The Unrivaled Triumphs and Feats of the Best TV Series on Rotten Tomatoes
Are you tired of wasting your time on mediocre TV shows that leave you feeling unsatisfied? Look no further! In this article, we have compiled a list of the best TV series according to Rotten Tomatoes, the ultimate authority on entertainment excellence. From the highly acclaimed "Rectify" to the action-packed "Samurai Jack," we've got you covered. Prepare to be captivated by the first streaming series to score a perfect 100% rating and discover the show that has garnered the most rave reviews. Find out which series boasts the highest Tomatometer score by season and uncover the show with the highest Nielsen rating. We've also got the scoop on the finale that drew the largest viewership and the show with the longest run. Join us as we explore the TV series that boast the most Emmy nominations and wins. Plus, we'll reveal the most streamed Netflix show, ensuring endless nights of binge-watching bliss. Don't waste another second on lackluster shows – dive into the fascinating world of the best TV series according to Rotten Tomatoes!
Rectify: Season 4 (2016) 100%
Adjusted Score: 100291%
The final season of Rectify remains a powerful and captivating drama that expertly weaves a complex and poignant narrative, showcasing the depth and humanity of its characters while offering a bittersweet beauty.
First Streaming Series
65% Lilyhammer (Netflix)
Netflix began as a DVD subscription service on April 14, 1998, four months before Rotten Tomatoes. However, it took another 14 years for the streaming giant to release its first Netflix Original series, Lilyhammer. The show premiered in January 2012 and followed the story of Frank Tagliano, a former mobster who relocates to Norway to escape his enemies. Lilyhammer ran for three seasons and paved the way for other popular Netflix shows like House of Cards, Derek, Hemlock Grove, and Orange Is the New Black.
Samurai Jack: Season 5 (2017) 100%
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Most Reviewed Series
79% The Walking Dead (AMC) with 4,130 reviews
The AMC zombie horror series, The Walking Dead, holds the record for the most critic reviews of any TV or streaming series, with a total of 4,130 reviews spanning its 11 seasons. Based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, the show garnered a massive fanbase as it depicted the struggle of apocalypse survivors searching for a safe haven free of walkers. The series underwent cast changes, with early stars like Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Steve Yeun, and Jon Bernthal eventually making way for new actors such as Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Ross Marquand, Khary Payton, Christian Serratos, and others. Throughout its run, The Walking Dead received critical acclaim:
The 90-minute pilot effectively portrays a post-apocalyptic world, combining visual and emotional impact. Beyond the astonishing scenes of devastation, the show delves into the complexities of human nature. (Season 1) –James Poniewozik, TIME Magazine
What sets this show apart from other zombie series is its focus on the living and the struggles they face in a world destroyed. The social fabric is torn apart, creating a horrible mess for the survivors. (Season 5) –Tim Goodman, Hollywood Reporter
The final season of the series struggled to maintain the suspense that characterized its earlier seasons, where any character could meet their end at any moment. (Season 11, episode 24) –Jessica Liese, Variety
Highest Tomatometer Score by Season
100% Only Murders in the Building: Season 1 (2021) (Hulu)
Obtaining a perfect Tomatometer score of 100% is a rare accomplishment for a TV series. While it's not unusual for a season to achieve a 100% score with a small number of reviews, it becomes remarkable when a season maintains that perfect score with a larger review count. Only Murders in the Building, the first season of which received 106 reviews, holds the distinction of having the most reviews to maintain a perfect score. Here are the TV seasons with the highest Tomatometer scores:
1. Only Murders in the Building, Season 1 – 106 reviews
2. Fleabag, Season 2 – 99 reviews
3. The Bear, Season 1 – 77 reviews
4. Hacks, Season 1 – 74 reviews
5. Yellowjackets, Season 1 – 74 reviews
Show with the Highest Nielsen Rating
89% Seinfeld (NBC)
(Photo by © Columbia TriStar Television/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.)
Seinfeld achieved a remarkable milestone on May 1998 as its season 9 finale scored a 41.3 Nielsen rating and a 58 share, attracting an estimated 75 million viewers. Although the show ended just three months before the birth of Rotten Tomatoes, it still deserves recognition for being one of the last scripted broadcast shows to draw such a massive audience. Seinfeld revolves around four neurotic friends—Jerry Seinfeld, Elaine Benes, George Costanza, and Cosmo Kramer—living in New York City. The series, which ran for nine seasons, won 10 Emmy Awards from 68 nominations, with multiple wins for the main actors and outstanding comedy series.
