TV Show Grading System

This is going to be very similar to how we review movies on ViralNfection, with a few minor changes.

Basically, when it comes to discussing TV shows, there are five criteria that we always end up talking about – the characters and acting; the plot; the mythology of the series; the technical work; and whether or not you could watch the episode over and over and over again. Let’s discuss each of those things real quick.

Characters/Acting:

Acting is the one that is easiest to discuss. Sure, the characters can be great, but if the acting is not then the show falls flat. And vice versa. It’s in the marriage of great characters and great acting that TV classics are born. And yes, acting is important in a show, but so are the characters – if the characters are not believable; if it is difficult to find some kind of connection with them, then the series will really suffer. Are the characters well-developed? Does it feel like you could run into them on the street? Do you find some kind of emotional attachment (whether positive or negative) to the characters? These are all important aspects of a show.

Plot:

What is the story of the episode? Why are these characters that we love doing certain things? Does the story warrant having a 22-minute or 42-minute episode dedicated to it? It’s it easy or difficult for us to get invested in the story?

Mythology:

One of the greatest selling points of a TV show is that you can build a rich history over the course of several episodes, and – if you are lucky – over several years. Every show has a mythology, from sci-fi heavy shows like “Lost” to story-lite comedies like “The Office.” And, while each episode doesn’t have to necessarily have ramifications that echo throughout the rest of the series, it should still stay true to what has come before it. Does the episode help build this rich history? Or does it really just fall flat? It’s not a bad thing if an episode doesn’t flesh out more of the series’ history, but it is important if it does.

Technical Work:

These are all the extra things that give a show that extra little umpf. Was there an instrumental score? Was it good? What about the costumes and the set design? What other things (besides characters, plot and acting) help elevate this episode to another level?

Rewatchability:

This one is really important to me. One of my favorite things to do with my wife is to watch old episodes of “The Office,” so any time I see a new episode I have to wonder if I would ever want to see that episode again. How can an episode truly be good if you don’t ever want to watch it again?

So, those five aspects are the criteria on which we are going to base our reviews. Now, how does this work? Each criteria above gets a certain score: perfect, great, good, okay, bad, and terrible. Let’s discuss those really quickly.

Perfect:

There is nothing wrong with this criteria of the episode. Everything required for this category just comes together to form a superior package.

Great:

There really is nothing wrong with this criteria of the episode as well – it is just missing that certain spark that makes something perfect. It’ lacks some  quality that would set it above the rest.

Good:

This criteria of the episode works. Sure, there are a few issues here and there, but it meets all the basic needs of each criteria.

Okay: 

Well – it wasn’t a total mess. Some of the things worked; unfortunately not all of them did. Could have been better, but could definitely have been a lot worse.

Bad:

Everything is missing a cohesiveness. For example, if the characters get a score of ‘bad’ – it could be because they lack motivation or they lack desire, or they just aren’t believable. It’s kind of starting to look like a train wreck.

Terrible: 

There are no redeeming qualities to this episode. Nothing works. Not even the nicest person in the world could find something positive to say about this assault to the senses.

So, as I said above, each criteria gets assigned a certain score. A ‘perfect’ is worth 6 points; ‘great’ gets 5; ‘good’ gets 4, ‘okay’ receives 3; “bad” barely scrapes by with a 2; and “terrible” is a 1.

At the end of assigning the criteria these numbers, we will add them up and give you a final score. Here is a breakdown of those scores:

Peak Physical Condition = 30 points

There might be a few things here and there wrong with this episode, however everything comes together so well and so perfectly that you forget about these minor issues almost instantly. This episode is the best of the best.

Clean Bill of Health = 25 – 29 points

This is a great episode. It’s not an instant classic, per se, and it’s not perfect, but what is? A doctor loves these kind of patients.

Dr.’s Note = 20 – 24 points

We know something is wrong. We are going to try to fix it. In the meantime, stay home and sleep. You need your rest after watching that mediocre episode.

Let’s Order Some More Tests = 15-19

Bad news always follows those words. We know something is bad, but there is something lurking there in the distance that is even worse.

Quarantine = 10-14

Woa, stop right there, alert the media. This is a stinker – and there are very little redeeming qualities to it. We need to lock this episode up in a room and never let it out.

Flatline = 1-9

This episode is dead. There really isn’t anything else to say about that.

DOA = 0

This episode was dead before we even started watching it.

So that’s basically it. At the end of every review we will write one of the phrases that accompany the score that the episode received.

And that’s basically how we will do it. Please feel free to email me at info@viralNfection.com if you have any questions.

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