We had a look back at the year that was to see which network or streaming service had the best year and which had the worst, looking at their highest- and lowest-scoring series that received Tomatometer scores. From well-loved and award-nominated to yawn-inducing and cringe-worthy, the titles on our list have either entertained or dismayed TV fans all year. To compile the list, we compared the Tomatometer scores of the most recent seasons and the number of reviews for each title.
Some networks are so on-point that both their best and worst series are Fresh — some even Certified Fresh, like BBC America’s Killing Eve and Doctor Who. While Netflix’s top series was Certified Fresh at 100%, the streaming giant also had the series with the lowest score. CBS had the worst year overall by Tomatometer, with its top title, season 1 of Young Sheldon (which ended in May 2018), scoring a modest 76% and its lowest scoring title this year, Living Biblically, in second-to-last place and receiving only 18%. (Season 2 of Young Sheldon kicked off in September and continues into 2019, but has not yet received a score.)
In order to qualify, a show’s 2018 season had to have at least 10 reviews; a few exceptions, however, are Claws, Portlandia, and Mr. Mercedes, which were included for comparison with their “best” or “worst” counterparts on each respective network that did qualify (that is, The Alienist, Brockmire, and Condor).
The lowest-rated series on the list is Netflix’s Insatiable, which is Rotten at 12% with 50 reviews. The highest-rated are NBC’s The Good Place, which is Certified Fresh at 100% with 38 reviews, followed closely by YouTube’s Cobra Kai, which is also Certified Fresh at 100%, but with 36 reviews.
Check out the full list of the best and worst by network below.
Also read: “Every Certified Fresh TV Season of 2018”
Scores as of December 20, 2018.
ABC: How to Get Away with Murder | Splitting Up Together
Acorn: Mystery Road | Girlfriends
Amazon: Homecoming | The Romanoffs
AMC: Better Call Saul | McMafia
Audience: Mr Mercedes | Condor
BBC America: Killing Eve | Doctor Who
CBS: Young Sheldon | Living Biblically
CBS All Access: The Good Fight | Tell Me a Story
Comedy Central: Corporate | South Park
CW: Black Lightning | Life Sentence
FOX: The X-Files | Rel
Freeform: The Bold Type | Alone Together
FX: Atlanta | Archer
HBO: Barry | Here and Now
Hulu: The Looming Tower | Into the Dark
IFC: Brockmire | Portlandia
Lifetime: UnReal | You
NBC: The Good Place | I Feel Bad
Netflix: Dear White People | Insatiable
Paramount Network: Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story | Heathers
PBS: Endeavour | The Miniaturist
Showtime: Billions | Our Cartoon President
Starz: Vida | Sweetbitter
Syfy: The Magicians | Nightflyers
TBS: The Last O.G. | Final Space
TNT: Claws | The Alienist
USA: The Sinner | The Purge
YouTube Premium: Cobra Kai | Origin
(Photo by Amazon)
She’s back! Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning comedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is returning to Amazon for its second season on Wednesday, Dec. 5.
Season 2 will see Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) dealing with the fallout from her takedown of Sophie Lennon, making her climb up the comedy ladder even more challenging — especially since she’s still keeping her new career as a standup comedian a secret from her family.
