Slate's Scores

For 684 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 40% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 57% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 5.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 I'll Be Gone in the Dark
Lowest review score: 0 Dads: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 352
  2. Negative: 0 out of 352
352 tv reviews
    • 37 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Murphy’s story, as told by the docuseries, still deeply resonates and entrances as we learn there are secrets about Monjack and her relationship that may still not have been discovered.
  1. The two episodes made available to reviewers are fascinatingly unpolished. ... The [War] episode suffers a little bit from his overfamiliarity. The veterans and spouses he interviews speak well, but some are naturally nervous, and Stewart doesn’t direct the conversation as much as he could.
  2. Every short has something to offer, and something to distinguish itself. From start to finish, it’s a totally remarkable series, and an undeniable argument that taking big risks can result in some of the most interesting art.
  3. The fate of the more sympathetic characters among them is where the drama lies. The ins and outs of the games are thrilling. When the team of scrappy protagonists—male and female, young and old—tugs and tugs at a rope, trying to drag a much stronger, all-male team over a precipice, I cheered for every step back they took, even though them winning would mean a bunch of other people would get crushed to death.
  4. Even as it centers Beanie Feldstein’s generous, humane portrayal of Lewinsky and builds to her abhorrent treatment—and a few good episodes—it keeps heading for more ambiguous waters. ... With repeated exposure to Tripp, the major beneficiary of the show’s overly long episodes, her sourness starts to seem a little hilarious, like she’s a supporting character in The Office, by way of a horror movie. Her mercilessness, her bluntness, the chip on her shoulder coalesce so that you begin to see what Monica might have seen in her.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In its finest moments, The Chair is a workplace farce doled out in tidy 30-minute increments. ... The Chair’s greatest strength is in where it eventually lands: with an accurate, if heightened, sometimes satirical portrayal of what it’s actually like to chair a department (at least from my experience doing so at a private research university).
  5. Some of the season’s episodes largely ignore the cultural context altogether. Each is compelling on its own, but there’s no overall sense of direction. ... Brooklyn Nine-Nine does the best job possible of acknowledging the problem with portraying cops as uncomplicated heroes while still remaining a good-natured, funny show, but it feels fitting, and fortunate, that this is its final season.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    From the moment Emerson appears, it’s clear he knows what show he’s on, just waiting for the rest of the cast to catch up. And as of Season 2, which saw the series jump from CBS to Paramount+, they have. ... Evil knows the evils of humanity are human, and by not taking the face of religion seriously, it can access a real truth: At night, fear of the boogeyman can keep us safe—but so can laughing in the daylight at those same scares.
  6. Where The White Lotus ends up is, in some ways, the slyest joke of all. The Love Boat with class tensions, a smart summer soap, is fundamentally fatalist—and less riotously, a bit didactic. Still I wonder if The White Lotus’ indictment of class and race privilege doesn’t lose a bit of its bite from the company it keeps.
  7. For starters, none of the characters are really interesting, and Billie’s big dilemma basically boils down to thinking that she can’t have both a stable family life and an exciting sex life, a problem that seems to stem more from communication issues than from an actual immutable truth. ... In the end, the show is more soapy than steamy, with groan-worthy lines like, “Time of your life, baby? Yes, please,” spoken without even a hint of irony.
  8. It’s so concerned about empathy it’s a little dull. ... Having money gives these high schoolers a rarefied, strange, challenging life, and on the show it’s the people who don’t have it, who want it, who have their face pressed up to the glass, who get warped. But the show can’t extend this insight as far as it should go.
  9. Whether watching characters spontaneously burst into song causes you to roll your eyes or to perk up in your seat, it’s hard not to be won over by the new musical comedy.
  10. The results are extraordinary. ... Despite its many levels of jokes and meta-jokes, Inside is one of the most sincere artistic responses to the 21st century so far: a beautiful, intricate chambered nautilus shell filled with loathing.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Its refusal to fit in by sanding down character edges or forcing predictable arcs, is so refreshing.
  11. At its best, Devil in Disguise shows how the climate of late-’70s in Middle America fostered sexual exploitation and self-loathing even as it presented the world with a wholesome face. Like most multipart true-crime documentaries on streaming platforms—in this case, Peacock, where it debuts on Friday—Devil in Disguise is too long.
