(Photo by Hulu)

Best Hulu Shows by Tomatometer

Updated January 3, 2022

The top shows on Hulu include some of the most prestigious and binge-worthy series out there. The Handmaid’s Tale’s instant success helped establish itself as one of the best shows on Hulu and the streamer as a major player in the originals game. Other Hulu shows have since become known as buzz-worthy and prestige programs, and the addition of FX on Hulu has added the cable network’s titles to the Hulu list.

Just consider some of the newest additions to our list, Certified Fresh at 100% and 98% respectively. First up there’s Only Murders In the Building, the madcap comedy mystery series starring Steve Martin, Martin, Short, and Selena Gomez. And then there’s the groundbreaking Reservation Dogs, a hilarious new series from co-creators Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi about four young indigenous teens in Oklahoma.

Parent company Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox also means that new Hulu TV shows can appear both on cable channel FX and streaming service Hulu, and that FX and FXX series like Atlanta, Better Things, Justified, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Nip/Tuck can now be found on the streaming platform too, alongside existing originals  Pen15, Castle Rock (based on Stephen King’s works), Harlots, Shrill, Catch-22, and Veronica Mars.

Rotten Tomatoes has put together a guide to every single Fresh-rated Hulu, FX, FX on Hulu, and National Geographic series you can stream on the service. To be included in our list of the best Hulu series, titles must be Fresh (60% or higher on the Tomatometer) and have at least 10 reviews, including episodic reviews like those on horror anthology series Into The Dark.

Recently Added: Score changes following the debut of the second half of Pen15 season 2.

Tyrant (2014)
60%

#88
Synopsis: Bassam "Barry" al-Fayeed, who has fully assimilated to living in America, is the son of a Middle Eastern dictator. Barry... [More]

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll (2015)
61%

#87
Synopsis: Early '90s band The Heathens lived up to that name offstage as well as on it, partying hard and using... [More]
Directed By: Denis Leary, Jim Serpico

#86
Synopsis: A "Wilderness of Error" is a five-part documentary series based on the book of the same name by filmmaker and... [More]
Starring:

The First (2018)
66%

#85
Synopsis: This sci-fi drama set in the near future tells the story of a crew of astronauts who are attempting to... [More]
Directed By: Beau Willimon

Into the Dark (2019)
69%

#84
Synopsis: Horror events inspired by holidays.... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Koehne

A Teacher (2020)
72%

#83
Synopsis: This drama series examines the complexities and consequences of an illicit sexual affair between a young teacher and her student.... [More]

Woke (2020)
74%

#82
Synopsis: Keef is an African-American cartoonist on the verge of mainstream success when an unexpected event changes his life; with a... [More]

#81
Synopsis: In early 1990s New York, Bobby Diggs strives to unite a dozen young black men who are torn between music... [More]

Synopsis: Based on The New York Times best-selling book of the same name, "The Most Dangerous Animal of All" is a... [More]

Chance (2016)
75%

#79
Synopsis: Based on Kem Nunn's acclaimed novel, this provocative thriller follows Dr. Eldon Chance ("House" star Hugh Laurie), a San Francisco-based... [More]

Y: The Last Man (2021)
76%

#78
Synopsis: Based on DC Comics' acclaimed series by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, the drama "Y: The Last Man" traverses... [More]

Taboo (2017)
76%

#77
Synopsis: Adventurer James Keziah Delaney, long believed to be dead, returns home to London from Africa in 1814 in order to... [More]

Marvel's Hit-Monkey (2021)
77%

#76
Synopsis: A vengeful Japanese snow monkey and the ghost of an American assassin cut down Tokyo's underworld.... [More]

The Path (2016)
77%

#75
Synopsis: Aaron Paul ("Breaking Bad") stars in this Hulu original as Eddie Lane, a member of a new-age spiritualist movement known... [More]

#74
Synopsis: "American Horror Story" was created by the co-creators of "Glee," but the shows have little in common besides that. The... [More]

Trust (2018)
78%

#73
Synopsis: Inspired by actual events, "Trust" delves into the trials and triumphs of one of America's wealthiest and unhappiest families, the... [More]

#72
Synopsis: The intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and an enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.... [More]

The Strain (2014)
79%

#71
Synopsis: Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the CDC's New York-based Canary Project, is called upon to investigate when an airplane... [More]

Dimension 404 (2017)
80%

#70
Synopsis: Deep in cyberspace, there is said to be a lost dimension that is home to unspeakable terrors, unseen wonders and... [More]

Hillary (2020)
80%

#69
Synopsis: An intimate portrait of former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; how she became one of the... [More]

Thief (2006)
81%

#68
Synopsis: After a job goes bad, professional thief Nick Atwater becomes the target of Chinese gangsters and a crooked cop. Complicating... [More]

The League (2009)
81%

#67
Synopsis: Some friends who are all avid fantasy football fans try to balance their time between the league and their real... [More]

Fosse/Verdon (2019)
81%

#66
Synopsis: Spanning five decades, "Fosse/Verdon" explores the singular romantic and creative partnership between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. Bob is a... [More]

Monsterland (2020)
82%

#65
Synopsis: Encounters with mermaids, fallen angels and other strange beasts drive broken people to desperate acts.... [More]

Devs (2020)
82%

#64
Synopsis: "Devs" is an FX limited series that focuses on a young software engineer named Lily Chan who works for Amaya,... [More]

11.22.63 (2016)
83%

#63
Synopsis: James Franco plays the role of Jake Epping, an ordinary high school teacher, who is presented with a chance to... [More]

Wilfred (2011)

#62
Synopsis: Elijah Wood stars in this comedy based on a popular Australian series of the same name. Wood plays Ryan, a... [More]

The Handmaid's Tale (2017)
83%

#61
Synopsis: Based on the best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood, this series is set in Gilead, a totalitarian society in what used... [More]

Dave (2020)
84%

#60
Synopsis: "Dave" centers on a neurotic man in his late 20s who has convinced himself that he's destined to be one... [More]

Catch-22 (2019)
84%

#59
Synopsis: Artful dodger Yossarian is a bombardier in the U.S. Air Force during World War II who is upset that thousands... [More]

()
%

#58

Das Boot (2018)
85%

#57
Synopsis: A story of choices and survival that explores the emotional torment of life during World War II -- and the... [More]

Marvel's Runaways (2017)
85%

#56
Synopsis: There are times when pretty much every teenager thinks his or her parents are evil -- but what if it... [More]

The Riches (2007)
86%

#55
Synopsis: Wayne and Dahlia Malloy, along with the kids, are Irish con artists and thieves -- Travellers as they're called. After... [More]

Mayans M.C. (2018)
86%

#54
Synopsis: "Mayans M.C." follows the life of Ezekiel "EZ" Reyes, a newly patched member of the Mayans M.C. charter on the... [More]

High Fidelity (2020)
86%

#53
Synopsis: Rob, a record-store owner in the rapidly gentrified Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, revisits past relationships through music and pop... [More]

The Mindy Project (2012)
86%

#52
Synopsis: Mindy Lahiri is a successful, skilled doctor, but when she leaves the office, all bets are off. She aspires to... [More]

Dopesick (2021)
87%

#51
Synopsis: How one company triggered one of the worst drug epidemics in American history.... [More]

Snowfall (2017)
87%

#50
Synopsis: "Snowfall" is a drama set against the infancy of the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles and its ultimate radical... [More]

Shrill (2019)
87%

#49
Synopsis: Annie is a full-figured woman who wants to change her life -- but not her body; she is trying to... [More]

Sons of Anarchy (2008)
87%

#48
Synopsis: Single father Jax Teller finds his loyalty to his outlaw motorcycle club tested by his growing unease concerning the group's... [More]

Marvel's M.O.D.O.K. (2021)
88%

#47
Synopsis: While pursuing his dream of conquering the world, a megalomaniacal supervillain runs his evil organization into the ground.... [More]

The Act (2019)
88%

#46
Synopsis: Dee Dee Blanchard is overprotective of her daughter, Gypsy, who is trying to escape the toxic relationship she has with... [More]

The Looming Tower (2018)
88%

#45
Synopsis: "The Looming Tower" traces the rising threat of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida in the late '90s and how a... [More]

Castle Rock (2018)
88%

#44
Synopsis: The psychological-horror series set in the Stephen King multiverse combines the mythological scale and intimate character storytelling of his works,... [More]

Staged (2020)
89%

#43
Synopsis: David Tennant and Michael Sheen's play is put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.... [More]
Directed By: Simon Evans

()
%

#42

Rescue Me (2004)
89%

#41
Synopsis: New York firefighter Tommy Gavin is a hot mess. He talks to his cousin, Jimmy, who died at the World... [More]

City So Real (2020)
90%

#40
Synopsis: Featuring the city of Chicago, set against the backdrop of its history-making 2019 mayoral election, and the tumultuous 2020 summer... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Steve James

The Bisexual (2018)
90%

#39
Synopsis: New Yorker Leila lives in London with her girlfriend of 10 years and business partner, Sadie, but Leila has a... [More]

