Follow TV Tropes


Idiosyncratic Ratings Scale

Go To
While many media reviewers stick to a familiar scale of letters, numbers, or simply stars when rating what they're reviewing, some like to mix things up, either by using a completely unique scale or by putting a spin on an old scale that makes it fresh and easily identifiable to that person. This makes them stand out from other reviewers and can be a draw to their work. It's even more of a point of recognition if these scales/systems incorporate a catchphrase or something similar.

Can sometimes incorporate Broke the Rating Scale in unusual cases.

Compare Abstract Scale (measuring something that can't really be measured in the first place) and Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure (using comparisons as a means of measurement).

Examples (sorted by the media being reviewed):

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Arkada, for his anime review series Glass Reflection, formerly combined a numerical score that was a rough aggregate of various factors with a unique overall rating system. However, he eventually went solely with the overall ratings, as the scoring was cumbersome and often confusing and contradictory between reviews. His scale is:
    • Certified Frosty: As he puts it: "A rating reserved only for the best of the best and those shows too important to ignore."
    • Buy It: A very good show that's worth shelling out the money for a physical copy.
    • Stream It: A decent show that's worth checking out, but has too many issues to merit a Buy It rating.
    • Skip It: Generally not worth your time.
    • Fuck It: Usually reserved for titles that are a complete failure for one reason or another. WataMote, while it had some merit, earned this rating mainly due to its unbearable cringiness.
  • Anime Feminist rates titles according to how feminist-friendly they are, rather than the overall quality of the work. The ratings are:
    • Feminist Potential: "Premieres that so far seem to be addressing progressive ideas or themes and executing them competently."
    • It's... Complicated: "Similar to the above category, but in addition to all those possible feminist themes, the show may be biting off more than it can chew or in danger of fumbling its chosen themes."
    • Neutral Zone: "Very little to warn folks about, but also not a ton of progressive ideas to chew on so far either."
    • Yellow Flags: "Premieres that weren't actively hateful at the premise level, but still raised some noteworthy caveats or concerns."
    • Red Flags: "A whole lotta yikes."
    • Pit of Shame: "These shows need to go to their room and think about what they've done."
    • Anime was a Mistake: "We had to make a whole category for pedophilia and slavery apologia, and this is it."

NOTE: Since film reviewers often do both live-action and animated films, there will not be a distinction made in this section.

  • Siskel & Ebert is the Trope Maker. Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert rated films with a simple thumbs up/down, and this, combined with their lively discussions/arguments supporting their decisions, made the show almost a cultural touchstone for movie reviewing prior to Rotten Tomatoes.
  • Rotten Tomatoes is one of the most ubiquitous examples in today's media. It samples a collection of reviews from different sources and assigns each review a "Fresh" or "Rotten" designation based on whether or not it was favorable to its movie, then tabulates those and assigns a movie an overall "Fresh" or "Rotten" rating with a corresponding red tomato icon or green splat icon. To earn a "Fresh" rating, the percentage of positive reviews has to be at least 60% of the total, with movies that are at or over 75% being designated "Certified Fresh".
  • Jeremy Jahns has a descriptor-based scale that he admits is loosely applicable and very context-specific outside of the top and bottom tiers, and that he created mainly for fun when his subscriber count was low:
    • Awesometacular: Excellent, although maybe not perfect.
    • Worth Buying on Blu-Ray
    • A Good Time (No Alcohol Required)note 
    • A Good Time If You're Drunknote 
    • Not Going to Remember in T-Minus [Short Period of Time]
    • Dogshit: A truly bad film.
    • Nothing: Only used for about two to three films so far, used to describe films abysmal in the sense that they feel blank or unfinished.
    • Tour de Force: A rarely-used one, awarded to films that might actually be good but that he finds too stuffy/arty/pretentious.
  • While Spill was still an active website, its participants rated movies on the following scale:
    • Better Than Sex!: The Broke the Rating Scale rating, given for films which are beyond the expectation for a good film and magnificently set a new cinematic standard.
    • Full Price!: Genuinely good films according to current standards, with few to no flaws.
    • Matinee!: Entertaining films that are worth seeing in the theater but are flawed enough to only warrant a matinee ticket.
    • Rental: An okay movie, something not worth paying movie ticket prices to see.
    • Some Ole Bullshit!: Films that are either poorly made or simply bad, but not to the point of being horrible.
    • Fuck You!!!: An unofficial rating, the equivalent of the Better Than Sex rating for bad films. These films are bad to the point of being offensive to the viewers and the Spill crew, often in more ways than one. They added this one to the list after realizing that the Seltzer and Friedberg films were beyond the badness of the Some Ole Bullshit! rating.
  • Mr. Cranky, while it was still online, was unusual in that it took a satirically cynical attitude toward reviewing movies and used bombs as its baseline scale. All movies were deemed bad; the rating was based on how bad they were. Thus, their scale was:
    • One bomb: Almost tolerable.
    • Two bombs: Consistently annoying.
    • Three bombs: Will require therapy after viewing.
    • Four bombs: As good as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
    • Ka-BOOM!: So godawful that it ruptured the very fabric of space and time with the sheer overpowering force of its mediocrity.
    • Nuke: Proof that Jesus died in vain.
  • Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide has as its ratings:
    • Highly Recommended: "The absolute best in zombie films."
    • Recommended: "Solid, entertaining pictures that should satisfy viewers."
    • At Your Own Risk: "You may appreciate some of these, but don't count on a classic."
    • Avoid At All Costs: "Unless you're a serious fan, you don't need to see these."
    • So Bad It's Good: "Great stuff for fans of bad cinema."
  • The AV Club used to have a frequent commenter and occasional guest columnist in the Film section calling himself ZODIAC MOTHERFUCKER (all caps, always) who absolutely preferred films in the Rated M for Manly genre and disdained basically anything else. He still has a presence on Twitter. His rating system was simple:
    • OPTIONAL: Watch it if you want, who gives a shit?
    • NOT OPTIONAL: Watch this movie or you are scum
    • WACK AS FUCK: Garbage you should never watch
  • Brazilian channel Trasheira Violenta, which specializes in horror, has quite the different one - in the video explaining the scale, one of the channel's two hosts notes he doesn't believe quality can be simply conveyed in a numeric scale:
    • Clássico: 'Classic', a good movie with either a positive reputation or the potential to be well-remembered.
    • Mediano, Notável, Muito Bom, Sensacional: The closest thing to ranked categories, for positive responses - 'Median\Average', 'Notable', 'Very Good' and 'Spectacular'
    • Trasheira (something akin to 'trashness'): It's bad, but it's fun, or it deliberately uses trashy aesthetics (like exaggerated Horror Comedies such as Braindead and Evil Dead 2) and is very entertaining.
    • Trasheira Notável: It's trashy, but has enough notable qualities to actually be considered a good movie.
    • Meditável: 'Meditable', which along with a name punning how it's half-way between 'median' and 'notable', notes something that becomes better as you rethink and ruminate its contents.
    • Guilty Pleasure: Self-explanatory, has a personal 'appeal' that trumps its questionable quality.
    • Sonífero: 'Sleep-inducing', self-explanatory - it's bad enough to be boring.
    • Constrangedor: 'Embarrassing', fails enough to become cringe-inducing.
    • My Eyes!: Referencing the infamous "NOT THE BEES!" scene, a totally irredeemable thing. Introduced at the spot as the other host thought the movie was so bad it warranted its own bottom-grade category.
  • The Cosmonaut Variety Hour usually gives films a X/10 rating, but will occasionally break this format if he feels a movie doesn't merit an actual score. For instance, in "The Hobbit Trilogy - Why It Sucks", he rates The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as "Okay/10", The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug as "Bad/10", and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies as "Dumb/10".