  12. Tucci is eminently watchable, especially when he eats—he tucks into everything, such as a gorgeous zucchini pasta, with enviable fervor, and often communicates how delicious he finds the food through mischievous smiles. Though the context of the pandemic makes the show a bit of a roller coaster in terms of feeling lulled into comfort by Tucci’s inherent charm and then having elbow bumps reawaken us to the ongoing crisis, Searching for Italy still manages to serve up some pretty generous portions of escapism.
  13. The documentary makes the compelling case that the idea of Spears as a woman unfit to take care of herself, as well as the late-aughts breakdown that got her into the conservatorship in the first place, are the end products of the leering and judgmental treatment she’s always faced. ... If I have one quibble with Framing Britney Spears, it’s that it inhabits the new, gentler celebrity culture a little too thoroughly. It glosses Spears purely as victim of our gross culture.
  14. Robyn’s meet-gross with Jewel sets off a pleasingly complicated investigation and meting out of justice with more than enough explosions, costume changes, and social commentary to justify The Equalizer’s cushy premiere slot right after the Super Bowl.
  15. Through Lindholm’s telling, the story of Kim Wall becomes less remote; she is not merely a victim but the reason the story matters at all. ... The Investigation doesn’t soften or tame any of the details. But Lindholm’s approach, in focusing on all of the people and all of the effort that had to go into the case, brings things back down to earth—and marks a next step in the evolution of the true crime genre.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Schafer’s performance (and writing) clearly elevates this episode, holding our attention with everything from a subtle lip quiver to a heart-wrenching sob.
  16. Through the first three episodes, the Marvel mythology recedes even as it provides enough stakes and structure to keep the old-timey sitcom riffs from having to shoulder the series. Over the years there have been all sorts of attempts to bring back the laugh-track sitcom, but WandaVision is more successful than most of them (I know, knock me over with a feather) because it’s all icing on the cake—the cake actually being the grim and complex Marvel mythology and backstory.
  17. The series also doesn’t waste a single minute, packing each and every moment full of suspense. Put all of that together, and it’s an early frontrunner to steal a spot as one of the best shows of the year.
  18. Cage is ultimately just the bait for the series, which, over the course of six 20-minute episodes, goes surprisingly deep into not only each epithet’s origins but the effects of racism and misogyny on what is or isn’t considered taboo, and what can or can’t be reclaimed. If anything, the only pity is that the series isn’t longer; the discussions are fascinating and unusually upfront, and beg a more detailed history than the brief overview can provide.
  19. Reality TV dating shows typically fall into two camps. There’s the free-for-all show like ITV’s Love Island or MTV’s Are You the One, the incentives of which typically have less to do with finding true love than with a significant cash prize and/or free vacation. Then there are the shows with leads—think the behemoth Bachelor franchise—where the prize, so to speak, is officially a relationship and unofficially several Instagram sponsorships. 12 Dates combines the best parts of both while neatly sidestepping the worst.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    While “Rue” did give Zendaya quite a bit to chew on, the episode also makes clear that Levinson’s writing isn’t strong enough to create an entire season of quiet, introspective character studies.
  20. It’s TV chick lit, a rom-com in a foreign location where nothing bad ever happens and the cute protagonist gets laid a lot on her way to having it all. But the complicating thing about Emily in Paris—the best thing about it really, the thing that turns it from a trifle people enjoy into a curiosity they enjoy insulting—is how brittle its protagonist is.
  21. This is a highly professional endeavor, and there’s nothing (too) embarrassing happening here. The show’s self-seriousness leans toward the dull more than the ridiculous, although some ridiculousness would be more fun. It doesn’t help that Rock, who has described this as the best part he’s “ever, ever, ever” had, is in such single-mindedly dramatic mode that he does not bring any looseness or lightness to his role
  22. If you can get past reservations about Ray’s idealization of Comey, Part 2 of The Comey Rule becomes a mesmerizing dramatization of a soul being slowly crushed.
  23. The resulting character, swoony in love, a loyal if misguided friend, a competent administrator, a practitioner only of techniques she believes help, is more sympathetic, but also more banal. No longer a chilling avatar of implacable, self-satisfied state violence who needs no reason to exist other than that the system will always find people like her to keep running, Nurse Ratched is now just another poor, misunderstood antihero.
  24. The show is fun enough. ... This dependence on objective scoring makes the actual experience of watching the show way less exciting than any random karaoke night at your local bar. During each performance, the vocal analyzer scrolls left to right across the bottom of the screen, showing us every note that the singer didn’t quite nail. The result is that we end up watching the scoreboard, not the game.

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