Variety's Scores

For 2,460 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 36% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 60% 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: 58
Highest review score: 100 The Larry Sanders Show: Season 4
Lowest review score: 0 Marvel's Inhumans: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Mixed: 0 out of 1033
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1033
1033 tv reviews
  1. To its credit, “Years and Years” — among the most emotionally involving, and best, series to air so far this year — keeps its aperture narrow even as the world keeps forcing its way in. This is, above all, the story of a family, one whose ordinariness makes them a powerful vehicle for telling the future.
  2. The only thing deep about “Reef Break” is its silliness. Yet splashing in the shallows can, for those in the right temperament and in need of brain-off summer fare, have its pleasures too.
  3. Even when the characters feel flimsy — an inevitability with a show boasting such a long cast list — there’s enough zip in the story to keep “Grand Hotel” moving along at a clip that should make it an easy, breezy summer watch.
  4. By all rights, “Alternatino” should not be TV’s only sketch comedy show fronted by a Latinx actor; it’s just too much pressure, and you can feel the show straining underneath it while also trying to make fun of it. Still, Castro and company are more than game to try, and the moments when they pull it off are worth the effort.
  5. Aesthetic is all “Too Old to Die Young” has to boast. ... Jumping in around the series’s midpoint, [Martin Jones' (Miles Teller)] decisions and relationships seemed random, emphasizing the degree to which the show’s bits of mythologizing and its gratuitousness spring from the clear blue sky. [Prime Video only screened episodes 4 and 5]
  6. With its purposefully odd rhythms and blunt turns, “Los Espookys” won’t be for everyone — but it doesn’t have to be. Just as Renaldo found people who revere the art of the bizarre as much as he does, I have a feeling “Los Espookys” will find its audience that appreciates the same.
  7. This show isn’t an easy watch, nor a particularly pleasant one. It’s often brash and blunt, defiantly refusing to tie up loose ends or let its characters take easy ways out. But just like the teens it depicts with such staggering candor, once you get past its immediate attempts to hold the audience at arms length, “Euphoria” has an undeniable pull that makes it too intriguing to ignore.
  8. The series starts from a relatively rich premise. ... Even as the aperture expands, little gets better: the show’s broad view of a city of wrongdoers and accomplices features many familiar types (from sad-eyed Irish brothers in crime to Rohr’s long-suffering wife, played by a poorly-used Jill Hennessy) and little sense of what life in this particular place is really like. Hodge is, by far, the best thing about the show, blending rectitude with real sorrow and moral confusion.
  9. [Host James Corden's] opening number, which began with the “Late Late Show” host sitting on a couch, was premised on the idea that there is simply too much good TV on nowadays, before making a muddled argument that theater is better than TV because it is actually live. ... Corden just kept coming around, with the notion of the excitement around live theater de-emphasized each time by the staleness of his material. ... Little on the broadcast carried the charge of a performance coherent from beginning to end, one designed to tell a story rather than simply cow the audience into submission.
  10. What’s strange about “Handmaid’s Tale” three seasons deep is that it keeps hammering home its greatest hits to the detriment of the possible new avenues it could explore. ... Bledel remains a standout as she portrays Emily’s hesitation and longing. ... Her story is the kind of intimate horror that “The Handmaid’s Tale” once excelled at homing in on, but in its determination to make June a #resistance figure, it keeps leaving its most potentially effective moments by the wayside.
  11. Little here feels new, and it’s not a skillful enough pastiche to demand you find Epix on your dial. ... Kingsley’s Pastor Brown is so obviously containing sociopathic multitudes, thanks to a performance with little shading over its tough, aggressive venom, that the story lacks suspense.
  12. The Weekly,” whose producers include Times employees like Sam Dolnick, the organization’s assistant managing editor, is so rooted in its view from the ground that it can neglect to bring viewers in and remind them that journalism is important for reasons other than that it happens at the Times. “The Weekly” may reach more viewers than does the daily news report, but it’s a forbiddingly closed circuit standing in for a paper that brings its readers the world.
  13. The show also makes it impossible to root for Amanda or even to be vaguely interested in what happens to her, so outright unpleasant company is she. ... The ambient sense that something is very off here, that the bones of a warm and charming comedy are being subsumed by a lack of writerly control.
  14. All the actors rip into their storylines with the depth we’ve come to expect, and all their characters’ reactions to the events of last season track (Bonnie especially has no reason to trust these women who never offered her the same courtesy before). Nonetheless, the beginning of this season suffers from separating them so much.
  15. Insisting on a market-tested sort of perfection, the show runs up against the difficulty that there is no market niche it can fill, or that it cares to. ... It’s likely a very accurate depiction of what it takes not merely to break into a risk-averse industry but also to write songs for an artist with a clearly defined persona of his own. But that doesn’t make it, necessarily, TV worth turning your chair for.