Animaniacs (2020)
90%

#38
Synopsis: The Warner siblings wreak havoc in the lives of everyone they meet.... [More]

The Shield (2002)
90%

#37
Synopsis: Vic Mackey is a rogue cop in an experimental division of the Los Angeles Police Department, willing to sink to... [More]
Directed By: Shawn Ryan, Scott Brazil

Archer (2010)
90%

#36
Synopsis: The suave, confident and devastatingly handsome Sterling Archer may be the world's greatest spy, but he still has issues with... [More]

Breeders (2020)
91%

#35
Synopsis: "Breeders" explores the paradox experienced by nearly all parents, the willingness to die for one's children coupled with the near-constant... [More]

Future Man (2017)
91%

#34
Synopsis: Janitor Josh Futturman leads a pretty boring life, spending much of his time playing video games when he's not working.... [More]

This Way Up (2019)
91%

#33
Synopsis: A smart young teacher tries to pull her life back together after a nervous breakdown.... [More]

Damages (2007)
91%

#32
Synopsis: While still pursuing big litigation cases, high-powered attorney Patty Hewes has been caring for her granddaughter and experiencing a second... [More]

Normal People (2020)
91%

#31
Synopsis: Marianne and Connell come from different backgrounds but the same small town in Ireland, weaving in and out of each... [More]

Legion (2017)
91%

#30
Synopsis: David Haller is a troubled young man who was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child. Shuffled from one psychiatric institution... [More]

Terriers (2010)
92%

#29
Synopsis: Former cop Hank Dolworth and his best friend, Britt Pollack, team up to open their own private investigation agency. They... [More]

Looking for Alaska (2019)
92%

#28
Synopsis: Miles "Pudge" Halter wants to gain a deeper perspective on life, so he enrolls in boarding school. While he's there,... [More]

Sasquatch (2021)
92%

#27
Synopsis: After hearing a haunting story about a savage Bigfoot attack, David Holthouse revisits Northern California 25 years later to hunt... [More]
Starring: David Holthouse

Baskets (2016)
92%

#26
Synopsis: Chip Baskets has always dreamed of being a classically trained clown. After flunking out of French clown college -- probably... [More]

Casual (2015)
92%

#25
Synopsis: You can go home again -- sort of. Bachelor Alex Cole finds himself living with his newly divorced sister in... [More]

Synopsis: In this day and age of heightened political unrest and deep-rooted factions in the U.S., Sarah Silverman is doing her... [More]
Starring: Sarah Silverman

Fargo (2014)
93%

#23
Synopsis: In this anthology series inspired by the 1996 film, each season follows a mostly new cast of characters who get... [More]

Legit (2013)
94%

#22
Synopsis: Jim Jefferies stars in this comedy series as Jim, an edgy, foul-mouthed comic from Australia -- essentially a fictionalized version... [More]

Man Seeking Woman (2015)
94%

#21
Synopsis: Naive 20-something Josh Greenberg is in search of love. Things aren't exactly in his favor to find his ideal mate... [More]

The Great (2020)
94%

#20
Synopsis: A genre-bending, anti-historical ride through 18th-century Russia following the wildly comedic rise of Catherine the Nothing to Catherine the Great.... [More]

Synopsis: Depraved underachieving might look easy, but for the egocentric Mac, Charlie, Dennis, Frank and Dee, it's an art form. "It's... [More]

Mr Inbetween (2018)
95%

#18
Synopsis: "Mr Inbetween" is a half-hour comedy series inspired by the cult film "The Magician" and centers around Ray Shoesmith. Juggling... [More]

The Wrong Mans (2013)
95%

#17
Synopsis: A case of mistaken identity catapults two council employees into the middle of a deadly conspiracy.... [More]

Love, Victor (2020)
95%

#16
Synopsis: "Love, Victor" is set in the world of the groundbreaking movie, "Love, Simon," which was inspired by Becky Albertalli's acclaimed... [More]

You're the Worst (2014)
95%

#15
Synopsis: "You're the Worst" is a modern look at love and happiness told through the eyes of two people who haven't... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Falk

#14
Synopsis: A family of aliens from a better world must take refuge in middle America; they disagree on whether Earth is... [More]

Difficult People (2015)
96%

#13
Synopsis: Life is really tough for Julie and Billy, two 30-something aspiring comics living and working in New York City. While... [More]

Ramy (2019)
96%

#12
Synopsis: Ramy Hassan is a first-generation Egyptian-American who is on a spiritual journey in his politically divided New Jersey neighborhood. He... [More]

Mrs. America (2020)
96%

#11
Synopsis: "Mrs. America" tells the story of the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and the unexpected backlash led... [More]

National Treasure (2016)
97%

#10
Synopsis: Much-loved comedian Paul Finchley faces an accusation of rape dating back to the 1990s.... [More]

McCartney 3,2,1 (2021)
97%

#9
Synopsis: Paul McCartney sits down for an in-depth one-on-one with music producer Rick Rubin to discuss his groundbreaking work with The... [More]

Harlots (2017)
97%

#8
Synopsis: In this drama set in 18th century London, Samantha Morton stars as Margaret Wells, a brothel owner and mother to... [More]

PEN15 (2019)
97%

#7
Synopsis: This comedy series depicts middle school as it really happened. Comics Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle play versions of themselves... [More]

Atlanta (2016)
97%

#6
Synopsis: Two cousins work through the Atlanta music scene to better their lives and the lives of their families. Earn Marks... [More]

Better Things (2016)
97%

#5
Synopsis: "Better Things" is the story of Sam Fox, a single mother and working actor with no filter trying to raise... [More]

Synopsis: Based on the feature film of the same name from Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, "What We Do in the... [More]

Justified (2010)
97%

#3
Synopsis: Deputy Raylan Givens has his own, Wild West-style methods of upholding justice, putting him at odds with the criminals he... [More]

Reservation Dogs (2021)
98%

#2
Synopsis: Four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma steal, rob, and save in order to get to the exotic, mysterious, and faraway... [More]

Synopsis: Three strangers share an obsession with true crime and suddenly find themselves wrapped up in one. When a grisly death... [More]


Read More:


Thumbnail image: Rafy Winterfeld/FX

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

We’ve got a lot of solid television newly available on streaming services this week, including USA’s breakout hacker drama, a ShondaLand hit on ABC, a Netflix revival of a classic cartoon, and the final season of an absurd sitcom. Read on for the full list.


New on Netflix

 

Voltron: Legendary Defender: Season 1 (2017) 100%

Dreamworks Animation’s reboot of the classic 1980s cartoon about a team of heroic pilots who control robot lions is available exclusively on Netflix, which means all 13 episodes are available to watch now.

Available now on: Netflix


Scandal: Season 5 (2015) 95%

Kerry Washington stars in this popular ABC drama about a high profile fixer whose ties to the White House complicate her personal and professional relationships.

Available now on: Netflix


The Trials of Muhammad Ali (2013) 88%

This documentary takes a closer look at the late great boxing legend’s political activism.

Available now on: Netflix


Glassland (2014) 84%

Toni Collette and Jack Reynor star in this Certified Fresh drama about a Dublin taxi driver who turns to crime to help his sick mother.

Available now on: Netflix


Monster Hunt (2015) 66%

This fantasy adventure tells the tale of a human woman pregnant with the child of the monster queen who flees in order to protect the unborn king.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

Mr. Robot: Season 1 (2015) 98%

USA’s suspenseful Certified Fresh drama about a paranoid, drug-addicted hacker who gets pulled into a mind-bending conspiracy won a Golden Globe for Best Television Series and for Best Supporting Actor (Christian Slater).

Available now on: Amazon Prime


New on Hulu

 

The League: Season 7 (2015) 81%

Join Pete (Mark Duplass), Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi), and the rest of the gang on their ludicrous misadventures in the final season of The League, which follows the everyday lives of a group of friends tied together by a fantasy football league.

Available now on: Hulu


Available to Purchase

 

Eye in the Sky (2015) 95%

A Certified Fresh thriller about a military mission to capture a terrorist that escalates to dangerous levels, the film stars Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Barkhad Abdi, and, in his final role, Alan Rickman.

Available now on: iTunes


Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016) 67%

Loosely based upon a memoir by journalist Kim Barker, the film follows war correspondent Tina Fey’s misadventures through a war zone, in which she deals with culture shock, sexism, and ever-present danger.

Available now on: iTunes

After seven glorious seasons, The League is retiring. To discuss pocket dogs, toilet kitchens, eskimo brothers, and a bunch of other long-running jokes that we can’t believe made it onto basic cable, Rotten Tomatoes attended The League finale at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills on Tuesday night.

Here’s everything we learned from cast members Paul Scheer (Andre), Katie Aselton (Jenny), Stephen Rannazzisi (Kevin), Jon Lajoie (Taco), Jason Mantzoukas (Rafi), and Rob Huebel (Russell), along with creators Jeff and Jackie Marcus Schaffer.


