The movie and television show aggregate review website Rotten Tomatoes has been around for an astonishing 20 years. The site collects critics reviews and combines them into an average score based. If a movie or TV show scores high enough, it’s “Certified Fresh.” On the opposite spectrum, if a score is low enough, it’s considered “Certified Rotten.” The website also allows non-critics to submit their reviews, which are compiled into an Audience Score.
Rotten Tomatoes is a good starting point to obtain critiques of a show or movie to decide if you want to watch it or if you want to wait or skip it altogether. Although there are sometimes major differences in the score between critics and audience, diving into the text portion of the reviews will provide additional information for your decision.
Obviously, a higher score is what television shows want, because most people grab a first impression of a television show from the prominently-displayed percentage score. Many of the entries in the database are in the 70%-80%, but there are a surprising number of sitcoms at 95% and above.
Yes, there are a few sitcoms that have managed to get the ultra-rare score of 0%. Considering that most critics can find something good about a television show, a program must really be terrible if it isn’t able to even hit 1%.
Many older sitcoms have not been scored by Rotten Tomatoes, so you’ll find mostly newer shows on this list.
Here are the 17 Best Sitcoms According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 3 Stuck At 0%).
20 Best: Brooklyn Nine-Nine (95%)
The Brooklyn Nine-Nine saga is well-known to fans of the show and critics. The program lasted 5 seasons on Fox before the network canceled it. It only took one day – whether through hardcore fan assistance or someone saw more potential for the show – but NBC decided to continue the show for a 6th season.
The show takes place in a precinct with an odd cast of characters, focusing on Detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher). Critics have praised the near-perfect casting of the characters, especially Samberg and Braugher.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been nominated for an incredible 55 awards, winning 10.
That’s an impressive record to have. NBC should be proud to have Brooklyn Nine-Nine on their network.
19 Best: The Good Place (95%)
One of the newer shows on this list is The Good Place. It’s about a group of people who find their way to the afterlife. The show has 2 seasons and 26 episodes so far and returns for a 3rd season at the end of September 2018.
The stars of the show, most notably Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, having amazing and charming performances that work well together. The first season managed a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the second season hit 100%.
Many fans and critics love how The Good Place sneaks philosophy and ethics into the sometimes crass, but intelligent humor. There’s little doubt that the third season will continue trending high on Rotten Tomatoes.
18 Best: Black-ish (95%)
Black-ish stars Anthony Anderson as the father of an upper middle-class black family. Season 4, the most recent, has a Certified Fresh rating of 100%.
Critics love that the show still pushes boundaries in today’s modern political and racial environment.
Many of the actors and actresses, including Anderson, Tracee Ellis-Ross, and Yara Shahidi have received award nominations. Anderson and Ellis-Ross have each won multiple times.
It was easy for ABC to renew black-ish for a sixth season, with the decision coming in May 2018.
In the 3rd season, the episode “Liberal Arts” was a back-door pilot for the spin-off involving Zoey. Grown-ish will debut its second season on Freeform.
17 Best: Silicon Valley (95%)
Currently in its fifth season, Silicon Valley follows the lives of five men who create a startup computer company in Silicon Valley. One of the characters makes an app called “Pied Piper” that compresses data with a unique and outstanding method.
Everything from the acting, writing, and directing to the production value has been praised immensely by critics and viewers. Mike Judge (Office Space) managed to make a show about the computer industry that was accessible to everyone. The incredible cast includes rising star and recent Oscar nominee Kumail Nanjiani.
Silicon Valley was renewed in April 2018 for a sixth season.
16 0%: S*** My Dad Says
Star power is no guarantee that a TV show will be successful. The main draw of $h*! My Dad Says was, of course, William Shatner. The supporting cast included Will Sasso and Nicole Sullivan from MadTV days.
Controversy hit the show since the first word offended many, and the FCC needed it changed if it was to make it to a primetime network. Shatner criticized the FCC, wondering why certain words are okay or saying that the first word is a natural function.
Shatner has been accused of being a cranky old man, and that’s exactly the role he played in the series.
Ratings were up and down, and the show won a People’s Choice for Best New TV Comedy. But that wasn’t enough to keep in on the air or from getting the fabled 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.
15 Best: Legit (95%)
One of sitcoms on this list that currently sits at 95% is Legit, which took a tumble in ratings during the second season and was not renewed for a third. However, critics loved the show, and the audience loved it even a little more– Audience Score sits at 98%.