  16. The acting wasn’t flawless and the rhythms of the 1970s comedy occasionally felt jarring on a 2019 stage. But the special was so overwhelmingly dedicated to the fun of the conceit and the enduring accuracy of the punchlines that any technical nitpicks I had quickly faded from memory. ... TV could frankly do a whole lot worse than gathering talented performers to tackle smart, topical comedy with such visceral joy that they’re practically vibrating off the screen. That the material remains so stubbornly timely is a bonus.
  17. Despite its attempts to do something new with a well-worn genre, its blunt attempts to shock are somehow both predictable and confusing all at once. Not even vengeful ghost children and hallucinatory murders can make this one all that memorable.
  18. This show stands apart. ... Retaining control of a rapidly beating heart (if at times only narrowly), “When They See Us” immerses viewers in a tale with none of the gaudy fun that true crime often offers. It’s an achievement and, given its pride of place on a streaming service despite its difficult subject matter, a worthy use of its director’s star power.
  19. Its sense of giddy, unashamed fun buoys it even as the seams show. ... As it stands, it’s a captivating bit of cheese, anchored by a star making the most of a very strange moment.
  20. Onscreen, this pairing — between a saintly being played by Michael Sheen and a fallen angel played by David Tennant, both seeking to save the world for their own reasons — is the best part of the new “Good Omens” limited series. But it’s not enough: This six-hour journey towards the end of time comes to feel grindingly slow by the end, more anticlimax than fight for Earth’s future. ... That it ends up saying so little feels like a missed opportunity.
  21. This isn’t the kind of show that’s trying to reinvent the wheel so much as go for a joyride that can be thrilling even if the destination is clear all along. Throw in some splashy mythology, handsomely shot setpieces on location in Rome and Morocco, and entertaining performances from Fehr, Paras, and a bumbling Michael James Shaw, and you’ve got yourself a solid distraction to turn to in the general desert that is TV’s summer programming.
  22. Like sipping whiskey on a lazy Sunday afternoon, “Deadwood: The Movie” gradually but deliberately rewards fans who have waited 13 years. ... Although there are moments where the table setting lasts a little too long--the meat of the action via a murder doesn’t take place for 40 minutes--time matters less when you’re catching up with old friends. Better still is the increased pace and gunfire the film experiences after said death.
  23. “The Society” rarely takes shortcuts while the teens figure out what it means to build a community from the ground up, and what the dynamics of their old world mean in this new one. Much of the series’ best material comes when the characters have to confront their privilege or lack thereof. ... Few of the characters register as particularly compelling beyond their loglines; not even the aforementioned time jump, usually a storytelling device meant to shake things up, does all that much to meaningfully shift anyone’s particular arc.
  24. With each episode clocking in at less than 21 minutes, the show struggles to go deeply enough into everything it pursues, leaving viewers with little more than an impression of the complex communities Klepper visits each week. But he’s clearly in awe of them.
  25. The new series works better than it should. It elides some of the worst of the novel’s degradation of women, streamlines as best it can the most verbose of the vignettes and builds out Yossarian — played by Christopher Abbott in a performance that announces the leading-man arrival of a long-simmering talent — into a character whose angst we feel. Yet the series, in thrall to and in the shadow of one of the most sharply written novels of its era, never finds a way to live on its own.
  26. A rare treat of a show. ... Hanawalt finally gets to play in a sandbox entirely of her own making, and the results are as weird as they are wonderful. ... They’re animated birds that are nonetheless recognizably human, and it’s a joy to watch them mess up and around as so few women ever get to do onscreen.
  27. Death is nothing new on television. But the grotesque hemorrhaging Ebola induces in its unlucky sufferers brings home the gravity of the story, and the courage of its players. ... “The Hot Zone” works best as an examination of process in precisely this way — showing what it takes to defeat an outbreak, both in Jaax’s storyline and in one told in flashback, as her mentor (“Game of Thrones’s” Liam Cunningham) attempts to find an Ebola survivor and thus to use his or her antibodies for a cure.
  28. Tthe tone it struck in its first outing was a dully familiar one — the sense that to transgress, alone, is enough. If this show is to actually satirize the wide-open target of superhero entertainments, it’ll need to find a second gear, and quickly.
  29. It’s a celebration that, if not quite definitive, proves a stirring work of nonfiction assembly.
  30. Rather than bursting into shocking twists, writer Craig Mazin and director Johan Renck build a steadily creeping unease, allowing the scale of the atrocity to sink in with terrible, fitting gravity.

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