RAFI CALLING KEVIN ‘BRIAN’ FOR SEVEN YEARS WAS A HAPPY ACCIDENT

Rotten Tomatoes asked the cast about their favorite long-running bits, and one that came up again and again is that Rafi has never not called Kevin ‘Brian.’

“I love the fact that Rafi calls me Brian and has done so since the first time, which I think was because Jason didn’t know my character’s name,” Rannazzisi told Rotten Tomatoes. “So he called me Brian and later we told him it was Kevin, and he was like, ‘Oh, I’ll never remember that,’ and it fits Rafi’s character perfectly.”


JON LAJOIE HATES WEARING THE MR. MCGIBBLETS COSTUME

You would think that anyone could be inside Taco’s Mr. McGibblet costume when his mask is on. Not so. Co-creators Jeff and Jackie Marcus Schaffer have told Lajoie that they can tell when he’s the one inside, so they prefer that Taco do all of his own McGibblets work.

“I hate that thing,” Lajoie admitted. “It is the most uncomfortable hot sweaty thing — it’s like being inside of a grizzly bear’s a–hole.”


THERE HAD BEEN PLANS TO KILL OFF SOFIA FOR A WHILE

The shocking death of Ruxin’s wife, who [spoiler alert] slipped away while getting a vaginal rejuvenation procedure, had been on The League‘s road map for a number of years — the writers were just waiting for the last season to kill off Nadine Velazquez’s character.

As Marcus Schaffer explained it, they wanted to explore how “the most insensitive people in the world help somebody, who is even more insensitive than they are, grieve.”


THE GROSSEST GUY ON TV IS A TOTAL GERMAPHOBE

Rafi, the man who gave us “second harvest” is totally neurotic about germs in real life. In fact, the writers waited until this week to break the news to Mantzoukas that his cocaine toilet seat in the “Going Kluneberg” episode from 2010 wasn’t exactly a brand new toilet seat. “It was… new-er,” Jeff Schaffer told him in the safety of a large crowd.


NICK KROLL IS ALWAYS THE FIRST TO BREAK

Though he wasn’t there to defend himself, the consensus from the cast was that if someone is going to break character and start laughing, it’s usually Nick Kroll.

Aselton recalled a scene where they were all playing volleyball and Andre kept asking Ruxin to man up. “I was freezing in a bikini and I was about to kill them,” the actress said. “But there was nothing we could do. Tears were just coming down Nick’s face.”

Lajoie had a separate, though very similar, memory. “We were in a scene and the actor who was playing Rafi’s landlord came in and he mentioned something about a toilet kitchen,” Lajoie remembered. “We had to do it maybe 40 times. It was impossible. Once Nick starts laughing, there’s no stopping it.”


THERE’S A SCENE OF ROB HUEBEL MAKING LOVE TO THE BEACH

Again, that’s to the beach, not on the beach.

“They made me into a crazy sex addict on the show,” Huebel told Rotten Tomatoes, “so I had to have sex with a lot of inanimate objects [like] cheese. I f— the beach! So, they got some mileage out of that.”

Sadly, the beach scene, like so many others, didn’t make the final cut. According to Jeff Schaffer, the show has about twice as much material as what makes it to air. So much lost gold.


JASON MANTZOUKAS EATS ABOUT 15 POCKET DOGS PER SHOOT

“There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes activity that goes on to make sure that I’m not eating gross pocket dogs,” Mantzoukas explained. “They’re always cooking them and then we split them in half and put them in a plastic baggy so they’re not just sitting loose in my pocket because that jacket is disgusting! I’m pulling out something that is usually pretty fresh and in a clean pocket because otherwise it’s too disgusting to even think about. I’m already eating upwards of 15 hot dogs a day at this point.”


MARK DUPLASS AND STEVEN RANNAZZISI LOVE YACHT ROCK

That particular brand of late-70s soft rock that put Christopher Cross and Toto on the map is a favorite of Duplass and Rannazzisi.

“Mark Duplass and I like to sing yacht rock songs, like some Gordon Lightfoot stuff,” Rannazzisi admitted. “So on set, we’ll break tension with some really soft, ‘70s divorce music.”


‘ESKIMO BROTHERS’ IS A THING THANKS TO THE LEAGUE

When he was 22, Jeff Schaffer had a friend who used to term “eskimo brothers” to refer to two guys who had slept with the same woman. He wrote it into the show and now it’s in the lexicon.

“Jeff Schaffer was like, ‘It’s a thing,’ and I was like, ‘It’s not a thing. I googled it and couldn’t find anything.'” Lajoie explained to RT. “And since then, sure, it’s everywhere, and this year — not that I was watching it — on The Bachelorette, they were dropping ‘eskimo brothers’ left and right… so it has a life of its own.”

Other terms from The League to make it into the Urban Dictionary? Fear Boner, Vaginal Hubris, Vinegar Strokes, Frittata, and Yobogoya.


MARK DUPLASS IS NOT THE TALL GUY

One running gag that Lajoie loves is Rafi calling Pete “tall guy, when he’s not necessarily taller than anyone.”


JON LAJOIE WAS DISCOVERED THROUGH HIS MUSIC VIDEOS

Jon Lajoie had been working it as a YouTube star, producing his own funny songs, before he was drafted to The League.

“That’s how I was found for this show,” he said. “They were like, ‘Taco already exists. Let’s go get this guy.'”

Some of the songs Taco sings predate Lajioe’s tenure on the show. For instance, the inappropriate little ditty he does at Ellie’s birthday party was already one of Lajoie’s jams!


THEY BASICALLY HAZED THE NFL PLAYERS ON THE SHOW

Most of the pro athletes who appeared in cameos on The League had never acted before, so how did the cast make them comfortable? “Insults and insults,” said Jeff Schaffer. “It was great. [The cast] would make fun of them and then they would be like, ‘Oh, wait,’ and then they would realize they were in a locker room.”

Sometimes the actors’ improv with the athletes would also serve to mortify their fellow cast mates. “We were trying to loosen up Chad Ochocinco,” Rannazzisi explained, “when Ruxin thought it would be a great idea to tell him that Andre didn’t believe that slavery was a real thing,”


TACO’S STOLEN MONKEY WAS TERRIFYING TO WORK WITH

MOnkey

The guest star in “Ghost Monkey” was out of control. During the car scene, the monkey got loose and started gnawing at the Mercedes’ visor. Meanwhile, the monkey’s owner, who was hidden in the trunk, told the terrified cast, “Just feed him gummy bears; he likes that.” Apparently, there’s a big difference between a monkey handler and some guy who owns a monkey.


PAUL SCHEER WAS SCARED ‘SCROTE SQUAD’ WAS GOING TO CATCH ON

The game of hitting each other in the crotch sent Scheer into a tizzy. “‘God, please don’t let our fans think that this is a way to interact with us, getting hit in the balls,'” Scheer remembered thinking. “We really sat around in a panic the night we shot that episode because people approach us as they know us from the show.”


MANTZOUKAS WAS OBSESSED WITH ADDING JORAN VAN DER SLOOT TO THE SHOW

Not every long-running bit is known to the audience. Jason Mantzoukas tried a number of times to slip in that Rafi was close friends with notorious murderer Joran van der Sloot, sometimes even referring to him as ‘JVS.’ The Schaffers never let it slide — not even once over seven years.


FANS GET THE CHARACTERS’ NAMES WRONG ALL THE TIME

The cast frequently meet people who claim to be huge fans of the show. Such big fans, in fact, that Lajoie is constantly called Nacho instead of Taco, Rannazzisi answers to Kevin, Brian, and Tall Guy, and an alarming number of fans think Rafi’s name is Ralphy. Also, Aselton wants everyone to know that it’s “s–t-sipper,” not “s–t-zipper.”


MAXIM CALLED RAFI THE GREATEST TV CHARACTER OF ALL TIME

In the August 2015 issue of Maxin, Gabriella Paiella wrote an ode to Rafi. “Much of Rafi’s immense success as a cult character can be chalked up to Mantzoukas,” she stated. “The League is, by and large, an improvised production — and Mantzoukas is one of the best improvisers in the game. He excels at raising the stakes in each scene and spouting one-liners like ‘I am day drunk. Get ready to see my d–k!’ No other character on television has the ability to make you to laugh so hard while simultaneously wondering ‘what the f— just happened?'”

The crazy thing? Rafi was only written into three episodes of the show, so Mantzoukas knew he had to kill it by making Rafi the worst human being imaginable in his limited screen time.


EVERY GROUP OF FRIENDS HAS AN ANDRE…

…And if you’re not sure who it is, you’re the Andre!


The series finale of The League airs tonight on FXX at 10 p.m. Will you be watching?

The League kicks off its final season tonight, one day before the NFL resumes play with a Thursday-night matchup between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, and we’re all clearly ready for some football. So with that in mind, we decided to dedicate this week’s feature to a brief history of TV shows built around the gridiron in some way — many of which offered addictive viewing even to those who don’t even care about the sport. Ready, set, hike: It’s time for Total Recall!


