In case you don’t know yet, Rotten Tomatoes is not only the most prominent review aggregator platform movies; its Tomatometer score evaluates TV shows too. Rotten Tomatoes has become an important tool for audiences to decide on what they want to watch, completely overpowering ambitious marketing campaigns or, at times, serving as a pivotal tool for them.
But getting a score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes is not that easy, especially for TV shows that go on for years and end up eventually having better or worse episodes and seasons. Black Mirror’s first season has 100%, for instance, but its third season dropped to 93%, prompting the show to have an overall score of 96%. Conversely, while Breaking Bad’s first season scored a surprising 78%, all of its consecutive four seasons received 100%, summing up a score of 95% for the overall series.
In this golden era of television, where every network – big and small, streaming and broadcast – is producing original shows, we were bound to see a few TV series receive the coveted score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. And 13 shows did get there.
This is 13 TV Shows You Didn’t Know Have 100% On Rotten Tomatoes (And 2 That Came Really Close).
15 THE AMERICANS (96%)
Five seasons later, FX’s The Americans still boasts an overall score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes-- a seriously impressive achievement that, as previously mentioned, not even Breaking Bad achieved in its five-year run.
While The Americans is essentially about marriage, the show is also action-packed, following two married KGB spies living in Washington, D.C. during the Reagan era in the 1980s. Actors Matthew Rhys (of Brothers & Sisters fame) and Keri Russell (who played the title character in Felicity) portray the central couple Philip and Elizabeth Jennings.
After many fruitful years of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Sons of Anarchy, The Americans – along with Fargo, Atlanta, Justified, and Legion – came in the heels of the success of American Horror Story, as FX began to invest even more on its original programming.
14 BETTER CALL SAUL (97%)
Better Call Saul, writer Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad spin-off/prequel, actually has a better score on Rotten Tomatoes than the original show. After three seasons, Saul has 97% on the Tomatometer, compared to Breaking Bad’s overall score of 95%.
A crime drama that follows lawyer Saul Goodman and former cop Mike Ehrmantraut, who were two of the many standout Breaking Bad characters, Better Call Saul has been nominated for fourteen Emmys and seven Writers Guild of America awards. Needless to say, it has been repproducing the critical acclaim of its original show, even if it hasn’t captured mainstream popular culture in the same way.
As the series entered its third season, yet another iconic Breaking Bad character was brought to Better Call Saul: Gus Fring, a methamphetamine dealer who uses his fast food restaurant Los Pollos Hermanos as a front.
13 MASTER OF NONE
Aziz Ansari may have gotten his big TV break on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, but he has shown no signs of slowing down as his Netflix original series Master of None is hailed by critics as one of the best comedies currently out there, scoring an overall 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
The show was inspired by the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Like HBO’s Girls, the series tackles various topics that are relevant to young people growing up aimlessly, figuring everything out as they go. Master of None, however, provides commentary in a much more direct manner than other similar shows, outwardly trying to address one particular subject in each of its episodes.
Aziz Ansari’s Master of None is also quite a cultural feat for Indian people to see themselves being better represented on a TV screen, unlike the stereotypical portrayals present in shows like The Big Bang Theory.
12 JANE THE VIRGIN
The success of Jane The Virgin has also given its main actress, Gina Rodriguez, three Golden Globes nominations – 2015, 2016, and 2017 – for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, a category in which she won in 2015.
Jane the Virgin has been praised for its humorous but realistic portrayal of a young woman getting unexpectedly pregnant. The show walks a thin line between silliness and seriousness, but somehow it just works extremely well for children, teens, and adults alike.
Another major feat of Jane is its portrayal of a strong Latina protagonist, her family, and a narrative that is fully bilingual.
11 DEAR WHITE PEOPLE
Speaking of broad representation, Dear White People does a fantastic job at addressing racism from almost every angle, presenting the audience with complex, thought-provoking characters and narratives.
Based on the 2014 film of the same name, Netflix’s Dear White People original show was created by Justin Simien, a director who has been compared to Spike Lee, but who cites Woody Allen as an inspiration. The series’ fifth episode, “Chapter V,” was directed by Barry Jenkins, who wrote and directed the 2017 Oscar winner for Best Picture, Moonlight.
With so much amazing talent attached to it, it is not surprising that Dear White People has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, providing Netflix with yet another fan-favorite and critically acclaimed show with the potential to go on for years to come.
10 THE HANDMAID’S TALE
It seems like Hulu finally got serious about being an Emmy contender, facing off with Netflix and HBO directly. Its original series The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood, is a beautifully shot, ingeniously written, and intelligently directed TV show that is still not on a lot of people’s radars.
The Handmaid’s Tale has a well-deserved 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes and is being hailed as a must-watch series by many television critics. It’s also quite an achievement for its main actress, Elisabeth Moss, who had just concluded her incredibly successful run – from 2007 to 2015 – as one of the central characters in Mad Men. With as successful of a follow-up as this Hulu original show, it looks like she is not slowing down whatsoever.
In the heels of the success of her online series Awkward Black Girl, writer, director, and actress Issa Rae pitched Insecure to HBO, a network that was eager to bring in a young talented female creator to its programming as Lena Dunham’s Girls was edging closer to its end.
