Game of Thrones’ may have been HBO’s most popular show ever — but is the epic fantasy series HBO’s all-time best-reviewed show?
Well, the short answer is no.
The longer answer is that the premium cable network offers plenty of new, buzzworthy series on its current lineup with higher scores than the drama, including dark comedy Barry, the sci-fi mystery of Westworld, and award-winning drama Big Little Lies. And that’s not to mention HBO’s signature prestige dramas including The Sopranos, Chernobyl, and Western period drama Deadwood.
In 2020, the highly anticipated first season of horror-fantasy Lovecraft Country and troubling docuseries The Vow joined those classics in our list of HBO’s best shows, along with a few more new additions in 2021: docuseries The Lady and the Dale, Allen v. Farrow, and Tiger Woods–focused Tiger; series Painting with John, and J.K. Rowling’s crime series C.B. Strike, whose new season gave it the number of reviews needed to join the list. And then there was the zeitgeist-capturing duo of crime drama Mare of Easttown and biting comedy The White Lotus
We’ve rounded up Tomatometer scores for the best HBO series and miniseries to make a list to fill your binge-watch calendar into next year. To qualify for the list, a series must have at least 10 reviews counting toward its score.
Is your favorite HBO title missing? Tell us in the comments.
FALL 2019 TV SURVEY: TV Shows That Defined the 2000s
For Rotten Tomatoes’ annual Fall TV Survey, we asked thousands of our users what they’re most looking forward to in the coming TV season and to reflect on the best shows from seasons past.
Ah, the aughts. Will we one day look back on the decade as a simpler time, when a school teacher becoming a meth dealer was the height of entertainment?
Probably, yes, according to Rotten Tomatoes users, who voted Breaking Bad the show that defined the decade’s television entertainment with 61% of the vote. The Bryan Cranston–led series was followed by The Office with 47% of the vote, and The Sopranos with 45%.
Which TV star ruled in the decade? Fans bestowed that honor on the late, great James Gandolfini for his role as Tony in The Sopranos. Gandolfini received 18% of the vote. Steve Carell followed with 17% of the vote, and Tina Fey grabbed third position away from Jon Stewart 7.96 percent to 7.56 percent.
Disagree with the survey results? Tell us in the comments who you think should have made the list or have been ranked higher.
Have you revealed what you would do #FortheThrone yet? HBO’s marketing campaign for the final season of Game of Thrones is in full swing. Next up: beer #ForTheThrone. The series is also getting a “making of” documentary as a digestif for its final season. Plus, Killing Eve slays the BAFTA TV nominations, but some argue that the BBC America original doesn’t meet the criteria to be eligible for all 14 of its nominations. And another Sex and the City? Really?
Game of Thrones Season 8 Is Getting a Documentary
(Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO)
HBO will offer a behind-the-scenes-look at filming of the final season of Game of Thrones with a two-hour documentary later this year, titled Game of Thrones: The Last Watch. The film traces the making of the series’ upcoming eighth season, and is set to air May 26, one week after the series’ final season finishes airing. Directed by British filmmaker Jeanie Finlay, The Last Watch promises “unprecedented access” while the cast and crew “contend with extreme weather, punishing deadlines and an ever-excited fandom hungry for spoilers,” according to HBO. Game of Thrones showrunner D. B. Weiss, producer Bernadette Caulfield, and writer David Benioff are executive producers on the documentary. The Last Watch will be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, and HBO On Demand on May 26.
In other Thrones brand-extension news, Brewery Ommegang and HBO Licensing & Retail will release the latest Game of Thrones beer nationwide in early April. Called “For the Throne,” the 9.5% ABV golden ale is co-fermented with pinot grigio and viognier grape juices and then bottle conditioned with Champagne yeast. For the Throne joins the four other Game of Thrones beers Ommegang has available, including Queen of the Seven Kingdoms (a blend of sour and blonde ales), Mother of Dragons (smoked porter and kriek ale blend), King in the North (a barrel-aged imperial stout), and Hand of the Queen (a barleywine ale). Find out where to purchase on the brewery’s site. Let the #HoldMyBeer #ForTheThrone memes begin.
The beer is just one part of HBO’s #ForTheThrone campaign, which includes outdoor events, social media emojis, a “Quest for the Throne” worldwide hunt for Iron Throne locations, a partnership with the American Red Cross to “Bleed for the Throne,” and an art collection of inspired by props, from swords to fashion, from the show.
British media reports note, however, that the spy comedy from Phoebe Waller-Bridge, which stars Jodie Comer as assassin Villanelle and Sandra Oh as MI5 officer Eve Posner, violates the awards’ rules that state that to be eligible, a series must have had the worldwide premiere in the UK and a UK broadcaster must have primary control over it. Killing Eve was commissioned by BBC America, however, which is co-owned by the BBC and U.S. cable network AMC. Killing Eve should only be eligible in the international series category, according to one interpretation of the rules.
The Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards ceremony will be held at the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday, May 12, with the British Academy Television Craft Awards taking place two weeks earlier on Sunday, April 18 at The Brewery, London.
Another Sex and the City Sequel?