Jim Jefferies (also one of the creators) plays himself as an Australian stand-up comedian who is crass and rude and attempts to find meaning to his life and career. Dan Bakkedahl and DJ Qualls also star.
A few of the notable recurring roles include George Lazenby, John Ratzenberger, and Mindy Sterling, of Austin Powers fame.
Legit shows you that no matter how much a TV series is loved, low ratings are still low ratings.
14 Best: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (97%)
One of the longer-running shows on this list, It’s Always Sunny Philadelphia has managed to maintain a percentage score in the mid-to-high 90s for many years.
The show has been on since 2005, for a total of 135 episodes and counting.
While the premise seems trite and over-used, especially by today’s standards (”The Gang” is a group of dirty-minded, selfish friends who run a pub), the show has consistently achieved high ratings and award nominations almost every year since 2008.
FXX renewed the series for its thirteenth and fourteenth seasons. If It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia gets a fifteenth season, it will be the longest live-action sitcom in U.S. TV history, beating out The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.
13 Best: Atlanta (97%)
Donald Glover stars as Ernest Marks in Atlanta, a 30-minute comedy-drama about cousins making their way up the rap scene. Glover also is a writer and director for the show. It didn’t take long for FX to realize the popularity of the show. Just two weeks after Atlanta aired the first episode, FX wanted another season.
With the acclaim and high accolades Atlanta has received so far, its current 97% on Rotten Tomatoes actually seems low! The show has been nominated for some of the biggest awards in the industry, winning Golden Globes and Emmys.
FX renewed the show again for a third seasons, in June 2018, and has set the premiere to air sometime in 2019.
12 Best: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (97%)
Even though Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is ending after its fourth season, the show managed to snag 7 nominations for the first season alone.
Ellie Kemper stars as Kimmy Schmidt, one of the “Mole Women” rescued from a bunker a deranged cult leader (played by John Hamm) kept them in. She goes to New York City to try to get back her life.
The show was slated for NBC’s spring line-up in 2015, but NBC must not have thought the show was going to do well.
NBC sold it to Netflix, which automatically gave it two seasons before the first season aired.
The main cast, of course, is wonderful, but the recurring and cameo stars make Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt even more fun to watch.
11 Best: One Day at a Time (98%)
Based on Norman Lear’s sitcom named the same, One Day at a Time – the 2017 version – had the same basic concept, but with a Latino family. The show focuses on issues Latinos face in the U.S. like immigration and racism, as well as sexism and mental illness.
One Day at a Time has received lots of praise, even being called one of the top TV shows of 2017 by over fifteen critics. The series has been nominated for 12 awards as of this writing, winning 4 so far.
Seasons one and two had thirteen episodes each, and the third season that was approved in March 2018 is expected to have the same.
10 0%: Dads
On paper, Dads should have been a decent and funny show, definitely not deserving of the 0% it currently has on Rotten Tomatoes. With Seth McFarlane taking the executive producer role, and the show starring Giovanni Ribisi and Seth Green, Dads had the makings of a rating hog– but that’s not what happened.
Ribisi and Green play owners of a video game development company. Their dads need to come live with them, setting up a show with predictable storylines and stereotypical characters. Many critics complained the jokes were extremely vulgar and racist.
Ratings never hit any kind of stride and the show was quickly canceled.
Not even the secondary cast of Peter Reigert, Martin Mull, and Brenda Song could save this show from 0%.
9 Best: Speechless (98%)
Speechless is about a family dealing with a teenager who has cerebral palsy, but JJ – the disabled teenager – doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him. He’s sarcastic, funny, and doesn’t take guff from anyone.
ABC ordered a 22-episode first season, with another episode added in December 2016. The show was subsequently renewed for a second season, then for a third season a year later, which will premiere on October 5, 2018.
Ratings have been consistently high, and the show has been nominated for several awards in 2017, winning the Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming. TV Guide said that it was a great “addition to its [ABC} strong lineup of modern families.”
8 Best: Insecure (98%)
This show started as a web series called Awkward Black Girl, and Insecure is the HBO series it’s based on. Rae and Larry Wilmore (the latter from The Daily Show) created Insecure, with Rae and Jay Ellis starring.
Insecure deserves the near 100% score, as AFI picked the show as one of the top 10 TV shows of the year in 2017.
Rae received two Golden Globe nominations in the Best Actress in a TV Series Musical or Comedy category along with a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress for a Primetime Emmy Award.
