The production's look is a wonder, showcasing a variety of environments (lensing was in Northern Ireland and Malta) and ornate sets and costumes that approximate the feel of a theatrical blockbuster.
  17. The show doesn't just go down smoothly; it's good to the last illicit, intoxicating drop.
  18. Granted, parts of the series feel like a rehash of "March of the Penguins," but there's enough jaw-dropping footage in this seven-part undertaking--including one installment devoted strictly to how the footage was captured--that nobody with even vague interest in the subject matter should be left feeling cold.
  19. HBO has the ingredients for a series that puts nearly every other genre offering to shame.
  20. Sherlock weds the old and new in much the way Holmes solves his cases--making a complicated process look almost effortless.
  21. Simply put, the third season further confirms the show is as handsome, well cast and impeccably crafted as anything on TV.
  22. Once the narrative begins hitting its stride in the second episode, it's clear the program remains on a rarefied creative tier, tantalizingly mixing terrific performances with anything-can-happen edge.
  23. The way the movie unfolds is fascinating, featuring the best work of Miller's career, and Jones so inhabiting Hitchcock--trapped within his grotesque frame--as to quickly get past impersonation to a darker portrayal of genius.
  24. The smartest teen-oriented drama since "Freaks and Geeks." A unique and inspired looked at teen angst shrouded in a P.I. show.
  25. Situations are on target, characters are strong, the dialogue bright. Nothing's extraneous as director James Burrows keeps a tight rein on the brisk, smart exercise.
  26. From these visits spin every Soprano tale --- some morose, some wickedly funny, all uncommonly personal --- and its distinctive tone will capture a patient audience looking for an intelligent episodic that isn't sex and shoot-'em-ups. [4 Jan 1999, p.67]
    • Variety
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    If "The Sopranos" is an explosive show, brimming with layers of deception and betrayal, Six Feet Under is an implosive one, built upon a foundation of repression. [3 June 2001, p.29]
    • Variety
  27. An original from the outset, blending artful dialogue and sharp performances with Schlamme's sure directorial hand to construct an hour of sublime soapiness. [21 Sept 1999, p.10]
    • Variety
  28. The most entertaining new comedy premiering in primetime this fall, precisely because it doesn't look or feel like anything else the networks are tossing against the wall. It cleverly defies all of the dreary fall sitcom trends: black people moving into white neighborhoods, single parents struggling to hold housefuls of screaming brats in line, gay men yearning to make sense of a straight world, and young adults basically acting like idiots. [21 Sept 1998, p.44]
    • Variety
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There's lots of good stuff to recommend Homicide. Performances are uniformly strong, above normal level of series work. It's a class act; all techs are superior, including excellent photography by Wayne Ewing and editing by Jay Rabinowitz. [29 Jan 1993]
    • Variety

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