1st & Ten (1984-1991)

1standTen

By the mid-’80s, cable had enough of a subscriber base to start making its first attempts to lure viewers away from the major broadcast networks, and shows like 1st & Ten were among the earliest — and most successful — efforts. This long-running HBO series started out as a star vehicle for Delta Burke, whose character wins a football team from her ex-husband in their divorce settlement, but Burke’s third-season departure was just one of the many changes the show endured during its 80-episode run, which finally concluded in early 1991 with a cast that by then included Shannon Tweed and O.J. Simpson. Somewhat ironically, the things that arguably set 1st & Ten apart from its Big Three competitors — namely, the profanity and nudity allowed on pay cable — were later edited out when the show made the jump to syndication.


Coach (1989-1997)

03Coach

Craig T. Nelson never had much of a chance to show off his comedic chops in movies like Poltergeist, but his imposing stature and gift for playing characters with a gruff demeanor made him the perfect fit for Coach. As Hayden Fox, head coach of a fictional Division I-A college football team in Minnesota, Nelson made a terrific Newhart-style straight man in the midst of a cast of doofus characters (led by Jerry Van Dyke and Bill Fagerbakke) while building long-running rapport with leading lady Shelley Fabares, whose character’s relationship with Fox kept the laughs coming on the homefront. While Coach’s sitcom setup kept the cameras largely off the gridiron, football remained a major component of the show, with pro football stars like Troy Aikman, Mike Ditka, and Eddie George among the many guests making noteworthy cameos during its nearly 200-episode run — and during the final two seasons, the action shifted to the NFL, with Fox and his staff making the jump to the big league to coach an expansion team owned by a scatterbrained widow (Katherine Helmond).


Hard Knocks (2001- )

06HardKnocks

The rare reality series that proves irresistible for football fans, HBO’s Hard Knocks offers a window into the behind-the-scenes ups and downs of life during training camp at an NFL franchise — and one the network and the league have proven impressively adept at continuing over 10 seasons and counting, despite an overall reluctance to participate among most teams. While an ongoing lack of volunteers has occasionally presented problems (and led to the Cincinnati Bengals appearing twice), Knocks has still produced its share of compelling football-driven drama over the years — and with the league implementing a system of enforced participation a couple of seasons ago, the show may have only scratched the surface of its potential.


Playmakers (2003)

10Playmakers

Long before the NFL (allegedly) strongarmed Sony Pictures into making script changes to Will Smith’s Concussion in order to portray the league in a more favorable light, ESPN discovered just how proactive pro sports can be when it comes to circling the wagons against a perceived threat. For 11 episodes in late 2003, Playmakers enjoyed strong ratings on the network, outpacing everything but its Sunday night NFL and Saturday college football games with a fictional portrayal of pro football players’ lives on and off the gridiron. In spite of the high audience turnout — and critical acclaim that included an AFI TV Award and a GLAAD Media Award — ESPN quickly bowed to pressure from the NFL execs who didn’t take kindly to the show’s depiction of controversial themes like player sexuality, crime, and off-field partying. While ESPN’s close ties with the NFL likely doomed Playmakers before it even aired, the show proved there was plenty of drama to be mined from football players’ lives long after the game clock stopped ticking, and paved the way for similarly themed shows in the future.


Friday Night Lights (2006-2011)

05FridayNightLights

It would be putting it kindly to say that most television shows based on films fail to live up to their big-screen inspiration, but Friday Night Lights proved an outstanding exception during its five-season run. Starring Kyle Chandler as the coach of a Texas high school football squad, FNL pivoted away from series producer Peter Berg’s 2004 film of the same name (itself inspired by Buzz Bissinger’s nonfiction book) to delve deeper into the drama-stricken personal lives of its characters, using gridiron action as but one small component of a reliably gripping look at life in 21st century small-town Middle America. Like its characters, the show always seemed to be a decimal point or two away from disaster; in spite of consistent critical acclaim, it spent virtually its entire run on the ratings bubble, continuing under threat of cancellation even after NBC (then struggling to lure audiences to a handful of ratings-starved critics’ darlings) struck a unique co-production deal with DirecTV. Ultimately — again, like many of its blue-collar protagonists — FNL managed to find its own small measure of triumph, closing out its fifth season on its own terms with a series finale that offered closure and bittersweet uplift without resorting to cheap sentimentality.


The Game (2009-2015)

09TheGame

The rare TV spinoff that logged more seasons than its springboard series, The Game debuted in the fall of 2006 after starting out as a backdoor pilot for UPN’s Girlfriends, following the story of a med student (Tia Mowry) who puts her education on hold in order to join her football-playing boyfriend (Pooch Hall) as he moves to San Diego as a rookie on the fictional Sabers squad. Like almost any series that stays on the air for nine seasons, The Game experienced a lot of change over the years: Both of its original main characters were eventually phased out, and football slowly took a back seat to the various interpersonal schisms that drove the show’s drama, although not completely — the series finale, which aired in August 2015, featured a good old-fashioned comeback win with the playoffs on the line.


 The League (2009- )

07TheLeague

Fantasy sports have come a long way from their humble Rotisserie League beginnings, and the same could be said for FX’s The League, which initially seemed reluctant to make the most of its fantasy football-driven premise and spent its first season as just another raunchy cable comedy. The show really hit its stride in subsequent seasons, however, benefiting from the improv-fueled chemistry of a talented cast that includes rising stars Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, Mark Duplass, and Katie Aselton, while luring a growing list of NFL stars into the fold for a series of bizarre cameos. Unlike a lot of sitcoms entering their seventh season, The League feels like it could go on pretty much indefinitely — which means the show’s creative team should have plenty left in the tank to make this final frantic battle for the Shiva one to really remember.


Blue Mountain State (2010-2011)

02BlueMountainState

Airing for three seasons on Spike TV between January of 2010 and November of 2011, Blue Mountain State turned scripted college football hijinks into reliable ratings for the network, depicting the hard-partying exploits of the players, cheerleaders, and coaches for the titular university’s football squad, the Mountain Goats. With a young cast stocked with fresh faces (including Days of Our Lives vet Darin Brooks and Smallville’s former Aquaman, Alan Ritchson) and seasoned support from former Hill Street Blues star Ed Marinaro as the head coach and Denise Richards as his ex-wife, Blue Mountain State attracted a cult following that was never really reflected in its persistently medium-sized ratings — an audience whose continued clamor for a reunion project lasted well beyond the show’s cancellation, and ultimately translated into a successful Kickstarter campaign for a feature film, which raised nearly $2 million in late 2014.


 Necessary Roughness (2011-2013)

08NecessaryRoughness2

More in the vein of Coach than, say, 1st & Ten, Necessary Roughness starred Rescue Me vet Callie Thorne as a single mom whose divorce sends her back into the workforce, where she finds employment as a therapist for a pro football team. Although football (and sports in general) were somewhat tangential to the dynamics that drove the show — and were essentially backburnered during the third and final season — Necessary Roughness offered a reliably entertaining if undemanding hour of entertainment during its 38-episode run, and anything that gives Thorne steady work is okay in our book.


Ballers (2015- )

01Ballers

Offering the latest example of how thin and blurred the line between TV and film is these days, Ballers stars big-screen hero Dwayne Johnson as an ex-NFL player who struggles to adjust to life after football — in terms of career fulfillment as well as coping with potentially scary health issues that loom after years of physical punishment. Benefiting from Johnson’s own football experience, co-produced by Friday Night Lights vet Peter Berg, and rounded out by a talented cast that includes Rob Corddry and real-life former running back John David Washington, the show got off to a solid start with its first 10-episode order, and has already been renewed by HBO for a second season.

To prepare for the final season of The League, FXX’s raunchy comedy about a fantasy football league of terrible, terrible people starring Steve Rannazzisi (Kevin) Katie Aselton (Jenny), Mark Duplass (Pete), Paul Scheer (Andre), Nick Kroll (Ruxin), and Jon Lajoie (Taco), Rotten Tomatoes chatted by phone with Rannazzisi about what’s in store.

Rannazzisi, whose stand-up special Breaking Dad airs on Comedy Central on September 19, explained what’s coming for Kevin in the final season of The League when it premieres tonight, what some of his favorite running gags have been over seven years, and why you should probably stop asking him for fantasy football advice.


Sarah Ricard for Rotten Tomatoes: Are you ever surprised with what you guys get away with? Have you rehearsed things and been like, ‘Oh my God. There is just no way this is going to get through,’ and then it does?

Steve Rannazzisi:  We did an episode called “Vaginal Hubris” and there was a dinner table conversation with Ruxin, Sophia, and a couple of people, and basically Katie [Aselton’s] character Jenny talks about how positive she is that Kevin would never leave her because she has confidence in her p–sy. She keeps saying ‘p–sy’ and we were like, ‘Are we going to do a take where she doesn’t say p–sy?’ And they were like, ‘No, she can say whatever she wants.’ And I’m thinking, ‘‘P–sy confidence’ or ‘Vaginal Hubris’ is never going to make it on television,’ and it did. And then I was like, ‘Oh, we can do whatever we want.’ We’ve never had a note about, “Maybe you guys should try to change this.’ It’s always been about time. All of our arguments have ever been about, like, ‘We need 30 more seconds to get this bit in.’ It’s never been an issue of ‘try not to say this,’ or ‘try a different version of that’. We pretty much come out unscathed so it’s been a blessing.