The bet paid off – big time! – as Insecure became an instant hit with young and African-American audiences, scoring the show with 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and securing the show a second season.
Insecure, like Girls, is not autobiographical, but its protagonist is portrayed so convincingly and put in such realistic situations that audiences have already begun to confuse the writer and actress with the character she portrays. It also doesn’t help that both the creator and the character are named Issa.
8 THE GOOD FIGHT
CBS’ new political drama, The Good Fight, has an overall score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Never heard of it? Well, that’s because the show was made exclusively for the network’s streaming service, CBS All Access.
Starring the legendary Christine Baranski (from Mamma Mia!), Rose Leslie (who played Game of Thrones’ Ygritte) and Cush Jumbo (The Good Wife), The Good Fight is a spin-off of The Good Wife, in which the character of Diane Lockhart and her pupil Maia join an African-American law firm that is mostly known for taking cases of police brutality.
This show, along with Star Trek: Discovery, is part of a push from CBS to produce quality content that is distributed exclusively online, competing directly with other services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.
This critically acclaimed FX dramedy tells the stories of African-American young adults who live in the city of Atlanta and exist within the hip hop scene. Since the show came out and became acknowledged by several critics, scoring 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, Donald Glover secured several major roles in films, such as an unannounced character in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Simba in the upcoming The Lion King, and Lando Calrissian in the yet untitled Han Solo Star Wars spin-off. He will also be working on an animated Deadpool TV series for FXX, scheduled for 2018.
6 MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: THE RETURN
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return is a revival of the original comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000, which ran on multiple networks – including Comedy Central and Syfy – from 1988 to 1999.
After a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter that surpassed the $5.7 million dollars raised for the Veronica Mars film, Netflix decided to pick up MST3K for a new season starring Joel Hodgson and a brand-new cast that includes Patton Oswalt, Felicia Day, and Jonah Ray. The backers in the Kickstarter campaign could see the episodes before they premiered on Netflix.
While Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t have numbers for the original series, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie has a score of 80%, and Netflix’s The Return series boasts a full 100% on the Tomatometer.
5 SEARCH PARTY
The TBS dark comedy Search Party, created by the duo responsible for the 2014 indie film Fort Tilden, is still unknown to most TV viewers, but has been getting a lot of love from critics.
Starring Alia Shawkat (of Drunk History fame), Search Party is about Dory’s commitment to finding a missing person named Chantal Witherbottom, whom she recognizes but doesn’t actually know. Everyone around Dory is dragged into the investigation as she goes deeper into the story. Actors Ron Livingston (from Office Space) and Rosie Perez (most recently known as a host in The View) play recurring characters in the series.
This weird but fascinating TBS show has held its 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes and was renewed for a second season to be aired in 2017.
4 THE RETURNED
A&E’s The Returned is an American TV show adapted from the French series Les Revenants. It was developed by Carlton Cuse – one of the two main Lost showrunners – and featured a cast that included Kevin Alejandro (from Southland and True Blood), Agnes Bruckner (seen in Blood and Chocolate), and India Ennenga (of Treme fame).
Even though The Returned was very well received by critics and boasts a score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, it was cancelled by A&E after only one season, without a proper finale. It was yet another controversy for the network during that time, as it had already received backlash from insisting on renewing Duck Dynasty for more seasons and cancelling the series Longmire after three seasons (also without a proper finale).
The British sitcom Catastrophe, in which Carrie Fisher played a recurring character, originally aired on Channel 4 in the U.K. – after being turned down by BBC – and was picked up by Amazon Prime Video in the United States.
This show has a score of 100% on the Tomatometer and is considered by many critics as the best kept secret in the current British TV comedy landscape, having won a 2016 BAFTA Craft Award in the Best Writer: Comedy category. A
fter three seasons of six episodes each, Catastrophe is already lined up for a new season in 2018. It dealt with Carrie Fisher’s passing on its season 3 finale, dedicating the episode to her with the phrase “For Carrie” showing up after the credits rolled up.
2 DEUTSCHLAND 83
Deutschland 83 is a German TV series about the character Martin Rauch, a border patrol guard in the 1980s who goes undercover in West Germany to spy on NATO military secrets. The cast features Sylvester Groth, who is best known for his role in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.
This Cold War espionage television show was created by Anna Winger (whose essays have been featured in New York Times Magazine) and her husband, Joerg Winger. Its second season, named Deutschland 86, will be set three years after the first one and will air in 2018. Producers have said that if a third season were to happen, another three-year time jump will follow, appropriately renaming the series to Deutschland 89.
It may be a lesser known series, but Deutschland 83 has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which makes it pretty unique.
The Amazon Prime Video and BBC original show Fleabag is yet another example of the successful run the giant e-commerce platform has enjoyed in its pursuit of television production, and also another example of Amazon’s partnership with British networks.
Fleabag is a very smart show about a complex young woman dealing with the repercussions of trauma. It is a six-episode dark comedy set in London.
While the show enjoys a score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and has more than five thousand five-star reviews on Amazon Prime Video, it shouldn’t return for a second season anytime soon. Phoebe Waller-Bridge – the main writer and actress in Fleabag – has teased the return of the series, but also branded the follow-up season as something “completely different.”
How many of these 100% TV shows have you seen? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!