The second-highest Nielsen-rated scripted series of the past 25 years is season 5 (2004-2005) of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on CBS, which earned a 16.5 rating and ranks sixth on the list.
1. Seinfeld (NBC) 1997-1998 – 21.7 rating
2. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (Tuesdays, ABC) 1999–2000 – 18.6 rating
3. American Idol (Tuesdays, ABC) 2005–2006 – 17.6 rating
4. Survivor (CBS) 2000–2001 – 17.4 rating
5. American Idol (Wednesdays, ABC) 2006–2007 – 17.3 rating
What we can conclude is that reality television dominated the turn of the 21st century.
Finale with the Highest Viewership
- - Seinfeld, Season 9, Episode 24: "The Finale"
(Photo by Joe Del Valle/©Castle Rock Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Seinfeld's series finale, titled "The Finale," achieved extraordinary viewership with a 41.3 Nielsen rating and a 58 share, attracting an estimated 75 million viewers. In this polarizing episode, NBC picks up Jerry and George's sitcom, but the four friends are eventually arrested for breaking the good Samaritan law in a small Massachusetts town.
Opinions about the finale were divided:
The final episode of Seinfeld showcased the best of the series, delivering a hilarious conclusion. (Caryn James, New York Times)
The hype leading up to the Seinfeld finale was an event the country should not have to go through again. The show had a weak season and should have ended a year earlier. (Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel)
It was a tremendous disappointment. I can't decide what was worse, the Knicks losing to the Pacers or this. (Marvin Kitman, Newsday)
- - Friends, Season 10, Episode 17: "The Last One"
(Photo by ©NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Friends' series finale, titled "The Last One," attracted 52.5 million viewers and ranks as the second-most-viewed series finale of the past 25 years. Compared to the hit show Seinfeld, Friends took a different approach, focusing on six attractive friends living in the same New York City building. The show starred Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer. Over its ten seasons, Friends won six Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series. The last episode featured Phoebe's marriage to Mike, Monica and Chandler preparing to move with their adopted twins, and Rachel reuniting with Ross after getting off a plane destined for Paris. Joey got his own spin-off series, while the show incorporated guest appearances from former cast members in hosting duties.
Most Streamed Netflix Show
95% Squid Game (Netflix)
Now in 2023, there are numerous streaming services available like AMC, Apple TV, HBOMax, Paramount, Peacock, and Prime Video. However, Netflix stands as the trailblazer among them all. According to Netflix's latest report, Squid Game has emerged as the most popular series of all time, with an astounding 1.65 billion hours watched within the first 28 days of its release. Following closely behind is Stranger Things season 4, with over 1.35 billion hours, Wednesday with 1.23 billion hours, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story with 856.2 million hours, and Money Heist part 5 with 792.2 million hours.
Here are the most popular English-language TV shows based on the number of hours viewed in their first 28 days:
1. Stranger Things 4 – 1,352,090,000 hours
2. Wednesday: Season 1 – 1,237,150,000 hours
3. Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story – 856,270,000 hours
4. Bridgerton: Season 2 – 656,260,000 hours
5. Bridgerton: Season 1 – 625,490,000 hours
And here are the most popular non-English-language series based on the number of hours viewed in their first 28 days:
1. Squid Game: Season 1 – 1,650,450,000 hours
2. Money Heist: Part 5 – 792,230,000 hours
3. Money Heist: Part 4 – 619,010,000 hours
4. All of Us Are Dead: Season 1 – 560,780,000 hours
5. Money Heist: Part 3 – 426,400,000 hours
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In the ever-evolving landscape of TV series, one thing remains constant: the need for quality entertainment. And according to the trusted source of Rotten Tomatoes, there are certainly some gems worth exploring. From the gripping final season of "Rectify" to the triumphant return of "Samurai Jack," these top-rated shows have not only captured the hearts of viewers but also earned themselves a coveted spot on the Rotten Tomatoes list. So whether you're in search of a binge-worthy Netflix show or craving an Emmy-award-winning masterpiece, look no further than these exceptional series that have truly left their mark in the world of television.
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