Rotten Tomatoes: Has there ever been a person like a great aunt or somebody who you didn’t want to see the show because it was so filthy?

Rannazzisi: My mom doesn’t watch the show. My brother’s a priest, and my mom is a pretty religious person… I mean, she doesn’t talk bad about it. She’ll go ‘How was your [show?]’ and she’ll just glaze over it. I know she doesn’t know what happened on the show… but I think she likes the fact that she gets to tell her friends that I play a lawyer on television and that’s enough for her. Like it’s Law & Order or some procedural where I’m solving crimes.

Rotten Tomatoes: Was that ever a thought that crossed your mind? Like, ‘Oh, geez, how do I do a show that my family can’t even really watch?’

Rannazzisi: No. The one thing that crossed my mind was… the episode where I lose in the playoffs and I have this outburst on the front lawn where I smash the manger and I kick everything. So that was the one where I was like, ‘I think they may have a problem with this one.’ I’m pretty sure I told my brother and my mom not to watch this episode because at one point Ellie turns to me and says, ‘What are you doing to Santa Claus? You’re ruining the manger,’ and I turn and say, ‘There’s no Santa Claus. There’s no God. There’s no nothing, okay?’ I keep saying these horrible things to a little girl on television. Yeah, this is the one I’m going to make sure my parents don’t watch.

Rotten Tomatoes: I got to see your stand-up special and there’s definitely a little overlap between Steve and Kevin.

Ranazzisi: I talk about what I do and what I know and, right now, I’ve got a wife and two kids, so that’s what I’m primarily talking about. But for me, there is a little bit of overlap and Kevin is a version of myself — I don’t care nearly as much about fantasy, obviously — but I can get a little bit dramatic over things and I can get a little overzealous in certain situations. So it’s things like that that I take out of me and put into Kevin. I mean, when you look at it on paper, the people that come to my stand-up show and expect to see Kevin MacArthur are not disappointed. It’s not like I’m out there doing prop comedy.

There is an element of dealing with annoying people which is similar to the show… but I am not nearly as crazy as Kevin MacArthur.

Rotten Tomatoes: The characters on The League seem to have an issue separating fantasy from reality sometimes. Do you ever come across fans of the show that just cannot accept that you are not Kevin?

Rannazzisi: Yes. On an hourly basis. All over social media, I get either an invitation to be in someone’s fantasy league, a direct question about who should be drafted and at what point, or who to start when, or how much do I know about fantasy football? Every hour, I get questions like that.

Rotten Tomatoes: Who wouldn’t want Kevin’s advice on fantasy football? 

Rannazzisi: That’s what I’m saying. People just see you on a show about fantasy football and they assume you know. They should be talking to my wife. Jenny knows. Anyhow, it gets a little bit crazy, especially this time of year when fantasy football starts, every time. I am a fan of fantasy football. I watch football every Sunday. I play fantasy. I played before I started doing the show and probably will continue to play after. I am a novice fantasy football player. People expect me to be an expert and I don’t even think there are such things as experts — even though there are technically experts. So I just give my advice. I give my opinion if I feel like it and I say, ‘Don’t murder my family when I’m wrong,’ because, nine times out of ten, I’m wrong.

Rotten Tomatoes: It seems like the NFL has been pretty cool with you guys in terms of you talking about the them and having their athletes on your show. Is there a relationship the show and the NFL? 

Rannazzisi: No, not like an official relationship. I mean, in the first couple of years, we had to beg people to be on our show… it wasn’t an easy sell because no one knew what it was. They knew it was a comedy and didn’t know how they were going to be portrayed. But, as the show picked up steam and people started hearing about it, the pendulum started swinging to the other side, where now we’re going to the Super Bowl each year and players come up to us and say, ‘Oh, I love the show and I’d love to be on it.’ So, they’re now kind of pitching us ideas. We don’t have an official sponsorship with the NFL, but I feel like we’ve been more accepted then we were before.

Rotten Tomatoes: Over seven seasons, The League has certainly been rich with running jokes. Do you have any favorites?

Rannazzisi: Taco tries to kiss Kevin sometimes and that’s a pretty awkward running joke that we have. Ruxin loves that Kevin and Pete are gay for each other… even though it’s really just one continuous gay joke and in poor taste. It just never really gets old that Pete and Kevin sort of have a true love for each other.

The way Paul Scheer thought of his clothing and who Andre is as a person is the richest running joke on the show, I think – one that continues every day to give us more fodder for fun. Paul is one of the best improvisers in the world and you would think that after seven years, he’d had run out of ways and be like ‘Guys, stop joshing about my clothes,’ but every time he comes with a different excuse for why he wears what, and who else was wearing that, and how it’s in, and that we should be wearing it as well.”

Rotten Tomatoes: I think about the way you guys pick on each other’s physical qualities because it’s not just the character at that point. Like when someone calls you Teen Wolf, there’s something about it that’s mean to the actor.

Rannazzisi: As we’re worried about each other, we’re also picking each other apart in our own minds. Then once we have the freedom to be able to go, ‘Okay, everybody is comfortable here,’ I’m gonna say this. We improvise the show and it gets a big laugh because most of us understand that there are aspects about each other that are funny and it’s all done in a kidding fashion. So when we talk about Paul having clear hair he doesn’t even get upset. He understands the situation.

Rotten Tomatoes: What can you tease for your character in season seven?

Rannazzisi: Kevin wants to win really, really bad. So much so that he and Jenny in their own household, have spoken about having another baby. Kevin is sort of on board about having another baby, but Jenny does not want to have another baby, so we decide we are not going to have another baby. But how do we prevent this? One of us has got to get snipped or one of us has got to get our tubes tied. So Kevin and Jenny in typical Kevin-and-Jenny fashion have decided that this year, whoever finishes better or possibly wins the Shiva [can have] the other person get snipped or tied. That’s how we’re going to choose.

Kevin truly wants to win the championship this year because not only does he not want to lose to his wife or his friends anymore, but he definitely doesn’t want to have an invasive vasectomy surgery. So this is a big year for Kevin.

Rotten Tomatoes: That sounds about right.

Rannazzisi: When your balls are literally on the line, you tend to go all out.


The League returns for its seventh and final season tonight at 10 p.m. on FXX. Read reviews here.

This week in streaming video, we’ve got a little something for everyone, whether you’re looking for award winners, horror flicks, indie hits, documentaries, or sitcoms. Read on for the full list.


New on Netflix:

 

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) 94%

Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif lead an all-star cast in David Lean’s historical epic based on the life of T.E. Lawrence, a British military officer who spent significant time in the Arabian peninsula during World War I and forged alliances with the desert tribes present there at the time. The film won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Available now on: Netflix


Insomnia (2002) 92%

Christopher Nolan’s Certified Fresh remake of the Norwegian thriller of the same name stars Al Pacino as an Alaskan detective who mistakenly shoots his partner while in pursuit of a dangerous killer and Robin Williams as the killer himself, who witnesses the crime and knows the truth.

Available now on: Netflix


Up in the Air (2009) 90%

George Clooney stars as Ryan Bingham, who has accumulated big frequent flyer mileage from his company, which tasks him with firing people in person. But when the corporation cuts back on travel, will Bingham still cross paths with a fellow traveler (Vera Farmiga)?

Available now on: Netflix


The Blair Witch Project (1999) 86%

Full of creepy campfire scares, mock-doc The Blair Witch Project keeps audiences in the dark about its titular villain — thus proving that imagination can be as scary as anything onscreen.

Available now on: Netflix


Person of Interest: Season 3 (2013) 100%

Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson star in this CBS sci-fi drama about an ex-CIA agent who teams up with a scientist to stop crimes before they take place. Seasons one through three are available to stream now.

Available now on: Netflix


Private Parts (1997) 75%

Based on the eponymous autobiography by Howard Stern, this Certified Fresh comedy looks at the shock jock’s life, beginning with childhood and recounting his budding career and private life.

Available now on: Netflix


Big Fish (2003) 76%

Tim Burton’s adaptation of Daniel Wallace’s novel tells the story of a father whose propensity for tall tales has driven a wedge between himself and his son.

Available now on: Netflix


Time Lapse (2014) 78%

This time travel thriller follows a painter who discovers a machine that captures images from 24 hours in the future.

Available now on: Netflix


Hamlet (1990) 76%

Franco Zeffirelli’s take on the classic Shakespearean tragedy stars Mel Gibson as the titular Prince of Denmark, Alan Bates as the evil Claudius, Ian Holm as Polonius, and Helena Bonham-Carter as the ill-fated Ophelia.