    Live-Action TV 
  • SF Debris's Chuck Sonnenburg rates Star Trek episodes on a 1-10 scale, with ratings relative to the series quality as a whole: an average-quality episode gets a 5, and he considers a DS9 5 a solid episode whereas a VOY 5 is generic schlock. He has not done this to date with Star Trek: Discovery, however, since the show is still airing. Other shows' episodes get ratings varying from "Must See" (Myth Arc episodes get this, even if mediocre) to "Strongly Recommended", "Recommended", "Fine", "Watchable", and "Skip".

    Multiple Media 
  • Myles Power ranks Woo, Quackery and Conspiracy Theorist books, movies and such using three scales (per review), each going from zero to five.
    • Tinfoil Hats: How out there the content is.
    • David Shuckeman faces: How much bad science there is.
    • Kenny Loggins faces: How dangerous it is. (replaced Hulk faces which were used to rate how angry the work made him, but were retired for being too subjective)

  • Anthony Fantano uses a 0 - 10 numerical scale when rating albums, but qualifies the numbers with "light", "decent", or "strong". He also uses "NOT GOOD" as its own rating for albums that he didn't have high expectations for and which did end up being complete duds in his opinion, and "NOT BAD" for albums that he expected to be duds but found surprisingly listenable in spite of whatever problems they have.

  • Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis, hosts of NPR's music review show Sound Opinions, give albums "Buy It", "Try It", or "Trash It" ratings. They've also sometimes given the rating "Burn It" (as in with a CD burner, not a bonfire).

  • YouTube toy reviewer Jobby the Hong has a 5-tier scale based on small Godzilla figures interacting with the subject of the review. The scale is:
    • Classic Godzilla, 2014 Godzilla and Mechagodzilla Kiryu kiss the figure.
    • Classic Godzilla and 2014 Godzilla kiss the figure.
    • Classic Godzilla kisses the figure.
    • Classic Godzilla hugs the figure.
    • Classic Godzilla looks at the figure with disgust.

    Video Games 
  • In his "Dunkview" videos, Video Game Dunkey awards "dunk points" to games, though usually not in any seriousness whatsoever, and amazing games can be rated 0/5 (to date the only serious 0/5 game rating he's ever given has been Kingdom Hearts III), while lackluster ones (Knack 2]] baybeeeeeeee) can get 10/5 (for the graphics alone, even).
  • The Completionist uses a rating scale based on how much he feels the game in question is worth investing the time to complete it. The scale is
    • Complete it
    • Finish it
    • Play it
    • Look at it
    • Donate it (formerly Burn it)
    • Occasionaly, half-ratings would get names like "plook at it"
  • ProJared rates every game [BLANK] out of ten, where the blank can be filled with pretty much everything except a number from 1 to 10. These scores are always symbolic for something which he elaborates on in his final thoughts.
  • GameXplain abandoned their original numbered rating system in favor of terms like "loved it" and "liked-a-lot", to communicate that their reviews are purely the subjective opinion of the reviewer. They haven't given an official list of their ratings as they didn't want people to correlate them to a numbered system, and it gives them the freedom to add new ratings when necessary.
  • Seanbaby is notable for having a different rating scale in almost every article he writes (especially on massive Values Dissonance in old comics). For instance, his 20 Worst NES games are rated on (among others) Graphics, Fun, Jesus Power / Desecration Of A Classic / Flying Human Chunk Rating.

In-universe examples:

    Video Games 
  • In Dragon Age, the magazine The Randy Dowager's Quarterly publishes book reviews with a rating scale based on the number of scarves fluttered in shock.