(Photo by Warner Bros.)
There might be another Sex and the City sequel after all — but it’s headed to the small screen. According to Deadline, Paramount Television has acquired the rights to SATC author Candace Bushnell’s latest book, Is There Still Sex in the City?, that examines love and dating after 50. Bushnell will write a pilot script and executive produce alongside Liza Chasin and Robyn Meisinger. The most recent effort in the franchise, CW series The Carrie Diaries, starred AnnaSophia Robb, focused on a teenage Carrie Bradshaw, and was canceled after two seasons.
Pose Picks Patti
(Photo by FX)
Pose executive Producer Ryan Murphy announced at PaleyFest last weekend that there will be a “time leap” between seasons 1 and 2 of the FX series about the New York City ball scene. While season 1 is set in the 1980s, season 2 will pick up in the 1990s on “the day Madonna releases ‘Vogue,’” Murphy teased.
After the success of Pose producer Janet Mock’s directorial debut, the Billy Porter–fronted episode “Love is the Message,” the writer will return to direct this coming season (and, of course, will continue to write throughout the season as well).
Murphy teased that Tony Award winner Patti LuPone would be “coming to play with us in a couple weeks,” when she will share several scenes with Blanca (MJ Rodriguez). Season 1 guest star Sandra Bernhard has been promoted to series regular for season 2.
Jussie Smollett Update
All charges against Empire star Jussie Smollett were dropped after the actor was accused of faking a hate crime he reported in January. According to reports, the charges were dropped as a part of a settlement that included the actor participating in community service and the forfeiture of his $10,000 bond.
CONFIRMED: As part of settlement with Cook County SAO, #JussieSmolett performed combined 16 hours of community service at Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr’s @RPCoalition. Included critiquing students in broadcast center, working in bookstore, and talking to visitors. @fox32news
The actor’s troubles aren’t over, however, as the prosecution’s decision to a deal with the actor has sparked widespread criticism about special treatment for a celebrity. The FBI and Department of Justice were even called upon to review the matter. One insider tied to Empire told Deadline, “Things are so unclear and there is a feeling that this isn’t over, that there’s more to come.” The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is also reportedly working with law enforcement to investigate a hate-filled letter that the actor received on the set of the Fox drama. If it is discovered that the letter was sent by the actor to himself, he could face 5-20 years of jail time.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has been critical of the deal prosecutors agreed to in the attack, is sending Smollett a bill for $130,000 for police overtime.
In the meantime, the actor is nominated for the “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series” NAACP Image Award to be presented on Saturday. The ceremony will air live on TV One at 9 p.m. EDT.
Homeland’s Family Reunion and More Casting News
(Photo by Showtime)
Hugh Dancy is set to join real-life wife Claire Danes for the eighth and final season of Danes’ award-winning series Homeland. He’ll play John Zabel, a savvy Washington consultant who joins the White House as a new foreign-policy advisor to the president and a formidable opponent to Saul (Mandy Patinkin). Per Showtime, the final season of the series will find Carrie (Danes) recovering from months of brutal confinement in a Russian gulag. Her body is healing, but her memory remains fractured – which is a problem for Saul, now National Security Advisor to the newly ascendant President Warner (Beau Bridges). The top priority of Warner’s young administration is an end to the “forever war” in Afghanistan, and Saul has been dispatched to engage the Taliban in peace negotiations. But Kabul teems with warlords and mercenaries, zealots and spies – and Saul needs the relationships and expertise that only his protégé can provide. Against medical advice, Saul asks Carrie to walk with him into the lion’s den one last time.
Russian Doll star Charlie Barnett will guest star on season 2 of Lifetime series-turned-Netflix original You. He’ll play the best friend of female lead Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti). Gabe is Love’s oldest friend and closest confidant, a successful acupuncturist and psychedelics aficionado living his L.A. life to the fullest.
Sony Pictures Television has sold its stake in Crackle to Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Variety reports.
Isn’t It Romantic writer Dana Fox signed a deal with Paramount TV and Anonymous content, THR reports. Fox is showrunner for upcoming Apple TV+ series Home Before Dark. Read RT’s coverage of Apple TV+ here.
Producer Nora Smith (Bob’s Burgers) makes deal at 20th Century Fox, according to Variety.
Sam Loudermilk (Ron Livingston) is the kind of guy you love to hate. You’d avoid if you saw him on the street, but when he’s telling off a millennial holding up the coffee line, you quietly cheer. He is also the central figure of the new Audience Network comedy Loudermilk, from director Peter Farrelly.
A recovering alcoholic, Loudermilk has an impeccable reputation in his AA group for helping others get clean. The process isn’t pretty, but now Loudermilk turns his attention to Claire Wilkes (Anja Savcic), who may be his toughest case yet.
Livingston spoke with Rotten Tomatoes before the premiere of Loudermilk. Here are six things you might hate, but you’ve got to love him for it.
1. BEING RIGHT ONLY MAKES HIM MORE OBNOXIOUS
What’s worse than an obnoxious loudmouth? An obnoxious loudmouth who has a point. Loudermilk is past worrying about making people happy. They found the right actor to play him because Livingston is about 20 years beyond wanting to make his characters likable.
