Summary List PlacementRotten Tomatoes keeps a running list of the top television show seasons of all time based on critics’ scores. So far there are 12 shows in 2020 that have earned the “Certified Fresh” stamp for having 100% positive reviews.
For the purposes of our list, we’ve rounded up all the “Certified Fresh” shows that have at least 10 critics’ reviews and appear on Rotten Tomatoes’ own list. (For a list of just the best Netflix originals in 2020, read our ranking here.)
Keep scrolling to see the shows that received a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes this year.
Note: All scores were current on the date of publication and are subject to change.FOLLOW US: Insider Entertainment is on Facebook
“Giri/Haji” (season one) — Netflix
Synopsis: “A Tokyo detective travels to London to look for his long lost younger brother, now believed to be posing as a Yakuza gangster and wanted for the murder of a Japanese businessman. His family’s honour, and the fragile peace between the warring gangs back home, is at stake.”
Critics’ Consensus: “Smart, suspenseful, and superbly shot, ‘Giri/Haji is a near-perfect crime thriller with a surprisingly sharp sense of humor.'”
The first show on our list requires a small caveat. “Giri/Haji” was a coproduction between Netflix and BBC Two. The whole first season premiere in the U.K. in October 2019, but didn’t come to Netflix for U.S. audiences until January 2020.
Since it wasn’t included in our 2019 roundup, and U.S. audiences only just got a chance to see its greatness this year, we’ve placed it here in our 2020 list.
“Schitt’s Creek” (season six) — PopTV
Synopsis: “When the filthy-rich Rose family suddenly find themselves broke, they are forced to leave their pampered lives, rebuild their empire, and rediscover what it means to be in Schitt’s Creek, a town they once purchased as a joke.”
Critics’ Consensus: “Witty, warm, and with just the right blend of wisdom and wisecracks, ‘Schitt’s Creek’s’ final season is the perfect farewell to the Roses and the town that changed their lives.”
The sixth and final season of “Schitt’s Creek” premiered at the start of 2020, delighting fans and critics alike. The show earned several key nominations at the upcoming Emmy awards, including best comedy series, best lead and best supporting actress in a comedy, and more.
If you’re wondering how to watch the final season in the U.S., read our explainer here.
“One Day at a Time” (season four) — PopTV
Synopsis: “A reimagining of the iconic Norman Lear’s classic sitcom, ‘One Day at a Time’ is an hilarious and heartfelt comedy that follows three generations of a Cuban-American family navigating the ups and downs of life.”
Critics’ Consensus: “As layered, loving, and laugh-out-loud funny as ever, ‘One Day at a Time’ successfully does the network shuffle without missing a beat.”
After “One Day at a Time” was canceled by Netflix in 2019, the beloved series was picked up by PopTV and brought back for a fourth season. Critics praised the seamless transition between networks and loved how the show managed to be as timely and heartfelt as ever.
“What We Do in the Shadows” (season two) — Fx on Hulu
Synopsis: “A look into the daily lives of four vampires who’ve been together for hundreds of years; after a visit from their dark lord and leader, they’re reminded of their purpose in coming to New York City over a century ago.”
Critics’ Consensus: “Bat! ‘What We Do In the Shadows’ loses no steam in a smashing second season that savvily expands its supernatural horizons while doubling down on the fast flying fun.”
This comedy series is based on a movie of the same name, which was cocreated by Jemaine Clement (“Flight of the Concords”) and Taika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit,” “Thor: Ragnarok”). The TV show is filmed in mockumentary style, following the increasingly wild and amusing antics of a group of Staten Island vampires.
“Feel Good” (season one) — Netflix
Synopsis: “‘Feel Good’ stars Mae Martin as Mae, a rising talent on the stand-up circuit and recovering addict whose addictive behaviors and intense romanticism dominate every single part of her life.”
Critics’ Consensus: “An intimate portrait of addiction and love, ‘Feel Good’ is at once sweetly charming, uncomfortably complicated, and completely worth falling for.”
“Feel Good” is a fantastic new, easy-to-binge series on Netflix. The first season is just six total episodes, each about 25 minutes long, which means it falls squarely into the trend of short-TV that’s dominating the media landscape right now.
“The Baby-Sitters Club” (season one) — Netflix
Synopsis: “Netflix’s new series ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’ is based on the best-selling book series, that follows the friendship and adventures of Kristy Thomas, Mary-Anne Spier, Claudia Kishi, Stacey McGill, and Dawn Schafer as the middle-schoolers start their babysitting business in the town of Stoneybrook, Connecticut.”
Critics’ Consensus: “Sweet, sincere, and full of hope, ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’s’ grounded approach honors its source material while updating the story for a new generation.”
“The Baby-Sitters Club” premiered at the end of June and quickly claimed the top spot in this year’s ranking of Netflix TV shows among critics. People cheered the family-friendly series for bringing the iconic ’90s books to life for a 2020 audience.