Available now on: Netflix


Zathura (2005) 76%

Zathura tells the tale of a pair of squabbling brothers who must learn to work together after they are transported into space while playing the titular board game; Kristen Stewart, Josh Hutcherson, and Tim Robbins star.

Available now on: Netflix


The League: Season 6 (2014) 100%

The sixth season of FX’s popular ensemble sitcom about fantasy football, starring Mark Duplass, Paul Scheer, and Nick Kroll arrives on Netflix this week.

Available now on: Netflix


Beavis and Butt-head Do America (1996) 70%

Uh huh-huh-huh, they said “do.” Uh huh-huh-huh.

Available now on: Netflix


Fido (2007) 72%

A sly mash-up of Lassie and Night of the Living Dead, Fido is a goofy, gory zombie spoof that stars Carrie-Anne Moss, Billy Connolly, Dylan Baker, and Tim Blake Nelson.

Available now on: Netflix


Hitch (2005) 69%

Will Smith stars as a legendary “date doctor” who’s playing matchmaker for a schlub (Kevin James) and his celebrity crush (Amber Valletta) while wooing a gossip columnist (Eva Mendes).

Available now on: Netflix


The Crucible (1996) 69%

Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder star in this adaptation of the Arthur Miller play about a woman accused of witchcraft in 1690s Salem, Massachusetts, who then levels charges of her own against her accusers.

Available now on: Netflix


Sleepy Hollow (1999) 69%

Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, and Christopher Walken star in Tim Burton’s take on the classic tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime:

 

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2014) 88%

Rinko Kikuchi stars in this Certified Fresh drama about a woman who leaves behind her life in Japan to search for the buried cash in Fargo.

Available Thursday (9/10) on: Amazon Prime


I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story (2014) 84%

This documentary looks at the man behind two of Sesame Street‘s most beloved characters: Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Deli Man (2014) 82%

This documentary about an innovative delicatessen in Houston explores the history and importance of Jewish delis.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


New on HBO Now:

 

Wild (2014) 88%

Wild stars Reese Witherspoon in the story of a woman reeling from the death of her mother and her recent divorce who decides to walk the entire Pacific Crest Trail by herself in an attempt to get back on track.

Available now on: HBO Now


New on Fandor

 

Madadayo (1993) 87%

Legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s final film, Madadayo recounts the final years in the life of a beloved professor, whose students help take care of him and celebrate his birthdays with him.

Available now on: Fandor


New on Hulu

 

The Awesomes: Season 3 (2015)

This Hulu original animated comedy centers on a young group of superheroes who attempt to fill the shoes of a legendary team after they call it quits. Seth Meyers, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson and more lend their voices.

Available now on: Hulu


Available for Purchase

 

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) 76%

This time out, the Avengers — whose ranks include Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) — are pitted against Ultron (voiced by James Spader), a powerful robot with dangerous beliefs about the best way to achieve world peace.

Available now on: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu


The Mend (2014) 78%

Josh Lucas stars in a dartk comedy about a man who stirs up dysfunction when he crashes on his brother’s couch.

Available now on: iTunes, Vudu


The Overnight (2015) 82%

Taylor Schilling, Adam Scott, Jason Schwartzman star in this Certified Fresh comedy about a young couple who get more than they bargain for when they accept a dinner invitation from married swingers.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu


Paper Planes (2014) 85%

Sam Worthington stars in this drama about a young Australian boy who strives to compete in the World Paper Plane Championships competition in Japan.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu


The Nightmare (2015) 67%

This documentary/horror film features interviews with people who suffer from sleep paralysis.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu

Even with over 20 new shows premiering in September (not to mention all the existing series returning with new seasons), we can’t blame you for wanting to binge whole seasons of tried-and-true TV. This month, we’ve pulled together a collection of shows for your bingeing pleasure, including some off-the-radar series, and a few biggies that you need to start right now if you want to catch up before they come back!


The Walking Dead: Season 1 (2010) 87%

What it is: A disparate group of people attempts to survive the zombie apocalypse; existential malaise and bloody mayhem ensues.

Why you should watch it: We’re not gonna lie: The Walking Dead has its share of dead patches and dull characters. But the basic setup is so compelling — how would you respond if the whole world went to hell? — that you’re likely to press on regardless. Plus, when it comes to creative zombie slaughter, this show can’t be beat — you get the feeling that every stabbing, every shooting, every beheading has been lovingly conceived and executed by some of the finest craftspeople in the business. Season six premieres on October 11, so you’d better start catching up now!

Where to watch: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, PlayStation, Vudu, and XBox.

Commitment: 69 hours.


American Horror Story: Murder House: Murder House (2011) 72%

What it is: American Horror Story is the show that kick-started the recent anthology trend, with shows like Fargo and American Crime picking up the cue. Each season of AHS is its own horror-themed storyline (a haunted house, a demonic asylum, a home-school for young witches, a carnival freak show, and finally, this year, a terrifying hotel), often using the same cast members in different roles.

Why you should watch it: Audiences who scare easily are terrified by it. The rest of us eat it up. The shocks keep coming; if you don’t like one twist, you know there will soon be another jaw-dropper around the corner! And the most intriguing new(ish) development is the unraveling of inter-season stories that are connected with each other (most evident so far in season four). Season five premieres on FX on Saturday, Oct. 7.

Where to watch: All four seasons are available on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, and on DVD and Blu-ray. The first three seasons are also available on Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix.

Commitment: 55 hours.


How to Get Away With Murder: Season 1 (2015) 85%

What it is: Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) is a criminal defense attorney and professor teaching law students how to defend the accused, while tangling them up in a real-life murder mystery of their own.

Why you should watch it: Viola Davis’ Emmy-nominated performance, mixed with the twisty drama stylings of Shondaland Productions (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy) will deliver a barrage of riveting mystery right into your lap. A darker tone than Grey’s and Scandal, HTGAWM has surprised audiences with its unrelenting, austere tone, permeated with intense character drama. With the premiere of its second season coming up on September 24, you should have enough time to run through season one before things heat up again.

Where to watch: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, and on DVD.

Commitment: 10.5 hours.


Bob's Burgers: Season 5 (2014) 100%

What it is: Bob and Linda Belcher run a restaurant with the help of children Tina, Gene, and Louise. Between the funeral home next door, a relentless health inspector, the children’s misadventures, and Bob‘s unreliable business strategies, the restaurant is always struggling to stay open.

Why you should watch it: Bob’s Burgers is a funny animated sitcom full of satirical and absurd situations that works both as a family and a workplace comedy. All the main characters have strong and quirky personalities, and you will quickly find yourself picking favorites. Even though the show received mixed reviews when it came out in 2011, it won critics’ praise over the time, and currently has two seasons at 100% on the Tomatometer. Season six premieres on September 27.

Where to watch: AmazonFox.com (five most recent episodes), Hulu (season five),  iTunesGoogle PlayNetflix (seasons one through four), PlayStationVudu, and Xbox.

Commitment: 33 hours.


PRISON BREAK

What it is: A man is framed by an organization known as “The Company” and sentenced to death for murdering the brother of the Vice President of the United States. His own brother then devises an elaborate plan to have himself thrown into the same prison in order to break them both out.

Why you should watch it: The show was nominated for several awards when it first premiered in 2005, including a Golden Globe for Best Television Series Drama, and is now enjoying a second life thanks to its popularity on Netflix. No matter how outrageous the plot in Prison Break, you can’t help but root for the siblings as they fight for their freedom in and out of prison over four seasons. Plus, Fox recently announced a forthcoming reboot, so now is the perfect time to lock yourself up with Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell.

Where to watch: All four seasons are available on Amazon, Google PlayiTunes, Netflix, and PlayStation, plus DVD and Blu-ray.

Commitment: 56 hours.


The League: Season 5 (2013) 71%

What it is: A Chicago-set ensemble comedy about five guys (Mark Duplass, Stephen Rannazzisi, Nick KrollPaul Scheer, and Jon Lajoie) and one gal (Katie Aselton) whose obsession with fantasy football begets hilarious trash-talk, outrageous deceit, and harebrained schemes.

Why you should watch it: In a lot of ways, The League is a throwback to ’90s network sitcoms about wacky friends — only it’s been updated with the raunchiness of an FX comedy. Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm alum Jeff Schaffer created The League along with his wife, Jackie Marcus Schaffer, so you can expect intricately woven — and often absurdly conceived — plots with heavily improvised interplay skewering pop culture, friendship, parenting, sex, religion, drugs, and, of course, insane football fandom.

Where to watch: All six seasons are available on Amazon Prime, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix, PlayStationXbox, and Vudu; season seven premieres on FXX on September 9.

Commitment: 27 hours.


Homeland: Season 1 (2011) 100%

What it is: Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), a bipolar CIA agent, works overtime to prevent a terrorist attacks on American soil.

Why you should watch it: If ever there was a series that consistently left you with your mouth agape in shock at the end — and sometimes, even in the middle — of each episode, this is it. Homeland is often unbearably tense, not just because of its national security plotlines, but also because of the personalities (and often opaque motives) of its characters, who are played with aplomb by Danes, Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin, and Rupert Friend. If you really put your mind to it, you might be able to get caught up before season five premieres on October 4.

