Netflix Originals have run the gamut of amazing to disappointing, but one thing you can say for the streaming service is that they are more willing to make a serious and sincere attempt to try something new or unique that a traditional studio or network won’t. Of course, they are susceptible to ratings and budget issues like any other production company, and Netflix has canceled poor performing series. In the end, it’s still a business, and Netflix has a right to be profitable.
Diving into different genres and styles, Netflix has commissioned original productions as well as commissioned more seasons of a TV show. In more recent years, Netflix has also saved several TV shows from complete cancellation, often giving life for another season or two. Examples include Longmire, The Killing, and Arrested Development. Anime, drama, reality shows, docu-series, comedy: Netflix is willing to try almost anything. That includes foreign movies and television programs as well as domestic movies and series, and Netflix’s committed budget to Originals keeps increasing year after year. It’s paid off because with numerous awards for acting, writing, directing, and visual effects, Netflix has cemented itself as serious competition for other streaming services that produce original content and traditional networks. This list concentrates on Netflix Original movies and TV shows released in 2018 that have a percentage score on Rotten Tomatoes (some seasons or new series are too new to have collected reviews). For the TV shows, this includes single seasons premiering and airing over 2018.
Here’s 16 Best (And 9 Worst) Netflix Originals Of 2018, According To Rotten Tomatoes.
25 Best: Big Mouth (100%)
Another animated show with a high score for Netflix is Big Mouth. Along with 100% for season one, season two has hit the same number. Essentially, the show is about a group of seventh graders in the suburbs of New York City growing up.
Nick Kroll and John Mulaney voice the main characters of Nick Birch and Andrew Glouberman, while other big actors such as Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, and Jordan Peele have also voiced for the show. The series will continue to a third season as announced by Netflix in November 2018.
24 Worst: Mute (20%)
Mute is a Netflix Original movie that got compared to Blade Runner too often, which probably hurt its chances to raise its Rotten Tomato score of 20%. The film is about a deaf bartender who goes in search for the girl he loves after she disappears mysteriously. Alexander Skarsgard stars as the bartender while Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux also have main roles.
Duncan Jones directed Mute and has also directed Moon from 2009. The latter has achieved high scores and marks from critics, but Mute, the movie considered the “spiritual sequel” to Moon, couldn’t quite live up to the same standards.
23 Best: Nailed It (100%)
Nailed It! Is a reality show that has home bakers competing against one another for a $10,000 prize, with the winner also receiving a “Nailed it” trophy. Netflix has cooked a winner as it's currently at 100% for season one. The hosts of the show are Nicole Byer (a comedian and actress) and Jacques Torres (a professional chocolatier and pastry chef).
Netflix has released three seasons in 2018: the first season, from March, is the only one currently with any percentage score. Season two premiered in June, and Nailed It! Holiday! released December 7th.
22 Worst: Game Over, Man! (20%)
Although the three main actors (Adam DeVine, Anders Holm, and Blake Anderson) were praised for their work on Workaholics, the Netflix Original didn’t seem to work with their fanbase or critics. The film was produced by big names like Seth Rogen and Scott Rudin and had many well-known stars, with Neal McDonough, Daniel Stern, and Rhona Mitra in starring roles. Also, the movie incorporates many cameos with the likes of Shaggy, Mark Cuban, Joel McHale, and Donald Faison.
Unfortunately, the star-studded roster wasn't enough for critics to find anything that wasn’t “laugh-free” and “dull” about it.
21 Best: Love: Season Three (100%)
Currently in its third and final season, Love has improved little by little according to the Tomatometer. With 87% and 96% for seasons one and two, respectively, season three is at 100% as of this article. Love is one of those rare productions (for streaming or traditional television), that had two seasons ordered right off the bat, meaning Netflix had confidence in the show before it even aired.
The show explores “down-to-earth dating” through the eyes of Mickey and Gus, the show's main characters, with episodes written and produced by Judd Apatow and Paul Rust (who also plays Gus on screen).
20 Best: MST3K: The Return: The Gauntlet (100%)
Mystery Science Theater is a show that has gained a cult following because of their “riffing” on cheesy B-movies. No film is safe as they make fun of the actors, plots, sets, and sometimes, the credits. Fans rejoiced when MST3K returned in 2017, and although The Gauntlet only has six episodes, they are presented in a way for you to binge them all at once, which is what Jonah is forced to do with the robots.
The Gauntlet includes the films, Mac and Me, Atlantic Rim, Lords of the Deep, The Day Time Ended, Killer Fish, and Ator.
19 Best: One Day At A Time: Season Two (100%)
One Day at a Time switches it up a little by focusing on a newly separated mother who is in the military. As a remake of the 1975 sitcom, she is single and trying to raise her two kids with her mother and building manager.
The first season hit a 97% score, while the second season is currently at 100%. The show has even received award nominations for acting and writing from the Primetime Emmys and GLAAD Media Awards. Season three is all set to go, releasing on Netflix on February 8, 2019.
