How I Met Your Mother featured a charming cast, incredible story, and long-running jokes that never got old. While the series as a whole scored itself an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes based on the reviews critics and an 83% audience score, there is some variation in the rankings of each season. We’re here to see how they all stack up.
In this list, we’ll be first considering each season’s Tomatometer score. If two or more seasons share the same Tomatometer score, we’ll then be turning to the audience rating.
Get ready to take a seat and order a drink at MacLaren’s. It’s time to see how Rotten Tomatoes ranks every season of How I Met Your Mother.
9 Season 2 (Unranked)
While the second season of How I Met Your Mother is arguably one of the best, it is the only season to not receive a percentage rating. This is because Rotten Tomatoes only considered the opinion of one critic for Season 2, and in order to get an official ranking, a TV show has to receive at least 5 reviews.
The one critic who did review Season 2 had many positive things to say about the series’ second season, and the audience score ranked in at a high 93%. So although we’re putting this one at the beginning, know it would have earned itself a much higher ranking had more reviewers weighed in.
8 Season 8 (54%)
The only “rotten” season of How I Met Your Mother saw a low 54% of critics giving it a positive rating. It missed the 60% mark needed to give it a “fresh” score by just a handful of percentage points. This is credited to Season 8 wearing itself out, with the jokes becoming old and the highly anticipated mother reveal feeling lackluster.
While some critics felt the series was just waiting to end, others believed it managed to stay engaging, pulling the series a few steps closer to the begged-for finale.
7 Season 1 (63%)
Season 1 introduced the clever story of a man recounting the best tales of his 20s and 30s that eventually led him to meet his kids' mother. It put a sentimental spin on comedy by taking on a heartfelt tone and solidly introducing a long-running storyline.
While most found the cast to be dynamic, there were a few who criticized the show for lacking jokes. They felt that while it was designed to be a comedy, Season 1 played more like a semi-funny drama.The 90% audience score tells us that viewers didn’t care what genre it fit into; It was still entertaining.
6 Season 9 (75%)
Season 9 ranks in at 75%, getting itself a certified-fresh rating and a 72% audience score. It highlighted so many of the series' best qualities yet undid major character development with its controversial end.
There are people who loved it, and there are people who hated it — but what Season 9 tried to do was keep the show going at its current pace while also returning to the goals established in Season 1. The result was a heartwarming and frustrating finale, in which Ted finally gets the girl — but then she dies, so he instead ends up with the girl the creators wanted him to be with at the start of it all.
The creators ended up coming out with an alternate ending because of the mixed reviews, but the damage had already been done. We know how it really ends.
5 Season 7 (78%)
Season 7 had an end in sight: Barney was actually getting married, although it was not initially revealed who the bride would be.
Critics loved it for its overall feel-good qualities, many twists and turns, and reliable laughs. Others found it to be inching toward the finale at a slow pace; They felt Season 7 was an unnecessary attempt at making the series longer.
Despite the haters, Season 7 scored itself a 78% Tomatometer score and a matching 78% audience score. While not the best of the series, it was overall solid.
4 Season 6 (100%)
Season 6 is the first of a handful to get a perfect Tomatometer rating. Audiences also liked it, although perhaps not quite as much, having their reviews average at 82%.
Story arcs involving Ted and Zoey's romance, Lily and Marshall’s wish for children, and Barney’s relationship with his dad kept the season going strong.
If there were complaints about this season, Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t know about them, as all written critic and audience reviews were overwhelmingly positive.
3 Season 5 (100%)
Season 5 sees Ted starting his job as an architecture professor at Columbia while Barney and Robin try their hand at a relationship together. While critics noted that it wasn’t a particularly outstanding season, the cast continued to put on a memorable performance and deliver laughs.
The audience gave Season 5 an 88%, sighting the developing narrative and strong episodes such as “Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap” (S5E9) and “The Playbook” (S5E8) as the real stars of the season.
2 Season 4 (100%)
Critics and audiences alike loved this season for being laugh-out-loud sort of funny. Episodes like “The Best Burger In New York,” “Wooo!,” and “The Naked Man” had audiences coming back for more. Meanwhile, the writers continually dropped welcomed clues as to who the mother might be.
Season 4 ended up with roaring reviews and a 100% Tomatometer score and a 91% audience score. The show brought its best during this peak season.
1 Season 3 (100%) 5, 93%
Ending up on the top of the list is Season 3. With a 100% rating from critics and a 93% audience score, there were few who found fault with it.
By the time Season 3 rolled around, the show had given its story ample time to develop. This led to a great set up for the third season, in which the characters developed greatly. Longtime player Barney starts to get actual feelings for a woman, Marshall and Lily buy their first home together, and Ted — fresh off of a breakup with Robin — starts dropping major hints about who the mother really is.
While How I Met Your Mother was an incredible show all around, this season was particularly legen — wait for it — dary.