Recently added (updated 12/3): History Remembers George H.W. Bush (Dec. 5), Mysterious Islands (Dec. 26), Great Performances: The Bernstein Centennial Celebration (Dec. 28)
Sunday, Dec. 2
Life-Size 2: A Christmas Eve (2018) 40% 9 p.m., Freeform
Berlin Station: Season 3 (2018) 9 p.m., Epix
Inside Syria’s Deadly Dynasty, 9 p.m., Nat Geo
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Holiday Special, 10 p.m., ABC
() % 10 p.m., Syfy
Monday, Dec. 3
Finding Joy, Acorn TV
Vanderpump Rules: Season 7, 9 p.m., Bravo
Unanchored, 10 p.m., Bravo
Wednesday, Dec. 5
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Season 2 (2018) 92% Amazon
Deal or No Deal, CNBC
History Remembers George H.W. Bush, 10 p.m., History Channel
Thursday, Dec. 6
Top Chef: Season 16, 9 p.m., Bravo
Friday, Dec. 7
RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-slay Spectacular, 8 p.m., VH1
Love After Lockup: Season 2, 9 p.m., WE tv
Sunday, Dec. 9
Counterpart: Season 2 (2018) 100% 9 p.m., Starz
Deadly Legacy, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery
Monday, Dec. 10
9th Annual CMA Country Christmas, 8 p.m., ABC
Pentatonix: A Not-So-Silent Night, 10 p.m., NBC
Tuesday, Dec. 11
Jeff Beck: Still on the Run, 7:30 p.m., Showtime
Wednesday, Dec. 12
Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors, Marvel HQ YouTube Channel
Champaign Ill, YouTube Premium
Agnostic Front: Godfathers of Hardcore, 7 p.m., Showtime
Paris to Pittsburgh, 9 p.m., National Geographic
Susan Powell: An ID Murder Mystery, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery
Thursday, Dec. 13
Dr. Pimple Popper: The 12 Pops of Christmas, 9 p.m., TLC
The Carbonaro Effect: Season 4 (2018) 10 p.m., tru TV (midseason premiere)
GG Allin: All In the Family, 10 p.m., Showtime
Friday, Dec. 14
Roma (2018) 96% Netflix
Fuller House: Season 4 (2018) Netflix
Tidelands: Season 1 (2018) 77% Netflix
Travelers: Season 3 (2018) Netflix
Voltron: Legendary Defender: Season 8 (2018) 86% Netflix
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 1 (2018) 91% A Midwinter’s Tale, Netflix
The Innocent Man, Netflix
The Protector, Netflix
Sunderland Til I Die, Netflix
LOL: Last One Laughing, Amazon
RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars: Season 4 (2018) 86% 8 p.m., VH1
High & Mighty, 8 p.m., HBO Latino
k.d. lang: Landmarks Live in Concert – A Great Performances Special, 9 p.m., PBS
Korn’s Brian “Head” Welch: Loud Krazy Love, 10 p.m., Showtime
Saturday, Dec. 15
Pete Holmes: Dirty Clean, HBO
Dannemora Prison Break, 7 p.m., Oxygen
Sunday, Dec. 16
Springsteen on Broadway, Netflix
The Simpsons 30th Anniversary Marathon, 9 a.m., FXX
2018 Miss Universe, 7 p.m., Fox
Monday, Dec. 17
Blood, Acorn TV
America’s Got Talent: A Holiday of Champions, 10 p.m., NBC
Wednesday, Dec. 19
() % YouTube Premium
Schitt's Creek 93%: Holiday Episode, 10 p.m., Pop
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee Presents “Christmas on I.C.E.” 10:30 p.m., TBS
Thursday, Dec. 20
Timeless 91%: Series Finale, 8 p.m., NBC
Friday, Dec. 21
Marvel's Runaways: Season 2 (2018) 87% Hulu
Vanity Fair: Miniseries (2018) 89% Amazon
Bird Box (2018) 64% Netflix
Perfume: Season 1, Netflix
38Below: Tales of Arcadia, Netflix
Derry Girls, Netflix
Tales By Light, Netflix
Bad Seeds, Netflix
Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski, Netflix
Last Hope, Netflix
Sirius the Jaeger, Netflix
Back With the Ex, Netflix
7 Days Out, Netflix
The Casketeers, Netflix
American Dream/American Knightmare, 8:30 p.m., Showtime
Saturday, Dec. 22
Demon’s Path, Netflix
Monday, Dec. 24
Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam, Acorn TV
Hi Score Girl, Netflix
Wednesday, Dec. 26
41st Annual Kennedy Center Honors, 8 p.m., CBS
Mysterious Islands: Georgia’s Island of the Geechee People, 11 p.m., Travel Channel
Mysterious Islands: Islands of Eternal Life, 11:30 p.m., Travel Channel
Friday, Dec. 28
Into the Dark: New Year, New You, Hulu
Instant Hotel, Netflix
Murder Mountain, Netflix
Selection Day, Netflix
A Twelve-Year Night, Netflix
When the Angels Sleep, Netflix
Yummy Mummies, Netflix
Great Performances: The Bernstein Centennial Celebration, 9 p.m., PBS
Sunday, Dec. 30
The Orville: Season 2 (2019) 100% 8 p.m., Fox
The Lake Erie Murders: Who Killed Amy Mihaljevic?, 9 p.m., Investigation Discovery
Monday, Dec. 31
Taylor Swift reuputation Stadium Tour, Netflix
Fox’s New Year’s Eve With Steve Harvey: Live from Times Square, 8 p.m., Fox
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest, 8 p.m., ABC
NBC’s New Year’s Eve, 10 p.m., NBC
Natalia Tena (Harry Potter franchise, Game of Thrones) and newcomer Sen Mitsuji star in a tense moment of shoot-the-impostor from YouTube Premium’s new original series Origin. The sci-fi thriller, about a group of passengers fighting for survival on a spacecraft headed for another planet, also stars Harry Potter alum Tom Felton.
