Otherwise, you’re clearly missing out.
In case you’re not familiar with Rotten Tomatoes, it’s a review-aggregation website for film and television. That means that it collects reviews from critics in both print and online and then combines them to establish a general score for the movie or, in our case, TV series. If the show gets a red tomato (Fresh), critics think it’s good. Series with green tomatoes (Rotten), on the other hand, generally fail to impress.
For a show be Certified Fresh, it has to gain a score of over 75%, which ensures that the majority of critics gave it a positive rating. For it to earn a perfect score, all critics must agree it’s worth watching, since even one bad review will impact the 100% score negatively. As a result, while individual episodes or seasons of TV series can have a perfect score, it’s more difficult for a show to maintain an overall 100% score as time goes by, especially when it’s been on the air for a while. For instance, Game of Throne boasts a 94% score, The Wire is at 95% and Breaking Bad at 96%. These three shows are undoubtedly exceptional, we’re simply mentioning their scores to explain why being 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes isn’t a breeze.
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Of course, ratings shouldn’t be the only factor to consider when deciding whether to watch a new show or not. It all comes down to your personal preferences. You can very well love a series critics loathe or hate a series they can’t stop praising. However, being 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes means that the show excels from all perspectives – acting, writing, plotting and so on. Hence, it’s a safe bet for your watchlist and you should check out at least a few episodes to see what all the fuss is about. To get you started, we’ve gathered 13 series with a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score as of August 2019. Get binging!
1. Master of None 2015
- Aziz Ansari as Dev
- Eric Wareheim as Arnold
- Lena Waithe as Denise
Created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, Master of None follows Dev, a young actor struggling to navigate romance and life in New York. The show explores deep themes like sexuality, immigration, relationships, dating and casual racism. Moreover, despite the familiar premise, it does so with a lot of humour, honesty and heart.
Master of None will stay with you long after you finish watching, as it delivers poignant observations about life and culture without sacrificing its light tone. It’s also hilarious, so much so that it won’t feel like you’re watching prestige TV, but simply having a good time with a bunch of charming characters. Looking back, though, you may be surprised to find that the series also gave you a lot to think about.
- Stream it on Netflix
2. Fleabag 2016
- Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Fleabag
- Sian Clifford as Claire
- Jenny Rainsford as Boo
- Bill Paterson as Dad
Fleabag is a delightful British dramedy that centres on a young woman as she navigates modern life in London. Similarly to Master of None, the show’s premise is incredibly basic. And yet, both series tell multidimensional tales about life, love and everything in between. Fleabag may start as a simple collection of moments from a single girl’s life, but it quickly evolves into a compelling story about loneliness and grief.
This is mostly thanks to its creator and star, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, also responsible for Killing Eve, one of the best series to come out this year. Fleabag was adapted from her acclaimed one-woman play of the same name.
- Stream it on Amazon
3. White Collar 2009
- Matt Bomer as Neal Caffrey
- Tim DeKay as Peter Burke
- Willie Garson as Mozzie
- Tiffani Thiessen as Elizabeth Burke
White Collar revolves around the unlikely partnership between an FBI agent and a skilled forger he put behind bars. The two agree to work together to catch white collar criminals, as part of a work release program for the con man. White Collar ran for six seasons, which makes its Rotten Tomatoes score even more impressive.
The show is witty and fast-paced, but what put it above other similar procedurals is the easy chemistry between the two leads. They might not always see eye to eye, but their relationship evolves as seasons go by to the point where they actually begin to trust each other. It also helps that the mysteries they pursue are intriguing enough to keep the viewer guessing. You can purchase White Collar from digital retailers like iTunes and Google Play.
4. Cobra Kai 2018
- Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso
- William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence
- Courtney Henggeler as Amanda LaRusso
- Xolo Maridueña as Miguel Diaz
A sequel for the popular Karate Kid movies, Cobra Kai follows the adult versions of Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso. Johnny is not in a very good place, so he decides to reopen the infamous Cobra Kai karate dojo. Meanwhile, Daniel struggles to balance his life in the absence of his trusted mentor, Mr. Miyagi. The two men end up reigniting their rivalry and battling old demons in the only way they know how, through karate.
Cobra Kai shines thanks to its talented cast and nostalgia-infused narrative. While the series could have been a flop in the wrong hands, it proves that reboots can be done well, as long as they find a way to use the passage of time to their advantage. Plus, the series manages to both pay homage to the franchise and adapt it to modern times, which is no easy feat. You can stream Cobra Kai on YouTube Red.
5. Jane the Virgin 2014
- Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva
- Andrea Navedo as Xiomara Villanueva
- Justin Baldoni as Rafael Solano
- Yael Grobglas as Petra Solano
Jane the Virgin is a loose adaptation of the Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen. As a result, it relies heavily on telenovela tropes, but instead of taking itself too seriously, it manages to brilliantly satirise said tropes and deliver a funny and heartwarming story. Additionally, Gina Rodriguez offers a performance for the ages, lighting up every scene she’s in.
The series centres on Jane, a young virgin who accidentally becomes impregnated via artificial insemination. After breaking the unexpected news to both her religious family and devoted fiancé, Jane must learn how to cope with the pregnancy, especially after finding out that the father is a former crush. Stream the delightful series on Netflix.
6. Happy Valley 2014
- Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood
- Siobhan Finneran as Clare Cartwright
- Shane Zaza as Shafiq Shah
- Charlie Murphy as Ann Gallagher
Dark and suspenseful, Happy Valley follows Catherine Cawood, a police sergeant in West Yorkshire. In the first season, she’s still trying to cope with her daughter’s suicide of a few years prior. She becomes obsessed with finding the man that drove her child to take her own life, who just got released from prison, while also investigating a kidnapping that goes terribly wrong.