“Honestly, I learned a lot on Swingers by watching Vince [Vaughn] do his thing,” Livingston said. “He’s such a d— in that movie, in a lot of the movies he does, but that’s the guy that everybody wants to hang out with. It’s not that he’s likable. It’s that he’s confident enough that he doesn’t give a f—. He says what he thinks.”
“I think there’s something that people [respond to],” he continued. “It’s not like they want to like him. They want to imagine themselves being able to do that and then they like themselves, imagining they can do that. After that, I felt a lot more free about Jack Berger doesn’t have to be likable. He just has to be trying his best.”
It works for acting, but in real life even Livingston still wants to be liked.
“I know that feeling well and wouldn’t it be great to be free of that?” he said. “We all want to be liked but there’s something about I think we all sort of envy that guy that doesn’t give a f—.”
2. HE TELLS PEOPLE WHAT OTHERS ARE AFRAID TO SAY
When an addict is spiraling out of control, it does them no good for a friend to say, “Hang in there. You’re doing your best.” That’s enabling.
“There’s all kinds of people trying to pat them on the head and say it’s going to be OK, it’s not your fault,” Livingston said. “There comes a time when sometimes people just need to be told, ‘Look, you f—ing —hole, this is what’s going down. Do you see what’s going down? This is what’s going on. You can do something about it or not but it’s not doing you a service in hiding it.’”
3. HE CAN MOCK AA MEETINGS BECAUSE HE LOVES THEM
Loudermilk certainly isn’t making fun of 12-step programs. These meetings provide a vital resource for people in need. Still, there’s a good-natured comedy in Loudermilk’s frustration with his own attendees.
“It’s a world that we haven’t really looked at, at least in a comedy way, because it’s been sort of either a dirty little secret or a sacred cow,” Livingston said. “We’re poking fun at it, but we’re doing it lovingly. We’re doing it with love.”
Even at its most comical, the AA meeting is still a support group. Any group of well-meaning people trying to help, but maybe screwing up just as much, can be dysfunctional.
“It’s a community of people who are wrestling with many of the same demons and sharing war stories, mostly just being there for each other,” Livingston said. “There’s a certain brand of gallows humor. There are some great anecdotes. There’s something kind of magical about when a new person walks in and everybody knows exactly where that person is because they’ve all been there.”
4. IT MAY NOT BE THE BEST MEETING, BUT IT’S THE ONE HE’S GOT
Creating Loudermilk’s AA group didn’t have to mimic an actual support group too strictly. That’s because every meeting is as unique as the individuals who show up for that meeting. Loudermilk just has to make do with what he’s got.
“They’re all so different but there is a common theme,” Livingston said. “They’re not only different from program to program, just from room to room and group to group, it’s a different animal. But they all have a component that ties them together which is it’s people who are in a very humbling position having to admit that something is out of their control and taking over their life. And yet, not only coming together to try to change that in themselves but to try to be of support to other people.”
5. LOUDERMILK HAS HIT BOTTOM SO THIS IS AN IMPROVEMENT
In AA, rock bottom is the lowest point where an addict decides it’s time to change. Sometimes it can be catastrophic but not always. It was pretty damaging for Loudermilk. So just imagine how much worse he was before then.
“I think his bottom was when he got in a car accident with his wife,” Livingston said. “I think that’s the thing that haunts him, and I don’t even think that’s when he turned around. I think it probably took him another year or so after that to turn around. This is all actor bullsh– backstory. Maybe it’ll come out in season 2. If there’s a ghost that’s haunting him, that’s the one that he still has to work with.”
That’s not the end of the story of Loudermilk’s wife. Look for her to factor into later episodes of the series.
“I think in his head that something changed in that moment,” Livingston said. “It factors back in later in the season, so I don’t want to spoil it too much. I think in many ways, he’s more torn up about that accident than his ex-wife is. She’s put it behind her.”
6. LOUDERMILK GIVES LIVINGSTON A HEALTHY OUTLET
This is a bit of a more healthy obsession than substance addiction since he can use it to better his work. Livingston admitted to obsessing over character details, and Loudermilk lets him go wild.
“You’re trying to crack the character and do all this work of what would he do, what would you do?” Livingston said. “Ultimately, you don’t have any idea. You really only know what you think you would do. To get all that, not only in your head but sort of in the body so that it’s happening without thinking about it, it just never ends. How would he pick up the bottle? How would he open the car door? There’s something about that process.”
Livingston hopes Loudermilk doesn’t pick up any bottles, but the car door applies. “I think probably his favorite way is to reach inside and open it from the inside,” Livingston said. “The car door’s broken, and he’s too lazy to fix it.”
No matter how much prep he puts into it, Livingston ultimately has to just stop and do the scene.
“Now the beauty of it is, there’s something about being an actor, having a deadline,” he said. “They turn the camera on and then after a little bit they turn the camera off. That’s it. That’s all you got. You’ve got that much time to do it, you hope it’s good.”
Loudermilkpremieres October 17 at 10:30 p.m. on Audience Network.