Variety's Scores

For 3,089 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 37% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 59% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 8.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average TV Show review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Better Things: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 The Duchess: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 1347
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1347
1347 tv reviews
  1. Taken on their own, then, the first four episodes of “Westworld’s” fourth season are often fun, with spiky and interesting moments sprinkled amid other elements that feel like filler. As a serious fan of the show’s early going, I will settle for “often fun.” But it’s hard to imagine that “Westworld’s” two creators — writers who set out, thrillingly, to investigate what it means to be human and who now are losing us within the maze they keep complicating — can.
  2. From the performances to the directing, to the steady pacing of the episodes (eight in total), there’s a thoughtfulness to “The Bear” that keeps it from sinking into the pit of self-pity that keeps tempting everyone who walks through the kitchen door.
  3. “Gordita Chronicles” stands out in its willingness to apply the same tone to disparate family members’ stories. It doesn’t lose its balance — throughout, it tells its story with an un-jaded, charmingly direct approach, aided by the excellent work of the child performers.
  4. What subsequently emerges — especially in the series’ second half — is a damning portrait of greed run amok at the expense of children’s welfare. What’s most fascinating about it, though, is how none of these revelations are particularly new. The truth, as they say, is out there. What’s changed, or at least what its directors and participants appear to hope has shifted in recent years, is that the group’s fans might actually be willing to hear it.
  5. The first season of “Loot” is most often a pleasantly frictionless workplace comedy. But the moments in which it’s not — whether by pushing Molly to become more self-aware or into situations where her money’s genuinely useless — are the show’s most compelling by a long shot. ... One of “Parks and Rec”’s greatest strengths was establishing a believable core group of characters that made going to work with them a treat rather than a chore, and the same holds true for “Loot.”
  6. While so many others might have approached the world of esports with an eye for the hyperbolic, there’s absolutely nothing mocking about the way “Players” explores it as a community, and it’s a better show for it.
  7. The actors do their best to sell it all. ... But the show is too breathless by half in making sure you know how and why he’s feeling low; it’s at its best, oddly enough, when Chase slows down.
  8. So many moments in “God’s Favorite Idiot” feel brutally underconsidered. ... “God’s Favorite Idiot” is just sad. What a waste of precious time in the career of a talented performer.
  9. “Becoming Elizabeth” is steady enough on its feet to offer hope that there should be a more nuanced ending to come.
  10. Sunk by a noxious combination of flat writing and flatter directing, the actors never get enough runway to make these characters anything but facsimiles of overwrought tropes. ... The worst offense “First Kill” commits, though, is that it never sells the central romance that should by all rights be its beating heart.
  11. Whitover is an accent on a story that’s gratifyingly tightly told and focused on its core ensemble and their world. ... “Dark Winds” has an admirable directness of approach: It doesn’t slow down to explain itself to viewers, trusting that its milieu will come through loud and clear.
  12. You’ll never feel bored watching the new “Queer as Folk.” But, for long, antic, tonally uncertain stretches, you might crave feeling something.
  13. The series makes her specific corner of the world feel fleshed out before too long. And as played with infectious charm by Vellani in her first TV role, Kamala is a believably starry-eyed teenager whose bursting creativity and imagination spill over onto the screen — often literally.
  14. It’s become a cliché, the sort Assayas would pick on in one of his films, to say that good TV rewards patience, but this show really does. Among its pleasures is the work of Vikander.
  15. Outside its flawed hero, though, “Tom Swift” suffers from a surprising lack of imagination given all the ostensibly impressive innovation at the heart of the Swift empire.
  16. Amid the chaos of the dance floor, the Sex Pistols yearn to obliterate themselves, each other and their listeners. Even if what’s around these moments doesn’t consistently work, “Pistol” nails the thrill of learning to disappear into sound.
  17. In telling the stories of the galaxy’s most famous stars, “Obi-Wan Kenobi” just has to put one foot in front of the other, sow seeds of what’s to come, and have enough self-awareness to know both its limits and what the audience wants from these characters. On those fronts, at least, the show seems right on track.
  18. With all these characters to track, “Stranger Things” certainly does have its work out for it, and mostly manages to keep everything moving at a steady enough clip once it establishes the four or so subplots that end up defining the season. The problem is that pretty much every plot (except for Eleven continuing to explore her origin story) gets less compelling the further they get from Hawkins.
  19. When it’s not overly concerned with selling Angelyne as The Original #Influencer, the show is freer to simply show us what it’s like to be Angelyne, in all her perfectly tacky glory.
  20. The story they inhabit is both convoluted and simplistic. ... "Night Sky" is built around a decent idea for a 100-minute movie, which it then stretches to eight hours. And failing to find new keys in which Spacek or Simmons can operate, the series tends to lean hard on different iterations of its space-travel device around the world, all without establishing clear or coherent rules for how that device even works.
  21. “Conversations With Friends” follows the “Normal People” pattern so closely that it often feels more like a faded impression rather than its own series. In trying to replicate what made the “Normal People” adaptation work, with the same creative team to boot, this version of “Conversations With Friends” becomes strangely bland, as if leeched of all its flavor.
  22. It’s a narrative with huge potential to bore, but Anna Symon’s adaptation of the Sarah Perry novel carefully layers it with more probing questions about love, loss, and faith. In its most distinctive moments, “The Essex Serpent” is far richer than skimming along its briny surface might otherwise suggest. In its weaker ones, it indulges a vein of melodrama that doesn’t quite suit it.
  23. Kelley’s belief in the inherent intrigue of the legal process helps him along; one can sense enthusiasm undergirding, say, an episode built around the jury-selection process. But others of the creator’s tricks fail him, like a tendency to lean hard on the quirkiness of bit players studded through the story, seemingly intended as a sort of comic relief that doesn’t consistently land.
  24. James’ performance leans into Henry’s weariness, seeming at times petulant at what he’s being made to endure. Leslie, a warm and appealing presence on “Game of Thrones,” fares well by contrast, and excels particularly at carrying across some of the more florid lines of dialogue that remind viewers of this project’s literary origins. But the story fails to convince that the couple shares much more than an understanding of the obstacles keeping them apart. So much time is spent on establishing the rules of this show’s game that there’s little room to play.
  25. Dawson's Creek is "My So-Called Sex Life," a hyperventilating soap that finds hit-making horror scribe Kevin Williamson pigeonholing the adolescent experience as a Freudian misadventure of boiling libidos and roaring psychobabble.
  26. If this all sounds a bit heavier than expected, don’t worry: The beauty of “Hacks” has always been its ability to thread even its darkest material with self-assured jokes that cut right through. In that respect, it’s a joy (and relief) to report that Season 2 doesn’t miss a beat.
  27. Candy starts strong. ... Once it catches back up with the murder, however, “Candy” starts to show its seams. Having moved past the perhaps easier to adapt stories of how Betty and Candy lived their daily lives, the series’ march toward its unsatisfying end quickly causes it to lose grip on its own narrative and strengths. ... This one ultimately stumbles right when it really counts.
  28. Toward the end of the series, Myers tries to make some point about the internet, truth and the death of journalism, but it all just gets lost in the “technicolor yawn” of a vomit joke. ... It’s clear that this television show is actually just an overlong movie chopped into six pieces.
  29. A slow burn of well-controlled indignation, “Meltdown” makes Parks’ case methodically and well.
  30. This series is more concerned with asking questions than with making statements. It follows the evidence where it leads: What’s refreshing is that that evidence is less about guilt or innocence in a case on which the court has ruled, but about the strangeness and unknowability of the human heart.

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