Origin is created, written and executive produced by Mika Watkins (Troy: Fall of a City).
Release date: All 10 episodes of Origin debut on YouTube Premium on November 14.
(Photo by YouTube Premium)
In 2018, YouTube Premium’s original series Cobra Kai became the kind of hit any network would dream of, with critical acclaim, strong word-of-mouth, and a passionate fan base. The streaming service has also ordered second seasons of its series Impulse, Step Up: High Water, and Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television.
In the wake of that success, both critics, and TV fans are curious about what YouTube Premium will offer next. Can YouTube compete with streaming heavy hitters Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon? What about traditional TV networks?
Susanne Daniels, global head of original content for YouTube, took Rotten Tomatoes through 11 of the streamer’s upcoming releases to see if any of them has the potential to be the next Cobra Kai. Considering YouTube has 50 original shows, movies, international productions, and specials on the docket — and that’s just what’s been announced — chances are high that at least one of these series or films could be the next Certified Fresh sensation.
(Photo by ABC/Craig Sjodin)
What It’s About: The series began as Jordan Peele’s Twisted Ass Anthology, but the title Weird City is more accurate because the anthology stories all take place in the same city. The city of Weird has a little bit of crossover between residents and some Easter eggs for attentive viewers.
Chances It’ll Be a Certified Fresh Hit: If each episode is a mini Get Out, then that’s highly likely. Daniels said Weird City straddles the line between comedy and drama, which worked well for Peele’s movie.
“Weird City has a dramatic element to it too,” she said. “It’s not laugh-out-loud comedy like The Big Bang Theory where you know you’re going to get jokes every minute. It’s just eccentric tales.”
(Photo by FX)
What It’s About: Krystall Gill (Dunst) is a water park employee in the ’90s who is trying to infiltrate Founders American Merchandise, a pyramid scheme that destroyed her family.
Chances It’ll Be a Certified Fresh Hit: It might give some viewers and critics pause that AMC passed on Becoming a God, but it wasn’t a quality issue — it was a scheduling one. And AMC’s scheduling conflicts are YouTube’s gain.
“I just thought it was a unique world and an exploration of something I haven’t seen before on television,” Daniels said. “We made the deal for the script, and then we went to Kirsten Dunst and told her what we’re doing with YouTube Premium and were able to make a deal with her.”
What It’s About: A group of strangers awaken from hypersleep on the spaceship Origin and have to figure out what happened and how to get to their destination — if they can survive the biggest danger facing them: each other. Every hour will see flashbacks that reveal what led each character to the Origin. You’ll have to wait until episode 8 for the story of Harry Potter star Felton.
“No one tells each other what they’ve done because they’ve all done something terrible,” Felton said. “Everyone’s reluctant to volunteer the reasons why they did [what they did]. Some people are actually protecting that with their lives. For [my character] Logan, it builds up that there would be a very violent and vicious reason for him to make this switch, but actually it’s a very sweet one.”
Chances It’ll Be a Certified Fresh Hit: This is a show that is decidedly not for kids — you get to hear Draco Malfoy use the F word, after all. Plus, with Felton and fellow Harry Potter alum Tena (also Game of Thrones) in the cast, they’ve got the fantasy fans on lock. Felton, however, doesn’t think their series is rooted in fantasy at all.
“I don’t see this as really slipping into the fantasy realm because it is such a likely scenario that we could probably face in the next 50 to 100 years,” he said. “Space travel is already a thing but the idea of colonization and starting a new life is a very conceivable idea and very appealing I think for a lot of people.”