Sarah Lancashire is perfect as the lead, portraying a woman who’s struggling with her own inner demons but still managing to be extremely capable at her job. It’s refreshing to watch a series centring on a middle-aged female detective, since most shows of this calibre tend to feature men in the prominent role. Not only that, but the series is also tremendously well written and directed, so much so that it will make you care deeply about the characters almost instantaneously. You can stream Happy Valley on Netflix or Stan.
7. Chewing Gum 2015
- Michaela Coel as Tracey
- Danielle Walters as Candice
- Robert Lonsdale as Connor
- Shola Adewusi as Joy
Chewing Gum is an odd little show. It follows Tracey, a 24-year-old virgin living in London, who spends most of her time trying to get laid, in spite of her religious background. The series is structured around a series of fourth-wall-breaking monologues which allow Michaela Coel, the lead, to showcase her impressive acting chops and land plenty of laughs in the process.
A burst of life and colour, Chewing Gum is an awkward comedy about sex, religion and relationships. Yet, the show has an underlying sweetness that’s impossible to resist. As a fringe benefit, it will definitely make you feel better about your own sex life. Stream it on Netflix.
8. Vida 2018
- Tonatiuh Elizarraraz as Marcos Zamora
- Melissa Barrera as Lyn
- Mishel Prada as Emma
- Ser Anzoategui as Eddy
A show about identity and the need to belong, Vida centres on two estranged Mexican-American sisters who return to their old neighbourhood following their mother’s death. After the funeral, they find out their mum married a woman and that left the three of them the family-owned bar. As the series progresses, the two sisters needs to figure out a way to be around one another and respect their mother’s wishes at the same time.
Vida explores familial themes through a unique and thought-provoking Latino lens, which gives the show a fresh look and feel. It’s also rich in socio-political commentary, with gentrification a main plot point throughout Season 1. Stream it on Stan.
9. Catastrophe 2015
- Sharon Horgan as Sharon Morris
- Rob Delaney as Rob Norris
- Mark Bonnar as Chris
- Jonathan Forbes as Fergal
Catastrophe is a charming British comedy that follows Sharon, an Irish teacher, and Rob, an American ad exec. The two become a couple after Sharon discovers that their short London affair ended with an unexpected pregnancy. This leads Rob to move to the UK so they can figure out their next steps together, often with hilarious results, especially since neither knows too much about the other.
Brilliantly acted, Catastrophe proves that romantic comedies still have plenty to offer as long as they avoid overused clichés and cast two people with incredible chemistry. The series is smart and compelling, delivering raunchy laugh-out-loud jokes with the same grace it manages to pull off the occasional heartfelt moments. Stream it on Foxtel Now.
10. Review 2014
- Andrew Daly as Forrest MacNeil
- Jessica St. Clair as Suzanne MacNeil
- Megan Stevenson as A.J. Gibbs
- Michael Croner as Josh
A great entry in the mockumentary genre, Review boasts a pretty outrageous premise. It revolves around Forrest MacNeil, a critic who instead of analysing books, food or movies provides reviews of real-life experiences. Like addiction, getting a divorce, being Batman, quitting a job and making a sex tape.
Thanks to its bleak, yet often hilarious tone, it’s safe to say that Review is unlike nothing else on television. The show never disappoints, mainly due to the earnestness with which the resident critic is willing to take on self-destructive challenges that are both fun and awkward to watch. You can purchase Review from digital retailers like Google Play and iTunes.
11. Lovesick 2014
- Johnny Flynn as Dylan
- Antonia Thomas as Evie
- Daniel Ings as Luke
- Joshua McGuire as Angus
It seems that there’s no shortage of exceptional British series in the current TV landscape and Lovesick is one of the most inventive of the bunch. A sitcom about love and relationships, it centres on three friends – Dylan, Evie and Luke. When Dylan finds out that he has chlamydia, he has to contact all his former flames to get tested as well. As a result, episodes are built around a flashback detailing an important moment in one of Dylan’s past relationships, while also following the three friends as they go about their lives in the present.
There are a lot of great things about Lovesick, from its charming cast to its engaging structure. However, its greatest strength is the ability to offer a completely fresh take on the will-they-won’t-they couple. The series is available to stream on Netflix.
12. Deutschland 83 2015
- Jonas Nay as Martin Rauch
- Maria Schrader as Lenora Rauch
- Ulrich Noethen as General Wolfgang Edel
- Sylvester Groth as Walter Schweppenstette
A spy show of the highest calibre, Deutschland 83 is a German-American production set in the 1980s. The series follows a 24-year-old East German native who goes undercover in West Germany, where he must uncover secrets concerning American military strategy.
Deutschland 83 is a pretty straightforward thriller, but it manages to effectively balance genuine suspense with lighter moments, like the spy’s fascination with the luxuries he lacks in the East. Rich in period drama and tension, the show is stylish and riveting, packing all the ingredients required to capture viewers’ attention. In spite of the subtitles, we guarantee you’ll be hooked from episode one. Stream it on Stan.
13. River 2015
- Stellan Skarsgård as John River
- Nicola Walker as Jackie 'Stevie' Stevenson
- Lesley Manville as Chrissie Read
River is a short, six-part British drama, so it won’t take you too long to get through it. That’s both a good and bad thing, since you will crave more as the end credits roll. The show centres on detective inspector John River, who is haunted by all sorts of visions of his recently murdered colleague. As he tries to figure out who killed her, his fractured mind will trap him between the living and the dead. This excellent drama has more to offer than your typical crime show, since it deals with loss, grief and personal tragedy. With each episode, the show gets deeper and darker, taking viewers on a wild and surprising ride. Stream it on Netflix.
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