Variety's Scores

For 3,286 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 Reservation Dogs: Season 2
Lowest review score: 0 Marvel's Inhumans: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 1441
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1441
1441 tv reviews
  1. This dichotomy of extraordinary and all-too-ordinary is responsible for both the highs and lows of “American Born Chinese.” The season strains to squeeze a lot into just eight episodes.
  2. It’s left with the worst of both worlds: neither the laughs of the former nor the insight of the latter. Two unpleasant people hanging out can be a good TV show. (Rest in power, “Difficult People.”) “Platonic” just isn’t.
  3. Seems calculated to fool audiences into thinking they’re observing how Hollywood operates, when so much of it amounts to tawdry clichés lifted from Sidney Sheldon novels and softcore porn. “Showgirls” at least was a thinly veiled “All About Eve” remake, whereas “The Idol” plays like a sordid male fantasy.
  4. Cathcart is a more mature Kitty than we’ve seen previously. Still, she manages to weave in the spunky naiveté and inquisitiveness that was so endearing about the character in her pre-teen years. Kitty’s determination and earnestness ground the series when things feel more than a bit chaotic.
  5. It’s a stand-alone political message that’s also a piece of a larger political legacy. Inevitably, the latter overshadows and complicates the former. ... Loses some bite as it shifts focus from those struggling to get by to the CEOs running the show. Obama does lament corporate greed, but naturally, the leaders who afforded “Working” access aren’t identified as any of the bad ones.
  6. “High Desert” takes an actor in the ensemble of a more high-profile Apple project and hands them the spotlight, with mixed results. Like Crudup’s used-car-salesman vibe, Arquette’s maximal commitment turns out to work better in small doses.
  7. The show favors stereotype over specificity. “City on Fire” is a much more earnest, less jaded show than “Gossip Girl” or “The O.C.”; its protagonists are still teenagers, but ones who wax rhapsodic about the city they idealize. When their show fails to demonstrate any real understanding of that city, though, the characters are projecting onto an empty slate.
  8. By erring on the side of intellectual exercise, “Class of ‘09” deprives itself of the chance to give a fresher take on this evergreen dilemma. It’s a show more engaging to think about than it ultimately is to watch.
  9. Inquiring minds will be appeased by the chemistry between Amarteifio and Mylchreest, built through a more interesting conflict than the typical will-they-won’t-they. ... In its clear understanding of what makes “Bridgerton” work, and where it can improve, “Queen Charlotte” feels organic rather than cynical.
  10. The series can come alive in specific details, like a flashback episode set at a family wedding Davidson attended just weeks after his father died responding to the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. For the most part, though, “Bupkis” makes the life of a star look as predictable as the show insists it’s exciting.
  11. In parts, “White House Plumbers” delivers a tongue-in-cheek, amply resourced reenactment from a cast and crew of HBO regulars. As a whole, the show can’t quite mount a convincing case for another piece of Watergate media, though it has fun playing in the margins.
  12. Despite the casting — and working from screenwriter James Dearden’s original script to create the expansive world in this adaptation — the first two episodes of “Fatal Attraction” are a drag. ... Yet, as the third episode begins, the series’ pace, tone and direction all meet harmoniously, making for a wildly enjoyable remaining six episodes.
  13. Powley’s performance is particularly arresting. ... Rater and Phelan, and writers William Harper, Ben Esler and Alyssa Margarite, Jacobson sprinkle in glittering moments of defiance, humor and perseverance that help temper the very real feelings of rage and terror laced throughout the series. It’s a balancing act that isn’t often handled as eloquently as it is here.
  14. This is a low-commitment and easy watch that should satiate period piece lovers with its subtle comedy, outlandish recurring characters and gorgeous handmade costumes. But make no mistake: While “Tom Jones” contains themes of identity, class and what it means to be a woman of the time, at its core this is just another situational romcom in britches.
  15. Unambitious cliché can at least be entertaining. Here, once again, “Citadel” falls short of the bare minimum.
  16. Hulu’s series adaptation of “Saint X” hews closely to its source material, which winds up being as much a curse as a gift. The show also feints at a proper whodunnit, then builds to a nuanced, if anticlimactic conclusion, and all at a lazy river’s pace. That’s all the more disappointing because of how effective it is as a psychological thriller and a character study.
