Variety's Scores

For 1,567 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 8.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 56
Highest review score: 100 Downton Abbey: Season 3
Lowest review score: 10 The Ten Commandments
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 611
  2. Negative: 0 out of 611
611 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. As usual, it's a new kid who provides a wide-eyed introduction to the shenanigans, though nothing in the pilot conjures any genuine magic, TV-wise.
  18. Given the emphasis on soapy doings and shiny exteriors, the serial threatens to short-change its most interesting attributes, glancingly commenting on issues pertaining to sociology and the sexual revolution (such as a Bunny marveling, "I make more money than my father") while lacking the latitude to truly probe them.
  19. The series generally gets the mood right but proves miserly in the details, from fleeting glimpses of the werewolf to Scott's eventual moon dance, which leaves him looking too much like Eddie Munster.
  20. It's the very epitome of Winfrey's pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps," live your best life" motto. For all that, she's a poor object of sympathy--whining about having squandered a privileged and pampered existence few could imagine ever enjoying.
  21. Strike Back does incorporate a few wrinkles regarding its leads, with hints of a larger plot to guide its 10 episodes. Mostly, though, pretty much everyone is reduced to geopolitical stereotypes--starting with the American cowboy and more cautious (if equally sweaty and buff) Brit.
  22. In this case, being respectful comes pretty close to donning a straightjacket. Fortunately, there's enough interest in the couple to provide a built-in audience for this modestly scaled (shot in Bucharest) exercise.
  23. Despite cosmetic flourishes (this time even Bosley has six-pack abs) and a few modest wrinkles, it's hard to escape feeling this is the same old excuse to put "babes" in skimpy outfits, both to thwart evil and inspire swearing off fatty foods.
  24. As is, the pilot created by Emily Kapnek ("Hung") and directed by Michael Fresco finds some warmth in the father-daughter bond and labors rather feebly to expose Hines' character in a less-than-harsh light, but the too-familiar start doesn't bode well for consistently tapping into such elements.
  25. Adopting a kitchen-sink approach, Ringer dumps out so many bread crumbs at the outset it's hard not to wonder where they might lead.
  26. Other than Cummings' slightly off-kilter view of relationships as writer and star, Whitney as a construct is more spindly than her legs.
  27. While the diverse mix of characters could work to the program's advantage over the long haul, jumping to and fro among them creates a diluted, herky-jerky ride in the early going.
  28. After three installments, The Fades' existential components remain somewhat muddled, with the portentous warnings offering small compensation or incentive to hang around long enough to see whether mankind survives.
  29. O'Donnell's program didn't exhibit the fireworks one might have expected, allocating most of the hour to guest Russell Brand, in an interview that was relaxed, charitably, but almost wholly uninteresting.
  30. As for Good Vibes, think of it as another one of those ho-hum waves you can safely let roll by.

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