The third season began at the start of August, and HBO has renewed Insecure with a fourth season.
7 Best: Dear White People (99%)
Dear White People is adored by critics, but struggles with non-critics, which is why there’s a large variance between the Tomatometer and Audience Score. The show did have a 100% rating for some time before dropping slightly.
Netflix approved of a series based on a film of the same name, which has won 4 awards including one at the Sundance Film Festival. Episodes are from the viewpoint of a different, racially-diverse student as they deal with the growing racial tensions on a college campus.
The streaming service has confidence in the show, especially if the director and writer, Justin Simien, continues his involvement. Netflix has greenlit a third season, but no firm dates have been set for its premiere.
6 Best: Broad City (99%)
Broad City began as a web series from 2009 to 2011. Ilana Glazer developed the web series after she received negative feedback on a project she had been working on.
Glazer and co-creator Abbi Jacobson took their real-life friendship and put it on screen.
Amy Poehler is one of the executive producers of the show and even made an appearance in the web series final episode.
The New York-based show is currently in its fourth season, with the show ending after the fifth season. If you’re a fan of Broad City and want to take it further than the screen, you can play a mobile game called Broad City: High Score, available in the App Store and Google Play.
5 Best: Master of None (100%)
In Master of None, Aziz Ansari stars as an actor whose greatest accomplishment up to the show’s start was a Go-Gurt commercial. We follow his experiences in love, work, and the experience of being of Indian descent in America. The show has tackled racism and the film industry with biting humor.
Season one and season two have garnered 100% scores on Rotten Tomatoes. Master of None has received a Golden Globe award and three Emmys. Plus, the show’s been nominated for many other awards in categories like acting, writing, and music.
As of this writing, the third season hasn’t been confirmed.
4 Best: Fleabag (100%)
Playwright and actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Solo: A Star Wars Story) wrote a stage play titled Fleabag. BBC Three and Amazon Studios partnered to create a digital version of the play. Waller-Bridge stars in the TV show about Fleabag (yes, that’s her name in the show) as she navigates her personal and professional life in London.
Fleabag originally aired on BBC, but Amazon decided to premier it on their streaming service before the 1st series even ended.
Fleabag has been nominated for and won BAFTAs, as well as other British awards.
The show made the Telegraph list of “80 Best BBC Shows of All Time,” placing 61. A second series is in the works and is expected to premiere in 2019.
3 Alexa & Katie (100%)
Alexa & Katie is a Netflix original teen comedy that has two girls ready for their freshman year of high school. One of them finds out they have cancer and begins treatment. They must journey through the illness and unknown territory of school together.
Created by Heather Wordham, Alexa & Kate has Matthew Carlson as a showrunner. You might not recognize his name, but you’ll know the 2 other shows he worked on: Malcolm in the Middle and The Wonder Years.
The sitcom has already been nominated for a Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Award in 2018 for Outstanding Children’s Program.
The show premiered in March of 2018 and ran for 13 episodes. In April of 2018, Netflix ordered a second season.
2 Catastrophe (100%)
Another British show that Amazon picked up to host on their streaming service, Catastrophe stars Rob Delaney (as Rob Norris) and Sharon Horgan (playing Sharon Morris) as a couple who get together after Sharon becomes pregnant after Rob’s short visit to London.
Catastrophe has aired three series, all of which have gotten 100% scores. The show has been nominated for a number of awards each year since the premiere series and has one a BAFTA for Best Writer: Comedy. A fourth series is slated to release in late 2018.
Carrie Fischer played a supporting role on the show but passed away when the third series finished shooting. It was her last TV performance. She had been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.
1 0%: Saint George
George Lopez has done quite a lot as a comedian: written books, starred in movies, and created an award-winning, 5-season show called George Lopez. His talk show lasted only 2 years but was nominated for a People’s Choice Award. But did he ever think he’d have a sitcom listed on Rotten Tomatoes with a 0% rating?
That’s Saint George. A working-class man finds himself a successful entrepreneur and struggles to balance his personal life, including his ex-wife, while continuing to teach history class at night school.
If you think the show sounds convoluted, you’d be right.
The show premiered in March 2014, ran 10 episodes and was canceled in June 2016.
Maybe Lopez was a bit rusty: Saint George was the first scripted show he’d starred in since the end of George Lopez.
Have you seen any of these shows? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
2018-09-12 04:09:58 – Gregory Thompson