18 Worst: The Cloverfield Paradox (20%)
The Cloverfield Paradox is the third movie in the Cloverfield franchise behind Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane. Originally, the movie was inspired by a spec script called God Particle, but had to be rewritten for the Cloverfield universe. Fans and critics have even compared it to a mix between Interstellar and Star Trek.
Sitting at 20%, The Cloverfield Paradox feels less like an addition to Cloverfield and more like a generic science fiction space movie. Netflix advertised the movie’s title and announced that it would be on Netflix during the Super Bowl in 2018, but just hours later, Paradox was available to stream.
17 Best: Dear White People: Season Two (100%)
With a surprising variance of percentage scores between the Tomatometer and Audience Score, Dear White People continues to impress critics at 99% (audience is average with 64%).
Dear White People is about a group of students at a mostly white Ivy League school where there’s plenty of cultural tension under the surface of the positivity of the university. The show is based on a movie of the same name that won several awards. Netflix green-lit a series through Lionsgate, who also worked with Netflix to bring Orange Is the New Black to the streaming service.
16 Worst: Tau (20%)
Tau is a science fiction thriller starring Maika Monroe, Ed Skrein, and Gary Oldman. The main character, Julia, pickpockets patrons at nightclubs and one night, she’s taken and is psychologically attacked in an unknown house controlled by A.I. The movie was produced by Rhea Films and Hercules Film Fund.
Like some of the other Netflix Originals, Netflix obtained the rights to distribute and stream the film in November 2017. One critic compared Tau to a mediocre episode of Black Mirror, running out of ideas as the movie went on, while others called it dull and a wannabe-thriller.
15 Best: Glow: Season Two (99%)
So far, both seasons of Glow have hit over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, with season two managing 99%. The series is a fictionalized account of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling group from the 1980s.
Creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch had never heard of GLOW before and they asked themselves if the Women’s Liberation Movement worked. “Did things get better?” GLOW is their way of exploring that. The show has been nominated for dozens of awards, winning four of them so far. To take your obsession even further, Funko POPS now has Ruth Wilder and Debbie Egan available, and Netflix has renewed GLOW for a third season.
14 Best: Wild Wild Country (98%)
Continuing their success in docu-series, Netflix Original Wild Wild Country currently has a 98% score. The six-part series focuses on the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers who staked out a community in Oregon.
The series first appeared at the Sundance Film Festival and premiered on Netflix in March 2018. This year, Wild Wild Country won the Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series, however, The Osho Foundation, which is in charge of Rajneesh’s estate, claimed that the docu-series “does not give a clear account of the real story behind the story.”
13 Worst: The Outsider (17%)
Starring Jared Leto (as Nick), The Outsider is about a U.S. citizen being held in an Osaka prison in 1954. He helps a Yakuza inmate, who promises that the Yakuza will repay the debt by helping him get released, and ultimately, Nick becomes a part of the organized crime syndicate.
The movie went through two directors and two other actors for the main role in Michael Fassbender and Tom Hardy, who dropped out when their respective directors also quit the movie. Martin Zandvliet, a multi-award winner, finally directed the film, which received much criticism. Leto was the only highlight, according to some critics, in an otherwise copycat movie.
12 Best: The End of the F***ing World: Series One (98%)
The End of the F***ing World is based on a graphic novel by Charles Forsman. This dark-comedy involves James, who becomes bored with taking the lives of animals (because he feels he’s a psychopath) and thinks it’s time to move on to ending a human.
A pilot short was commissioned by the production company Film4, but no one was interested in a longer series or movie. Eventually, Channel 4 stepped in with Netflix to make it a Netflix Original. Also, Channel 4 announced a second series in August 2018, which is set to expand beyond Forsman’s original storyline.
11 Worst: The Kissing Booth (13%)
Elle Evans has never been kissed, so she runs a kissing booth at the high school’s Spring Carnival. While at the carnival, her crush (a hidden one of course) arrives in line and they have their moment; however, the boy is the brother of her best friend, making him “off limits” due to a pact that both girls created.
Although The Kissing Booth is at 13%, Netflix recently stated that this movie is one of their most-rewatched Originals, and the Audience Score of 62% might back that up a little. This film is based on a young adult novel, The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles, which was first released on the web platform Wattpad.
10 Best: BoJack Horseman (97%)
While the first season of BoJack Horseman managed only a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, each season after that has done significantly better, with the current fifth season sitting at 97%.
Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, and Amy Sedaris provide voices for the characters in this animated tv series, which is about a 90s sitcom star looking to make a comeback after years of self-loathing, drinking, and rocky relationships. Although a comedy, the series is praised for its normal portrayals of depression, dependence, and the general human experience. Netflix has renewed BoJack Horseman for a sixth season.