(Photo by ©Marvel/©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
What It’s About: Robert Downey Jr. (pictured above in Avengers: Infinity War) will host this look at artificial intelligence, which Daniels described as “an exploration of all things A.I. today and where A.I.’s taking us in the future.” Filming has already begin.
Chances It’ll Be a Certified Fresh Hit: Iron Man himself explaining real-life Stark technology sounds like a winner. (Doctor Strange not included.)
(Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)
What It’s About: A sitcom about a rapper and his entourage — after the rapper’s not famous anymore. “This one’s broad and big and loud and fun,” Daniels revealed.
“That was my concern when we were casting them,” Daniels shared — but this odd couple works. “They’re funny together. They have very different character trajectories. The differences in the actors work for the characters that they’re playing. Their different energies seem to play off well against each other.”
What It’s About: A spin-off of Craig’s own movie that starred Hailee Steinfeld as a teenager coping with high school and her family. Craig is developing the series, it’ll be a little bit of time before information about the new characters is revealed.
Chances It’ll Be A Certified Fresh Hit: Well, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer is Fresh at 81% compared to the movie’s 33% Rotten score. YouTube’s own Impulse has a perfect 100% on nine reviews, though the movie it was based on, Jumper, is Rotten at 16%. The Edge of Seventeen is fresh at 95%, so Craig only has her own work to live up to.
“What I’ve found is that the director has spent a lot of time thinking about that movie and living with that movie, living with the concept and the characters,” Daniels said. “Bringing all that thought and creativity and passion for the project into the series. Things they didn’t get to do with the movie now they get to do with the series. I think that helps bring these kinds of projects to life.”
(Photo by YouTube Premium)
What It’s About: Lou Pearlman gave the world *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, but he also took millions in his Ponzi schemes. He died while serving a 25-year prison sentence for his crimes. This documentary follows the rise and fall of the late Svengali.
Chances It’ll Be a Certified Fresh Hit: Whether it’s Fresh or not, Daniels can confirm you’ll see a lot of classic boy-and moments. If you need to see more, you can go down the rabbit hole of YouTube clips like she did.
“That was the impact the documentary had on me,” Daniels said. “My one note was: I need more footage of the bands in the movie. You’re really reminded of how huge those bands were at the time and how passionate their fans were. Then there’s this dark side from the creator of these bands, and the fraud, the wool he was pulling over everyone’s eyes. It ends up being a very sad story in many ways.”
(Photo by YouTube Premium)
What It’s About: This feature film was developed by YouTube (unlike another feature, Bodied, which was acquired). When an ER nurse and single mom’s journalist son is kidnapped by ISIS, she can’t afford the ransom, but goes to great lengths to get the money.
Chances It’ll Be a Certified Fresh Hit: Find out what critics said after Viper Club‘s premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.
What It’s About: On his 50th birthday, September 25, Smith has accepted a challenge from one of his fans to bungee jump from a helicopter over the Grand Canyon, Big Willie style!
Chances It’ll Be a Certified Fresh Hit: There may not be enough reviews of a live streaming event to certify The Jump on the Tomatometer, but that’s not why Smith is doing it anyway. This is a way to engage his millions of fans.
Talent: Stars Tenea Intriago, Alexia Dox; creator Mackenzie Yeager
What It’s About: Kat (Intriago) and June (Dox) become friends and the audience hears their hopes and fears out loud — with an emphasis on the fears.
Chances It’ll Be A Certified Fresh Hit: Daniels said she developed Kat and June primarily for the same audience as their hit young adult series Foursome, so it’s up to the youth to decide. “We have a really robust Foursome audience on the platform, and we wanted to give them a new show,” Daniels said.
(Photo by YouTube Premium)
What It’s About: Described as a Dirty Harry in high school, Wayne (McKenna) goes looking for his late father’s stolen 1978 Trans Am.
Chances It’ll Be a Certified Fresh Hit: Given YouTube’s ability to combine comedy and drama in Cobra Kai and teen drama with sci-fi in Impulse, the tricky combination of Wayne seems in good hands.
“It has its funny moments,” Daniels said. “Particularly Wayne’s interaction with the principal, Mike O’Malley, is very funny. It’s pretty intense. It’s pretty hardcore exploration of a tougher life for a teen.”