  17. Ultimately, “Love & Death” has the credentials, performances and production values to elevate the story above the leering exploitation that marks the worst of the field. ... But at the end of the day, “Love & Death” does turn real people into exaggerated, if empathetically rendered, versions of themselves.
  18. When it comes to subjects like substance abuse, we’ve been trained to expect raw, unguarded vulnerability, or at least the pretense of it. “Baby J” refuses to flatter those illusions. This is comedy, not memoir, in which a story about Mulaney’s stint in detox is largely a setup for a killer Al Pacino impression. Mulaney doesn’t alter his delivery for this new set of themes, and he often cushions their impact by returning to more familiar ground.
  19. Beyond its intimate and nuanced portrayal of their relationship, “Dear Mama” miniaturizes a huge swath of Black life without diluting it.
  20. Unlike so many of its peers, “Dead Ringers” reaps ample rewards from its central switch, preserving Cronenberg’s signature strangeness while taking the premise to new, surprising heights. ... “Dead Ringers” takes one kind of familial terror and merges it with another — sisters who once shared a womb now experimenting on others’. It’s a surefire route to get under our skin.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    “The Diplomat” loses a bit of its luster every time Russell and Sewell are kept apart too long, which becomes a more glaring issue when the international crisis reaches its climax in the final two episodes. Even so, I can’t help rooting for a second season of ”The Diplomat,” which ends with a satisfyingly twist and game-changing, if emotionally manipulative cliffhanger. As long as you go into your next binge looking for a series more akin to “Scandal” than “Bodyguard,” you’re in for an entertaining ride.
  21. In its inventiveness, “Mrs. Davis” acts as an antidote to the programming-by-numbers and algorithm appeasement that’s becoming common in the streaming age — even when such lunacy sometimes outstrips its ability to tell a totally cohesive story.
  22. We no longer feel much pathos for Barry, but the show is acutely aware of his collateral damage. ... As “Barry” starts to cement its legacy, though, “funny” is only one adjective to describe its overall effect; “eerie,” “melancholy,” and “gutting” would be equally as accurate. The show continues to take risks through the eleventh hour, shifting gears halfway through the season in an audacious twist. But it also has a firm handle on what the story seems to call for in terms of its tone.
  23. As the show braids Koresh’s past with McVeigh’s machinations and the peculiar outcome of the trial, it can’t figure out how to frame the Waco incident as a catalyst for lone wolves like McVeigh without tacitly affirming the outrage that creates people like McVeigh. That makes “Aftermath” just as difficult to recommend despite its excellent cast and unfortunate relevance. Beyond being slightly uneven, it’s slightly immoral.
  24. “The Last Thing He Told Me” is handsomely shot by an all-female team of directors, and each episode builds to one of the novel’s more gobsmacking cliffhangers. Add in Garner’s intuitive performance, and the show makes for a perfectly entertaining experience — albeit one that settles for replicating the novel rather than expanding it.
  25. Renner brings in celebrity friends like Vanessa Hudgens and Anthony Mackie to amp up the glitz, but the series’ spotlight feels better used on craftspeople whose talents aren’t valorized nearly as often. ... Renner’s recovery lends the inspirational tone of “Rennervations” extra heft.
  26. “Transatlantic” falters because it’s too broad. ... While “Transatlantic” in some ways pays reverence to their contributions, its overly expansive cast and storylines create a lack of intimacy. A more centralized focus on the major players would have made the series more intricate and profound.
  27. The events of “Tiny Beautiful Things” could easily make for a ponderous drama. But at eight half-hour episodes, the show is both lighter and more nimble than its synopsis might suggest. The downside of this approach is that the series’ source material can feel out of place in its own adaptation. ... The timelines of “Tiny Beautiful Things” are not as smoothly integrated, and suffer from the absence of the performance the show is otherwise shaped around. ... Hahn, however, holds up.
  28. [Ali Wong and Steven Yeun] forge a chemistry that anchors “Beef” through its stop-and-start pacing and wild tonal swings. ... When “Beef” keeps its focus on these characters and the worlds they inhabit — like the Orange County Korean church where Danny starts to volunteer, or the high-powered conference where Amy sermonizes about “having it all” — the more it does right by the performers at its heart.
  29. While it has the canon going for it, it’s also a little too chaotic and uneven to particularly stand out. But there are still plenty of colorful scenes and engaging performances to enjoy, not to mention overall potential if this story can just pull back a little and focus.

Top Trailers