Variety's Scores

For 1,796 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 The Larry Sanders Show: Season 6
Lowest review score: 10 Painkiller Jane: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 702
  2. Negative: 0 out of 702
702 tv reviews
  1. 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.
  2. Hosted by Vice founder Shane Smith--hardly a natural on camera--the magazine nevertheless resonates precisely because it zeroes in on unsettling tales of violence and cruelty abroad, at a moment when TV news frequently seems preoccupied with trifles at home.
  3. Human Planet can't match the sweeping grandeur of the nature documentaries that preceded it under the same auspices, "Planet Earth" and "Life." But to paraphrase what a kindly farmer once said to his sheepherding pig, It'll do.
  4. Life on Mars offers fine performers, some arresting images, sly satire and a terrific song score.
  5. In general, the dialogue she [director Marina Zenovich] creates between her interviewees and the comedian’s own words and routines, seen in extended excerpts, makes for a highly fascinating exchange that shortchanges no one, least of all the outspoken Pryor himself.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Christy could capture the Waltons and Little House on the Prairie crowds but should also have broader appeal, given the more complex setting and lack of sentimentality.
  6. A documentary that stands nearly as tall as its subject, with the only real flaw being the relatively short shrift afforded to his post-hoops endeavors.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This splendidly acted melodrama delivers a bloody good time barreling toward oblivion, delivering enough political intrigue, violence and sex to slake even the most debauched viewing appetites.
  7. 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.
  8. Unlike "Seinfeld" or "The Larry Sanders Show," which stretch the boundaries of the half-hour comedy form, "Home Improvement" is quite simply an example of the most conventional sitcom evolved to its highest form. All the characters are capable of getting laughs, and the broad physical comedy, added to the show's clever visual style, deftly cut across demographic lines. [9 Mar 1994]
    • Variety
  9. Toy Story of Terror! is about a quarter the length of the average animated feature, but everything else here could easily be mistaken for the bigscreen version, from the pacing and humor to Michael Giacchino’s score.
  10. Although we've seen no shortage of zombies and post-apocalyptic stories, producer-writer-director Frank Darabont has deftly tackled the seemingly perilous task of adapting a comicbook about zombies into a viable episodic series.
  11. Trudeau and his team continue to deliver a show that, while perhaps not the out-and-out smartest scripted inside-the-Beltway series around, qualifies at the very least for the runoff.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    TV needs another cop drama like it needs another makeover show, but when the genre gets an injection of energy like this, attention must be paid. [1 Oct 2003, p.4]
    • Variety
  12. What has the potential to be absurd--a title pun in search of a series--plays, albeit slowly, as taut and absorbing.
  13. "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.
  14. Clearly, there are few more durable figures in fiction, but capturing the fundamental appeal of Holmes is quite another matter. And on that level, Sherlock cannily cracks the case.
  15. Like "Manchurian Candidate," Homeland does some of its best work via flashbacks to Brody's time in captivity, sprinkling additional tidbits with each glimpse into the past.
  16. Bright and breezy, The Middleman manages the increasingly rare feat of being knowing but not snide. It's a show, frankly, for people who love (and have probably watched too much) TV. By that standard, it's far from the middle, but rather rises straight to the top.
  17. The Man in the High Castle has a solid opening episode and gains weight and heft as it goes, in part due to fantastic world-building.
  18. Not every beat works, but after watching an hour it was hard not to stick with The Returned for the full ride.
  19. It's reassuring to see the program refocused and mostly back on track as it opens its fourth season, which finds new torments with which to plague its central trio, as well as a plethora of showy guest stars in deliciously perverse roles. [31 Aug 2006, p.6]
    • Variety
  20. The second-season opener, fortunately, featured a couple of knockout, buzzworthy moments as well as a tantalizing new plot thread, promising that this suburban soap's back alleys and side streets have plenty of stories left to divulge. [27 Sep 2005]
    • Variety
  21. On the surface, the concept of Criminal Intent seems like a gimmicky way to milk some of the success from its predecessors, but in the capable hands of exec producers Wolf and Rene Balcer, who also serve as the show's head writers, it makes for taut, engaging television. This self-perpetuating franchise of cops and lawyers is hardly running out of steam. [28 Sept 2001, p.8]
    • Variety
  22. Rectify is a more-than-credible addition to the DVR menu--one more worthy option as we escape into our own little electronic cells of solitary amusement.
  23. Flitting among three storylines, it's smart, nimble and best of all, funny, while actually making a point about the evolving nature of what constitutes "family."
  24. A slickly produced and irresistibly engrossing docu series that offers a multilayered look at various forms of politics.
  25. Somewhat diluted in its split focus on Richard Nixon’s presidential malfeasance and the movie devoted to those acts, the two-hour doc doesn’t break much new ground, but does pore over familiar terrain, and its lingering implications, in an entertaining way.
  26. The feature format is better suited to heroes with clearly defined goals and a fixed timeframe in which to achieve them, whereas Olive Kitteridge has more existential concerns on its mind. That may lead to viewer attrition, as auds tune in for the first hour but may not be necessarily hooked to the end, though each successive episode takes those who remain deeper into the family’s private world.
  27. Whatever its chemistry, the show surely knows how to go for the throat. And like its mythical night-prowlers, once Blood sucks you in, its attraction is awfully difficult to resist.

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