9 Worst: Insatiable (12%)
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what score a show gets on Rotten Tomatoes, and with a 12% rating, Insatiable was found good enough for Netflix to renew the series for a second season.
Targeted for being overweight, Patty Bladell is involved in an accident and goes on a liquid diet over summer vacation. She's skinny now and wants revenge on those who were picked on her. Insatiable has an extremely wide gap between the Tomatometer and Audience Score, which is at 84%. Netflix released some figures of viewing habits and Insatiable was in the top ten of Netflix Original series that had the Highest Average Viewing Session Time.
8 Best: Roma (96%)
Roma is from Alfonso Cuarón, a writer and director who’s done Gravity, Y Tu Mamá También, and Children of Men. Cuarón uses his own childhood to portray domestic struggles as it follows a domestic worker in the middle-class area of Roma, located in Mexico City.
The film had a limited release in theaters in November 2018, and Netflix uploaded it for streaming a month later on December 14th. Roma has already won dozens of accolades in numerous categories from various awards ceremonies and as of this writing, the movie has been nominated for 28 awards, already winning 14 of them, with many more currently pending.
7 Best: To All the Boys I've Loved Before (96%)
Released in August 2018, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before currently sits at a 96% score on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s based on the book of the same name by Jenny Han.
In the movie, the main character, Lara Jean Covey, writes letters to boys she has crushes on, but keeps them locked away. Unfortunately, these letters get out, causing embarrassment for Lara; however, it works out as she strikes up a deal with Peter to “fake date” in order to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. While it seems to have a cliché, rom-com plot, critics found it entertaining and with more substance than expected from a movie that’s “Disney Channel stuff.”
6 Worst: The Open House (10%)
The description of The Open House sounds like so many other horror movies. A mother and son move to an isolated mountain chalet, and after moving in, strange and unexplained forces begin to intimidate them.
The movie stars Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why) and Piercy Dalton. Critics found The Open House “utterly insufferable” and “disappointing… with graphic violence.” Usually, the Rotten Tomatoes Audience Scores are higher than the Tomatometer, but not for The Open House: it sits at 8% right now.
5 Best: Daredevil: Season Three (96%)
As you probably know by now, Netflix has canceled Daredevil. While season two didn’t receive as much praise as the first season, the third season brought back what people loved about the initial season. Season three is at 96% on Rotten Tomatoes as of this article, with critics continuing to love Vincent D’Onofrio as Fisk and how Daredevil gives a comic book feel to the screen.
Season four was plotted out, but to some of the actors’ beliefs, they felt the decision to cancel the show was from Netflix and not Marvel. Unfortunately, Daredevil and the characters written in this show can’t appear on other platforms, according to a clause in the contract.
4 Best: On My Block (95%)
On My Block takes place in an unfavorable inner-city area of Los Angeles with four teenagers, who’ve been friends for a long time, about to begin high school. With the presence of crime, violence, love, and triumphs that get absorbed into their group, each of their friendship is tested.
Critics loved the writing and acting, and every minute of the series is worth watching with rapt attention. The issues portrayed in On My Block are sincere problems that any inner-city kid could experience on a daily basis. The series won a Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Breakout Show and Netflix did order a second season.
3 Worst: Father of the Year (0%)
A rare score for a Netflix Original, Father of the Year currently has a 0% rating. However, the audience score reflects a different opinion with a 56%.
The movie is about two college graduates who argue about which of their dads would win in a fight, and once their dads learn of the argument, they begin to take it seriously. The good friends realize who their fathers truly are (amidst their jobs and relationship losses) while becoming better friends in the process. Starring David Spade and Nat Faxon, Father of the Year’s main issues, according to some critics, are the lousy, raunchy jokes, familiar comedy tropes, and the uninspired plot.
2 Best: American Vandal: Season Two (95%)
Both seasons of American Vandal currently sit at 98%. This satire of true crime filmed in a documentary style is about a high school prank that involved dozens of faculty vehicles with phallic images on them. Throughout season one, the show keeps the audience wondering who is the person responsible for vandalizing the cars.
Season two is slightly different and considered more ambitious than the first. Someone is performing defecation-related pranks and the cast is somewhat new, with the two documentary filmmakers from the first season returning to get to the bottom of this new mystery. In October 2018, Netflix did cancel the series, but the producers are planning to see if other networks are interested.
1 Best: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season Four (95%)
Although ending after the second half of season four in 2019, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has been a consistently highly-rated show on Rotten Tomatoes as all four seasons have hit mid-to-high nineties.
The show follows Kimmy, an Indiana Mole Woman, rescued from an underground bunker with three other women. After a talk show appearance, she stays in New York City to begin her new life, trying to move on from the bunker experience. Ellie Kemper (Kimmy) has come into her own from her days on The Office, and with Tina Fey as one of the creators/producers, the show knows how to be topical without overbearing.
What do you think are the best and worst Netflix Originals? Let us know in the comments!