“P-Valley” (season one) — Starz
Synopsis: “Down deep in the Mississippi Delta lies an oasis of grit and glitter in a rough patch of human existence where beauty can be hard to find.”
Critics’ Consensus: “A stunning, lyrical piece of neon noir, ‘P-Valley’ explores the unseen lives of strippers in Mississippi through Katori Hall’s singular gaze, celebrating the beauty of the craft without sugarcoating the challenges.”
If you’re looking for a new drama to dive into, “P-Valley” is one of the best-rated new shows of the summer. The show draws you in with the intimacy and theatrics of its strip-club setting, and captures a deeper undercurrent of each character’s journey.
“Immigration Nation” (limited series) — Netflix
Synopsis: “With unprecedented access to ICE operations, as well as moving portraits of immigrants, this docuseries takes a deep look at U.S. immigration today.”
Critics’ Consensus: “A rare and expansive look into the consequences of unfettered power, ‘Immigration Nation’ is a powerful, harrowing indictment of the current state of American immigration.”
Netflix’s six-episode miniseries highlights the personal stories of asylum seekers and immigrant families trying to maneuver through the complex policies and discriminations built into American’s current systems. Critics were impressed by the documentary’s up-close access to detention centers and ICE field offices, and the powerful presentation of the complete picture of US immigration.
“PEN15” (season two) — Hulu
Synopsis: “‘PEN15′ is middle school as it really happened. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle star in this adult comedy, playing versions of themselves as 13-year-old outcasts in the year 2000, surrounded by actual thirteen-year-olds, where the best day of your life can turn into your worst with the stroke of a gel pen.”
Critics’ Consensus: “An excellent showcase for Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, and their well-cast classmates, ‘PEN15’s’ sophomore season goes deeper into the nuances of middle school life without losing any of its cringey charm.”
Hulu’s original comedy series “PEN15” has been critically lauded since its debut last year. With reviews in for its sophomore season, the show seems to only be getting better. You’ll need a tolerance for secondhand-embarrassment in order to fully appreciate this comind-of-age story, but so far all of the critics agree that the cringe is well worth it.
“The Good Lord Bird” (limited series) — Showtime
Synopsis: “Ethan Hawke stars as abolitionist John Brown in a humorous, dramatic and historical tapestry of Antebellum America. A limited event series based on the award winning novel by author James McBride.”
Critics’ Consensus: “Ethan Hawke dazzles in ‘The Good Lord Bird,’ an epically irreverent adaptation that does right by its source material’s good word.”
Showtime’s limited series premiered in October to strong reviews from critics, who say the show nails its tone and has a standout cast.
“‘The Good Lord Bird’ swings nimbly from pulpy proto-Western to surreal, somewhat anachronistic social satire,” New Yorker critic Doreen St. Felix wrote in her review.
“Dash and Lily” (season one) — Netflix
Synopsis: “A whirlwind Holiday romance builds as cynical Dash and optimistic Lily trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City, finding they have more in common with each other than they would have expected.”
Critics’ consensus: “Anchored by the charming Midori Francis and Austin Abrams, ‘Dash and Lily’ is a delightful rom-com adventure with plenty of holiday cheer.”
Critics found this Netflix original series to be heartwarming with the right dash of earnestness and charm.
“‘Dash & Lily’ just works,” Vox critic Emily VanDerWerff wrote. “Abrams gives good smolder, and Francis is terrific, delivering a breakout performance in a role that could be intensely annoying but that she makes wounded and winning.”
“Better Things” (season four) — FX
Synopsis: “‘Better Thingsis’ the story of Sam Fox, a single mother and working actor with no filter, raising her three daughters, Max, Frankie and Duke in Los Angeles. She also looks after her mother, Phil, an English expat with questionable faculties who lives across the street.”
Critics’ consensus: “Sharp and singular, ‘Better Things’ just keeps getting better.”
One of the more under-the-radar critical darlings of 2020 was “Better Things,” which premiered in March of this year.
“There aren’t many shows like it — period,” Entertainment Weekly’s critic Lacey Vorrasi-Banis wrote in a review. “It’s not a sitcom, it’s not a drama, and it seems cheap and easy to call it a dramedy. It is undefinable because, frankly, it’s life.”
“Harley Quinn” (season two) —DC Universe/HBO Max
Synopsis: “Harley Quinn has finally broken things off with the Joker and attempts to make it on her own as the criminal Queenpin of Gotham City. In this adult animated action-comedy series which also features Poison Ivy and a whole cast of heroes and villains, old and new, from the DC Universe.”
Critics’ consensus: “‘Harley Quinn’ maintains its frenetic energy and humor while doubling down on the shenanigans and giving its titular anti-heroine even more room to play.
The second season of this animated series brought virtual rounds of applause from critics and fans alike.
“What’s most exciting about this season is how it entirely rebuilds a Gotham perfectly suited to Harley’s batty antics, giving her a classic rogues gallery to combat, and teeing her up for a post-apocalyptic adventure to claim Gotham as her own,” critic Haleigh Foutch wrote for Collider.
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