Where to watch: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Showtime Anytime, Vudu, and XBox.

Commitment: 48 hours.


Difficult People: Season 1 (2015) 88%

What it is: Difficult People is a new comedy on Hulu, executive produced by Amy Poehler. Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner star as struggling performers in New York who hate just about everyone, except each other.

Why you should watch it: Critics say the show succeeds in making the unlikable likable with mean-spirited, unhappy characters who can’t help but amuse. A talented supporting cast and an impressive array of guest spots and cameos keep the laughs up and the cringes to a minimum. Plus, Difficult People is Certified Fresh at 85 percent on the Tomatometer, and it’s airing right now.

Where to watch: Difficult People is available exclusively on Hulu.

Commitment: 2.5 hours currently (new episodes are available on Wednesdays), so not difficult at all.


Longmire: Season 1 (2012) 86%

What it is: Robert Taylor is gruff and gritty as Sheriff Walt Longmire, a complicated hero who dutifully fights the bad guys in big sky Wyoming, following the tradition of screen cowboys John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.

Why you should watch it: Blending case-of-the-week with a slow-burning multi-season arc, Longmire is the strong, silent type, thanks to fine acting from its leads — Taylor, whose character is coming to grips with his wife’s death; Katee Sackhoff as the mysterious deputy sheriff Vic Moretti; and Lou Diamond Phillips as Walt’s good friend Henry Standing Bear. Axed by A&E after three seasons (and a humdinger of a cliffhanger), Longmire will return for a fourth season on Netflix on Thursday, September 10.

Where to watch: The first three seasons are available on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu, and Xbox.

Commitment: 25 hours.


Supernatural: Season 10 (2014) 100%

What it is: Supernatural is a fantasy horror show on The CW that follows the Winchester brothers (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) as they battle vampires, werewolves, demons, ghosts and other monsters from the supernatural world.

Why you should watch it: The series enjoys an obsessive cult following, and the show seems to keep picking up speed like a 1967 Impala. Nine of its 10 seasons (all the ones that have a score) are Fresh on the Tomatometer, which is a credit to its consistency. Season 11 premieres on October 7, so if you binge like a bat out of hell, you might be able to catch up.

Where to watch: Seasons one through 10 are available on Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, Netflix, PlayStation, Vudu, and Xbox. Seasons one through nine are available in a DVD or Blu-ray box set, and season ten is on both DVD and Blu-ray.

Commitment: Hopefully watching 215 hours of demon-hunting doesn’t scare you away.

 

 

Emmy nominations are out for last season, but it’s already time for a new one. Television continues to rival, and sometimes surpass, the quality and success of film industry releases, with more networks than we ever thought possible 20 years ago. And, with the growing number of cable networks, we witness the capability of catering to more adult-oriented content. This fall, we will continue to see television grow, for better and for worse. Which new shows will achieve Fresh, or even Certified Fresh, status? Which will quickly go Rotten? And which of your favorite returning shows made the cut this year? Here’s the list as we know it, and we’ll continue to update it as premiere dates continue to be broadcast.


August | September | October | November | Winter | Fall TBA 


 August

 

Monday, Aug. 3
Significant Mother series premiere, 9:30 p.m., CW

Tuesday, Aug. 4
Playing House season two premiere, 10 p.m., USA

Wednesday, Aug. 5
Difficult People series premiere, Hulu
Mr. Robinson series premiere, 9 p.m., NBC

 

Mr. Robinson

 

Friday, Aug. 7
Casanova series premiere, Amazon
Sneaky Pete series premiere, Amazon

Saturday, Aug. 8
Funny or Die Presents America’s Next Weatherman
series premiere, 11 p.m., TBS

Wednesday, Aug. 12
Young & Hungry season two return, 8 p.m., ABC Family
Kevin from Work series premiere, 8:30 p.m., ABC Family

Sunday, Aug. 16
Show Me a Hero miniseries premiere, 9 p.m., HBO

Tuesday, Aug. 18
The Hotwives of Las Vegas series premiere, Hulu

Thursday, Aug. 20
Documentary Now! series premiere, 10 p.m., IFC

Saturday, Aug. 22
Blunt Talk series premiere, 9 p.m., Starz
Survivor’s Remorse season two premiere, 9:30 p.m., Starz

Sunday, Aug. 23
Fear the Walking Dead series premiere, 9 p.m., AMC
Vicious season two premiere, 10:30 p.m., PBS

 

Vicious

 

Monday, Aug. 24
Switched at Birth season four return, 8 p.m., ABC Family

Tuesday, Aug. 25
From Dusk Till Dawn season two premiere, 10 p.m., El Rey
Public Morals series premiere, 10 p.m., TNT

Wednesday, Aug. 26
The Carmichael Show series premiere, 9:30 p.m., NBC

Friday, Aug. 28
Narcos series premiere, Netflix

Monday, Aug. 31
Awkward season five premiere, 9 p.m., MTV
Faking It season two return, 9:30 p.m., MTV

 


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September

 

Tuesday, Sep. 1
Drunk History season three premiere, 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central

Friday, Sep. 4
Hand of God series premiere, Amazon Instant Video

 

Hand of God

 

Sunday, Sep. 6
Arthur & George series premiere, 8 p.m., PBS

Tuesday, Sep. 8
The Awesomes season three premiere, Hulu
Late Show with Stephen Colbert series premiere, 10:30 p.m., CBS

Wednesday, Sep. 9
The League season seven premiere, 10 p.m., FXX
You’re the Worst season two premiere, 10:30 p.m., FXX

Thursday, Sep. 10
Longmire season four premiere, Netflix

Friday, Sep. 11
Z Nation season two premiere, 10 p.m. SyFy
Continuum season four premiere, 11 p.m., SyFy

Saturday, Sep. 12
Ferrell Takes the Field special event premiere, 10 p.m. HBO

Sunday, Sep. 13
Project Greenlight season four premiere, 10 p.m., HBO
Doll & Em season two premiere, 11 p.m., HBO

Tuesday, Sep. 15
The Mindy Project season four premiere, Hulu
The Bastard Executioner series premiere, 10 p.m., FX
Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris, series premiere, 10 p.m., NBC

Wednesday, Sep. 16
South Park season 19 premiere, 10 p.m., Comedy Central
Moonbeam City series premiere, 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central

 

South Park

 

Friday, Sep. 18
Black Jesus season two premiere, 11 p.m., Adult Swim (Cartoon Network)

Saturday, Sep. 19
Doctor Who season nine premiere, 9 p.m., BBC America

Sunday, Sep. 20
67th Primetime Emmy Awards special event, 8 p.m., Fox

Monday, Sep. 21
The Big Bang Theory season nine premiere, 8 p.m., CBS
Gotham season two premiere, 8 p.m., Fox
The Voice season nine premiere, 8 p.m., NBC
Life in Pieces series premiere, 8:30 p.m., CBS
Minority Report series premiere, 9 p.m., Fox
Scorpion season two premiere, 9 p.m., CBS
Blindspot series premiere, 10 p.m., NBC
Castle season eight premiere, 10 p.m., ABC
NCIS: Los Angeles season seven premiere, 10 p.m., CBS

Tuesday, Sep. 22
NCIS season 13 premiere, 8 p.m., CBS
The Muppets series premiere, 8 p.m., ABC
Scream Queens series premiere, 8 p.m., Fox
Fresh off the Boat season two premiere, 8:30 p.m., ABC
NCIS: New Orleans season two premiere, 9 p.m., CBS
Limitless series premiere, 10 p.m., CBS

 

Scream Queens

 

Wednesday, Sep. 23
The Middle season seven premiere, 8 p.m., ABC
The Mysteries of Laura season two premiere, 8 p.m., NBC
Rosewood series premiere, 8 p.m., FOX
Survivor season 31 premiere, 8 p.m., CBS
The Goldbergs season three premiere, 8:30 p.m., ABC
Empire season two premiere, 9 p.m., Fox
Law & Order: SVU season 17 premiere, 9 p.m., NBC
Modern Family season eight premiere, 9 p.m., ABC
black-ish season two premiere, 9:30 p.m., ABC
Nashville season four premiere, 10 p.m., ABC

Thursday, Sep. 24
Grey’s Anatomy season 12 premiere, 8 p.m., ABC
Heroes Reborn series premiere, 8 p.m., NBC
Scandal season five premiere, 9 p.m., ABC
The Player series premiere, 10 p.m., NBC
How to Get Away with Murder season two premiere, 10 p.m., ABC

 

Heroes Reborn

 

Friday, Sep. 25
The Amazing Race season 25 premiere, 8 p.m., CBS
Last Man Standing season five premiere, 8 p.m., ABC
Margaret Cho: psyCHO comedy special premiere, 9 p.m., Comedy Central
Hawaii Five-0 season six premiere, 9 p.m., CBS
Blue Bloods season six premiere, 10 p.m., CBS

Saturday, Sep. 26
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy series premiere, 9:30 p.m., Disney XD

Sunday, Sep. 27
Bob’s Burgers season six premiere, 7:30 p.m., Fox
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation two-part series finale, 8 p.m., CBS
Once Upon a Time season five premiere, 8 p.m., ABC
The Simpsons season 27 premiere, 8 p.m., Fox
Brooklyn Nine-Nine season three premiere, 8:30 p.m., Fox
Blood & Oil series premiere, 9 p.m., ABC
Family Guy season 14 premiere, 9 p.m., Fox
Indian Summers miniseries premiere,  9 p.m., PBS
The Last Man on Earth season two premiere, 9:30 p.m., Fox
Quantico series premiere, 10 p.m., ABC

 

Blood & Oil

 

Monday, Sep. 28
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah series premiere, 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central

Tuesday, Sep. 29
Grandfathered series premiere, 8 p.m., Fox
The Grinder series premiere, 8:30 p.m., Fox
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season three premiere, 9 p.m., ABC

Wednesday, Sep. 30
Criminal Minds season 11 premiere, 9 p.m., CBS
Chicago P.D. season three premiere, 10 p.m., NBC
Code Black series premiere, 10 p.m., CBS

 

Chicago P.D.

 


Back to Top


October

 

Thursday, Oct. 1
Bones season 11 premiere, 8 p.m., Fox
The Blacklist season three premiere, 9 p.m., NBC
Sleepy Hollow season three premiere, 9 p.m., Fox
Benders series premiere, 10 p.m., IFC
Gigi Does It series premiere, 10:30 p.m., IFC

Friday, Oct. 2
Dr. Ken series premiere, 8:30 p.m., ABC

Saturday, Oct. 3
Saturday Night Live season 47 premiere, 11:30 p.m., NBC

Sunday, Oct. 4
Home Fires series premiere, 8 p.m., PBS
Madam Secretary season two premiere, 8 p.m., CBS
The Good Wife season seven premiere, 9 p.m., CBS
Homeland season five premiere, 9 p.m., Showtime
The Leftovers season two premiere, 9 p.m., HBO
The Affair season two premiere, 10 p.m., Showtime
CSI: Cyber season two premiere, 10 p.m., CBS
The Widower miniseries premiere, 10 p.m., PBS

 

The Affair

 

Tuesday, Oct. 6
The Flash season two premiere, 8 p.m., CW
iZombie season two premiere, 9 p.m., CW
Finding Carter season three premiere 10 p.m., MTV

Wednesday, Oct. 7
American Horror Story: Hotel season five premiere, 10 p.m., FX
Casual series premiere, Hulu
Arrow season four premiere, 8 p.m., CW
Supernatural season 11 premiere, 9 p.m., CW

Thursday, Oct. 8
The Vampire Diaries season seven premiere, 8 p.m., CW
The Originals season three premiere, 9 p.m., CW
Funny or Die’s Billy on the Street season four premiere, 10:30 p.m., TruTV

Friday, Oct. 9
Red Oaks series premiere, Amazon
Reign season three premiere, 8 p.m., CW
Undateable season two premiere, 9 p.m., NBC
The Enfield Haunting miniseries premiere, 10 p.m., A&E

Saturday, Oct. 10
The Last Kingdom series premiere, 10 p.m., BBC America

Sunday, Oct. 11
The Walking Dead season six premiere, 9 p.m., AMC

 

The Walking Dead

 

Monday, Oct. 12
Fargo season two premiere, FX
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend series premiere, 8 p.m., CW
Jane the Virgin season two premiere, 9 p.m., CW

Tuesday, Oct. 13
Manhattan season two premiere, 9 p.m., WGN America
Chicago Fire season four premiere, 10 p.m., NBC

Wednesday, Oct. 14
Kingdom season two premiere, 9 p.m., DirecTV

Thursday, Oct. 15
Nathan for You season three premiere, 10 p.m., Comedy Central

Friday, Oct. 16
The Knick season two premiere, time TBD, Cinemax
Truth Be Told series premiere, 8:30 p.m., NBC
Please Like Me season three premiere, 10 p.m., Pivot
Satisfaction season two premiere, 10 p.m., USA

Saturday, Oct. 17
Amy Schumer: Live from the Apollo comedy special premiere, 10 p.m., HBO

Wednesday, Oct. 20
Being Mary Jane season three premiere, 9 p.m., BET

Friday, Oct. 23
Hemlock Grove season three premiere, Netflix
Billy Elliot the Musical: Live special event, 9 p.m., PBS

Saturday, Oct. 24
Da Vinci’s Demons season three premiere, 8 p.m., Starz

Sunday, Oct. 25
The Guilty miniseries premiere (US), 10 p.m., PBS
StarTalk season two premiere, 11 p.m., NatGeo
Robot Chicken season eight premiere, midnight, Adult Swim (Cartoon Network)

Monday, Oct. 26
Supergirl series premiere, 8:30 p.m., CBS

 

Supergirl

Supergirl

 

Tuesday, Oct. 27
Wicked City series premiere, 10 p.m., ABC

Friday, Oct. 30
Exorcism: Live special event, 9 p.m., Destination America
Grimm season five premiere, 9 p.m., NBC

Saturday, Oct. 31
Ash Vs. Evil Dead series premiere, 9 p.m., Starz
The Returned season two premiere, 10 p.m., Sundance

 

Ash Vs. Evil Dead

 


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November

 

Sunday, Nov. 1
The Librarians season two premiere, 8 p.m., TNT
Mike Tyson Mysteries season two premiere, Adult Swim (Cartoon Network)

Monday, Nov. 2
Legends season two premiere, 10 p.m., TNT

Thursday, Nov. 5
Mom season three premiere, 9 p.m., CBS
Elementary season four premiere, 10 p.m., CBS

Friday, Nov. 6
Master of None series premiere, Netflix

Saturday, Nov. 7
Untitled U2 Documentary, HBO

Sunday, Nov. 8
Flesh and Bone series premiere, 8 p.m., Starz
Agent X series premiere, 9 p.m., TNT
Getting On season three premiere, 10 p.m., HBO

 

FBS1_101_050514_1733.jpg

Flesh and Bone

 

Tuesday, Nov. 10
Donny! series premiere, 10:30 p.m., USA

Thursday, Nov. 12
2 Broke Girls season five premiere, 9:30 p.m., CBS

Friday, Nov. 13
With Bob and David series premiere, Netflix

Sunday, Nov. 15
Into the Badlands series premiere, 10 p.m., AMC
The Royals season two premiere, 10 p.m., E!

Tuesday, Nov. 17
Chicago Med series premiere, 10 p.m., NBC

Thursday, Nov. 19
The Art of More series premiere, Crackle

Friday, Nov. 20
The Man in the High Castle series premiere, Amazon
Marvel’s Jessica Jones series premiere, Netflix

Friday, Nov. 27
South of Hell series premiere, 3 p.m., WE
Unforgettable season four premiere, 9 p.m., A&E (new network)

Monday, Nov. 30
Superstore series premiere, 10 p.m., NBC


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Winter 2015/’16

 

Tuesday, Dec. 1
Real Rob series premiere, Netflix
Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce
 season two premiere, 10 p.m., Bravo

Wednesday, Dec. 2
RocketJump: The Show series premiere, Hulu

Thursday, Dec. 3
The Wiz Live! special event, 8 p.m., NBC

Friday, Dec. 11
Transparent season two premiere, Amazon

Monday, Dec. 14
Childhood’s End miniseries premiere, 8 p.m., SyFy
Expanse series premiere, 10 p.m., SyFy

Sunday, Jan. 3
Downton Abbey season six premiere, 9 p.m., PBS

Sunday, Jan. 10
73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards special event, 8 p.m., NBC

Thursday, Jan. 14
Colony, series premiere, 10 p.m., USA

Sunday, Jan. 17
Mercy Street series premiere, 10 p.m., PBS

Sunday, Jan. 24
The X-Files season 10 premiere, 10 p.m., FOX

Sunday, Jan. 31
Grease: Live special event, 7 p.m., FOX

Monday, Feb. 15
58th Annual Grammy Awards special event, 8 p.m., CBS

Sunday, Feb. 28
88th Annual Academy Awards special event, 4 p.m., ABC

 


Back to Top


Fall/Winter TBA

 

11/22/63 series premiere, Hulu
American Dad season 12 premiere, TBS
Crowded series premiere, NBC
Emerald City series premiere, NBC
First Dates series premiere, NBC
Game of Silence series premiere, NBC
Haven season five return, SyFy (October)
Heartbreaker series premiere, NBC
Hot & Bothered series premiere, NBC
Legends season two premiere, TNT
Shades of Blue series premiere, NBC
Uncle Buck series premiere, ABC
The Way series premiere, Hulu
You, Me and the End of the World series premiere, NBC

 

NUP_167790_3061.jpg

Heartbreaker

 


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